Travellers Snub Ibiza, Opt For ‘Wilder’ Alternative

Going to The Spanish Caribbean? Don't forget Formentera.

Left: @carlotaweberm, middle: enricospinelli44, right: @josecarloslora. Images via Instagram.

Every party-loving traveller knows Ibiza. But did you know there is a cooler – wilder – alternative right next to it? Introducing: Formentera. The place you go when you’ve smelt the roses, and want something a little more laid back.


Did you know, next to Ibiza, there’s an island with salt pans and red earth, where crucible-like heat makes the horizon shimmer? A place where you can escape the industrial-scale nightclubs and backpacker gossip? A place you can chill out, but still party if you want? Introducing: Formentera.

Formentera is the smallest of the Balaeric Islands and is located about three nautical miles south of Ibiza in the Mediterranean. Formentera is often referred to as Ibiza’s “little sister.” Formentera is not far from Ibiza either, it’s a mere 30-minute boat journey from the iconic party isle.

Photo Credit: @visitformentera/@giulia_telia. Image via Instagram

Because Ibiza is so famous, and because Formentera is a little harsher, and harder to visit, Formentera is often overlooked by tourists. This means if you are after a quieter, wilder version of Ibiza to squirt sunscreen and sip cocktails on, then Formentera could be for you.

The first big difference between Ibiza and Formentera is the size. While Ibiza is 572.6 km², Formentera is only 83.24 km². This makes Ibiza about 7 times bigger. Ibiza is also more built up, offering much more by the way of partying, clubs and accommodation. If you don’t have long to spend in the Balaeric Islands, you’d probably want to go to Ibiza (Ibiza has some nice beaches and nature to enjoy too).

Formentera is located about 3 nautical miles south of Ibiza. Image via Google Maps

But if you’ve been to Ibiza before, and want a taste of something different – and something a bit more natural – Formentera could be for you. In Formentera, rather than world-renowned DJs, industrial-scale clubbing and glamourous cocktail bars, it’s more beach clubs wedged behind sand dunes and wandering around untamed corners and coves. There’s even a bar where, apparently, it’s still 1973.

WATCH: What It’s Like Holidaying On Formentera

Don’t believe us? Check out the above Formentera videos by social media users morethanibiza, ibizadazeofficial and ohanamyeverything and take a look for yourself.

Formentera is home to Playa de Ses Illetes – one of the most beautiful beaches in the world – and islands of its own like S’Espalmador, which one TripAdvisor user summed up quite nicely when they said: “Great beaches, white sand, shallow water, no shade, no restaurants, kind of Robinson tourism. You have to see it.”

As for Formentera’s landscape, think: white sand, red earth, salt pans, tall plateaus, Bronze Age settlements; sea birds unfattened by hot chips. It’s also a bit of a foodie hotspot now, and I simply can’t get past the description offered by Maya Boyd who recently compared it to Ibiza as follows: “If Ibiza is juicy, abundant, and Technicolor, Formentera is bleached out and desaturated, the island equivalent of a Super 8 film.”

It’s also, if Instagram is anything to go by, a popular place to propose (perhaps because its laid-back atmosphere makes it more romantic than Ibiza).

Instagram users living their best life in Cala Saona, Formentera. Images via Instagram

There are also plenty of water sports (sailing, diving, snorkelling). Other than that, Formentera’s main attractions are sunbathing, partying and exploring. It appears to be picking up steam (and interest) from social media savvy tourists, too, with many of Formentera’s popular spots being tagged time and time again in travellers’ pictures.

Maybe it’s time to make the pilgrimage?

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