Formentera is located in the Balearic islands, only 17 km from Ibiza. The 2 islands are extremely close but couldn’t be more different and this is why my friend Gloria and I have decided to share our week in two to experiment first the craziness of Ibiza and then the quietness of Formentera.
Formentera is a small island so Gloria proposed to rent bicycles for 2 days. I hate cycling but I imagine Formentera to be flat so I agreed. It turned out I was wrong…
We rented our bicycles in La Savina because there was no rental shop in Sant Francesc, where we were staying.
By the way, if you don’t want to stay in a luxury retreat near the beach, I strongly recommend to find an accommodation in Sant Francesc. We found ours on Airbnb.
And we were very happy with our choice because Sant Francesc is the nicest village on the island.
The center is small but pedestrian and full of good restaurants and cute little shops. And the main square has a very photogenic church.
Formentera is a bicycle friendly island with a large cycling paths along the main roads and green routes.
The first day, we cycled from Sant Francesc to El Faro de la Mola and back.
We made a first stop in the charming small fishing port of Es Calo.
We were so hot that we took a bath is the sheltered bay. All of a sudden, I felt like an electric shock. I didn’t say anything to Gloria because I didn’t want to frighten her but I started to swim back to the shore. There, I heard a French couple saying that they were surrounded by jellyfish. At the same time I got a second electric shock and Gloria was stung too. This is when we finally saw them: they were very small and transparent but with long tentacle that it was almost impossible to see them with the waves. It was a bit burning and itchy but nothing to worry about.
Our second stop was in Es Copinar. We decided to go to the beach there because it was our last possibility to refresh before starting a very steep road stretch. The water was crystal clear like all around the island. But it was even nicer because there is no seaweed on this side of the island!
We finally got back to the main road and started climbing. The cycling path had come to an end and you really need to be crazy to take this way by bicycle! But we are! To give you an image, I was sweating like a pig, panting like a dog and my face was red like a baboon ass!!! It didn’t take long before I got of the bicycle and pushed it. Gloria, who goes to spinning classes every week, was leading the way, very elegant, in dancer position. Eventually, she also had to give up at one point.
We made a quick third stop in El Mirador, where our efforts were finally rewarded by the amazing panorama over the island, with Ibiza in the background.
We finally reach El Faro de la Mola, where we stopped for the fourth time. It’s the easternmost point of the island. The view was breathtaking: the cliffs and the sea as far as your eyes can see.
The lighthouse was referred as “The lighthouse at the End of the World” by Jules Verne in his novel “Hector Servadac”, known in English as “Journey on a Comet”, and first published in 1877.
We were now halfway and knew that the way back would be much easier!
We made a fifth quick stop to have a look at an old windmill built in 1778, Moli Vell de la Mola. There are several windmills around the island, a testimony of Spain’s conquest of the Netherlands in the 16th century.
We stopped a sixth time to go to the beach at Platja de Tramuntana. We needed to refresh but also to rest. We took a good 1h nap. And it was particularly hard for me to get on the bike again!
Our seventh and last stop was in Sant Ferran. We were hoping to find a place for a drink but we didn’t because Sant Ferran is only lively in the evening. So we went back home.
On Day 1:
– we cycled 32 km
– we didn’t meet a single other person cycling
– I only got off the bike once (very proud of myself!)
– I couldn’t feel my ass anymore
On the second day, we cycled from Sant Francesc to Es Cap Barbaria and then we went to 2 beaches before we returned our bicycles in La Savina.
The weather was so-so until mid-afternoon, which means that it wasn’t as hot as the previous day and therefore more pleasant to cycle.
We first went to El Faro del Cap de Barbaria. The cycling path stopped at one point but it wasn’t disturbing. The way wasn’t as difficult as yesterday but it went uphill and downhill all along. We met a few people cycling on this part of the island but all of them were confirmed cyclists wearing a special training outfit.
Es Cap de Barbaria is the southernmost point of the island. Like in Faro de la Mola, there were cliff, the sea at far as we could see and a lighthouse. But I much preferred El Faro de la Mola and recommend to go there if you don’t have the time to go to both.
We then went to Cala Saona but we didn’t stay long, just the time to eat a sandwich and to take a quick bath.
Finally, we went to Platja de Illetes.
There is a nice green route to go there, near the sea. We met many tourists cycling. In fact, most of the people renting a bicycle for a day take this route.
Platja de Illetes is the most popular beach on the island due to its proximity to the port and its easy access. There were many people on the beach but it wasn’t as overcrowded as La Pointe Rouge beach can be in summer (people who have been to Marseille in summer will know what I’m talking about ;)). And once in the water, it’s very easy to get away from the people and find some space for yourself, to pretend that you’re alone.
Platja de Illetes is also very famous for its pink sand! I didn’t know that there was a beach with pink sand in the Mediteranean region. I only knew about the one in the Bahamas! So it was an excellent surprise!
It was finally time to return our bicycles in La Savina. Gloria was a bit sad but I was relieved to be honest.
On Day 2:
– we cycled 20 km
– I survived!
Will I go back to Formentera? Definitely.
Will I rent a bicycle again? Definitely not. Even if it was a great adventure, I’d prefer to rent a car and get lost in the many small tracks that might lead to great spots.
PS: Fomentera is invaded by Italians during the summer months. Most of the the staff in restaurants and shops are Italian and will welcome you in Italian, assuming that you’re Italian too!