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Formentera is the smallest island in the Balearic archipelago on the Mediterranean Sea, with a population of around 7,000. The island is shaped like a dog bone and appears to be dangling on a string from the southern coast of Ibiza.
There are no airports in Formentera, so the only way into the island is via boat from Ibiza. In the summer, a ferry service leaves Ibiza for Formentera every half-hour and the journey takes about 30 minutes. From mainland Spain, there are ferries to Ibiza from Barcelona, Valencia or Dénia. A direct Dénia–Formentera service runs during the summer months.
Tourism is Formentera’s main industry – its allure is its pristine sandy beaches, a beautiful coastline lined with pine trees and its translucent turquoise waters. Tourists flock to Formentera looking for tranquillity, away from the frenzy of the club scene and package-holiday crowds of Ibiza. It is an escapist’s paradise. The sea off the coast of Formentera is an underwater jungle and has been designated a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Formentera has a relaxing, laid-back atmosphere and has been popular with tourists since the Flower Power movement of the 1960s. You’ll see posters advertising yoga classes, massages and Ayurvedic treatments, all in keeping with the island’s boho vibe. It has been a popular location for celebrities too – Joni Mitchell wrote songs for her album Blue here, Bob Dylan once lived on the island, while Kate Moss and Jade Jagger use it as a beachside resort.
Many of Formentera’s best hotels are dotted around its main villages, such as Sant Ferran de ses Roques and La Savina, or near well-known beaches like Platja Migjorn. Ferries arrive into the town of La Savina, making this is an ideal base for further exploration of the region. The island is only 19 kilometres long, so no matter where you stay, you’ll be within striking distance of Formentera’s variety of holiday activities. Hotel resorts on nearby Ibiza buzz with year-round energy, so areas like Sant Josep de sa Talaia are worth considering. Ships leave regularly for Formentera, so you’ll have convenient access to its myriad attractions, with the promise of bustling nightlife and world-class seafood upon your return. Alternatively, if you want to combine the freedom of self-catering with the luxuries of a hotel chain, then apart-hotels should be at the top of your holiday wish list.
Many Formentera hotels are small and independently owned, so book well in advance if you are visiting in its peak season – July and August.
Hotel resorts will generally either offer a breakfast-inclusive rate or charge for breakfast separately. For visitors who want a luxurious feel and not have to pay for meals separately, there are all-inclusive resorts in Ibiza – these have full-service spas offering hydrotherapy, facials and massage, outdoor pools with poolside bars, childcare services, rooms with extra amenities, such as sofa bed, refrigerator and minibar, iPod dock and satellite TV. The 5-star Grand Palladium White Island Resort & Spa in Sant Josep de sa Talaia is one of the many luxury options in the area.
Camping is forbidden in Formentera, but if you don’t mind preparing your own food while on holiday, an apart-hotel could be a thriftier option, especially if you’re travelling with family or friends. Apart-hotels in Formentera come with kitchenettes equipped with refrigerators, microwaves, and espresso makers, and often feature furnished balconies or patios, while on-site parking is usually free for guests.
Popular activities in Formentera include hiking, cycling, snorkelling and sailing.
Some of the best beaches in Formentera are Platja Migjorn, Platja de Ses Illetes and Platja de Llevant, featuring pale white sands and dazzlingly clear waters. When choosing a beach for the day, consider the direction of the wind, as some locations may be breezier than others. Bear in mind that most beaches allow nudity, so it’s not unusual for some sunbathers to go au naturel.
Just off to the north of Formentera, connected by a sandbar, is Espalmador, a small uninhabited island with pristine golden beaches, freshwater springs and clear turquoise waters. The safest way to cross to Espalmador is by boat as wading across is dangerous. Visitors should bring their own food, water and beach umbrella, as there are no facilities on this unspoiled oasis.
Southwest of the island, in Cap de Barbaria, there’s a lighthouse with amazing views of the Ibiza and Es Vedra islands. If you’re a bit of an explorer, don’t miss the spectacular cave to the south of the lighthouse, sitting 100 metres above sea level, which leads to a balcony on the cliff. Or, for the history buffs, there’s a megalithic site also located in this same area.
Feeling inspired to book your Formentera hotel and start planning your holiday? Don’t forget that you can save money on Expedia if you book your hotel in Formentera and your flight together. Use the Expedia search tools to check out the best package deals to suit your needs.