Hitting the Beach

Beaches, beaches, and more beaches -- that's why visitors come here. You can see the ocean from any point on the island. Some say the island has the best beaches in the Mediterranean -- an opinion not without merit. Formentera has been declared a "World Treasure" by UNESCO, one of four places so honored because of its special character as an ecological and wildlife preserve. This implies indirect control by UNESCO of activities that could jeopardize the island's ecological well-being.

Meanwhile, day-trippers from Ibiza have fun sampling its long, sedate beaches and solitary coves before returning to Ibiza's ebullience in the evening.

The island is ringed with beaches, so selecting the one you think will appeal to you is about the only problem you'll face -- that and whether you should wear a bathing suit.

Playa de Mitjorn, on the southern coast, is 5km (3 miles) long; it has many uncrowded sections. This is the principal area for nude sunbathing. A few bars and hotels occupy the relatively undeveloped stretch of sand. You can make Es Copinyars, the name of one of the beachfronts, your stop for lunch, as it has a number of restaurants and snack bars.

At Es Calo, along the northern coast, west of El Pilar, there are some small boardinghouses, called hostales. From this point, you can see the lighthouse of La Mola, which was featured in Jules Verne's Journey Round the Solar System and, if weather conditions are right, Majorca.

The town of Sant Ferran serves the beach of Es Pujols, darling of the package-tour operators. This is the most crowded beach on Formentera, and you may want to avoid it. The beaches, however, are pure white sand, with a backdrop of dunes and pine trees. It's a good place to go windsurfing and is the site of several tourist amenities. The beach is protected by the Punta Prima headland.

Westward, Cala Sahona is another popular tourist spot, lying near the lighthouse on Cabo Berberia. Often pleasure vessels anchor here on what is the most beautiful cove in Formentera.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.