Formentera is the smallest island of the Balearic Islands. It consists of 69 km of coastline, with over 20km of sandy and clear beaches and beautiful cliffs. The island was formerly reachable only by boat from Ibiza. It is separated by a channel of 3.6 km. Furthermore, together with Ibiza and multiple islets those surround both, they are called Pitiusic Islands.
Between Ibiza and Formentera are the following islands: Portes, Caragolé, Penjats (Hanged), Negres, Punta Rama, Illa d’en Poros, Torretes, Gastaví, Illa de S’Alga, Espalmador, Espardell and Espardelló. Also, there are other islands around Formentera as Forn, Redona, Es Pujols, Aigües Dolcas and Sabina. Thanks to its inaccessibility makes it an ideal place to relax, away from the stress and overcrowding. It is also characterized because it is very flat. Just there are not mountains. Its maximum height is 192m, which is located the Mola cliff. It is unspoilt environment makes it the jewel of the Mediterranean. The big difference for the rest of the Mediterranean beaches is the large life posidonia fields that surround the island.
Posidonia is a natural purifier. Because it cleans water and allows the deposition of sand on the shoreline. It is the only natural area in the whole Mediterranean Sea included on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1999.
In this natural park, “Ses Salines“, more than 20 minerals and trace elements derived from marine waters which were purified. They offer organic mineral salts and higher quality to promote well-being and health. For culinary use, it is the lowest sodium salt produced in Spain. Perfect for people who they do cardiovascular diets.
The success of their conservation and scenic charm is because the government has managed to create a symbiosis with environmental protection, the survival of their culture and tourism. Visitors have the same respect for nature. They enjoy the crystal clear beaches and its mild and warm climate. Another peculiarity is its geography. It has Mediterranean vegetation zones, others pine and juniper forests, other dune and other conifers. The fauna which lives in this atmosphere, it is native species. There are birds, reptiles, beetles and abundant aquatic fauna predominates in streams and wetlands.
As a result, the inhabitants of the island have had to develop new piping systems for water, because there are few water wells, rivers and sources. They cater for the use of the rain. In addition, other big problem is the plough. Because there are very few areas that they are fruitful and where you can generate agriculture. But, one of the unique trees to stand by the action of man is the fig tree. The method to cultivate and grow the fruit horizontally, has allowed that it was listed in the “Llibre Blanc de Protecció d’Espècies del Govern de les Illes Balears”.
On the other hand, Formentera has a culture very versatile. We have the traditional dances from the Pitiusic Islands, which are represented in the island’s main festivities. The Farmer Dance (Baile Payés) is the typical dance and it was very popular during weddings. The man invites the woman to dance with a swipe of castanets. The woman, dressed in traditional costume (called “emprendades“) and gold valuable jewelry, seduces the man. As she turns staring at the floor, the man gives rhythmic leaps around. The music is played by a flute, a drum and castanets that mark the beat. “Sa Curta” Dance (the short one), was danced by uncles and grandparents during weddings, it is a very simple dance. Then “Sa Llarga” Dance, (The long one) was danced by the rest of the guests, is much quicker dance where the man jumps around the lady. And finally the new married couple dance nine circles “Les nou rodades“.
Other activity related to folklore is “Las Cantadas”. It is a family or neighborhood meeting, where they express themes of love or everyday life. At the end of each verse finishes with a vocal ornamentation. Currently, you could only be listened at certain festivals or clubs retirees. And finally, “Las Caramelles”. It is music and a devotion manifestation linked to two specific dates in the liturgical calendar: Christmas Eve and Easter Sunday. Two men singing and accompanied by castanets and an “espasí” (broadsword: percussion metal instrument). A third plays the drum and flute. They are represented in churches during Mass, after the Gospel reading or at the end of the celebration. In 2005, at Christmas, Caramelles were declared an immaterial Cultural Heritage.
The excellent cuisine of Formentera boasts of a rich Mediterranean cuisine using fresh and traditional production. The fresh fish is the predominant ingredient. It is very used and it is cooked in a thousand ways (in stews, grilled, boiled). But we could find other dishes very delicious. We highlight “Panades”. It is consumed at Easter. They are like cakes or sweet dough, filled with meat or fish, peas, Majorcan sausage, bacon, onions and spices.
Another widely used condiment are capers (Tàperes). They are packed and they are used for sauces or they are used as an ingredient. Its promotion increases more consumption. But, if you prefer desserts, here you have a list with the most typical of the island: Flaó, is a round cake made with eggs and cheese. Typical Easter and accompanied by Frígola.
Other well-known dessert is Greixonera. It is a cinnamon-scented pudding. It is made of: spiral-shaped pastry (previous day), eggs, butter, milk, sugar, cinnamon and lemon.
And you cannot miss, traditional liquor, the Frígola. It is a sweet liqueur that its essential component is the thyme. Ideal for desserts and is usually taken after meals, with or without ice.
Definitely Formentera is amazing. Its natural beauty is indescribable. This is the reason that it is Pearl of the Mediterranean!.