“Little Formentera has all grown up. This island has a booming beach-club scene, some seriously good places to eat, and the best beaches in the Mediterranean”.
For some curious reason, the food on this little speck in the Mediterranean, forever in big sister Ibiza’s shadow, is terrifically good: organic, fresh, healthy, exciting, locally grown, lovingly put together. All across the 12-mile long island, the streets have always nice places to eat (from the traditional tapas to sushi at the beach). Quirky breakfast spots including Big Store (for fresh fruit juices and smoothies) and Ca Na Pepa (for punchy strong coffee and warm croissants), sit alongside lunch joints such as Oya (great pizzas and a shop of pastel-coloured clothes and retro homeware) and cool bars for pre-dinner mojitos and Coronitas.
In the most resort-like town, Es Pujols, on the northern side of the Estany Pudent lagoon, which is still sleepy and resistant to bright lights and late nights, the beachside Can Loca delivers delicious garlicky bowls of squid-ink spaghetti with langoustine. And everyone swings by the dulceria at Boscalina after supper for a heart-shaped strawberry lolly and the best view of the boardwalk. All of this with no fuss and no fanfare, no waiting for a table. Formentera’s low-key vibe has been, in large part, shaped by the creatives and free spirits who flocked here in the 1960s and 1970s. This is where Pink Floyd hung out for months on end, where Bob Dylan holed up in a lighthouse, where Joni Mitchell wrote the album Blue, where Bella Freud spent barefoot childhood summers and now where Kate Moss decamps when the Ibiza scene gets too frantic. Because you don’t cross the water to join the party (although there are plenty of bars and even a few nightclubs): this is an escape from the buzz and the thrum.
Just half an hour on the speedy ferry from Ibiza Town and you get all this: some of the best beaches in the Mediterranean, softer, squeakier, whiter sand, bluer waters, quieter corners, lovelier houses, more delicious food and a pervading sense of being somewhere that bit more uncharted. At a time when Ibiza is in danger of becoming overrun with Hard Rock Cafés and Nikki Beaches, Formentera’s funky little groove couldn’t be more enticing.