The road heading northeast out of La Savina, in the direction of the northernmost point of Formentera, takes you along a narrow strip of land that separates the Estany Pudent from the sea. This same road passes the beach of Cavall d'en Borràs, only about a 20-minute walk from the town, making it popular with day-trippers from Ibiza. Although exposed to wind from the west, it is a generally calm beach with clear waters and fine sand, with the added advantage of sand dunes topped by juniper trees offering some shade. There are a few xiringuitos here and it is a great place to take in the most beautiful sunsets. At the northern end of the beach is Es Molí de Sal, a former mill where salt was once processed and shipments prepared. Nowadays the mill and other buildings, both original and added, dominate the surrounding landscape as they are built atop a rock, and are home to a seafood restaurant.
Continuing northwards towards the top of the island on Es Trocadors peninsula, the next beach you come to is one of the most famous - Platja de Ses Illetes. This beach has been named the best in Spain on a number of occasions, making it quite trendy and hip, aided by the fact that is only 4km from La Savina and 5km from Es Pujols. Its name translates as “Beach of the Islets” for reasons that become obvious as soon as you arrive, with several small islands protecting the beach from big waves. Poseidonia Oceanica, a seagrass species endemic to the Mediterranean, is plentiful here and releases lots of oxygen into the waters, making it especially crystal clear. Nudism is common on Ses Illetes.
On the other side of Es Trocadors peninsula is Platja de Llevant. The name makes sense as Llevant is the Catalan word for “East”, and at the top end of both beaches, it could almost be said that Llevant and Ses Illetes are really two faces of the same beach, one facing east, the other west, separated only by a few sand dunes. Platja de Llevant is the longer and straighter of the two and is equally popular with nudists. It tends to get a bit less crowded than Ses Illetes as it gets more wind and choppy waves, making it a favourite of surfers. There are a few xiringuitos (beach bars) and a restaurant. In its southern part, the Es Trocadors peninsula widens, and an area of pine forest progressively separates Llevant beach from the other side with the Salines d'en Marroig (salt flats) in the middle.
Further south are a couple of small beach coves called Trucadors, Sa Roqueta and Platja de ses Canyes, which are almost a continuation of Platja de Llevant, only separated by a few rocky outcrops. Platja des Trucadors is sheltered by grassy sand dunes in a secluded and protected area, and it doesn’t usually get too crowded. Sa Roqueta and Platja de ses Canyas are also less well known and frequented, but are popular with nudists. There is a hotel with a restaurant at the southern end.
Below these coves we come to Platja Es Pujols. There are lots of facilities and conveniences to be found on this beach - including a wheelchair ramp into the sea - and as a result, it is one of the busiest beaches on Formentera. The water is less deep here, making it especially popular with families, and there is less nudism here than on other beaches. It is probably the most developed of Formentera’s beaches, and it caters for all budgets.
Set amid some craggy rocky cliffs, this small secluded bay has a stony beach with shallow waters. The impressively rugged landscape means it is less accessible than most of the beaches of Formentera, but also one of the most beautifully unique. Cala en Baster is typically frequented by nudists and also those who enjoy snorkelling, swimming, diving and cliff-jumping.
The next stretch of the coast south of Cala En Baster is mostly rocky, although there are a couple of small coves along the way, namely Platja Es Carnatge and Platja de Tramuntana. The latter is named after the cold and often very strong Tramuntana wind which blows from the north, which has shaped this part of the Formentera coast. We find sand again at Ses Platgetes beach, just above the small settlement of Es Caló. Ses Platgetes means “The Little Beaches” and it is aptly named as there are three small coves adjacent to each other, divided by rocks that form natural pools. It tends not to get too busy here and it’s a great place for snorkelling, or for just relaxing in nature. There are no eateries, but it’s only a short distance from Es Caló, where you can find some fine seafood or have a drink while catching a few rays on a terrace.
On the southern side of the island, but only a short distance away from Es Caló, is Cala Es Ram. It’s only a small cove and it’s a mostly rocky beach with a mixture of pebbles and sand, but its secluded location means most people never make it here, despite the impressive views. Its crystal clear turquoise waters are ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and especially for the best snorkelling on the island, according to many visitors.
Although only a few hundred metres from Cala Es Ram, Caló des Mort is a much busier little beach. The cove is quite secluded but it’s known for being one of the most picturesque in all Formentera and its clear waters offer great snorkelling, and so it attracts the crowds during the high season. The sandy beach is backed by cliffs of reddish rock and there are a couple of fishermen’s huts that add to its charm. Access is by a set of steep steps and the views from up top are panoramic. Also up top is a xiringuito from where you can enjoy those views at your leisure over a lazy drink or two.
Just above Caló Es Mort is a resort hotel dividing it from our next beach, Platja Es Arenals. This one is popular with families due to its ease of access and the facilities on offer. There are several reasonably-priced places to eat or have a drink and there is a free car park, albeit a small one. It has a bohemian feel to it, although there is less nudity than on many other beaches on Formentera.
Platja de Migjorn is considered Formenters’a longest beach at almost 8km, although in reality, it is a succession of sandbanks occasionally interrupted by stretches of rocky soil. Some sections actually have their own names, such as Es Ca Marí, Racó Fondo, Es Còdol Foradat, Els Valencians, and so on, all the way down to Els Arenals. Parasols, loungers and hammocks can be rented here, and there are plenty of food and drink stalls along the way, including a couple of kinda famous ones! You’ll see more Formentera locals on this easily accessible beach, and also families, although there is quite a lot of nudity too - but then, where isn’t there on Formentera! Some offshore reefs parallel to the beach can cause currents, so if red flags are flying it’s wise to respect them and stay out of the water.
All the way back over on the western coast is Cala Saona, renowned for its white sand and the transparency of its water. Although only a 140m long beach set into a relatively small cove, it could be called the “premium” beach of Formentera and it has a hotel, xiringuito and a couple of restaurants all overlooking the bay. Behind the beach, there is a thick pine forest that mostly hides any other buildings, and there are some nice walking paths beneath the trees. You can also walk along the low cliffs to Punta Rasa, a popular spot for taking in the sunset. The car park here is free and is pretty family-friendly with not very many naturists.
So, we’ve come around full circle - even if Formentera is pretty far from circular - but we’re not quite finished yet! There’s an island off the island with a couple of gorgeous beaches of its own, and it’s called S’Espalmador! The short hop across the Pas de S’Espalmador to the beautiful Platja de S'Alga looks tempting enough to try and paddle or swim across from the tip of Es Trocadors peninsula, but best not. Although it is a kind of informal rite of passage for anyone who wants to be considered an adopted Formenteran, it’s only feasible to walk across when the sea is very calm and the tide low, and swimming across during high tide is not recommended due to currents. Most cross by boat, and indeed, many visitors to S’Espalmador come across from Ibiza. The islet is actually privately owned, but the general public is allowed access. There is only the one house here, and apart from that there are no buildings except for an old watchtower, from where one can enjoy some spectacular sunsets. At the top end of S’Espalmador is our last beach, the gorgeous Platja de la Torreta which is protected by a tiny little island, Illa de la Torreta, which gives the beach its name. In the middle of S’Espalmador, there are some natural mud baths too - if that’s your kind of thing!