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SECRET MEDITERRANEAN ISLANDS

Island-hopping has been part of Mediterranean life since the days of Greek legend – find the perfect spot for your own odyssey away with nine lesser-known islands

FORMENTERA, SPAIN

POPULATION: 12,000

SIZE: 32 SQ MILES

Best for PRISTINE WATERS

The mile-long beach of Platja de ses Illetes stretches north in a point towards neighbouring Ibiza

To some, Balearic island holidays mean big resorts, raucous nightclubs and violent hangovers. Just half an hour’s sailing south of Ibiza’s louder distractions, however, lies a very different proposition – Formentera: a tiny island of lonely lighthouses, saltwater lagoons, sleepy villages and, erm, not an awful lot else. And therein lies the appeal. On Formentera, scheduled entertainment means dawdling away afternoons watching plaza life from al fresco cafés, and nightlife means a solitary guitar strummed on the beach after sunset.

Start exploring at the microscopic capital of Sant Francesc Xavier, a jumble of whitewashed alleys and ancient churches. From here, follow country lanes southwest to the beach of Cala Saona – perhaps the most beautiful expanse of sand on Formentera, which itself claims the best beaches in the Balearics. Here you’ll find waters sparkling a vivid shade of blue, and a shoreline undeveloped but for simple shacks selling fried fish, freshly reeled from the shallows of the Med.

EAT Can Forn is a family-run seafood restaurant in Sant Ferran de ses Roques. Try their calamar a la bruta – calamari with Mallorcan sausage and squid ink (mains from £7; Carrer Major 39).

STAY Es Marès is a small hotel in Sant Francesc Xavier offering fine accommodation; stylish rooms feature driftwood furniture and sandstone surfaces (from £160; hotelesmares.com).

GETTING THERE Most visitors to Formentera arrive from Ibiza – there are fast ferries daily from Ibiza Town (from £29 return; mediterraneapitiusa. com). BA, easyJet, Jet2, Norwegian, Ryanair and Thomson fly to Ibiza from a wide variety of UK airports (from £95; ryanair.com).

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - June 2015
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