The island´s best kept secrets

The most authentic Formentera: wines, sunsets, trails and feasts, by bike and on horseback

Day 1: Winter in Formentera

Sant FrancescFaro La Mola

Formentera is an ideal destination for escaping for a few days in winter and disconnecting from everything, whether you are travelling with children or with friends or as a couple. The island will welcome you with open arms and offer you its most authentic side: the locals immersed in their daily chores, with their leisurely pace and their usual routines. Nothing to do with Formentera in the summer.

But, of course, and despite what many may believe, in winter the island does not sleep, rather the opposite: it is now that you can see Formentera as it always is. The actual one. No crowds, no hurry, no queues, with the purest calm and naturalness. The island is reborn with all kinds of activities and festive and cultural events, special appointments that add to the multiple obligations imposed by the countryside and local life: grape vintages and liqueur elaboration, the traditional slaughter (usually pigs, a tradition in which the most varied typical sausages are made, such as botifarró and sobrasada), the endearing Christmas parties...

On your first day on Formentera, take the opportunity to stroll through the centre of the capital, the town of Sant Francesc. Take a seat at the Cafe Matinal with one of its homemade breakfasts to watch people go by and quietly read a book or newspaper. You will enjoy the calm of the island at this time of the year and have a perfect starting point for walking and immersing yourself in their daily routines.

If you travel to Formentera in December, close to Christmas, you will find one of the most famous flea markets of the Balearic Islands, the Sant Francesc Christmas market. It is one of the island’s main attractions in winter as well as an indispensable meeting point for those who live in Formentera all year round. It began to be celebrated more than a decade ago and, since then, it has been growing and incorporating diverse activities: in addition to local craftsmanship objects, Christmas decorations and typical gastronomy, the market offers activities for children, live music performances and collective exhibitions of artists from all over the world.

After spending the morning enjoying the atmosphere of the capital, you should head to the Pla de La Mola area. On this plain, which can be covered on foot or by bike (a total of 12 km until the magnificent La Mola lighthouse), you will find the most beautiful landscapes of vineyards and fig trees, two of the elements that explain the island´s tradition. The fig trees that you will see on Formentera speak of history and past and are veritable whims of nature that you will feel absolutely compelled to photograph. When you head towards La Mola from Sant Francesc, pass through Sant Ferrán and take the road that will take you to the lighthouse. At kilometre 9 you will see the fig tree called Na Blanca d'en Mestre, the great fig tree of Formentera, regarded as an example of organic construction: its enormous top is supported by 200 wooden crutches that give it the shape of a forest in the field.

Following the route, Formentera wines, which already have got their Protected Geographical Indication, deserve a stop along the way. The Terramoll wineries, which belong to this area of La Mola, are open to visits in winter, offering the possibility of tasting and becoming familiar with the entire wine-making process. The other winery that exists in Formentera, located in the area that gives it its name, Bodegas Cap de Barbaria, also runs all year round and you can take advantage of it to go and have some wine there while the sun goes down. You can end your day both at La Mola and Cap de Barbaria with exceptional views of the Mediterranean, incredible cliffs and a postcard-worthy sunset.

Day 2: Adventures on horseback and bike

Atardecer FormenteraHigueras Estalonadas Formentera

You probably never would have thought of it, but if you do, you probably will not regret it. Since two days on Formentera will always leave you asking for more, try to make the most of your time and on this second day choose to discover the best kept secrets of Formentera on horseback and by bicycle. With only 83 km2, you can travel the island without problems within a day and even move several times from end to end, at your choice.

Take into account that the most important communication road is less than 20 km long and that the routes and circuits offered on the island usually do not exceed one hour and a half on foot or half an hour by bicycle. On horseback the experience is very different and, if you have never ridden before, it is best to opt for a guided and simple excursion. A very interesting horse route you can make early one morning after breakfast, in the area of La Savina, is one that will take you through the Estany des Peix, one of the wetlands with more natural wealth on the island.

The starting point of the route is the Formentera Equestrian Centre, located halfway between La Savina and Sant Francesc. From there, take the direction to Estany des Peix and then the road to Porto Salé, arriving in a few minutes to the wetland area and the lake.

The pond is one of Formentera's best protected corners, an almost closed bay whose waters remain practically unchanged throughout the year. With the exception of days with rough weather on the sea, you can quietly ride on the beach and even ask the guide to make a stop and have a bath. Of course, the bath is only for brave individuals because the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, although calm, are very cold in these months.

The route itself will take one hour on horseback, so you will still have plenty of morning time ahead. Once back at the Formentera Equestrian Centre, leave the horse there and take the bike. Now the adventure goes on wheels: you will go much faster and at your own pace, and you will be able to go to all the corners of the island that you want. For example, walk along the paths that connect the Levante and Illetas beaches - like the Camí de Sa Guía - and, as midday approaches, head to Es Pujols. One of the most famous ham sandwiches in the Mediterranean, prepared in El Gran Ibérico, will be waiting for you there.

Once you have recovered your strength, take the bike again and head to Es Caló, cross the rural roads of the Pla, stop in the centre of Es Pilar de la Mola for a soft drink and continue rolling now in the direction of Es Migjorn and Cap de Barbaria: the goal is to put an end to your day with the memory of what is considered one of the best sunsets in the world.

Although the sunset at Cala Saona is impressive, watching the sun fall from the Cap de Barbaria is pure magic. Perhaps it is the majestic figure of its imposing lighthouse silhouetted by the reddish and orange tones of the sunset or by the singularity of the surface of the cliff, completely rocky and desert-like, with very steep small formations facing the sea. Or simply because it is the most southerly place you can get to in the whole Balearic archipelago, the truth is that the Cap de Barbaria - known by many to be the setting of one of the scenes in Julio Medem’s movie Sex and Lucia - has something special, especially in winter: no crowding around - only you and the sea.

Once the sun has disappeared, take the bike and return to the centre of the island. Destination: Can Dani, the restaurant par excellence in Sant Ferrán, open all year round with an always perfect atmosphere. Here you can celebrate your last night on Formentera by trying some of their most original specialties or by choosing the dishes that speak about the cuisine of this unique island.

To know more


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The village with the best-conserved taula on Minorca


Fortress Fortalesa de la Mola (Maó, menorca)

An impressive fortress, guardian of the port of Mahon


Talaiot Talatí de Dalt (Maó, menorca)

An archaeological site that conserves intact the monumental central "T"