Ibiza holidays

24 hours in Formentera – Cala Saona, Cap de Barbaria and Playa de Migjorn

There is something about Formentera that captivates the soul; an underlying feeling of mystery that creates a burning desire to return and discover more.

There is something about Formentera that captivates the soul; an underlying feeling of mystery that creates a burning desire to return and discover more.

Ibiza’s ‘little’ sister is indeed a small island, however she is brimming with things to do and places to see.  With everything in such close proximity, it’s easy to plan an itinerary that covers all bases from sightseeing and exploring to relaxation and dining. From the famed west coast hotspot of Cala Saona down to the beautiful lookout point of Cap de Barbaria and along the striking stretch of southern coastline of Playa de Migjorn, you can find everything you need for a mindful, fun and fulfilling day in Formentera.

9am – Breakfast

Start your day at one of the island’s newest trendy cafés: Mama Coco, perched on the cusp of Sant Francesc’s main street (leading to Cala Saona). This buzzing little hotspot is popular with the locals, boasting an industrial inspired interior with polished concrete walls, neon lighting plus succulents and cacti. Watch the world go by over a light bite or croissant and coffee in the shaded seating area and catch up with the local daily news with a free Spanish newspaper – Google Translate and the pictures can help tell the story if you’re not fluent. +34 604 191 090  

10.30am – Sightseeing

The lighthouse at Cap de Barbaria is an impressive sight in the early morning due to the beauty of its vast landscape – the vista extends all the way to the African coast. Its role in various films and commercials over the years has brought this stunning location to the attention to many sightseers, and today it is one of the most prominent attractions in Formentera. Located on the southernmost tip of the island, past Cala Saona via a long, scenic stretch of country road that leads you to an expansive rocky environment, its breath-taking views and peaceful atmosphere are a perfect match for its splendour. A new conservation-inspired rule has recently been enforced, meaning all cars must be parked at the entrance and the lighthouse is only accessible on foot, so be prepared for a 15-minute walk each way. The true wow factor hits when you finally arrive to see those panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea and the horizon, where it really does feel as if you have arrived at the end of the earth.

12pm – Spa

Rejuvenate your mind, body and soul by taking a short respite at one of Formentera’s leading hotels and spas – Hotel Cala Saona – where you can enjoy a holistic wellness experience immersed in the surrounding natural beauty of Formentera. Choose from an extensive range of regenerative and detoxifying body and facial treatments and massages, are all customised to suit your needs and accompanied by stunning views of Cala Saona. Follow this with a dip in the hotel’s pool or pop down to the beach to swim in its equally transparent waters before continuing on with the day. – +34 971 322 030

2.30pm – Lunch

This typical Spanish restaurant is well known for its traditional Mediterranean cuisine and authentic paella dishes. Tucked into the cliffside at Cala Saona, you can dine in the comfort of this cool, light and breezy beach bistro while overlooking the sand and the sea, soaking up the lively ambience and mouth-watering scents wafting out of the kitchen, where a taste of the traditional is being lovingly prepared with fresh-caught catches of the day. Mind you, make a reservation early or be rapido, as this place fills up for lunch fast! +34 871 551 575

4.30pm – Beach

Afternoons in Formentera are the ideal time to reflect and cool off as the typical island breeze arrive in the later hours of the day. The covert cove of Cala Saona is a magical destination – paddle in the shallow turquoise waters that lead out to deep blue sea, protected by the sweeping wall of sandstone cliffs and authentic Formentera fishing shacks scattered on the rocks beneath. This beach has a very different feel to the rest of the beaches in Formentera – it evokes a sense of nostalgic for those returning and creates a treasured memory for first timers.

7pm – Sundowners

For a true taste of local life, Kiosko 62 is an alternative experience not to be missed, especially as the sunset hour creeps in. This weathered and character-filled wooden beach shack on the sandy rocks of Playa de Migjorn faces out to sea and is everything you expect from a Formentera beach bar. Slightly off the beaten track and not overly crowded, it offers affordable drinks, a no frills service and laid-back atmosphere – the perfect place to unwind. The ambience comes alive as dusk falls and people relax to the sound of reggae and lounge music alongside the gentle sea breeze. +34 697 840 795

9.30pm – Dinner

Casbah Restaurant is set in a stylish hotel of the same name in the heart of the most authentic and rural part of Formentera, just a stone’s throw from Playa de Migjorn. The restaurant’s architectural design cleverly merges nature with modernity for an immersive dining experience. Glass walls reflect the lush greenery, pines and palms that encompass the luxurious gardens, creating an environment that emits calm from every corner. The smell of pine and the soundtrack of cicadas are complemented by a rich and varied gastronomic offering – think classic Mediterranean fresh fish, exquisite grilled meats prepared with a cutting-edge twist, signature rice and pasta dishes, some fine dining classics and Spanish tapas favourites, all served under the balmy summer sky. – +34 971 322 051

11.30pm – Cocktails

For a change of scenery, take a drive through the campo and vineyards, to follow a picturesque winding road leading towards the main town until you reach the magical fairy-lit surrounds of famed Formentera restaurant Can Carlos. Treat yourself to a fruity classic cocktail, or spicy new infusion whipped up by one of the professional and dapper bartenders shaking, stirring and serving up the island’s finest each night. Each cocktail is made with love and precision, using fresh ingredient, with presentation that is most definitely Instagram-worthy! – +34 971 322 874

1am – Sleep

This recently renovated luxury apartment complex is a sanctuary on the tranquil side of Playa de Migjorn, set amidst a forest of beautifully scented pines. The architecture resonates with the authentic essence of Formentera, accentuating and complementing the Mediterranean surrounds. Carefully thought out interior design blends crisp whites, subtle greens and sunny yellows throughout, creating a calming, charming and unique home away from home. The beach is just a short walk from the complex for a refreshing early morning dip, although some bungalows come complete with the temptation of a private Jacuzzi. – +34 971 322 613 Words and photos by Mimi Gerrard-Morgan Illetes photo by Ana Lui