Photography by Ana Lui
Indeed, the smallest of the Balearics has inspired love for decades – be it the love felt for a partner or friends and family, the love of nature or a true love for life. When you set foot onto this paradisiacal outpost, just three nautical miles from Ibiza, all you need is love… Being only accessible by boat makes the journey to Formentera romantic in itself. As you head out of Ibiza’s port in the early morning – a little bleary-eyed, clutching a café con leche in one hand and your partner’s hand in the other – the iconic silhouette of Dalt Vila slowly fades into the background, as does the hustle and bustle of the increasingly commercialised white isle. Formentera represents a new hope on the seemingly distant horizon, and the weight of the world slips off your shoulders as you gain speed across the Med.
Stepping off the boat and into the sleepy port of Formentera feels a little like Dorothy arriving in the land of Oz. The landscape surrounding La Savina is raw, rugged and untouched – as though the island were still undiscovered. In a way, it still is, despite its popularity with day-trippers from Ibiza and the Italian jetset in August. Because whether you’re a Fomentera first-timer or a long-time lover, romantic new discoveries are found around every corner, along every bumpy back road or behind every sand dune. As you hit the main stretch of road connecting the marina with the island’s main beaches and villages, gorgeously tanned couples whizz by on scooters, seemingly attached at the hip. The guys are shirtless, the girls in bikinis with beach umbrellas tucked under their arms – the picture-perfect image of holiday romance. You can drive to the edge of the earth in Formentera, to sit on jagged cliff edges or beneath solitary lighthouses and watch nothing but the birds, a few lizards and perhaps some boats go by.
Magazines often speak of the magical combination of sun-kissed skin, sandy feet and salty kisses and nowhere is this more evident than on the beaches of Formentera. Couples wade into the shallow clear water and kiss passionately for hours on end, or lie intertwined, deep in conversation, on oversized sarongs in the sand. It’s not overtly sexual, yet there is an air of sensuality and liberation in Formentera, where bathing suits are optional and there isn’t a whole lot to do apart from, well… The darkly romantic film Sex & Lucía paid testament to Formentera’s inherent sensual nature, with the sultry Paz Vega epitomising a free-spirited Mediterranean siren. There was sex in the sea; sex on the sand; sex under the stars – and while you aren’t likely to witness any of that in reality, the wildly romantic nature of the island and its inhabitants still reflect the values of the original 1967 summer of love. Fast forward 50 years and nothing has changed in Formentera – the former social phenomenon is simply a way of life.
Connecting with nature is all part of the romance of Formentera. Beaches and bays are connected by a series of charming roped wooden walkways – not to stop you getting sand in your shoes, but in a bid to preserve the elegant natural shape and form of the dunes. Tall, soft sea grass sways in the breeze, with each bend and turn showcasing yet another heart-wrenchingly beautiful sight. Water so clear, the sun’s rays glitter as they reflect off its surface and skies so blue they could be a work of art. Sunset in Formentera brings even more magic and romance. Whether you’re alone with your lover on the moonlike surface of the cliffs above Cala Saona, or you’re enraptured by the sounds of Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman’s ‘Time to Say Goodbye’ floating over the airways at Piratabus on Playa Migjorn while sipping mojitos in jumbo plastic cups, it is almost impossible not to be moved to tears. After dark, the offshore breeze picks up, giving you all the more reason to throw your arms around your beloved and head off into the Formentera night. A romantic alfresco dinner, a ‘vino pages’ (local wine) in a starlit cobblestoned village square or an early night at home – this is true Formentera romance.