Formentera: where to weigh anchor and live “Sunrise to Sunset” in this Funky Free-Spirited island.
Tolerant and temptatious, the enclave of Ibiza is the tiara of the Balearics, but beyond a shadow of a doubt – its naturally-blessed, less-stressed little sis Formentera is the Spanish archipelago’s most precious gem.
Just an hour cruise from the White Isle, first forays to Formentera are frequently from day-trippers dashing over on luxury charters and private yachts, given that, the 19-kilometer-wide oasis has no airport. But, what it does have is allure – bursting with inconceivable natural beauty and blissful greenish-blue cyan seas kissing the coastline. One trip is all it takes to fall in love at first sight!
To let that first-day Formentera love shine through, we recommend doing it the right way, weighing anchor at – Espalmador, Illetes and Cala Saona. The Natural Geographic-worthy destinations are sure to captivate with their out-of-sight delights.
1- Formentera, S’Espalmador
Our first stop as the dawning rays continue their shiny upward rise is the uninhabited natural reserve Espalmador (named after “espalmar” the action of performing boat maintenance), located under a minute’s motorboat whirl away from the Formentera shore. The symbolic lighthouse and three-kilometer ring-shaped stretch of unspoiled wonderland is divided by a sandbar, or tombolo, described as a cushiony reef connecting two areas, otherwise separated by a body of water.
Back in 2018, a Luxemburg family bought the private island for €18 million and must abide by all state and regional laws governing the use of the space which forbids any form of construction. The prior owners, brother and sister Norman and Rosy Cinnamond, had inherited the precious piece of real estate from their grandfather.
Bedecked by groves of juniper canopied dunes, Espalmador’s shallow baby-blue lagoon and crescent-shaped pale rose-white beach S’alga, is a landmark for large luxury yachts. In the height of summer, the size of the crowds is even larger than the watercrafts. The main draw is slathering on layers of sulfur-mud S’algo which has been made famous for its beneficial healing properties on the skin. Once the caked-on concoction from your visit starts to work its rejuvenating wonders, and those lingering Ibiza hangovers begin to fade… it’s less than 200 meters from Espalmador to stop number two, the paradisiacal Platja de ses Illetes.
2- Platja de ses Illetes
Chosen as one of the best beaches in the world and “the most favorite” of Formentera, whether touching ground or simply lilo-lounging in the seemingly endless Caribbean-esque sound, Illetes has more than earned its flagship status. Situated within Ses Salines de Eivissa and Formentera Natural Park on the Es Trucadors peninsula, the chain of dunes and flat rocks running into the 500-meter powdered-sugar-soft shores seduces with a bonus double- panoramic snapshot of neighboring Espalmador; and in the distance Es Vedrà, the imperial rock having garnered its own IYM write-up.
Just as popular and embracing as soaking up some sunshine is time spent soaking up the atmosphere, sipping chilled bubbly and dipping that fork into the paella for a second serving at Juan y Andrea, the see-and-be-seen institution established in 1971.
Before summoning for tender service (VHF Channel 74) or jaunting over in your rubber inflatable to the all-white beachside haunt housed under four large swaying palms and the instantly recognizable Pacha-branded, double-cherry flag … two things not to forget are: making advance reservations (+34 971 1187 130) and taking the Visa credit card with the highest limit; lunch and libations don’t come cheap.
3- Formentera, Cala Saona
Expanding on the Ibiza-intro precious stone analogy – simply put, our final destination Cala Saona, is the crown jewel of the Formentera tiara. Capping off the day after a sensational start at Espalmador and action-filled afternoon at one of the best beaches in the world… Cala Saona brings to the table its own bragging rights, having earned the vote for one of the most astonishing sunsets on the planet.
Unlike the flat, open beaches for sunning and funning around the isle, Cala Saona, sits sheltered by burnt orange colored cliffs in a horseshoe-shaped cove, dusted in red soils and dotted by plentiful pines. The electrifying connection between the warm tones and majestic turquoise Med deem it irresistible.
Come evening time, the illuminating sensation is only further enhanced by the sky’s kaleidoscope of pinks and purples melding into a mural of red and gold, as the sun does its final performance of the day dropping beyond the horizon. Beside the serenity and peace, the best part is that peak summer sunsets don’t happen until close to 21:00 p.m. With a soundtrack of perfectly pitched chill-out beats and a batch of mojitos, could you ask for anything more?
At the end of the day one thing is for certain, basking in the glory of funky, free-spirited Formentera from sunrise to sunset – the smallest of the Balearics, is guaranteed to evoke the biggest smiles!