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Formentera, Spain

The anti-Ibiza


Formentera, Spain

We like to keep old, hard copy issues of Conde Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure.  And, then a few years later pull them out from under a pile of old clothing catalogs, past due bills, and unfinished screenplays to plan a vacation based on an article we remember liking. The places are usually still great but are no longer as hot as when the magazines first wrote about them.

Ons such place we dug up that we love is Formentera.

Formentera is a beautiful Spanish island.  Beaches abound.  The sea is blue and often shallow for a hundred yards and there’s little wind.  It’s where people on Ibiza go when the Ketamine (whatever that is) runs out or when they get tired of electronica pumped out by shirtless Dutch DJs.  How many giant yachts can you stare at transfixed before getting sunstroke?

The kind of place one finds in various corners of the world where you can order a $375.00 bottle of wine wearing no shoes.

This is not to say it’s all refugees from Ibiza.  Far from it.  Fortunately, most folks going to Ibiza stay on Ibiza.  And, if they come to Formentera, it’s just for a day because of FOMA on a ‘neon glow’ party or whatever.

Instead, you’ll see a nice mix of normal Spanish vacationers, visitors from other parts of Western Europe, particularly Italy and some Americans here and there. 

8 things to note:

  1. You have to fly into Ibiza and then it’s a 30-minute ferry ride away.  It is easy to be distracted by bikini-clad women and men who all look like lifeguards, who may be parading through the airport with signs featuring some hotel or club.  Eyes forward, stick to the plan.
  2. The season, when it’s warm enough to go in the water, runs from the start of May until the end of September.
  3. Ses Illetes is the part of the island where all the yachts from Ibiza moor and the local restaurants—the kind of places one finds in various corners of the world where you can order a $375 bottle of wine wearing no shoes—send dinghies to fetch the rich and the famous.  It’s worth hanging out here for a day but no more.  See earlier about staring at yachts.  The hottest restaurant remains Juan Y Andrea.
  4. Pack extra sunscreen.  This is one of those places where the sun feels like 12:00 pm when it’s 8:00 am, when it’s 12:00 pm and when it’s 5:00 pm.
  5. As in a lot of touristy places there are way too many people on scooters who have little to no experience driving.  Be very careful.  It’s not as bad as Key West where you have the added problem of many of the drivers being drunk.
  6. Our favorite part of Formentera is Migjorn, a 3-mile stretch of coast along the south.  There are hotel accommodations for pretty much every budget on the island.  For 2 adults, 5 nights some choices are:
  7. Where we hang out when not on the beach:
    • Restaurant Can Toni—In the town of El Pilar de la Mola, live music, hippie vibe.  Formentera was once considered part of the ‘hippie trail’ running from Europe through India (+34 971 32 16 28)
    • Can Fafalet—tucked behind a sort of strip mall in the town of Es Calo.  Locales + wonderful food (  +34-971-32-70-77)
    • Blue Bar—perched on top of the rocks on Migjorn beach.  You can practically swim over. ( +34-666-75-81-90
    • Kiasko 62-on the beach, grab a table on the deck, order the nachos to start and take a quick swim.
    • Can Carlitos—Our favorite place on the island for paella with squid ink which is saying a lot (  +34-971-32-25-70)
  8. Getting there.  The bad news is there are essentially no direct flights from the US to Ibiza.  The good news is your one stop will be a place you wouldn’t mind being like Madrid, London, Rome, or Paris.  It’s not like a layover in Charlotte.  The carriers include:;;;  High season round trips come in between $900–$1,200.

What Formentera location inspired the cover artwork on Pink Floyd’s first film soundtrack, More?

Molí Vell de la Mola windmill.

Safe travels.

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