Formentera day trip from Ibiza
Being spoilt for choice, we decided to google, ‘best beaches in Europe‘ and quickly stumbled across the TripAdvisor list generated by who knows who, teasing you with crystal clear water on some remote locations! We love beaches and Ibiza has always been on the list (not the bucket list, just a general list!) of destinations we wanted to visit. Playa de Ses Illetes on the small island of Formentera is a quick 30 minute ferry from Ibiza and also the second best beach (according to said TripAdvisor list!) so we couldn’t resist but book our flights and see what the fuss was all about!
How to get there:
Fast forwarding through the process of deciding when, the search for flights, hotels and packing … we booked our fast ferry tickets for our Formentera day trip through a UK based company called Direct Ferries. We found this to be the most convenient as you can book your tickets online after an easy to follow and quick comparison of the two most frequent and popular ferry companies. Now, I would strongly recommend you book these tickets as far in advance as you possibly can (especially in peak season). Having had a look a few months in advance of our trip, a return ticket for two adults was £25. Having thought the prices were fixed, we thought we would wait and see what the weather would be like closer to the day … the price had gone up to £75! … so it is safe to say, booking in advance will save you some ££ and in reality, in summer you’re bound to have great weather. You can also book tickets at the main ticket office at Ibiza marina where the prices were similar to what we ended up paying.
The fast ferry is a quick 30 minute journey to Formentera, but you’ll be surprised how rough the water can get… if you’re someone prone to motion (or sea) sickness, I would suggest taking tablets you can buy from most pharmacies before boarding the ferry!
How to get around the island:
There are several options and many hire companies at the marina when you disembark where you can hire quad bikes, scooters, cars or for those brave enough to cycle in the heat, bicycles. Alternatively, Bus Formentera (you will need to translate this page!!) is a tourist bus which stops at the most popular areas – having heard the car parks can be quite busy we chose the bus.
The bus is at the marina and seem to be timed with the ferries, we didn’t have to wait more than a couple of minutes before our journey started! We bought our tickets on the bus and chose the €15 option which stopped at both of the beautiful beaches, the lighthouse and the panoramic photo opportunity.
Playa de Ses Illetes: This is the first stop on the bus tour and the rated the traveler choice for second best beach in Europe.
I must admit, after getting your hopes up, I personally do not agree with the ranking. Having been fortunate enough to travel throughout Europe, visiting many, many beaches, I wouldn’t put this as my number 2! But, in saying that the beach was lovely. The water was crystal clear and it was a fine sand beach which is always a nice surprise when you expect to see the usual pebble beaches you encounter in Europe.
This beach is also known for the pink sand, although this certainly wasn’t as striking as you would imagine. It was actually quite challenging to see the pink sand for the majority of the beach and it was only toward the end of our time there that we walked past a few meters of pink sand. Without having done any other research I cannot say if this is dependant on the tide or the perhaps the time of the year but we spent both the morning and a couple of hours in the afternoon at the beach.
The beach is at its best first thing in the morning – being on one of the earliest ferries and tourist buses, we were one of the first on the beach, it was so peaceful and you this was the time when we could truly appreciate the natural beauty of the location. Arriving early also has other benefits of being able to pick out your perfect spot on the sandy beach or hire that umbrella and chairs in the front row! The beach is extremely busy after 11am and after 1pm you can barely find some sand to put your towel down on!!!
Playa es Pujols: This is the second stop on the bus trip. This beach is quite lovely and less busy than Playa de Ses Illetes, probably because it is not even mentioned on the TripAdvisor list, but it is also a longer drive from the marina.
The beach is a lot more rocky but the water is again, crystal clear! At this beach there are plenty of restaurants and cafes to have a bite to eat at or a well deserved ice cold drink after the long day of relaxation!
Lighthouse (Faro de la Mola): The third stop on the bus trip is the lighthouse, or Faro de la Mola.. You are given 15 minutes for a photo stop and that’s probably all you need.
Panoramic View: The last stop on the bus tour is a panoramic view over Formentera from a local restaurant. Again, you’re given 15 minutes for your photo opportunity which is more than enough time. When you get there, the bus driver will suggest the restaurant balcony, but instead of following the others, if you cross the road and jump over the barrier you will have nothing but uninterrupted views over Formentera – it really is amazing (tree climbing optional)!
Following this breathtaking view, the bus journey is around a 30 minutes back to the marina – the ferry company recommends arriving 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time so make sure you leave enough time!
“The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.” – Sir Richard Burton