Formentera: Why You Should Visit This Balearic Island
Ibiza, an island steeped in cultural lore and hedonistic stories, is one of the most popular party destinations each summer. But just a 30-minute ferry ride away is another Balearic highlight: its little sister island called Formentera.
Smaller in size, you can drive across the island of Formentera in under an hour. In doing so, you’ll see dry landscapes during a summery month such as October, painted in shades of oranges and greens, with rows of new trees twisting out of the ground; their leaves not yet formed. You’ll also see cyclists on long, winding, dusty roads and white sand dune beaches with topaz-coloured waters glinting beneath the sun.
Once occupied by Arabs, Romans, Vandals, Moors and Byzantines, Formentera later became a Spanish island and this influence can be seen through its smooth and minimalist white-walled architecture, designed to stay cool during the hotter months. Aside from its landscapes, size and buildings, one of the main characteristics of Formentera is its sustainable environment. An eco-friendly ethos has been woven into the land, its policies, bohemian fashions and the culture of the Balearic island itself. Below, we list out some of its sustainable highlights.
The Save Posidonia Project
Formentera is known for its exceptional beaches but what’s noticeable is not only the transparency of its crystalline waters but the masses of black seagrass lying across its sands or being jostled towards the shoreline by the waves. It’s clearer in some beaches than others, and this aquatic plant – known as posidonia – can, at times, cause the waters to appear translucently black. Posidonia plays an important part of the ecosystem by cleaning the seas and maintaining the oxygenation of the waters. The Save Posidonia Project is a driving force behind the presence of this marine plant, and it’s what makes Formentera such a distinct island and one of the jewels within the Mediterranean.
The effects of this plant are visible on the island too, its waters carrying a unique transparency. Sea life feel comfortable enough to swim near the coastlines, and fish can be seen flickering beneath the surface of the waters just a few metres away from the shore.
SON Estrella Galicia Posidonia
A local cultural highlight is the SON Estrella Galicia Posidonia festival. The event sells itself on food cooked by a Michelin star chef, beers on tap and a line-up of music that leans more towards local acts that range from indie darlings to rising reggaeton artists. Festival-goers can also enjoy private food events by the sea and take in the tranquil sight of Formentera’s beaches during the day. Sustainability lies at the very core of this festival, which has a zero waste policy and uses recycled materials across the site. It also works with the Save Posidonia Project
There’s a long history of salt production within Formentera, and it forms a part of its cultural legacy today. Near La Savina lies a stretch of water, broken up by pedestrian paths. During the summertime when the sun beams down towards the water, it appears to be pink or lilac – depending on the time of day. These pink waters are salt pans and while they’re no longer used for commercial purposes, they continue to crystallise within the lagoons and provide a home for fauna.
In a commitment to ensure the air quality of the island remains high and that travel to the area remains sustainable, the amount of vehicles allowed to enter Formentera has been capped at 11,454. In 2023, this figure decreased by 16 percent. Formentera has, instead, become a popular destination for cycling with its long, winding roads. As a result, the island has managed to retain a laid-back atmosphere that’s blissful for travellers and locals alike.