Introduction

Dangling off the south coast of Ibiza, a mere half-hour away by fast ferry, the 20km-long island of Formentera (population 12,120) is a beautifully pure, get-away-from-it-all escape. Formentera's pace of life is blissfully languid, designed for lazy days spent lounging on some of Europe's (dare we say the world's?) most exquisite beaches.

Nowhere is the lure of the sea more powerful in the Balearics than here, where frost-white slithers of sand are smoothed by water in unbelievable shades of azure, turquoise and lapis lazuli that will have you itching to leap in. Tourism here is tightly tied to environmental ethics, with hotel numbers restricted, construction controlled and most visitors exploring on two wheels. There are few sights and little nightlife, making Formentera perfect for revelling in blissful barefoot living. Ask people what they've done for the week and watch them shrug their shoulders, grin and reply: 'Nothing, it was awesome'.