travel bite: Formentera, Spain

IT may seem a little late in the season to be dishing out holiday destination advice – especially considering my trip here was in July last year – but since I have found myself recommending this gorgeous island to all who cross my path this summer I feel it is necessary for me to put my tips into words (and pictures).

platja illetes

Formentera is a gem of an island situated half an hours ferry ride from Ibiza, a world apart from its hectic neighbour. No big nightclubs as such occupy this spot of land that is circled by some of the most beautiful coastline to be found in Europe. Spoilt for choice, you can have your pick from rugged beaches, secluded coves, golden sands peppered with Italian glitterati and long stretches of ice white sand laced with crystal clear waters.

platja migjorn

Platja Migjorn was our local beach; popular with nudists and locals it is the longest stretch of sand on the coast rendering it sparsely populated with fellow beach goers, yet with pockets of groups here and there. Heading West from the recently built luxury resort Gecko Beach Club (note: if like us you are not able to stretch to this kind of indulgence you can at least escape the burning midday sun at the bar with a giant refreshing cocktail) you will come across the most brilliant ramshackle bar/restaurant.

This is a locals’ haunt, with friendly yet laid back service provided by means of very limited English. (NB. Italians/Germans are the main nationalities that visit this island and so expect to not be able to get by in English, though a knowledge of Italian will prove just as useful as Spanish.) On Sundays the bar is descended upon by all in the area to eat their fill of the giant seafood paella being cooked out in the open, releasing the most delicious aroma. An absolute must. And whilst sipping your ice cold beer and staring out to the shimmering sea you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve been transported to the tropics of the Caribbean.

the super-yachts off the shore of platja illetes

platja de llevant / platja illetes

If it’s people watching that you are after, then Formentera is the place to be. This island seems to be a magnet for the most practiced of Italian exhibitionists. Whether it’s men in tight white swimming trunks lined up in the water with hands on their hips, or bronzed females tousling in the sand for a self-directed ‘photoshoot’, you will never be short of entertainment. And if that doesn’t suffice, simply ogle at the super-yachts that deliver the super-rich onto the shores of Platja Illetes.

view of the island on the way to far de la mola

sunset at the big sur

If you do ever get bored of the people watching then be sure to explore the island and its multitude of hidden beaches by moped. As the island is so small, with no giant lorries and minimal traffic on the road, this is far from the potentially dangerous mode of transport that it can be in other countries. Although there is not a huge amount of sightseeing to be done, it is worth heading towards the Eastern tip Far de la Mola for the view you get on the way over the whole of the island. Be sure to end your journey at the Big Sur, a beach bar that offers spectacular views of the sun setting over Ibiza.

blue bar

food at the blue bar

After your sunset drinks, be sure to head out for dinner before venturing to the bars in Es Pujols. Situated towards the Eastern end of Platja Migjorn, Blue Bar not only offers daytime retreat and sunset cocktails, but also serves some of the best food on the island. Not cheap (though to be honest that seems to be the tagline for most places on the island) but definitely worth the treat. The salmon sashimi was particularly noteworthy, presenting you with wonderfully succulent chunks of salmon, though the small addition of intensely flavoured sun-dried tomato paste was a questionable accompaniment. Be sure to also visit the town of San Ferran if you are looking to dine out, as it offers a variety of restaurants ranging from the traditional to the international – keep an eye out for the amazing pizza place – all in a relaxed and unpretentious atmosphere.

It seems that everyone you encounter on Formentera is a returning visitor, and it is not difficult to see why. Whether you want an escape from it all on some stunning beaches or to live the glamorous high-life with the rich and famous, you will not be disappointed. All who I travelled with to this fabulous find are eager to return, and I know those who already have. Formentera will always be my first choice recommendation for a European beach break and I can’t wait to go back time and time again.

One Response to “travel bite: Formentera, Spain”
  1. >Hmm yar-yar….totally agree- t'was idyllic for moi too!

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