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Outdoor activities in Formentera

As we launch our Green Traveller's Guide to Formentera, Rhiannon Batten features a range of adventure and other outdoor activities on this beautiful island.

All photos credit Formentera Tourism, where not indicated see below for individual credits

Activities in Formentera


Bike, E-bike & Scooter Hire

Formentera is the smallest inhabited island in the Balearic archipelago, at only 83 square kilometres. This small size, paired with fairly gentle terrain, make it a great place to discover on two wheels. Whether you prefer a touring bike, mountain bike, an e-bike or an Askoll electric scooter, Moto Rent Pujols can arrange a suitable vehicle to help you get out and about in a low-impact way (the company also rents electric cars if you need four wheels rather than two), a focus that has helped it win an eco label from Ibiza Spotlight magazine. All these vehicles can be collected from Moto Rent Pujols’ office, outside the ferry terminal in La Savina, or delivered direct to your accommodation. motorentpujols.com


Festivals

Highlights of island life for Formentera’s residents, each town has its own patron saint’s day, from Sant Ferran on 30 May and Sant Joan on 24 June to the Virgen del Carmen, patron saint of the sea (centred on La Savina and Es Pujols) on 16 July, Sant Jaume on 25 July, Santa Maria on 5 August, Virgen del Pilar on 12 October and Sant Francesc Xavier on 3 December. For fortunate visitors who happen to be on the island when these festivities are taking place it’s a wonderful chance to hear the island’s traditional songs, and to catch a glimpse of la llarga and la curta, traditional ‘long’ and ‘short’ dances whose rhythm patterns correspond to their names. Experts believe the latter have been performed on the island for over five centuries. formentera.es


Green Routes

Whether you want to wonder at the megalithic tomb at Ca na Costa, track down some of the island’s 17 native species of orchids, explore the Roman castle at Can Blai or spot Formentera’s unique fig tree formations (over time their branches have been moulded into distinctive, canopy-like horizontal platforms), there’s a Formentera ‘green route’ that will take you there. A network of 32 signposted walking, running and cycling trails criss-crossing the island, each route can be followed independently or linked together to form a longer excursion.

cyclist on path to lighthouse and sea in distance
Photo: Jose A Arribas/Formentera Tourism

Cycling

Visitors staying in La Savina, Es Pujols, Sant Francesc and Saint Ferran can make use of a handy tool for exploring this busy northern corner of the island more efficiently by bike: the Metrominut Formentera map includes route details and timings for eight different cycle trails around the region, including towns, beaches and sites of interest; the longest section takes just 23 minutes. Rather pedal along with a guide? Formentera Bike Tours runs six different trips around the island, making the most of its scenic green routes to lead visitors to destinations such as Illetas beach and La Mola lighthouse. Tours typically last for around four hours and include plenty of time to enjoy the sights along the way. E-bike hire is included. formenteraebikestours.com


Watersports

Spend a little time on one of Formentera’s dazzling white-sand beaches and the shimmering cerulean waters that lap it will soon start to beckon. Whether you prefer to explore them via a gentle afternoon’s snorkelling, an expedition by kayak to paddle over Posidonia meadows, a voyage to ‘secret’ coves in a skippered yacht or catamaran, a high-adrenalin wakeboarding session or a short windsurfing lesson with the family, this maritime-minded island caters just as well for those who want to explore its coastline from the water as it does for those who prefer to do their adventuring ashore.

windsurfing on turquoise sea
Photo: Jose_A_Arribas/Formentera Tourism

Paddle yoga

The name is a giveaway at Es Pujols-based Wet4Fun. One of the best-known watersports operators on Formentera, it offers everything from sailing, kayaking and windsurfing to SUP hire. If you fancy trying something different, however, how about paddleboard yoga? These 90-minute sessions are a mindful way to start or end a day by the water (or, in this case, on it). Running three times a week, the sessions start with a 45-minute SUP tour before moving on to 45 minutes of yoga and all equipment and instruction is included. wet4fun.com


Scuba diving

The popularity of scuba diving on Formentera is in no small part thanks to the existence of its posidonia oceanica seagrass plant meadows. These unique underwater seagrass fields help to oxygenate the water and maintain its clarity; visibility is so good that octopus, barracuda, plaice, grouper, bream, red mullet, moray eels, starfish and sponges are regularly seen. Some lucky divers report seeing turtles and dolphins too. Whether you want to give scuba a go for the first time or you’re an experienced diver, the island’s four local scuba companies will be glad to show you the ropes (or, rather, the reefs).

fish and meadows of posidonia oceanica
Formentera's underwater seagrass fields help to oxygenate the water and maintain its clarity. Photo: Jose A Arribas/Formentera Tourism

Horseriding

It may only take a morning to whizz around Formentera by car but you get to see more of its magic by venturing into its hinterlands on horseback. Local, family-owned riding operator, Rutas Es Boixets, takes pride in seeking out the island’s quieter, most scenic paths for visitors. From private lessons for complete beginners to gentle one-hour excursions through pine and juniper forests or 2.5-hour dawn treks for more experienced riders that include the chance to ride horses along the surf, all abilities are welcome. rutasesboixets.com

three horse-riders at sunset
Horseriding is popular was to explore the island's quieter, most scenic paths. Photo: Formentera Tourism

Birdwatching

With a location along migration routes between Europe and Africa, it’s no surprise that Formentera is a hotspot for birdwatching; over 200 species can be seen on the island year-round. A large proportion of Formentera is also part of the EU’s Natura 2000 network of protected breeding and resting sites for rare and threatened species. The varied range of habitats the island provides, from uninhabited islets to long dune systems, coastal juniper trees and saltwater wetlands, means rare species such as the Balearic shearwater flourish here, as do gulls, gannets, Eurasian hoopoes and even flamingos.

flamingos walking in water with trees in background
Photo: Josean Arribas/Formenter Tourism

Flora and Fauna

Away from the island’s bars and beaches a different side of island life awaits exploration. As well as its famed offshore meadows of the posidonia oceanica seagrass plant, Formentera’s inland plant life is so rich (over 600 species have been counted here) and its habitats so diverse that a large part of the island is now protected under two schemes – the Parc Natural de ses Salines and the Natura 2000 network. If you’re a keen botanist it’s well worth packing your binoculars; local highlights include an aromatic species of thyme (thymbra capitata), traditionally used to season local figs, rare Can Rita oaks, pretty pink molinet (silene cambessedesii), endemic sea-lavenders (including Limonium formenterae) and 17 species of orchids. Trips are best timed for the spring or autumn if you want to catch the island’s flowering species in bloom.


Running

A mild climate, fairly level terrain and a proliferation of off-road green routes makes Formentera an increasingly popular destination for runners. The chance to pass scenic pine and juniper forests, seafronts, lighthouses and quiet coves along the way are an added bonus. It’s not just about enjoying peaceful training runs, however. Formentera also plays host to several annual races, from the Formentera All Round Trail, a 72.5-kilometre race that circuits the island’s coast, to the John Tunks Memorial Constitution Race; the oldest race on the Balearic Islands this includes a 400-metre option for children, a 2,800m people’s race and a 12km circuit around Estany Pudent.

Running alongside Migjorn beach. Photo: Formentera Tourism

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The google map below shows the location and details of all the places to stay, local food and drink, nearby attractions and activities in our Green Traveller's Guide to Formentera:

Green = Places to stay Blue = Local food & drink Yellow = Attractions Purple = Activities


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