Formentera is one of the best places to go in Europe when you want to get away from it all. The smallest and most southern of the Balearic Islands, Formentera is surrounded by the calm, turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea, which gently lap on the shores of the island’s platinum beaches.
Whatever type of vacation you’re dreaming of, you’ll never be stuck for what to do in Formentera. From hiking through sweet-smelling pine forests and kayaking through crystal-clear waters to digging into some of the freshest seafood you’ve ever had and shopping for handmade jewelry at hippy markets, there’s a surprising number of things to do on this tiny, laid-back island.
With so many things to see and do, you may not know where to begin. To give you a helping hand, we’ve put together a list of the absolute best things to do in Formentera. Stick to these fun and unique Formentera bucket list recommendations, and there’s no doubt you’ll have an amazing time exploring one of the most stunning islands in the Mediterranean!
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The 15 Best Things to do in Formentera, Spain
1. Drive to La Mola and Cap de Barbaria Lighthouses
When you’re in the mood to explore, one of the best things to do in Formentera is to check out the lighthouses at La Mola and Cap de Barbaria (also known as Cabo de Berbería). These landmarks are two of the most visited places on the island and you can see both of them in a single day.
The lighthouses are located at opposite ends of the island, but they’re connected by PM-820 – Formentera’s main road. You can easily drive from one to the other within 30 minutes.
La Mola lighthouse is known for its picturesque location atop rugged cliffs, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding seascape. You can even see Ibiza from here if it’s a clear day!
Cap de Barbaria lighthouse is known for its remote and dramatic setting at the southernmost point of the island. It features a tall, square tower made of stone, which is painted in alternating black and white horizontal stripes, making it easy to spot.
If time is no issue, we suggest driving to La Mola lighthouse for sunrise and Cap de Barbaria for sunset. The views at these times of day are sensational.
2. Visit One of the Smallest Beaches
Do you like the idea of being surrounded by nothing but beauty? Then make plans to spend the day at Caló des Mort. Located in the south of the island, this tiny beach is just 20 meters (65 feet) long and 5 meters (16 feet) wide, making it one of the smallest bays on the island.
Nestled at the bottom of some craggy cliffs, the beach can only be accessed by following a short hike from the easternmost part of the coast in Migjorn. But your efforts are guaranteed to be rewarded with some of the best sights in Formentera when you arrive.
Powder-soft golden sands, perfectly still water that’s almost too clear to be real, and wonderfully blue skies as far as the eye can see are what greet you. It’s important to remember that there are absolutely no services or facilities here, so make sure you bring everything with you that you’ll need for the day.
If you want to experience the beach on your own or snap some pictures without other visitors, get there first thing in the morning.
3. Snorkel around S’Espalmador
Embark on a sailing adventure from Formentera and explore the enchanting shores of Espalmador Island (also known as S’Espalmador). One of the top Formentera activities, on this boat trip, you’ll have the chance to feel the gentle caress of the sun’s rays on your skin as you take in the stunning views that surround you. Drift into a state of total bliss as the golden shores, jagged rocks, and green flora come into view.
You’ll start your adventure by meeting up with your guide in Formentera before stepping aboard a beautiful sailboat. The gentle winds that keep the Balearics at their wonderful temperature will blow your boat in the direction of Espalmador Island, putting you in the prime position to snap pictures of remote beaches that you can only get to by boat.
Then the fun begins! You’ll have the chance to dive below the water’s surface and encounter all kinds of colorful marine life and rock formations. Expertly equipped with high-quality snorkeling gear and a life vest, you’ll be able to explore as much as you like and uncover endless mysterious underwater secrets.
4. Discover the Restaurant Scene in Es Pujols
When you’re craving a bit of excitement, one of the most fun things to do in Formentera is to visit Es Pujols. Located in the north of the island, Es Pujols is the only tourist resort town in Formentera and is known for its vibrant nightlife scene that’s worlds away from the laid-back bohemian vibe you’ll find throughout the rest of the island.
Despite its small size, Es Pujols is teeming with cafes, bars, and restaurants. La Cava is one of our favorite places to eat. This laid-back restaurant has a quirky marine-inspired decor and dishes up incredible seafood. Coyote is a fantastic spot for live music and excellent cocktails late at night.
If you’re planning on visiting during the day, we recommend Café Miranda. This cute seaside spot dishes up incredible pancakes topped with fresh berries and some of the most delicious coffee on the island. When you’ve had your fill, take a walk through the local hippy market or head to the beach for some watersports.
5. Sample Peix Sec
Need a break from all that Formentera sightseeing? Then head to the coast and pop into one of the many tempting seafood restaurants. Despite fresh fish and seafood being remarkably popular and readily available throughout the island, dried fish is actually one of Formentera’s iconic dishes.
Known locally as peix sec, this dish is made from local fish (usually dogfish, school shark, or ray) that’s cured with coarse salt for a few hours. It’s then hung up in the sun, where it’s dried by the Mediterranean breeze. You’ll almost certainly spot some whenever you take a coastal walk. When it’s fully dry, it’s baked, crumbled, and stored in glass jars with olive oil.
Peix sec is used in all kinds of creative ways. It’s used to fill croquettes, sprinkled over pizzas, and stuffed inside canapés. It’s also one of the main ingredients of ensalada payesa – one of Formentera’s classic dishes. We suggest trying it at Restaurant La Fragata. The portion here is absolutely huge and the views are stunning.
6. Explore the Capital of Sant Francesc Xavier
Often referred to as simply Sant Francesc, Sant Francesc Xavier is the island’s capital and largest city. Despite its size and importance, Sant Francesc Xavier maintains the laid-back charm and peaceful vibe that the rest of the island offers.
The town was established way back in the 18th century and provided a refuge for locals from pirate attacks. With its narrow streets, centuries-old architecture, and charming squares lined by cafes, it’s a wonderful place to walk around. Only 3,000 people live here, so you definitely won’t have to compete with any crowds.
Some of the main Formentera attractions here are the town’s boutiques. Excellent places for shopping if you’re looking for unique souvenirs and gifts, the shops here are laden with all kinds of handmade trinkets, from clothes and jewelry to home decorations and artwork.
The town hall in Plaza de la Constitución and Sa Tanca Vella (the oldest cathedral on the island) are two important highlights that are definitely worth checking out.
7. Jump Over Roaring Bonfires
If you’re planning to travel in June, one of the must-do things in Formentera is to join in with the Noche de San Juan celebrations. Held on the night of June 23 each year, this festival is celebrated throughout Spain, but it’s always best in places like Formentera, which are lined with beaches.
As the sun begins to set, head to the beach closest to your accommodation and you’ll be amazed. The entire stretch of sand will be dotted with huge bonfires, each of which is surrounded by locals eating, drinking, and dancing.
The festival is in celebration of Saint John the Baptist, but it no longer has a religious element. Instead, it’s a fantastic excuse to enjoy the warm summer nights and party!
Take a walk along the beach and you’re sure to spot people jumping over their bonfires. This tradition has been carried out for centuries and is said to bring good luck to the jumper while also warding off evil spirits.
8. Walk on the Beach at Playa de Ses Illetes
For one of the best things to do in Formentera, head to Playa de Ses Illetes. What makes this spectacular attraction so special is its unique shape. This narrow beach lies on the Es Trucadors peninsula and is less than 24 meters (80 feet) wide.
On each side of the white sandy stretch, you’ll find shallow aquamarine waters that gently transform into cobalt blue ocean as the water gets deeper and deeper. It’s sure to be one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever see in your life!
The waters surrounding this part of Formentera are home to the world’s largest field of Mediterranean tapeweed – a type of seagrass commonly known as Neptune Grass. Because of this, it’s been a UNESCO World Heritage Site for over two decades.
You’ll find loads of watersport kiosks dotted along the coastline here. So, if you ever wanted to try snorkeling, scuba diving, kitesurfing, windsurfing, sailing, or windsurfing, now’s your chance!
9. Experience Sant Ferran de ses Roques
Spending some time at Sant Ferran de ses Roques is one of the coolest things to do in Formentera if you want to find out what the island was like before tourism took over. Located in the center of the island, this peaceful village looks exactly like it did when the first bohemian travelers settled there years ago.
Sant Ferran has gained a reputation as the artistic and cultural heart of Formentera. Here, you’ll find a number of art galleries, workshops, and studios where local and international artists showcase their work. It’s a great place to explore the island’s creative scene. Formenterablue is one of our favorites.
If you visit during the summer, you’re in luck! At this time of year, the town hosts arts and crafts markets every day throughout the week – except Wednesdays and Sundays. Even if they’re not running during your visit, there is still plenty to see. The Punta Prima watchtower, Cala en Baster jetties, Molí d’en Teuet windmill, and the megalithic tomb of Ca na Costa are all some of the best Formentera attractions!
10. Taste Formentera’s Version of Paella
Paella may traditionally be a Valencian dish, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it while you’re in Formentera. While you’ll certainly find plenty of traditional paellas available from Spanish restaurants throughout the island, it’s worth seeking out arroz marinera if you want an authentic taste of the Balearics.
This unique dish is Formentera’s answer to Valencia’s paella. The name translates into English as “seafood rice,” which is a pretty good description of it. This dish is a combination of spiced rice and seafood, which is cooked in a huge black pan over an open flame or on the stove, just like paella. The seafood used in the dish usually changes according to what is brought in by fishermen that very morning.
La Mariterranea is where you’ll find some of the best arroz marinera on the island. The restaurant’s name is a clever combination of seafood (marisco) and Mediterranean (Mediterranea), and these are the two types of food they serve. The presentation of all the dishes here is so superb that you won’t want to touch a thing!
11. Have a Beach Day at Es Arenals Beach
Formentera is one of those places where you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to beaches. Many bays around the island are quiet, peaceful places where you could while away hours without seeing another soul. If you’re craving something a bit livelier, one of the best things to do in Formentera is to spend the day at Es Arenals Beach.
One of the biggest beaches on the island, Es Arenals is just steps away from Cala des Mort and almost always has a buzzing atmosphere during the peak season. It’s dotted with sun loungers and parasols, which are available to rent, as well as a number of beach bars and restaurants where you can enjoy yummy snacks and fantastic cocktails.
The beach is made up of wonderfully soft sand, but when you get out into the ocean, you’ll find the ground gets very rocky. This makes Es Arenals an excellent spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. Kayaks and SUP boards are also available to rent by the hour here.
12. Go Shopping at El Pilar de la Mola
If you’re searching for one-of-a-kind souvenirs, one of the most fun things to do in Formentera is to go shopping at El Pilar de la Mola. This small town is located in the eastern part of the island and hosts captivating hippy markets each Wednesday and Sunday from 4 pm in summer.
Here, you’ll find all kinds of unique trinkets unlike anything else in the world. From handwoven blankets, thoughtfully designed clothes, and handmade jewelry to paintings of local viewpoints, furniture made from items collected around the island, and cute souvenirs to help you remember your trip.
When you’re finished shopping, take a walk and discover the rest of the village. Stroll into the center and you’ll find the church of El Pilar, which dates back to the 18th century. If you need a break, we recommend you stop by Can Carol Formentera. This small bistro serves the finest mojitos in all of Formentera!
13. Celebrate the Virgen del Carmen
If you’re going to be in Formentera on July 16, you’re just in time to join in with the festival of Virgen del Carmen, the patron saint of seafarers. This fun-filled event starts in Es Pujols with a solemn mass led by the Bishop of Ibiza.
The church service is followed by a procession which sees a statue of the Virgin placed on a boat. A laurel wreath is tossed into the sea as a gift before groups of young people dressed in traditional clothing perform classic island dances to the sound of castanets on the boat. When the dancing is finished, the main boat sets sail while loads of other small fishing boats follow it out to sea – it’s a fantastic thing to watch!
When the boat with the statue returns to land, the procession carries on to the port of La Savina. From here, the celebrations continue with music concerts, dancing in the street, and a program packed with events.
14. Watch Sunset at Cala Saona
Before your vacation is over, make time to watch the sunset at Cala Saona. One of the top things to do in Formentera if you’re traveling with your partner, gazing across the ocean as the giant fiery ball slowly dips into the horizon is something you’ll remember for years.
Cala Saona is a tiny sandy bay in the far west of Formentera. It’s naturally sheltered by two strips of rock that run parallel into the sea, making it a great place to watch the sunset – even when it’s windy. It’s also one of the best places on the island for scuba diving and snorkeling.
This spot is so gorgeous and magical that even the journey there is beautiful. To reach this secluded bay, you need to walk along a pretty wooden walkway that’s lined by pine trees and sand dunes.
Nearby, you’ll spot a beach bar that specializes in different types of gin and tonics. It’s a great place to go for a drink after the natural show.
15. Say “Salud” with Hierbas
One of the most unique things to do in Formentera is to finish your meal with Hierbas. This local liquor is served in a shot glass and made from up to 18 different kinds of local herbs! It tastes unlike any other liquor there is – a one-of-a-kind combination of sweet and savory with a punch of heat.
While the herbs can vary according to the brand, most Hierbas all include the following: thyme, aniseed, orange peel, lemon, rosemary, and juniper. The flavors of the herbs are extracted by slowly heating them for 18 hours before they’re left to infuse in alcohol for 15 days.
While you’ll find this after-dinner shot available from pretty much every bar and restaurant throughout the island, you’ll rarely have to order it. Most restaurants will give you a shot for free as standard as you finish your meal or when you ask to pay. It can be a bit of an acquired taste, so don’t worry if you leave your first shot on the table.
There you have it! The 15 best things to do in Formentera. What’s your favorite thing to do in Formentera?
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