Cala Saona Beach in Formentera

What is life like on Formentera? As the smallest of the Balearic Islands Formentera life has a very distinct feel to it. At just 19 kilometers in length, and with Sant Francesc being tiny 'capital' made up of a few cafes and shops, the locals have an intimate lifestyle where faces soon become familiar.

There are really two types of Formentera life. There is the island of the summer when tens of thousands of Europeans flood in, and then there are the winter months where the population drops back down to below 7,500. It is these winter months where you get a true flavor of the place.

Sant Francesc Xavier, Sant Ferran de ses Roques, El Pilar de la Mola and La Savina are the main focal points for life, but they are surrounded by farmland and oceans. This is a rural community really, that gears itself up for summer tourism as a money maker.

Although Formentera is known for its nude sunbathing, this is not something that you will see people indulging in outside of summer season. It seems to be something that the Italian and French visitors take to with far more enthusiasm than the locals.

The fact that Formentera can only be reached by boat from Ibiza has helped it maintain its true flavor. Of all the Balearics it is the most natural, and you will truly be able to understand just what the Illes Pitiuses (the pine islands) are all about.

You won't find art deco homes, hip nightclubs, or indeed any kind of high fashion on Formentera. What you will find is authentic rural farmhouses, unspoilt beaches, and simple, tasty food. One funny thing you'll notice is that around 50% of the locals all drive the same design of white van. It's practicality first on this island.

You are never far from the sea, and the calming cool breeze keeps the farmers content. However, it can get pretty hot, to the point where the seas reach tropical temperatures, during the summer months. These temperatures can make growing some produce difficult, but the figs, almonds and olives are ideal dry farming trees, and Formentera produces plenty of them.

To enjoy the true Formentera life you will need to pick up the local dialect of Catalan, which is similar to Catalan. As a visitor the use of Spanish is fine, but you will be missing out on the true local life!