Formentera is the smallest of Spain's Balearic Islands. Famous for its unique natural beauty and amazing beaches, this unspoiled and peaceful Mediterranean paradise is an ideal destination for relaxing holidays. In our travel guide, you can find all the information you need about Formentera: how to get there, what to do on the island, best beaches, most popular attractions, food recommendations and ferry schedules. Compare ticket prices at a glance and buy your ferry ticket online on Ferryhopper at no extra cost.
Swimmers enjoy a sunny day at the heavenly beach of Caló Des Mort in Formentera
Vacation in Formentera
Formentera belongs to the Balearic Islands and is located south of Ibiza in the Mediterranean Sea. It is often called "Ibiza's sister island," as it is just 30 minutes away by ferry. Formentera is home to some of the best beaches in the Mediterranean - if not in the world - and it is well known for its stunning landscapes and turquoise waters. The island's capital is the village of Sant Francesc de Formentera, which is located about 5 minutes by car or 15 minutes by bike from the port of La Savina. The island has a relaxed vibe and it is said that, along with Ibiza, it used to be a popular meeting point for hippies traveling from Europe to India.
The people of Formentera have been striving to protect the island's unique environment and to promote sustainable tourism. In the summer of 2019, the Council of Formentera introduced a limit on the number of vehicles allowed on the island, promoting the use of public transport instead in an effort to reduce traffic and pollution. Formentera is also trying to eliminate single-use plastics, support sustainable ways of living and raise environmental awareness amongst visitors. Since the island is small (only 19km long), you can easily explore it by bike and help protect the local environment at the same time. Nobody in Formentera is in a hurry, anyway!
How to get to Formentera
You can travel by ferry to Formentera from the ports of Dénia and Barcelona in mainland Spain. The port of Dénia in the southeast of Spain is the one closest to the island, with the ferry ride taking about 2 hr. There are also several daily ferry crossings from Ibiza to Formentera, as the distance between the two islands is only 19km.
You can find more information about ferry schedules and tickets to Formentera here.
Things to do in Formentera
Since Formentera is famous for its gorgeous beaches, swimming and relaxing on the beach are two of the main activities on the island. But that is not all there is to Formentera. From beautiful little villages and impressive caves to old watchtowers and lighthouses, the island has plenty to discover. And when the night falls, head to the local restaurants to try Formentera's delicious cuisine!
Sounds exciting? Read on to find all you need to know about your trip to Formentera.
Beaches in Formentera
Formentera's heavenly beaches are renowned for their white sand and amazing crystal-clear turquoise waters. Most of them can be easily reached by bike or on foot.
Our favorite beaches in Formentera are:
- Ses Illetes: voted as one of the best beaches in the world and located just 5km from the port of La Savina, Ses Illetes is one of the most popular beaches in Formentera. The shallow turquoise waters and fine white sand create a truly spectacular landscape. The beach is ideal for kids and has several facilities for visitors, such as beach bars, restaurants and shops. Since Ses Illetes is quite long, you can find spots without overcrowding, while some parts are also nude-friendly.
- Levante or Llevant: located on the east side of the peninsula of Es Trucadors, this is a long beach with beautiful sand dunes. Llevant beach is quiet and nude-friendly, but the strong winds can create currents and waves.
- Cala Saona: this small picturesque cove on the west coast of Formentera is ideal for swimming, snorkeling and other water activities. The sandy beach has sunbeds and umbrellas, and offers a beautiful view of the sunset.
- Es Pujols: this long sandy beach is located in the north, next to the popular tourist resort of Es Pujols. It is ideal for families and has several amenities, such as umbrellas, water sports facilities and restaurants. Es Pujols beach is also wheelchair-friendly, with a ramp that allows visitors with disabilities easy access to the water.
- Migjorn: this is the longest beach in Formentera, stretching over 4km on the south coast of the island. The sandy beach has beautiful blue waters, white and golden sand as well as beach clubs and chiringuitos (small bars selling mainly drinks and tapas). Migjorn beach is also nude-friendly.
- Playa es Arenals: Located on the southeast side, it is a sandy beach with visitor amenities, as well as a diving and windsurfing school, ideal for water sports lovers.
- Calo des Morts: Small cove on the west side of the island. It is accessible via steps and a small path. We propose that you get all the beach essentials in advance, as there are no visitor amenities. The beach is quite small, so make sure that you arrive early to secure a spot. The fishermen's fishing boat huts add a picturesque touch to the beauty of the landscape.
Tip: You can take the small La Bahia ferry from La Savina for a day trip or excursion to the islet of Espalmador, an uninhabited island with amazing beaches.
The impressive combination of white sand with crystalline waters on the beach of Illetes.
Sightseeing in Formentera
The island of Formentera is a small oasis. You can rent a bicycle to wander around and explore as much as possible. Despite its small size, Formentera has a long history that dates to 2000 BCE, with influences from Romans, Byzantines, and Moors. During the Spanish Civil War the island acted as a camp for political dissidents. The natural landscape, as well as the history of the place, make Formentera a great destination to discover. Below you can find a few of the best places to visit when in Formentera:
- The island lighthouses: El Faro del Cap de Barbaria (in the south) and El Faro de la Mola (in the east)
- The island caves: Cova d’Estrips, Cova Foradada, Cova de Fum, and others across the island coves
- The village of Es Caló de San Agustí, surrounded by an impressive forest
- The village of San Francisco (Sant Francesc Xavier) with the historic chapel of L'Ermita de Sa Tanca Vella
- The still-functioning windmill of El Molino de la Mola
- The megalithic graves; especially the one in Ca Na Costa
- The 18th-century watchtowers on the northern coast of Formentera: Torre de sa Punta Prima and Torre de la Gavina
- The Terramoll and Es Cap de Barbaria wineries for wine-tasting
A cinematic landscape at the cap of Barbaria in the south of Formentera.
Food in Formentera
Whether you visit Formentera for a day trip or for holidays you should keep in mind that, particularly during the summer months, the island restaurants get quite busy and might fill up quickly. You may want to consider booking in advance. Check the "El Mirador" restaurant, which is a reference point for many visitors on the island due to its spectacular view to the Balearic archipelago. Like all Balearic Islands, Formentera has delicious food! Here's a list of suggestions for food in Formentera from the Ferryhopper team:
- Payesa salad with dried salted fish
- Fried octopus (frit de polp)
- Aioli sauce with onion, oil, garlic, and tomato
- The traditional Balearic sausages sobrasada and butifarro (or butifarra)
- Goat cheese
- Thyme and rosemary honey
- Dried figs (xereques)
- The local cheesecake flaó, perfect with coffee or tea
- Herbal liquor (served on ice!)
Tip: The restaurants located on the beaches of Formentera serve tasty and fresh food. However, they tend to be more expensive during high season, so if you are traveling on a budget, you might want to find alternative options.
Useful information and phone numbers for Formentera
Apart from travelers arriving from Ibiza, Formentera is also popular amongst celebrities who usually prefer to arrive by yacht or stay at Las Banderas beachside retreat. Formentera may be more expensive ompared to other Mediterranean islands during high season and that's because resources are scarce - especially water - and almost everything has to be brought in. You can find cheaper accommodation options on the mainland. Also, look out for seasonal offers!
Formentera has no airport so you can only get there by ferry. The most popular and sustainable way to move around Formentera is by bicycle. You can bring your own, but there are many bike hire stations with both manual and electric options. The island is quite flat and the roads are good featuring bike lanes. Since 2019, only a limited number of motor-vehicles is allowed in Formentera. Keep in mind that when you access Illetes, Levante and El Tiburón by car or scooter, you will have to pay a small fee. Access to the small peninsula as well as parking options are limited.
There are regular bus routes from La Savina to the villages and beaches of the island, as well as to the resort in Es Pujols. There is also a tourist bus, the L3, which mainly serves the route La Savina-Ses Illetes-Es Pujols, as well as longer distances from the middle of May to the end of October.
Some useful contact numbers for your stay in Formentera:
- Emergency number Ibiza - Formentera: 112
- Tourist Office Formentera (La Savina): +34 971322057
- Formentera Health Center: +34 971322369
- Formentera Hospital: +34 971321212
- Municipal Police Formentera: +34 971322201 / 971322034
- Formentera Radio Taxi Service: +34 971322342
- Bus company La Savina (Autocares Paya): +34 971323181
- Sea taxis: +34 609847116 / +34 629158664
- Port Authority La Savina: +34 971322130
The picturesque fishermans' village of Es Caló de San Agustí.
Ferry schedules and ferry tickets to Formentera
You can only reach Formentera by ferry arriving at the port of La Savina, located in the north of the island, right opposite the port of Ibiza. The ferry connection between the two islands is easy and frequent, while you can also get a direct ferry connection from mainland Spain to Formentera from the ports of Denia and Barcelona. Here are some useful details about these routes:
- Denia - Formentera ferry route: The port of Dénia is located in the region of Alicante, between the cities of Alicante and Valencia and opposite the islands of Ibiza and Formentera. The ferry connection from Dénia to the port of La Savina in Formentera is daily and the duration of the ferry trip is a bit more than 2 hours.
- Barcelona-Formentera ferry route: There are regular ferry routes from Barcelona to the Balearic islands. The itinerary Barcelona - Formentera is in operation with 5 weekly crossings and it lasts around 12 hours.
Island hopping in the Balearic Islands
The Formentera - Ibiza ferry route is the best way to start your island hopping in the Balearic Sea and the most popular way to reach the small island. The ferries depart from the port of Ibiza to the port of La Savina daily from early morning to midnight. The duration of the ferry trip is just 25 minutes, which allows visitors to organize day trips to the two islands. It's the perfect chance to combine the party vibes of Ibiza with a relaxing retreat in Formentera.
From Ibiza you can take direct ferries to Mallorca and continue your exploration in the Balearic islands. There is also a daily ferry route from Formentera to Mallorca and the trip lasts approximately 3h 30min.
On Ferryhopper, you can find all ferry routes to Formentera and the Balearic Islands and organize an exciting holiday in the Mediterranean!
Sailing boats in the crystal blue waters of Cala Saona, Formentera.
Where to book ferry tickets to Formentera?
Formentera is a unique destination in the Mediterranean and its beautiful, exotic beaches will leave you breathless. On Ferryhopper you can compare all ferry schedules to/from Formentera and book ferry tickets online in just 4 clicks!