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Formentera Tourism Article

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Formentera is the smallest of the inhabited Balearic Islands, measuring just about 12 miles (17km) in total length. Tourism started there in the sixties when Formentera, like its neighbour Ibiza, became home to a big hippy community. Fortunately though, large scale redevelopment has been prohibited, and this relaxed island remains mostly unspoiled. Tourists are attracted to Formentera for its wonderful natural beauty, fine beaches and the diversity of natural wildlife.

The existence of a Bronze Age burial site at Ca Na Costa provides good evidence that some people have been inhabiting the island for at least 3,500 years. During its known history Formentera has been occupied i turn by the Romans (who constructed the castle of Can Blai), then the Vandals, Byzantines and Moors. The Christians then arrived in about 1235ad, but Formentera would later be blighted by disease, starvation and constant pirate attacks, this resulted in a total population decline. It was not until the modern era of the sixties and the start of tourism that Formentera saw an upturn in fortune.

To learn more about the social history of Formentera Island, visit the Museu d Etnografia in the modern capital Sant Francesc Xavier which is worth an afternoon. This interesting museum is packed full of old photographs and other local exhibits that examine the local salt production. Other visitor attractions in Sant Francesc include some rather strange shops and the 18th century church. The main resort of Formentera is Es Pujols which has a few quality restaurants and bars. South of Es Pujols is Sant Feron de ses Roques, once the base of the large hippy colony that used to meet at the renowned Fonda Pepe cafe and bar.

Formentera beaches are plentiful, in fact you are spoiled for choice and with the exception of the occasional nudist, many of these are usually completely empty. The most popular beach on the island is Platya de ses Illetes, near to the quaint harbour of La Savina. Further north of here, at end of a long narrow isthmus, known as the Punta de Trucadors, is the very small island of Espalmador, while further south are the salt lagoons which now compose a nature reserve. The biggest beach is Platja Migjorn, is found on the southern coast of the island midway of Cap de Barbara and the Punta de La Mola in the south east tip. La Mola is the highest point, reaching about 600 ft above mean sea level, and is also the site the old lighthouse originally built in 1861.

With all the crystal clear seas that surround the Formentera island, it is no wonder that it is a very popular destination for sub aqua divers and snorkelers. Other outdoor tourist activities that can be taken here include cycling (Formentera is quite flat) and walking. Formentera has a strong cultural identity and this is seen in the many festivals which take place throughout the year. They include Sant Ferran (30 May), Sant Jaume (25 July) and Sant Francesc Xavier (3 December), which usually show local folk music and dance.

There is no international airport on the island, but there is a good ferry service that traverses the 12 miles of sea between Formentera and Ibiza. Hotel accommodation is quite short on the island, so most tourists who arrive tend to be day trippers.
Loads more travel advice and tourist information about the attractions on Formentera can be seen at Formentera

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