01 Sep Charming accomodation and restaurants in Formentera
Boutique hotels, charming restaurants in Formentera, incredible beaches, turquoise seawater, and fun activities. How about a moonlit picnic under a lighthouse, horseback riding by the sea, enjoying a beautiful sunset, snorkeling in completely transparent water, renting a boat …? In this article I give all the recommendations to disconnect and enjoy a super vacation in Formentera with children (or without) in a charming boutique aparthotel.
Formentera is part of the Balearic Islands, Spain, located in the Mediterranean Sea. The other islands are Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza. It is the smallest inhabited Balearic island and in approximately 20 minutes you can travel by car from end to end. By ferry or your own rental boat you arrive in about half an hour to Ibiza, which in fact is perfectly visible from Formentera.
The island has a laidback atmosphere with good vibes, in a natural environment. All over you can see the typical architecture of white houses with shutters and doors in Mediterranean colors which has been maintained practically throughout the island. To enjoy your stay, there is a large offer of cosy and stylish accomodations and restaurants in Formentera.
Accomodation at Formentera
We chose the Paraíso de los Pinos apartments, ideal for a holiday in Formentera with family, friends or as a couple. They describe themselves as “A luxury apartment complex, notable for its carefully designed architecture and decoration, in which the colours of Formentera, such as brilliant white, intense blue and the green of the pines, create a great image, full of style and unique design. “.
More than luxury apartments, I would say that it is a small boutique ecochic apartment complex with an interior and exterior design completely integrated into its surroundings. They choice of furniture and fabrics is of great taste, all very natural without overloading, in harmony with the environment and the essence of the entire island.
It is located in a natural, quiet environment in the Migjorn area and 7 minutes by car from the charming small town of San Francesc de Xavier. If you stay here, I would strongly recommend to have your own transport (car or motorcycle).
Paraiso de los Pinos, Suite Apartment
In Paraíso de los Pinos they offer different types of apartments and bungalows ranging from studios for 2 people, to rooms with 2 bedrooms for up to 5 people.
We were staying in a very spacious Suite Apartment. It consisted of a large living room where our children slept, a spacious bedroom and kitchen and a large bathroom. At the same time it had a spacious terrace with views of the countryside and the sea in the distance. All decorated with natural elements, very confortable and practical at the same time, with very good beds.
Services offered at Paraiso de los Pinos
Restaurants at Paraiso de los Pinos “Es Mal Pas”
We had breakfast included on the covered terrace of their restaurant Es Mal Pas, often included on the lists of good restaurants in Formentera. Because of the Covid-19 virus there were special regulations and we were served at the table, but usually there is a buffet. Breakfast was varied with a wide range of different dishes and lots of fresh fruit and orange juice, teas of all kinds, pancakes, yogurt with oatmeal and honey, etc. etc.
Lunch is served in the same area as breakfast, and dinner takes place on their outdoor terrace. The dishes we tried (at night they are more elaborate) were all delicious. Highly recommended! Although from my humble point of view, it is a must to also try many of the other restaurants in Formentera (there are many at wonderfull locations and with great food, see more info below in this article).
The pool, tennis and bike riding
The complex is located around the pool and has a lot of vegetation of plants and flowers; a small oasis ideal for a relaxing time after the sea, a quiet afternoon or morning at the hotel, refreshing and reading a book. In general there were not too many people.
The complex also offers its clients bicycles, some electric. In the end, we did not use this service due to the heat, but with cooler weather, it seems like a perfect plan to discover the area. Finally, there is also a tennis court, which in the end we didn’t use due to lack of time.
Other accomodation options in Formentera
There is a wide range of charming houses, hotels and apartments in Formentera to spend your holidays.
Gecko Hotel & Beach Club
One hotel that I absolutly loved was the Gecko Hotel & Beach Club. Elegant, decorated with great taste, and with a warm Mediterranean atmosphere created by using different blue colors for the accesories, furnitur, textiles,… Rooms range from luxury doubles with a small terras to rooms with a patio and its own mini pool.
We went to have lunch and the treatment was very good. Maybe this option is more suitable for a stay as a couple rather than a family.
Rent a house in Formentera
Obviously, another good option is to rent a house in Formentera. This is what we usually do when we are with a large group of friends or several families. But when it is just the 4 of us, we normally book an aparthotel, so we have breakfast and cleaning included. Some friends of ours rented a house in Formentera with beautiful views of the countryside and the sea through Booking.
Recommendations for restaurants in Formentera
There is a very wide selection of charming restaurants in Formentera, many on the beach with marvelous views. I’m going to comment on the ones we visited, and some that an islander recommended to us, but obviously there are many more options.
Tiburon Beach Club Formentera
El Tiburon is a casual beach restaurant where you eat with your feet in the sand. It has been around for almost 30 years and is located on the first line of Illetes beach (at the beginning) surrounded by the sea and a pine forest. They offer a good quality varied menu and they treated us very well. After lunch you can stay right there on the beach and at the end of the day have a cocktail and enjoy the sunset.
Flipper Chiringuito & Beach Club Formentera
Located on the first line of Es Arenals beach, in the dunes. If you go for dinner, I recommend starting the end of the day in its chill out area on the first floor of Flipper restaurant, have a wine and enjoy the sunset. Afterwards you can dine in their restaurant.
Another option is to go to the Piratabus, also on the Mitjorn beach and then have dinner at Flipper (it is about 5 minutes walk along the beach). A simple “chiringuito” that began in the 70s, famous for gathering a lot of people to enjoy the sunset.
Blue Bar, Formentera
A slightly crazy place, a classic on the island and famous for the aliens that now and then also visit the Blue Bar. In fact, several times a week they organize a light and sound show while a giant alien comes to visit the bar at sunset. And how could it be otherwise, on the beachfront. There are tables for dining, high tables for having a drink, and a grandstand to enjoy the views of the sea and the show. This place is a must!
Gecko Hotel Restaurant in Formentera
This glamorous relaxed hotel, has an elegant frontline beach restaurant, surrounded by lawns (the only lawn I have seen on the island). My son was allowed to take a dip in their pool (which is really only for customers). You can also buy a daypass to enjoy their beachclub although your not staying at the hotel.
We had a lovely lunch enjoying the elaboreted dishes of fresh meditarrean products; ceviche of sea bream and red shrimp, aguacate and tuna tartare, Mexicane taco… All delicious!
Chezz Gerdi, Formentera
I like the Mediterranean decoration of this italian restaurant Chezz Gerdi, it is a fun place, but different from the atmosphere of most of the chiringuitos / restaurants in Formentera where we have been. There is a more flirty atmosphere, to be seen, many Italians come here …
The pizzas are highly recommended!
A nice wooden boardwalk path gets you to Es Pujols (although I personally did not like Es Pujols at all, it has nothing to do with the laid back atmosphere of the rest of the island).
Can Carlitos, Formentera
Can Carlitos, located in the ‘La Savina’ port of Formentera, had been recommended to us. It is super beautiful, just another perfect place to watch the sunset and in a distance you can also see Ibiza and Es Vedra. Although we haven’t tried the food (but I did go inside the day we rented a boat in the harbour), for me it is definitly among the nicest restaurants in Formentera! Love the decoration and views!
Restaurants in Formentera in San Francesc and El Molar
So many restaurants in Formentera to try that we were unable to eat at any of the charming ones in San Francesc. I leave some photos which I took while visiting the village.
In the village of El Molar a local recommended us the restaurant Sa Figuera with traditional cuisine; rice, fish, typical dishes. Because of lack of time, we didn’t go but we passed by and we liked its local atmosphere and some friends of ours also recommended the place. Another restaurant recommended to us is Es Mirador on the way to El Molar, situated on an elevated site surrounded by forest and with spectacular views over the entire island.
Es Xarcu, Ibiza
If like us you have planned to rent a boat, I recommend crossing to Ibiza, which is very close by, and use the opportunity to make a reservation at Es Xarcu, a classic! They have been around for 40 years! It is not cheap but the location is idyllic, the restaurant is elegant and the fish is really wonderful. If you arrive by boat, they can pick you up to take you to the restaurant’s jetty. It has buoys, but not many so if you need one, better not be too late!
Things to do in Formentera
🏖 Go to the beach: the most famous beach of Formentera is Playa de Illetes. You have to pay to enter by car and it has limited parking spaces. We had a parking lot near the Tanga restaurant (which we also liked, many local people came) on the eastern side of the island; where the sea is wilder. To get to the more Caribbean side, you have to take a walk of about 12 minutes. These beaches are much more crowded but they are definitly worth it; they are always on the list of best beaches in Spain. To eat, better book in advance. Then the beaches of Migjorn are also beautiful and quieter. My advice would be to vist every day a different beach. A very quiet cove with more difficult access is Es Ram. Don’t forget your beach shoes and goggles.
🚤 Renting a boat in Formentera: we rent a boat in Formentera with the Experience Sea company. We were attended by Marisa, a Madrilenian who is living in Formentera for already many years and treated us very well. Without a doubt, we would hire a boat with her again. We anchored at the beaches of Illetes and Espalmador (like being in the Caribbean), we did snorkling in the Saona cave, and we crossed to Ibiza where, among others, we ate in one of our favorite restaurants, Es Xarcu.
🐴 Horseback riding in Formentera: we went horseback riding (well, I didn’t because I’m afraid of horses) with the company Rutas es Boixets. Several of the group, like my son and husband, had no experience but it didn’t matter because it was all very well organized. They even went into the sea with the horses.
🚲 Riding a bike in Formentera: bicycles (many electric) were available to customers at our hotel. We did not take advantage of it because it was too hot, but it is a good plan to go to a nearby beach or simply to enjoy nature (or do a little sport). For younger children maybe it is less suitable because there are narrow roads where cars also pass.
🌛 Picnic under the light of a lighthouse and the moon: we bought wines, beers and finger food and organized a picnic at the end of the day (already at night) under the Cap de Barbaria Lighthouse. Right below the lighthouse there are some stone benches where we settled. People come to the Lighthouse to see the sunset but then they leave and there was absolutely no one. From the parking lot we had to walk about 20 minutes to get to the Lighthouse because they have cut the road to traffic (at least during high season).
🌇 Sunsets: in Formentera there are sooo many places to enjoy the sunset. At the end of the the day when temperatures drop there is nothing more relaxing to watch the sunset while enjoying a glass of wine. Meanwhile, children can play on the beach or wherever in the nature…
🛍 Shopping: if you want to go shopping I would recommend visiting San Francesc de Xavier. There are some really nice shops and you can mix it with having a coffee/tea, lunch or dinner at some of the cosy restaurants in the village. Personally I enjoyed very much the street market at the harbour Savina. Normally it takes place form half June to half September. Another option is visiting the street market of El Mola, just on the other site of the island. I think it takes place on Wednesdays and Sundays but I don’t know if this changes each year. You can combine this with visiting the lighthouse (Faro de Mola) or go swim at Es Ram cove.
Recommendations for your holidays in Formentera
🚕 Get your permit to enter the island by car: Formentera has a restricted number of cars that can enter the island during high season, So don’t forget to get your permit in advance. When you book your ferry with a car, this doesn’t give you a permit to enter the island, you have to book these at different websites
🧳 🥽 Beach shoes and goggles: put some snorkling boots and goggles in your suitcase. In some beaches with rocks and small fishing ports, booties come in handy. Snorkling can be done in all places.
🍷🥗 Reservations restaurants: we have been in the summer of Covid 19 and therefore the island was quieter than normal. But I have already been told several times that in summer it gets very crowded so if you go in high season, it is better to book some restaurants in Formentera in advance
☀🌦 When to visit Formentera: if you can visit the island in June / first half of July before the high season starts, better because it can get really crowded during high season.
How to get to Formentera
By car & ferry
We come from Madrid, so for us the most practical thing was to arrive by ferry. We took the ferry in Denia with the Balearia company. It takes 2.5 hours to Formentera. The advantage is being able to carry much more luggage than when taking a plane, something especially useful when you travel with children. And, you don’t have to rent a car. The ferry was comfortable and during the trip they offer a wide selection of movies, series and games.
VERY IMPORTANT!!! To be able to enter Formentera by car in the months of July and August, you will need a special permit. They have reduced the number of vehicles that can circulate in order to keep the island a sustainable place and maintain its essence. Your car ticket for the ferry is not a permission to enter the island, these are two separate things.
By plane & ferry
There is no airport on Formentera, so if you come by plane, you have to fly to the nearby island of Ibiza. The airport is about 8 kilometres from the port so you can take a bus or a taxi. From there you can take a ferry to Formentera with for example Balearia or Trasmapi.
If you like this type of holidays, also take a look at my article about our vacations in the Algarve at the beautiful Pine Cliffs luxury resort next to the amazing Falesia beach.
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