Despite not having an airport, Formentera is surprisingly easy to reach. Fly into Ibiza Airport, then hop on a shuttle bus for a 20-minute drive to the port of Ibiza. From there, it’s a 30-minute ferry transfer from Ibiza to Formentera’s port of La Savina. Lots of ferry companies offer transfers between the islands every 30 minutes, but you won’t have to worry about that because the whole trip’s included in your TUI holiday.
Formentera is just 17 kilometres from the White Isle but, in terms of personality, it might as well be on another planet, even in high season. Tucked away from the neon lights of San Antonio, this speck of land has a hippie heart and a laid-back vibe – very much like the original Ibiza.
Celebs have flocked to Ibiza’s shores for decades, but the tides are slowly turning. Thanks to its haven-like status, Formentera is proving popular with Hollywood holidaymakers. In fact, previous visitors have included Leonardo DiCaprio and Sienna Miller. Its stylish reputation makes it a favourite with fashion stars, too – Kate Moss and Jade Jagger both own villas here.
If you'd like to take your Formentera holiday with lashings of luxury, we recommend Platja de Migjorn, which teams white sands with aquamarine waters, and comes with a helping of tiki bars and sleek yachts.
Like the other Balearic Islands, Formentera has inherited some hippie vibes from the Sixties. Traditional craft markets, sunset devotion and naturist culture are all a big part of daily life on the island. So, if you fancy some Zen vibes of your own, you won’t be disappointed.
For starters, there are hippie markets all over the place. Our pick of the bunch is the Artisans’ Market. Just 15 minutes away from Sant Francesc, this place is the queen of Formentera’s markets. Stalls are piled high with handmade trinkets, tie-dye clothes and multicoloured accessories. The market takes place every Wednesday and Saturday, so you’ll have plenty of time to pick up a souvenir or two. But, if twice a week isn’t enough for you, head to La Savina. This seafront town hosts a hippie market every day during summer.
Step away from the markets and you’ll find the carefree culture exists on the beaches, too. Nude bathing is fairly common and there’s an official nudist reserve at Playa Illetes. If you’re keen to try going au naturel, but you’re feeling a little shy, Playa Llevant is a good option. There are loads of sand dunes to give you some privacy – and you can always don a wetsuit and go windsurfing if you change your mind.
If that sounds good to you, check out our list of the best nudist beaches in Europe.
It may be a small place, but Formentera has a jam-packed calendar...
ST JOHN’S DAY
Thanks to Formentera’s hippie roots, the midsummer solstice receives plenty of attention on St John’s Day. On Midsummer’s Eve, the beaches and town squares will all be aglow with flickering bonfires. According to legend, if you write down a wish, throw your note on the fire and jump in the air three times, your wish will come true. And if it doesn’t work, at least you’ll have had a fabulous holiday.
FORMENTERA TANGO FESTIVAL
If you prefer your festivals to be more dance-focused, don’t worry – Formentera has the solution. Each year in the summer, the Formentera Tango Festival takes over for a whole week. This kicking-and-flicking fiesta features sultry shows and fun-filled tutorials, so you can watch the professionals and then have a go yourself. The festivities move around, too, so it’s a good way to see the island. Dance your way around huge hotels and enjoy colourful performances on Platja de Migjorn. Tango shows served with a tequila sunrise – what more could you ask for?
FESTIVAL OF SANT JAUME
The biggest event of the year is the Festival of Sant Jaume, the patron saint of the island. Unlike most Spanish fiesta days, this saintly festival doesn’t actually focus on religious tradition. Instead, the people of Formentera have one big party. On 25th July, celebrations take place in the capital city of Sant Francesc, just down the road from Es Pujols. During the day, the main square is filled with folk music, singing and dancing, while concerts and fireworks kick off after dark.
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Author: Sarah Reeves
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