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Travel Inspirations - Formentera island

With a land area of 83 square kilometers and almost 70 miles of coastline, Formentera is undoubtedly one of the smallest island in the east of Spain. Included in the Pitiusic group of islands, Formentera derives its name from the Latin word frumentarium which means for "granary." Tiny island as it is, Formentera is endowed with 20-kilometres of stunning beaches covered in pristine white sands, some adorned with pink corals. The lush Mediterranean vegetation, dunes, pine trees, and thuriferous junipers complete the whole majestic scene. Formentera is truly a magical escapade that one can only dream of. Popular as day-trip destination from its sister island Ibiza, Formentera island is worth spending more time in. Should you grave for peace and nature, then this island provides a pleasant contrast to the party-fumed, overly crowded larger islands. Best way to explore the island is on bicycle, scooter or by car - which works out more convenient and economical if you are a family or a group of pals. Grab a map and explore the many amazing churches, lighthouses and windmills this boomerang-shaped island has to offer. Get acquainted with a string of dunes, collectively called the Platjas de Ses Illetes at Es Pau Peninsula. Those who seek adventure will find this popular beach destination one of the best for windsurfing and other water sports activities. Holidays and vacations are never complete without a mix of luxury and shopping. Formentera’s laid-back Mediterranean setting has a lot in store for its guests. Be amazed at the La Mola Art & Crafts Fair that features local artisan’s works of art, which started in 1984. The fair exhibits all native products from jewelries, handbags, ceramics and clothing, everything that tourists will absolutely adore. Brief history and geography Aside from its crystal shallow waters, the Island speaks of a colorful cultural influence that has transformed the Island in to what it is now. Formentera's long history dates back to the occupation of the Carthaginians until it became part of the medieval Kingdom of Majorca. In 1977, the island was declared a separate insular council and gained administrative autonomy from Ibiza. The geographic location of Formentera contributes to the generally warm and dry climate of the whole island, similar to most Mediterranean places but receives the least amount of rainfall in a year. During the winter months, however, the Atlantic high-pressure areas down south experience cyclones and, therefore, strong rains.   Inhabitants have adapted well to this weather conditions as evidenced by the stonewalled architecture that is generally seen throughout the Formentera Island. The main Formentera Island measures about 12 miles and has one municipality bearing the same name. The four major villages, Sant Francesc Xavier, Sant Ferran de ses Roques, El Pilar de la Mola and La Savina, are home to the island's popular beaches and restaurants. Attractions and things to see in Formentera island Beyond the white beaches and pristine waters, the cultural influence of the inhabitant of Formentera Island and its geographic attributes have led to the construction of many historical sites. Most still stand to this day, giving a glimpse of the colourful past of the island. Church of Sant Francesc Xavier Located in the center of the capital of the Formentera Island is the Church of Sant Francesc Xavier. Built in 1726, it was the first church in the island and was used as refuge by its inhabitants until 1749. For this reason, construction was geared towards creating a strong fortification which included a tower that was meant to defend Espalmador sa Guardiola. An interesting fact to this church is the baptismal font of unknown origin. Some studies suggest the possibility that it was derived from the presence of a community of Augustinian monks in La Mola during the thirteenth century Church of El Pilar de la Mola Juan Lario, the archbishop of Tarragona, commissioned the construction of a second church on Formentera island in the year 1771. The first one, Sant Francesc Xavier Church, was situated far away, depriving the inhabitants of receiving religious services.  Finished in 1784, El Pilar de la Mola Church was consecrated by the first bishop of the Ibiza and Formentera diocese, Manuel Abad y Lasierra from Aragon. The church's outstanding features include a rectangular shaped nave and a tunnel vault roof. It is the only church on the island that has a portico to protect the entrance doorway. In 1996, El Pilar de la Mola Church was declared a site of cultural interest in the historic complex category. Lighthouses Lighthouses define the Formentera coastal landscape. The oldest and most important one is found at the easternmost point of Formentera in La Mola. It was built 1859 and 1861. It is the highest of the three lighthouses found on the island having been built on a solid 120-meter high cliff. The second is found in the port of La Savina and was built between 1862 and 1863. The Cap de Barbaria lighthouse, the third and most southerly in the Balearic Islands, was constructed more recently between 1970 and 1971. A short distance from this lighthouse is a watchtower that once used to protect the island from invaders. Visitors to this historic site will find a memorial plaque at the side, which was made in honor of the writer Jules Verne. His novel entitled "The Adventures of Hector Servadac" was set here and written in 1877. Cana Costa Megalithic Settlement The Cana Costa Megalithic Settlement is an archeological site in Formentera island that dates back to 2000-1600 BC. Based on this, anthropologists determined that the island was inhabited as early as 4,000 years ago with the Cap de Barberia remains proving such theory. The Cana Costa Megalithic Settlement actually consists of three sites in which a burial chamber, an access passage, and an exterior structure of concentric forts were constructed. Pottery, bones and a piece of bronze were also found in the site. Moli Vell Windmill Moli Vell is an old windmill that is looked after by a member who comes from a generation of Formenera inhabitants that operated the old grinder. This structure was built in 1778 to grind the wheat that was grown in large abundance on the island. Throughout the years, the windmill's original structure has been carefully preserved and its general machinery still works after more than two centuries.     La Mola Market Magnificent beaches are common in Formentera but the most popular tourist attraction in the island is the La Mola Market that was started in 1984. Every Wednesday and Sunday during the summer season, Formentera tourists and inhabitants get to enjoy this hippy market. This economic activity in the area attracts people from all over Formentera as well as nearby islands. Local artisans, especially those that have settled in the island in the early 60's showcase a wide variety of products such as custom jewelry, handbags, paintings, ceramics, and clothing. Most are created out of natural materials such as wood, stone, leather, and even silver. A craft guarantee certificate is issued by Formentera Municipal Council to attest to the quality of the raw materials and products. The market takes place in the small plaza fronting the church. At the main road, turn right toward Sant Ferran, and is about 2 kilometers (1 mile) away. Opening hours: Wednesdays and Sundays (summer) 16:00 to 21:00    
Formentera island is endowed with 20-kilometres of stunning beaches that make it a popular destination for those who seek unadulterated adventure. Additionally, beaches in the Balearic Islands generally allow nude sunbathing, an exceptional thrilling adventure across Europe. Platjas de Ses Illetes This beach features a string of dunes, collectively called Ses Illetes that stretches out to the tip of the Trucador Peninsula at Es Pau. While white sands dot the coastline, a powder of pink coral gives this beach its unique characteristic. Its shallow and clear crystal waters offer a glimpse of the underwater word of aquatic creatures. The fairly constant breezes make this beach ideal for windsurfing. Nudists will also be delighted to know that because it is situated in the natural park of Ses Salines, its distance makes it less visited by tourists. Platja de Llevant Characterised by fine white and gold sands, this nudist beach stretches 1,500 meters in length. It is lies between Punta des Trucadors, which is the northernmost point of Formentera, and Playa des Canyers. Platja de Llevant is one of the few Formentera beaches that feature rocky headlands and dunes that surround the coast. It is also often referred to as Tanga, which is actually the name of a popular bar on the beach. Visitors can enjoy several water sports such as sailing. It is accessible by car, motorcycle, or on foot, in which case wooden walkways make the journey more comfortable. Cala Saona Although one of the smallest beaches in the Formentera island, Cala Saona does not lack in beauty and has its fair share of white sands and brownish rocks. Along with the magnificent view of the western part of the island, this beach's landscape is dotted by restaurants that boast of authentic Mediterranean cuisine and bars that keep the Formentera nightlife alive. This secluded bay is characterized by emerald-green clear water that glitters under the Formentera sun. Platja de Migjorn One of the biggest beaches on the island, the white sands of Migjorn stretches along a large part of the southern coast, from La Mola to Es Cap de Barbaria. In spite of its size and alluring beauty, it is one of the least visited beaches in the Formentera island, making it a veritable destination for nudists. Platja des Cavall d'en Borràs On the west coast of Formentera island lies Cavall d'en Borràs beach. A peaceful haven of crystal blue waters and white sands, this beach offers tourists a view of yachts and boats that are anchored off the port of Es Vedrà. It derives its name from two facts: the rocky point which borders its area to the south and from a Mallorcan company that produced the popular Formentera salt in the island, Es Caló Situated on the northeast part of Formentera island is the picturesque fishermen’s village, Es Calo de Sant Augusti. It is one of the relatively small beaches of the island measuring approximately 50 meters in length. Because of it located, Es Calo is ideal for snorkeling. Tourists are also in for a treat from the cuisines offered by the small restaurants and bars that are found in the area.
The rich cultural heritage of Formentera is felt around the island. From restaurants and bars that offer traditional fresh flavors, to beaches that showcase the natural beauty of the place, everything embodies the Balearic way of life. The whole Formentera Island can be visited in a day but there are museums and art galleries that offer a classic view of Formentera's past. Museu de Etnografia de Formentera Situated at the center of the island's capital, Sant Francesc Xavier, the Ethnography Museum in Formentera displays ancient tools and traditional utensils used by the island's inhabitants thousands of years ago. The tools include farm and fishing implements, both major sources of livelihood in the area. Furniture and traditional clothes, which are considered original objects of ethnographic value, are also on display. Other tools on display are those used for the production of salt which was also a major industry in Formenera Island. Address: Carrere Jaume I, s/n, 07860 Sant Francesc Xavier, Formentera Phone: 971 32 26 70 E-mail: [email protected] Free entrance Summer times: Monday to Saturday: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday and festivities: closed Winter times: Tuesday to Saturday: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday and festivities: closed