Are you wondering where to stay in Formentera? Some of the best places to stay in Formentera are Es Pujols, Migjorn Beach, es Arenal, Es Caló and Cala Saona. Discover their pros and cons!!!
Formentera is the smallest of the inhabited Balearic Islands lying off of the southern coast of Spain. It is also completely unlike its three larger sisters Majorca, Menorca, and Ibiza. To picture Formentera, imagine an island the size of Manhattan that does not have any traffic lights, airport, shopping malls, or even tall buildings.
The tiny island is famous for being almost completely stress-free. This feature comes with spectacular beaches, Caribbean colored water, and unspoiled nature. This makes it hard to choose from among the best areas to stay in Formentera.
Another appealing feature to Formentera is that the island’s little port La Savina lies less than 12 miles (19 km) from Ibiza’s ports. Thanks to the fast ferries that leave every hour or more often, you can reach the beautiful island in approximately half an hour.
Stepping off the ferry boat opens a world of 43 miles (69 km) of stunning coastline with countless coves, fantastic beaches, pine forests, cliffs, and secluded places where you can be alone.
The size of Formentera means that you can see the entire island by motorcycle or most of it by bicycle. Either way will allow you to take in the peaceful rural scenery that you simply can not find in the majority of Mediterranean destinations. Rental shops found conveniently by the port offer both choices of transportation.
The secret to the color of the sea (that reminds visitors of either the South Pacific or the Caribbean) lies below the water. The purity of these transparent seas results from the particular sea grass that grows here.
This Posidonia Oceanica filters the water, making it stunning for everyone who makes the journey here to enjoy it. This also creates a breathtaking underwater world of plant and animal life for snorkeling or scuba diving.
In the next section, we look at where to stay in Formentera. Despite the tiny size of the island, you have a surprising range of choices.
Where to stay in Formentera: Best areas to stay in Formentera
The smaller size of the island means that there are not as many areas to stay in Formentera as you will find in the neighboring Balearic Islands. We go through the best parts of the island to visit and stay in below.
1. Es Pujols
The only real resort town on Formentera is called Es Pujols. Here visitors find a great variety of accommodation choices ranging from apartments and budget hotels to higher end resorts.
The town offers a good selection of restaurants, bars, shops, night life places, and market stalls to visit alongside its beautiful white sand beach.
Despite its distinction for being the only resort on Formentera, the place still has an intimate feeling that allows you to make acquaintances with the locals. It is well suited to families and all types of visitors who have decided it is where to stay in Formentera.
By day, Es Pujols is both calm and elegant. The avenues are lined with trees, the beach is immaculate, and the pace of life is still slow here. This helps it to retain its intimate village atmosphere, though it is no longer small by any means.
Still, Es Pujols has retained its relaxed feeling. There may be more things to do in the resort town than in the rest of the island, but the authentic feeling of Formentera is still here.
Amenities in the town include fashion boutiques and a number of shops. You can buy souvenirs and jewelry on the town’s main street and clothing from the market stalls. You can also rent cars in the town. Parking is freely available at the entrance to the resort town on the left side.
Cafes provide the atmosphere to watch the tourist scene in action. Restaurants abound throughout the town. There are even some gourmet choices available. Most of these lie along the seafront looking out on the beach or along the streets just behind.
Chezz Gerdi offers a fantastic Mediterranean meal or great drinks in a gorgeous place. It sits on the wooden beach promenade at the end.
Es Pujols is the place with the vast majority of the island’s night time hot spots as well. It does not compare to Ibiza, yet the nightlife here is active. This carries on to the early morning hours.
The scene is heavily concentrated behind the beach in a tangle of narrow streets. Here you will find many different restaurants and bars.
The night time scene is a blend of both some energy and the laid back vibes for which Formentera is famous. It makes Es Pujols one of the best places to stay in Formentera.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN ES PUJOLS
2. La Savina
La Savina is the island’s only ferry port. This makes it your first stop when coming over to Formentera for either the day or for a longer visit.
This working port boasts quite a bit of boat traffic in summer time with all ferries coming and going more frequently than once an hour in peak demand times.
The marina also has an air of exclusivity as many of the expensive yachts that visit the island will be moored here too.
The harbor building is the first one to come into site in this port. Here you can purchase ferry tickets or refresh yourself at the bar. Along the harbor front there are a number of cafes, bars, and restaurants from which to choose.
In peak summer season, there are also many stalls set up selling hand crafted goods, jewelry, clothing, and souvenirs. From this vantage point you can see both the larger sister island Ibiza and the smaller islet Es Vedra.
La Savina is most convenient if you are looking to rent a scooter, car, or bike. The rental places are readily identifiable once you disembark from the ferries. The port also boasts two supermarkets just east of the center. These are near the salt flats of Las Salinas.
La Savina is a terrific base from which to see any other place on the island. Wonderful beaches lie nearby at Playa de Levante and Playa Illetes.
Hotels and apartments are available for accommodation in the surrounding town of Es Pujols. Without a doubt, this is among the most convenient and action packed areas to stay in Formentera.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN LA SAVINA
3. Migjorn Beach
The longest length of sandy beach on Formentera is Migjorn Beach. This relatively huge beach takes up nearly the entire southern portion of the island. Because it lies a distance from the Ibiza ferries and from Es Pujol, it boasts fewer crowds and boats.
This beach is actually subdivided into sandy stretches divided by rocky clusters. The larger sandy areas are ideal for those families who have young children. Visitors seeking out more secluded parts of the beach will find them among the rocky areas.
Migjorn Beach offers a number of different restaurants to try. These vary from the local chiringuitos (smaller beach bars) on up to fabulous restaurants that provide great food with incomparable views. The restaurant 10.7 is one of these incredible places.
Choices of hotels are more limited here. Yet if you are looking for the true authentic spirit of Formentera, then this is a place not to miss. It feels a world away from its sister party island Ibiza.
One of the experiences to take in at Migjorn Beach are the incredible sunsets. These are a highlight here and the subject of some type of sunset ritual in the bars and restaurants.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN FORMENTERA IN MIGJORN BEACH
4. Sant Francesc Xavier
The island’s locals mostly live in the capital of Formentera. This is the village Sant Francesc Xavier, also known as San Francisco. In summer time, it is a lovely town to visit and to stroll through.
The center of the town has a church square. Shops selling a range of goods and white houses line the square.
The capital also offers an impressive assortment of affordably priced restaurants serving lunch and dinner. You will find better restaurant value for your money in the capital than along the pricier beachfront restaurants.
This is definitely a place for budget travelers to spend some quality time.
Both restaurants and shops line the side streets branching off from the square. The shops in Sant Francesc Xavier specialize in such accessories as leather goods and jewelry as well as handmade clothes.
Evenings in the capital have an energy that is still peaceful. This village makes a memorable experience for a night after sun tanning all day at the beach.
The church itself is the most historical place to be seen in town. Built to resemble a fortress, Sant Francesc Xavier dates back to the 1700’s. It served a dual purpose as the place for worship as well as the safe haven to get away from raiding pirates. The building is beautifully lit up at night.
The village also offers an authentic experience of past life in its Calle Jaume I Ethnographic Museum. Here you will be able to see period furniture, clothing, utensils, and tools. The museum is open Monday to Friday and does not charge admission.
Besides the museum, the village has an exhibition center in the main square called Ajuntament Vell. Temporary exhibitions offered here showcase both international and local artists. This center is also free to visitors.
Sant Francesc Xavier is also a musical center for the island. In June, concerts happen in the village square and other squares around the island. Every Saturday in June, the capital’s church square features jazz. The culmination here is the Formentera Jazz Festival also held in June.
Formentera’s capital also has local craft markets. These take place every day during the months of May through October from 10 am to 2 pm. A year round flea market is held behind the church Tuesday through Saturday during the same hours.
A trip to Formentera is not complete without visiting the delightful island capital at least one time. Its unique charm from the old Mediterranean world will not soon be forgotten. The slower pace of life is definitely from a time long gone by.
There are not many hotels in the village, though apartments and rooms to rent are available.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN FORMENTERA IN SAN FRANCESC XAVIER
5. Es Caló
Es Caló is an attractive and authentic little fishing village. You will be touched by its charming delight if you come to visit. The village lies on a horseshoe-like harbor.
Here there are a limited number of houses and a selection of nice restaurants. All of them feature grilled meats, paellas, and fresh fish. A number of them offer postcard views showcasing the turquoise colored sea.
The surroundings of Es Caló are stunningly beautiful. There are undiscovered coves and many little sandy beaches to enjoy. These are perfect for relaxing, sunbathing, and diving into the beautiful sea to discover the gorgeous underwater world.
The Es Caló area also offers history in the form of Roman ruins. In ancient times, this was the primary harbor for the island as it was the best protected naturally. You can see the ruins of Can Blai the Roman chapel and a cobbled street that runs to the village El Pilar de Mola.
The village offers authentic maritime sites in the wooden dry docks and charming looking fishermen’s huts. The fishermen store their boats in the dry docks to protect them from storms.
This village is sparse on accommodation. It makes an easy day trip down from the resort town of Es Pujols and is best enjoyed this way.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN ES CALO
6. Cala Saona
Only three miles (5 km) southwest from Sant Francesc lies the village of Cala Saona. This habitation is primarily based on a beautiful white sand beach. It is also the lone beach on the island’s west side.
Despite this, it remains among the most popular and picturesque beaches because of the protected bay that boasts tall red rocks to each side. The beach is not large at approximately 200 meters long and 140 meters wide.
If you love the sea, Cala Saona is an idyllic place to visit for its unique environment and crystal turquoise waters. The entire bay is surrounded by verdant vegetation.
The beach offers more than just fantastic scenery and vistas. Spectacular views of the coast are hard to rival from this spot. The sunsets from here are accounted as perhaps the best on Formentera.
The beach features a seafront restaurant at its one end and a little beach bar fronting the other side. Both places offer good drinks for the unmissable experience (more of a ritual) of the “Puesta de Sol” sunsets.
From the beach you are able to watch the working fishermen launching their traditional boats into the waters using long wooden rails. This is an especially common site during the summer months. It provides an authentic glimpse into the local life of Formentera.
This beach and bay is easy to reach as it offers both a nearby bus stop and free parking for cars, bicycles, and motorcycles. It is also a great access point for walking trails that start just to the south of Cala Saona.
You can enjoy expansive views along the coast and get to the Punta Rasa cliffs. The nature is untouched here, making it a perfect area to stop in the shade for a picnic. Naturally, there are precious few accommodation choices in such an area.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN CALA SAONA
7. La Mola
La Mola’s full name is Pilar de la Mola. It sits atop the highest point on all of Formentera. This makes the peaceful, tiny village an excellent place to take in views of the entire island.
Visitors will find the pace of life to be among the slowest on the island here. Despite this, the village’s main street does feature a variety of good restaurants and bars.
The summer months are when La Mola comes alive. Two times each week, the village hosts its artisan market. Here you will find authentic, locally produced crafts including leather goods, ceramics, jewelry, clothes, and paintings created by island resident artists.
This market also features live music, really bringing the sleepy village to life on Sundays and Wednesdays in May through October. You can also visit a few of the working craft shops most weekdays in the summer months.
Aside from enjoying a bit of authentic Formentera, this is an excellent place to buy keepsakes from your trip.
This side of the island also boasts the famed La Mola Lighthouse. Visitors can enjoy fantastic views of all the island and sea from this cliff top monument. Though it sits atop a 120 meter above sea level cliff, it is only a brief drive from the village’s center.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN FORMENTERA IN LA MOLA
8. Sant Ferran de Ses Roques
Sant Ferran de Ses Roques is also called San Fernando. This village lies in the island’s heart. It boasts a beautiful main square fronted by its church of the same name from the 1700’s.
The island had a hippy movement that began here decades ago. Nowadays it offers a few good bars and restaurants as well as a lively night time market.
San Fernando offers peace and oozes charm when you are looking for quiet. It is encircled by farmhouses and vineyards. This village may lie near the island’s one resort of Es Pujols, but it is a world apart. The church is unique in its mostly unpainted exterior of sandstone.
You might be surprised by the change in the peaceful village at night. The hamlet comes to life in the main square and surrounding streets. The night market provides its own music. Nearby the lively bars also offer their own tunes.
Live music and food help to bring in tourists and locals alike from all over the island in these months. It is a great place to meet sculptors, painters, craftsmen, and other local artists who all proudly display their artwork here.
The night market runs all summer long (except Wednesdays and Sundays) from May through October during the hours of 8:30 pm to midnight.
Restaurants in the village serve both local specialties and Mediterranean dishes. Several of these restaurants have gained high reputations for their offerings.
Fonda Pepe dates back to the 1960s and the hippy movement. Bob Dylan made regular appearances and Pink Floyd was also here. Today it is still the center of the remaining hippy culture on Formentera.
A few shops and banks also provide services for visitors here. This is a central point to be based as it lies literally in the island’s center.
Though the village is small, it does offer some basic accommodation. San Fernando has several hostels and apartments.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN FORMENTERA IN SAN FERRAN DE SES ROQUES
9. Es Arenals
Another great beach area of Formentera is the southeast located Es Arenals. This beach brings together the best of a beautiful and natural backdrop with a significant set of amenities tourists will enjoy. It makes Es Arenals among the best places to stay in Formentera.
The environment centers on a large dune and sandy areas lapped by the turquoise sea. The swimming here is safe for every age. Among the amenities, there is a water sports center.
The beach also offers a few restaurants and bars. One that has become an island institution is the Piratabus Beach Bar. This place is famous for both tapas and drinks.
Though the beach is a favorite with families who bring children, it does have more secluded places that encourage nude sunbathing.
The Es Arenals beach is an eastern extension of the Migjorn beaches span. Because of the shelter of La Mola, this beach misses the summer breeze from the south east.
It does not offer much in the way of accommodation, making it more of a day trip then one of the best places to stay in Formentera.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN ES ARENALS