Formentera is perhaps the last stronghold of the relaxed spirit of the Balearics in the 1960s. The laidback vibe that drew Bob Dylan here still lingers on this languid island, thanks in part to its World Heritage listing and the ban on beachside construction. Dylan was happy to live in a windmill, but now there are luxury boutique hotels available to use as bases on this unspoilt and extremely beautiful small island.
It doesn't take long to explore - Formentera is no more than two flat promontories linked by a narrow sandy isthmus, but it's easy to lose hours on the stunning beaches. These are probably the best beaches in all Spain - long, sandy, white, lapped by incredibly clear water. Platja Illetes is certainly the finest beach in the southern Balearics, a sandy sliver of shiny white edging shallow warm water.
Es Pujols is also popular, while s'Alga is delightful, a sheltered cove beach with calm turquoise sea to splash in. Cala Saona is gorgeous all day right into the evening, offering one of the best spots to watch the sun sink into the sea, the distant outlines of Ibiza and Es Vedrà merging into the pink and gold sunset.
Just as shimmering are the saltpans at the top of Formentera, no longer used commercially so now an important wetland zone, attracting terns, flamingos and other waders. At the southernmost tip lies the Cap de Barbària, named after the North African pirates that plundered their way past. Isolated, slightly surreal in its bleak beauty. The lighthouse here is a good point from which to watch peregrine falcons hovering above the beguiling blue waters of the Mediterranean.
Inland lies further beauty in the form of vines and wheat fields and fig trees, bordered here and there by original dry-stone walls, while more diversions can be found at the glittering harbour and working port of La Savina, where luxury yachts add a glamorous vibe to this chilled island. La Savina will be the first sight for visitors - charmingly, Formentera is too small to allow for an airport, so visitors arrive by sea, usually by ferry from Ibiza, or on a super yacht from the Spanish mainland.