Sailing to Ibiza and Formentera from Denia, Spain – A 4-Night Itinerary
For many, sailing to Ibiza and Formentera is one of their travel bucket list items. It certainly was for us, and now that we’ve checked it off our list, we have some great recommendations and helpful insight we’d love to share with you.
Sailing is such a spectacular way to travel and it doesn’t have to be as daunting as it may seem, even if you’re a first-timer to overnight sailing trips. It was my first time overnight on a sailboat and I loved it!
Even if you’re not sailing but visiting Ibiza and Formentera, you’ll want to know about these key beaches that we experienced. Whether you’re an experienced sailor or not, a first-timer or frequent sailor, here is our four-night itinerary for a great time sailing to Ibiza and Formentera.
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A Little About Ibiza & Formentera
Above Image – The morning light at Cala Comte in Ibiza.
Ahh, the enchanting Mediterranean islands of Ibiza and Formentera. It’s very likely that you’ve heard of Ibiza, the bohemian land of house music, night clubs, and Spring Break style partying. This ongoing party scene calls Ibiza Town home, while the rest of the island can be more natural, less crowded, and even quiet.
At 572 square kilometers, Ibiza’s mountainous, sun drenched terrain is six times smaller than Mallorca but five times larger than Mykonos. It’s coastline is dotted with picturesque beaches like the jewels of a beautiful necklace.
The neighboring island of Formentera is said to be what Ibiza was over 20 years ago. And we would agree. It has primarily flat terrain, with the exception of a rising plateau at one end of the island where the village El Pilar de la Mola is located. This, along with Formentera’s 32 green routes, make it ideal for cycling and walking around the island.
Formentera is also the most southerly and smallest of Spain’s Balearic Islands. Some of its beautiful and numerous beaches shimmer with the pink sands known to this island.
Sailing to Ibiza and Formentera is such an ideal trip because the two islands are so close to each other. From Ibiza Town to Formentera is only 24 km. To take the ferry from Ibiza Town to Formentera takes about 35 minutes and to sail from Ibiza Town to Formentera can take up to an hour or so.
TRAVEL EXPERT INSIGHT
There are various ferries between Ibiza and Formentera and they vary in duration so be on the lookout for the quicker ones.
The Best Port for Sailing to Ibiza and Formentera
One can sail from Valencia or Alicante to Ibiza and Formentera, but it will take you a lot longer. Denia is the best port from which to sail to Ibiza and Formentera. It is one of the beloved Mediterranean beach towns in the Valencia Community. This is also the town where we live and the headquarters for the Balearia Ferry company. Our article here is based on sailing to Ibiza and Formentera from Denia.
The local charter company that we sailed with on this trip was Punta Estrella Yachts, based in the Marina de Denia. We had previously sailed with them on day sailing trips along the Costa Blanca and always had a great time.
We privately chartered a 50-foot sailboat with a skipper since none of us had a sailing license and so that we did not have to do all the sailing and could really relax. Out of six of us friends (three couples), two of us had extensive experience sailing. The rest of us were pretty new at it.
Keep in mind that food and beverage are not included in most private sailing charters, so make sure to plan a menu and time your grocery shopping for when you depart. Lesson learned – we took too much food with us because there will be places on the beaches to eat as well.
READ MORE: Learn About Life in Denia, Spain
Night 1 – Sailing to Ibiza and Formentera
Above Image – The trusty skipper Felix at the wheel while sailing through the night.
You start off with loading the boat and getting settled into cabins, usually around six o’clock in the evening. Then it’s dinner either onboard or at one of the great restaurants in the Marina de Denia. Usually around sunset, it’s time to set sail.
Did you know that when sailing to Ibiza and Formentera from Denia, they typically leave at night? I previously had no idea and it was a really neat experience to sail under the stars. The reason why they do this is because it takes approximately eight hours to sail from Denia to Ibiza and Formentera, during which the motor is typically used rather than sails.
You of course get a night’s sleep and by having the skipper sail through the night, you arrive at your first beach in Ibiza with a whole day ahead of you. So really, this itinerary is four nights and four days.
TRAVEL EXPERT INSIGHT
If you think you may get sea sickness, make sure to take one of the best sea sickness medicines about an hour to 30 minutes before setting sail. Another trick is to put one ear plug into one of your ears, thus balancing out your equilibrium.
Day 1 – Play in Cala Comte, Ibiza
Above Image – An unforgettable sunrise at Cala Comte in Ibiza.
Wake up to a beautiful sunrise in the magical Cala Comte in Ibiza. Located on the west coast of Ibiza, it makes it an ideal first stop when sailing from Spain’s mainland. It is a charmingly small cove and right next to it is an even tinier cove called Cala Escondida, which means hidden (that says it all).
After breakfast onboard, take your first dip in the pristine, crystal-clear waters. Enjoy snorkeling, with plenty of fish to see even right around your sailboat. If your charter includes paddle boards, like ours did, explore more of the cala while getting a good core workout.
Taking the paddle boards or the motorized dinghy, visit the beach, part of which is sand and some parts that are a little rocky. At some point in the day, make sure to savor some drinks and tapas at the Chiringuito Cala Escondida. Our friends kept calling it a hippie shack and it adorably is just that. We loved the friendly staff there along with the delicious cocktails and fruit smoothies.
Have lunch and/or dinner onboard your sailboat, or at one of the two restaurants that are up on the small cliffs above Cala Comte. You can choose between Sunset Ashram or Restaurante S’Illa Des Bosc for a more fine dining experience.
Night 2 – Anchored Overnight in Cala Comte, Ibiza
Above Image – The sunset at Cala Comte, Ibiza.
We highly recommend having dinner onboard to enjoy the sunset in such a unique way. We’re glad that we did.
Then maybe you indulge in a night swim or simply skip straight to star-gazing from the deck.
On this first night, you’ll stay anchored in Cala Comte for a peaceful night’s rest that will rock you to sleep like a baby.
Day 2 – Sailing to Las Salinas Playa, Ibiza
Above Image – The coastline on the way to Playa las Salinas.
The next morning, you can sleep in as your skipper gets an early morning start with the sunrise. This way, you can make the most of your next beach destination.
While you sail along the western coast of Ibiza, enjoy breakfast on the deck as you take in the fantastic views. The coastline here curves with rocky cliffs that reveal pocketed coves. Along the tops of the ridges, you can admire white washed villas that even from a distance look impressive and stunning. But for the most part, a lot of this coastline appears free of civilization and is pure nature.
Above Image – The miniature islands of rock outcroppings while sailing along Ibiza.
You’ll arrive next at Las Salinas Playa. This beach is nearer Ibiza Town, which may be good or annoying, depending on your preference. If you feel like venturing on land, it’s a 30-minute bus ride to Ibiza Town from here. The Las Salinas Beach is also next to a natural park where salt flats still exist, thus its name.
Have lunch onboard or take the dinghy to the mainland for one of the restaurants. But be forewarned that the restaurants here are quite overpriced and not known for good food. We simply enjoyed the sandy beach and a cocktail (some of the most expensive we’ve had in Spain). I recommend taking with you to the beach your own drinks, and perhaps a picnic as well.
Night 3 – Anchored Overnight in Las Salinas Playa, Ibiza
Above Image – More views of the Ibiza coastline.
After enjoying the beach, relax on your sailboat and have another great sunset dinner and night under the stars.
Depending on how many other boats are near you, it may be a good place to paddle board. Typically though this is a popular beach and can be busy. There was even a sailing school of over a dozen sunfish practice boats that came a bit too close to our boat. Nothing happened fortunately but it was a bit annoying.
TRAVEL EXPERT INSIGHT
We, and our friends, did not care for this beach at all. It was very crowded with other boats and not as beautiful as Cala Comte. We recommend staying the first two nights in Cala Comte instead and skipping this beach all together.
Day 3 – Sailing from Ibiza to Formentera
Above Image – An incredible sunrise on the crossing to Formentera.
That’s right – another early morning departure, and this one even before sunrise. But with a skipper, you don’t have to be the one to wake up for that. Of course, sailing from Ibiza to Formentera is a beautiful site, especially at sunrise.
At whatever point you arise, enjoy breakfast onboard, admiring the coastline of Formentera as it starts to appear. I remember that seeing the sunrise over the strait between Ibiza and Formentera, was a touchingly beautiful sight.
You’ll pass a small, rocky island that has only a lighthouse on it, and then cruise by the Playa de Illetes. This super narrow stretch of sandy beach has shimmering pink sands and is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Spain. Its aquamarine waters will remind you of the Caribbean.
Time to Discover Cala Saona in Formentera
Above Image – Pictures don’t do justice to the beauty of the Cala Saona in Formentera.
Continuing past the main town and port of La Savina, you’ll head further down the west coast of Formentera to anchor in the amazing Cala Saona. Being here is the perfect way to end any sailing trip. This small cove is the epitome of Formentera beauty and a picturesque getaway.
Once here, prepare to fall in love even more with the Mediterranean Sea. Spend your time snorkeling and paddle boarding your heart out.
Venture to the beach and go onshore for lunch and drinks at the Chiringuito Saona. This bohemian hippie shack serves up great food and beach cocktails on the small cliffs to one end of the beach. From here, and really all around, you get idyllic views.
Above Image – Views from the cliffs above the Cala Saona.
From the chiringuito (beach bar) enjoy a short walk further out along the cliff tops to the Punta Rasa historical landmarks. It will give even more breathtaking views of the sea and coastline.
Getting tired? I wouldn’t be surprised. All this having fun, swimming and eating and drinking in the sun will wear you out. Take a siesta on one of the sun beds you can rent back on the beach.
Then head back to the sailboat to get freshened up and enjoy some pre-dinner drinks and sunset on the water.
Night 4 – Anchored Overnight in Cala Saona, Formentera
Above Image – Sunset from the Cala Saona.
For a special finale to the trip, have dinner in the Hotel Cala Saona restaurant. Their outdoor terrace has beautiful views and great food. You can opt to see the sunset from here instead of the boat. Either way, it’s a beautiful setting.
After a great meal, take the dinghy back to the sailboat. Maybe you’ll enjoy a nightcap under the stars before going to bed anchored in the Cala Saona.
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Day 4 – Sailing Back to Denia from Formentera
Above Image – The traditional boat slips in Cala Saona.
On your last morning, the skipper will most likely want to get an early start. But it doesn’t have to be before sunrise and you can get in a last, special swim.
On your way out, sail just around the corner from Cala Soana to the Cova Rosa. A natural, small cave here is easy to explore and can be a nice spot to snorkel, especially first thing in the morning while the water tends to be calm.
Then it’s time to sail back to Denia. As you start back, eat breakfast on the deck as you watch Formentera get smaller and smaller behind you. Marvel at the vastness of the open Mediterranean Sea for a handful of hours during the day (and make sure to keep taking that Dramamine if you need it).
If everything goes to plan, you’ll sail back into the Denia Marina before dark.
Other Tips for Sailing to Ibiza and Formentera
Above Image – The Cala Saona.
The time of year that we went on this trip was in the first half of September, from a Thursday night to Monday. It was a great time because it was not the busier season of July and August, the water was still warm, and the weather was beautiful.
For most of us on our trip, we continued to take Dramamine the entire time, every four to eight hours as is recommended. I actually did not take one on that Sunday morning in Cala Saona and in the evening felt so ill at dinner that I could not eat and only had mint tea. It felt like being on land was horrible and I wanted only to get back on the boat to the rhythm of the waves.
Once you’ve done this trip, or one like it, you will want to do it again! It certainly has us wanting to enjoy more sailing trips to further explore Spain’s Balearic Islands. Would we go sailing to Ibiza and Formentera again one day? Absolutely! We would definitely repeat visits to Cala Comte and Cala Saona.
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Above Image – Our trusty skipper Felix, at the wheel sailing back to Denia.
We want to give a huge thanks and heartfelt shoutout to our dear friends who made this trip so fun and memorable. We’re all still the best of friends which really says a lot after practically ‘camping on the water’ together for four days!
And we especially want to thank our wonderful skipper Felix, who was so fun and friendly to be with. He was a great addition to the gang and your expertise and skill took great care of us.
Written by Amalia Maloney Del Riego
Fora Certified Travel Advisor & Content Creator
I love living in Denia, Spain and traveling worldwide. My idea of a great time is ‘eating and drinking’ my way around a new place and meeting the people. As a Fora Certified Travel Advisor, I specialize in custom travel planning for trips throughout Europe, as well as scouting trips for moving to Spain. Here on MoveToTraveling.com you can enjoy our Europe travel resources to experience Europe and live in Spain.