Formentera: Paradise is open all year round
urquoise blue; an unforgettable beach; lifeguards must think they landed the best job in the world; the island’s most stunning treasure; Spain’s Caribbean; crystal clear water; a dream come true; a natural wonder…”. And those are just a few of the words visitors use in their online reviews of Ses Illetes, Formentera’s most popular beach.
A virgin landscape, framed by the Ses Salines Nature Park, some 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) outsid of La Savina, the city where most tourist boats dock. Located on Es Trucadors peninsula, between Punta des Pas and Platgeta des Carregador, this 450-metre stretch of sand boasts stunning dunes and its gorgeous fine white sands and sparkling crystalline waters, have made it a big favourite with scuba divers.
Considered one of the best beaches on the Balearic Islands, Ses Illetes is always included in the world’s most beautiful beaches lists. In addition, the island’s warm temperatures and 3,000 hours of sun a year make it the perfect destination to enjoy off-season, when Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Moss and Valentino have sailed off after the busy summer months.
True ‘Flower Power’
The Balearic Islands gained a reputation among the hippies of the 60s, and their spirit on today. Travel back to when people wore flowers in their hair by signing up to a ‘hip&love’ flower crown workshop in Formentera. There are several locations available on the island, which they themselves call the “birthplace of the Flower Power movement.”
Its sea beds, covered with meadows of Posidonia oceanica, have been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Endemic to the Mediterranean, this plant paints a colourful underwater landscape with its large leaves, flowers and fruits. Posidonia also offers a home to a wide range of marine animals, such as sea turtles, and can also help combat pollution.
Several companies offer scuba lessons for both beginners and advanced divers. The activity is great for the whole family (kids over the age of eight are welcome). “We know Formentera inside out, both above and under water,” say the staff at Blue Adventure, who offer an array of underwater adventures, including trips to submerged cliffs, protected coves and shipwrecked wreckages.
In addition to diving, a tour of the island is well worth the effort, and, especially if it is enjoyed by boat. Belugavela is one of the companies offering this, aboard their 15-metre Bavaria 49 that can be chartered to sail around the island. Renting out a boat allows tourists to explore a variety of coves and decide where they want to stop and swim or snorkel. According to the company, some of the highlights are cliffs, underwater arches, shipwrecks and caves.
‘Deep boarding’ is another increasingly popular activity. Described as “flying underwater,” it involves clinging to a board that is attached to a boat while being dragged along, feeling the sea whooshing around you.
After indulging in these fun, exhilarating activities, it’s time to decompress and take in the views on offer at two idyllic locations. First up is the Islote S’Espalmador, which can be accessed by boat and is part of the Ses Salines Nature Park. The other is Cabo Barbaria, declared a Natural Area of Special Interest. Alongside the old lighthouse, the absolute ‘star’ is the ‘cova forada,’ a subterranean gallery. Walking out of the cave onto the balcony over the sea proves that Formentera really does bring you a step closer to paradise.