The hippie movement may be fractured and lack cohesiveness these days but many still adhere to the ideals and freedoms that formed the heart of the culture back in the 1960s. Likewise, many still travel to enclaves that were fashionable hippie hangouts back in the day, and many places on the hippie trail retain a laid back and alternative vibe. Formentera is one such destination. This island in the Balearics, to the south of Ibiza, was a hippie favourite – pink Floyd made one of their albums here – and it retains today a relaxed atmosphere. This is somewhere people come to escape from the rat race and the daily grind and consumer culture. Formentera has fortunately escaped the over-development that has blighted portions of the other Balearic Islands. It is an unspoiled paradise of free and easy sunbathing (routinely in the nude), pristine sands and arid, rosemary covered hillsides.
A stay on Formentera is all about nature. Whether you choose to sail on the water, snorkel or dive under it, whether you hike, or bike around the paths and roads of the island, observing the wonders of nature is what it is all about. If you want to experience the quieter and more laid back island then come any time of year except July-August, when crowds do appear. Many Italian voices are to be heard, through people do arrive from all over Europe. Instead, come out of season to experience the true essence of this tranquil island.
Climb the Mirador La Mola Lighthouse for lovely views out over the beaches and the azure sea. The walk up the Cami Roma (Roman path) from Es Calo to La Mola is well worth taking. Be sure also to visit some of the many gorgeous beaches on the island, or hike on the board walks through the salt marshes nead Salina. Spend some time watching the brilliant green wall lizards that thrive in the arid brush land. Wander through La Mola and be sure to stop to look at some of the handicrafts on offer in the little market.
Another lighthouse worth a visit is Cap de Barbária and at sunset, the ‘forest’ of rock formations is truly spectacular. The sunsets should be experienced from many different spots on the island. So head for a delicious meal of paella and other local food at one of the groovy cafés, then head out on foot or by bike to one of the many beauty spots and simply relax in the quiet, tranquil surroundings as you watch the sun go down.
When exploring this fascinating island, do not neglect those portions that lie beneath the water. This is a perfect place to snorkel. Not to do so would be to miss out on some of the island’s most beautiful and varied sights.
Formentera may not offer the excitement, historic sites and nightlife of Ibiza but perhaps it is all the better for its laid back attitude to tourism. Long may it remain so peaceful and unspoiled.