The days are getting warmer as European summer approaches, and it’s got many of us dreaming of that sacred summer holiday. This year however, with Covid-19 travel regulations for the summer still unsure, hopes of a far-flung exotic holiday seem ever more complicated and unlikely. Lying on a pristine beach somewhere in the Caribbean may not be feasible, but there are plenty of beauty spots far closer to home.
One such place is Formentera, an amazing Caribbean-like island destination right here in Europe. The fourth largest island of the Spanish Balearic Islands, Formentera is the quieter, slightly less well known sister island to popular holiday and party destination Ibiza, and offers white sands and turquoise clear waters which will make you feel a lot further away that Spain! Around 83kmsq and with a population of about 12000, the island is reachable by a short boat ride south from Ibiza Old Town and is a relaxing, sun-soaked haven offering beautiful beaches, artisanal markets, glamorous hotels as well as a variety outdoor activities.
Tourists come in their thousands to enjoy the Mediterranean island, and although most services are only available in the summer season (May to end of October), an increasing number of people are discovering the tranquility of this wonderful island in the autumn and winter seasons too. If you are visiting in summer though, there are plenty of attractions and activities to enjoy and keep you occupied on your visit.
Formentera, along with the island of Espalmado to the north of the island, has over 17 popular beaches as well as a seemingly endless amount of hidden coves and idyllic spots to enjoy the sun, sand and sea. Nearly all of the northern area of the island is beach thanks to the narrow shape of the land here, providing incredible panoramic views.
The best way to explore is by bike, which can be easily hired and there are tracks to follow all over the island. This way you can take your time to see the sights, or simply spend your day beach hopping, and there are also several small artist’s workshops dotted around which are fun to discover along the way.
Another bonus to cycling is that certain beaches, such as Playa de Ses Illetes are free if arriving by bike or on foot, whilst those arriving by car must pay an entrance to the beach as it is located in the Natural Park Ses Salines. Numbers of people here are also capped to prevent crowding, but there are also plenty of other lovely quieter beaches if you don’t fancy the crowds.
In addition to sun and beach tourism, Formentera offers plenty of opportunities to get closer to nature; try horse riding along the beach or diving to explore the underwater beauty of the area and its water-dwelling inhabitants. If you’re searching for something more active then there’s plenty of water sports facilities to have a go at too. History lovers can explore the past of the island through a variety of historic sites dating back to the first known human presence in Formentera in the Bronze Age, as far back as 1900-1600BC. Throughout the summer there are also many cultural events, from artisanal markets to concerts, whilst the gastronomic scene makes sampling some of the island’s restaurants a must. Whether visiting for a longer holiday and staying in one of the island’s inviting hotels, or just spending the day here, everyone can find something for them on the unique and memorable island of Formentera.