Ibiza holidays

Formentera: Magical nights

As darkness descends on Ibiza’s sister isle, a whole new type of Mediterranean magic begins to unfold...

As darkness descends on Ibiza’s sister isle, a whole new type of Mediterranean magic begins to unfold. The starlit sky twinkles while the moon casts its romantic luminescence over the glistening sea.

The scent of night blooming flowers floats on the light breeze as it rustles the treetops and causes the wild sea grass on the sand dunes to sway elegantly. Formentera nights are a heavenly escape from the hedonism across the waters. You just need to get off the boat and find a bed for the night… It all begins at the bewitching hour of dusk. Beachgoers head ashore to the island’s chiringuitos, bars and restaurants with sandy feet and salty hair, swept up in the romance as the sky turns from blue to gold, pink, orange, gold and deep purple. A sense of peace envelops the island, from the A-list haven of Illetes and the sunset lookout at Cala Saona to the endless stretch of Migjorn; all the way up to the hills of La Mola and over to the lighthouse at Cap de Barbaria and beyond. Another day in paradise has come to an end.

While the day may have ended, the night is just beginning and although nights in Formentera may not be as wild or as varied as Ibiza, they offer many different experiences. For some, come sunset, it’s time to head home – to your villa, apartment, beach bungalow or hotel – and hit the hay early, revelling in the peaceful, long night of sleep ahead. For others, it signifies the start of a decadent dining experience and here the island’s culinary stars shine as bright as those in the sky. Spending the night in Formentera opens up a whole new world of gastronomic possibilities. While many associate the island with long lazy beach lunches, paella, seafood and sangria, after dark all the dining action takes place inland and takes a more creative turn. Discover high-end dining with a Michelin star (the illustrious Can Dani), alfresco farm to table in the middle of an organic garden (A Mi Manera), deluxe Mediterranean feasts (Can Carlos), conscious cravings (Bufambo) and all the Italian you can eat – from pizza by the slice in roadside eateries and hearty classics like mama used to make to incredible haute cuisine creations.

When the final digestifs have been downed and the aromatic coffee has provided that much needed after dinner perk up, it’s time to head off into the Formentera night. Home to bed or out for an après-dinner stroll? A quick nightcap or dancing all night long? The beauty of Formentera nightlife is it has all of this and more. If the allure of a midnight stroll is calling your name, the charming wooden walkways weaving their way between the sand dunes are softly lit and provide the perfect platform, while the cobblestone village squares also hold a sense of old-school romance. The villages of Formentera truly come alive at night. In Sant Ferran, stroll the night market – filled with art, jewellery and handcrafts – where there is plenty of opportunity for retail therapy, as the adjacent open-air bars and restaurants hum with the lively buzz of people. Nearby, Sant Francesc often has live bands performing in the square between restaurants and bars – all local festivals are celebrated here and it’s a hive of social activity. Flower Power. Swing festivals. Jazz festivals. Blues festivals. Balearic traditions. There’s always a reason to get involved.

Back towards the seaside, the most buzzing area of all is Es Pujols – the only part of the island to be home to nightclubs and a bustling seaside promenade. True – this is perhaps the most touristic area, however if you want to dance ‘til dawn, Tipic and Pineta are the places to be. International DJs do flow through Formentera, but are generally more underneath the radar. For example, legendary Ibiza party Cocoon have held a residency at Tipic for the past six seasons and have had guests including Sven Väth and Richie Hawtin, but the party itself still remains relatively underground. When you do finally head home, it’s easy to fall asleep as you listen to the sounds of silence. If you’re staying by the beach, leaving a window open will allow the sounds of the waves lapping the shore help you drift off to dreamland. If you’re in the campo, you’ll hear those treetops rustling and perhaps some singing cicadas on a hot summer night. The peace and quiet is a blissful respite from the ‘real world’ – no cars, no foot traffic, no footsteps from the apartment upstairs, no loud music thumping in the distance. All is calm. All seems right with the world.