Formentera non esiste (Italian Edition)

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Stuart M. Marianne N. Christopher Harris. First to Review. Sigal Hillel. Susy Castro. See translation. Patrick Forte. Patrick Bisarello. Mathieu R. Laura Benvenuti.


Helpful 1. Explore Cities. City Breaks. Car hire. Plan your trip. Travel guides. Partners Work with us. Advertise with us. Travel Insight. Travel APIs. Company About us. Why Skyscanner? Our people. When the tourists leave Formentera, promptly in mid-September, Ibiza still has another month of high-season hedonism to go. Meanwhile Formentera slumps back once again into low-season torpor, its beaches deserted, bars and restaurants shuttered and silent; and the island is reclaimed by farmers and fishermen.

Formentera has no airport and hopefully never will have, so the only way to get there is by boat from Ibiza. Old-timers remember a former fishing boat called the Joven Dolores which carried passengers back and forth across the treacherous straits that separate the two islands. Nowadays the route is covered by modern jet-boats, speeding you there in half an hour.

The catamaran pulled out of the harbour in the morning light. Of its handful of passengers, some looked as if they had recently been guests of the nightlife industry. They rubbed their eyes behind their dark glasses. We reached the open sea, overtaking a group of white-painted fishing boats, the fishermen wrapped up warm against a cool sea breeze.

Within minutes there was a shape on the horizon: a flattish silhouette, higher at one end. Formentera is two islands, almost: the western end of the dog bone, which is mostly low-lying, and the eastern end, which rises in a sudden slope towards the plateau of La Mola, ringed with cliffs.

The ferry docked in the little harbour at La Savina, down the road from Formentera's diminutive capital, Sant Francesc Xavier. The island's compact size - it is just 22km long and, in its thin central section, a couple of kilometres wide - dictates many things about the way it functions. Bicycles and scooters are the ideal mode of transport in a place where no one is ever in a hurry and gradients are modest.

As on most small Mediterranean islands, resources are scarce - especially water - and almost everything has to be brought in, making it a relatively expensive place to eat and sleep. As I drove the few kilometres to my hotel, the late-summer landscape was dusty and arid. Although its name derives from the Latin word for grain, frumentum , for much of the year the island looks anything but fertile.

Dry-stone walls, dirt tracks; here a palm tree, there a thicket of prickly pear scattered with bright orange fruit. The fig trees splayed out into huge, low umbrellas, held up by sticks, create islands of shade in which scrawny sheep, so thin they might be goats, pick idly among the dry stalks of maize. From time to time you might see a simple, pitched-roofed farmhouse - quite unlike the cuboid, whitewashed forms of Ibiza's traditional rural houses. There is a good deal of new building going on, but most of it is low-rise and discreet; holiday houses are tucked away among the scrubby pines. Every now and then, a cloud of dust betrays a vehicle passing in the distance.

I was staying at Las Banderas , the beachside retreat of boho-inclined celebrities including Kate Moss and Jade Jagger, and one of the few upmarket-ish places to stay on an island that has little truck with conventional comforts. Its owner, Leah Tilbury, grew up on Ibiza but soon fell under Formentera's subtler spell, and now finds life on the bigger island a source of stress when she visits. Her hotel is a bohemian rhapsody, endearingly ramshackle and profoundly laid-back, like Formentera itself. I left my bags in the bar and walked down to the beach, Platja Migjorn.

After the dusty beige of the island's interior, the brilliant blue of the sea comes at you with an almost physical force. If there is one good reason why many people are drawn to Formentera, it's the beaches. The best of them, such as Migjorn , Illetes and Llevant , are long, long swathes of gorgeousness, with creamy white sand and water that dazzles with perfect clarity. In any listing of the best beaches in the Mediterranean, these must surely come somewhere near the top.

When I asked a resident whether it was true that the beaches were as fine as those of the Caribbean, she replied, with a straight face, 'They're better. I found myself a patch of shade under a weather beaten boathouse made of sea-cured tree trunks lashed together, and lay there for a while looking up at the bamboo roof, listening to the sea. There was a scent of salt and dried algae; the woods behind the beach buzzed with crickets and heat. Everything suddenly seemed so perfect.

Much of the Mediterranean may be shop-soiled and over-exploited, but its romance, its essence, can still reappear at unexpected moments.

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On Saturday lunchtime I drove up to Illetes , on the sand-spit running north towards Ibiza. For decades this has been Formentera's fashion beach, to which Euro groovers come for day-trips from Ibiza after a hard night at the clubs. There is no infrastructure here apart from a series of wood-built beachside restaurants; no showers, no sunbeds, no swimsuits most of Formentera's beaches are unofficially nudist.

Illetes is beach life for folk who want to keep it simple - then head back to the yacht. On a weekend afternoon, those who have thought ahead and booked a table make tracks for Juan y Andrea restaurant.

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Thirty-five years ago, with his wife Andrea, the current owner's father opened a beachside shack serving the fish he caught off his own boat. Now look at the place: with its huge success, the shack has spilled out into several terraces and a bar, and boat- people come in various states of undress to sit with their feet in the sand and eat platters of pescado a la sal , fabulous paellas and Formentera prawns a la plancha.

A few metres away lies a glassy, turquoise sea. I walked to the very end of Illetes, the northernmost tip of the island, from which, on a dead-calm day, you can wade through the water to the islet of Espalmador.

From here I could see the distant hills of Ibiza, green-grey in the afternoon light, and the wall of white hotels at Platja d'en Bossa. I thanked heaven I wasn't over there, fighting for a patch of beach among the package-holiday crowds, but here on this lonely strip of white sand fringed with Caribbean blue. Sant Francesc is Formentera's 'capital village'. It has a main square, a fortress-church, a Trumptontown hall, and a cluster of streets. Or Positano. A short while later, Ms. Serving the pasta in the pans is a typically Italian way of reminding you just how authentic the sauce is — and ours, respectively cheesy and peppery and earthy and ripe, were so authentic we nearly licked our pans clean.

Later that day, showered and dressed for an evening out, my family and I went to Es Pujols, a lively town on the northern side of the island.

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Es Pujols is the most Italian pocket of Formentera — many of the people who were walking on the boardwalk and sipping Campari and sodas spoke to us only in Italian when we tested our halting Spanish. We ordered aperitivi — Aperol and prosecco for my husband and me, San Pellegrino Aranciata for the children, plump green olives and salty potato chips for all.

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We sat quietly for a few minutes, and I could feel my skin radiating warmth from our time on the beach. A handful of Italian soccer players strolled by with their girlfriends. Soon, our waiter came over to take our order for dinner, but quickly apologized. Ca Na Pepa.


Cafe Miranda. Come to this spot on the boardwalk in Es Pujolsa for a cafe macchiato in the morning or an Aperol spritz in the evening. Aim for the table under the fig tree, order whatever pasta the young Roman chef recommends, and enjoy it right from the pan Carrer de Santa Maria, 59, Sant Francesc Xavier; Overlooking the bobbing sailboats in the port of La Savina, this is one of the more formal places on the island, with its white tablecloths and elegantly prepared seafood.

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