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Sant Francesc Formentera

Sant Francesc

The capital of Formentera, Sant Francesc, is home to the island’s government institutions, as well as historical and cultural landmarks, shops, bars, and restaurants.
Its spacious pedestrian area in the town center makes it particularly pleasant for strolling and enjoying the ambiance on one of its terraces.

  • The island’s capital
  • Pedestrianized historic center
  • Free parking lots, Wide range of shops
  • Restaurants and terraces
  • Historical points of interest
Sant Francesc Formentera
Sant Francesc Formentera

Everything you need to know about Sant Francesc

The capital of Formentera is located in the village of San Francesc. It houses the headquarters and most of the offices of the island’s governing institution, the Insular Council of Formentera.

The construction of its church dates back to the 18th century and marks the historical point of the island’s definitive repopulation and the growth of the village of Sant Francesc around this building and its square.

Today, Sant Francesc offers a wide range of bars, restaurants, and shops in the central part of the village, all of which are pedestrianized and inviting for leisurely walks, browsing through the stores and craft stalls, and sitting down to eat or have a drink on one of the many terraces you’ll find.

Sant Francesc Formentera

Keep in mind…

Despite being the most active village in Formentera throughout the year, many businesses only open during the summer season. As a result, a visit to Sant Francesc between October and April may present a completely different image compared to the vibrant atmosphere experienced during the summer months.

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How to get to Sant Francesc

Getting to Sant Francesc from the port of La Savina is very easy as the main road (PM-820) connects the two towns, which are about 3 kilometers apart.

The bus line provides a quick connection in just 5 minutes, and the frequency of departures depends on the time of year you visit the island. It’s best to check the schedules in both directions on the website Busfromentera.com.

If you’re driving your own vehicle or a rental, at the first roundabout you come across, you can take either the first or second exit to the right, whichever you prefer. As Sant Francesc is a small town, choosing one access route or another won’t make a big difference for visitors to the capital of Formentera.

You’ll find that it’s a town that invites walking, and once you’re there, you won’t need your car or scooter again until you decide to visit another part of the island.

Parking at Sant Francesc

All the streets for vehicle circulation in Sant Francesc are regulated under the Blue Zone system, which means you will have to pay for parking based on the amount of time you plan to leave your vehicle parked. Motorcycle parking spaces are free in areas designated exclusively for them. It is prohibited to park a motorcycle in spaces intended for cars, even if you pay for a Blue Zone ticket.

As of the time of writing this, the maximum allowed parking time in the Blue Zone for cars in Sant Francesc is two hours, and the price will be displayed on the ticket dispensers found in various locations throughout the village.

Likewise, the bypass road that leads to the area of Es Cap de Barbaria and Cala Saona offers free parking without a time limit. Sant Francesc also has two large areas of free parking where you can leave your car or motorcycle for as long as you need during your visit to Sant Francesc.

These two spacious parking areas are unpaved and do not have marked parking spaces for cars or motorcycles.

One of them can be found behind the church, and the other is located in the southern area of the town, near the access to the bypass road. There are no ground markings to indicate specific parking spaces for vehicles in these areas.

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Staying in Sant Francesc

The accommodation options in the capital of Formentera, Sant Francesc, are not very extensive, as it is a town that didn’t emerge or grow primarily due to tourism; instead, it has always maintained a more local character, inhabited by people from the island.

While it is true that Sant Francesc has evolved and expanded over time, its tourist accommodation options have remained limited, comprising only two hostels and one hotel.

It’s important to note that like other towns with churches in Formentera, such as Sant Ferran and La Mola, tourist accommodation in residential buildings is prohibited. Both property owners and tourists can face fines if inspected by the Formentera Council.

At Formentera Lifestyle, we urge visitors to choose accommodations that hold a valid tourist license, which allows them to engage in tourist rentals and should always be displayed on any website that promotes them.

If you wish to stay in Sant Francesc, you will find a limited number of options to choose from, but there are indeed some available.

Sant Francesc Formentera

Eating at Sant Francesc

While the tourist accommodation options in Sant Francesc may be scarce, the same cannot be said about its gastronomic offerings. The pedestrian streets in the center of the village provide an ideal setting for a delightful dinner after a day of sun and sea at one of Formentera’s beautiful beaches.

This statement isn’t meant to discourage anyone from having lunch in Sant Francesc, but it expresses the opinion that the heat and urban environment may not be as enjoyable as the cooler evening hours when the temperature becomes more bearable. During midday, the intense sun and heat often lead people to choose restaurants closer to the beach for a more refreshing dining experience.

If you choose Sant Francesc and one of its restaurants for your dinner, you’ll discover beautiful terraces and gardens with carefully crafted decorations and lighting, providing a charming ambiance.

There, you’ll have a wide array of options, ranging from national to international cuisine. You can find bars serving delicious tapas, restaurants offering Italian dishes, French cuisine, and traditional Formentera delicacies.

Whether you crave a sandwich, a burger, or sushi, you’ll find all sorts of culinary delights in the bars and restaurants that fill the streets of Sant Francesc during the summer season. The variety and quality of dining options make it a fantastic place to indulge in a memorable dining experience.

Shopping in Sant Francesc

One of the allures of strolling through Sant Francesc is undoubtedly exploring the shops that fill the village, especially in its pedestrian area. You’ll come across clothing stores featuring designs from local designers and major international brands, as well as prestigious jewelry shops showcasing the work of renowned artists. Additionally, artisans set up their stalls in the streets leading to the church square, offering their creations from Monday to Sunday.

Sant Francesc provides a plethora of shopping options, from buying souvenirs to acquiring a beautiful pareo, a new bikini, or a piece crafted by a local artist. The commercial offerings are diverse and cater to various tastes and preferences.

Sant Francesc Formentera

The shops typically open at 10:00 am in the morning, close around 1:30 pm, and then reopen at 6:00 pm, staying open until midnight. This schedule allows visitors to explore and indulge in the shopping experience during both daytime and evening hours.

As we mentioned earlier, the village and its commercial area experience higher activity during times when the sun and heat are less intense, allowing residents and visitors to enjoy everything that Sant Francesc and its shops have to offer even more comfortably and leisurely.

By avoiding the peak heat of midday, exploring the charming streets, and indulging in the diverse shopping experiences, both locals and tourists can fully appreciate the beauty and offerings of Sant Francesc without feeling overwhelmed by the heat. The cooler evening hours provide a delightful atmosphere for dining, shopping, and strolling through the vibrant village, making it a memorable experience for everyone.

Patron Saint Festivities in Sant Francesc

The Fiestas de San Jaime in Sant Francesc, Formentera, are a traditional celebration that takes place from July 20th to July 27th. However, the most fervent and enthusiastic day is July 25th, as it coincides with the feast of San Jaime, the patron saint of the village.

This festival, deeply rooted in the history and culture of the island, mainly unfolds around the church square of Sant Francesc. During this festive week, both locals and visitors come together to enjoy a series of events and activities that embody the essence of Formentera’s traditions.

The festivities may include religious processions, live music performances, traditional dances, local food stalls, and other cultural displays. It’s a time of joy, unity, and celebration, where everyone can experience the rich heritage and vibrant spirit of Sant Francesc and Formentera as a whole.

Sant Francesc Formentera
Sant Francesc de Formentera

One of the main attractions of the Fiestas de San Jaime is the display of “ball pagés,” a traditional dance of the island known for its authentic ancestral charm. Dancers dressed in traditional costumes showcase a part of Formentera’s cultural richness as they perform in the church square to the rhythm of drums, castanets, and flutes.

The organization of the patron saint festivities in the village of Sant Francesc also caters to the younger crowd, as various activities are arranged for children. Workshops, games, and children’s shows fill the streets near the church square with laughter and joy, creating a fun and family-friendly atmosphere.

Music enthusiasts can enjoy concerts that take place on a stage where nationally renowned musicians often share the spotlight with local musical groups from Formentera’s music scene.

Similarly, on December 3rd, Sant Francesc celebrates the festivity of San Francisco. Although the festivities and activities are more modest compared to those organized for the Fiestas de San Jaime, they still maintain a cheerful and diverse character for the enjoyment of Formentera residents during that time of the year.

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Art and Culture

Sant Francesc is home to several cultural spaces, serving as exhibition galleries, while local artisans display their works at the stalls that fill and bring color to the streets of the town center during the summer months.

The former Town Hall building of Formentera, located next to the church on its left side, serves as an exhibition hall where artists from various nationalities and backgrounds showcase their works. With its old tiles and an unbeatable location for promoting art and artists, this space is definitely worth a visit during your leisurely strolls through the streets of Sant Francesc. You can enjoy the current exhibition being displayed and immerse yourself in the vibrant art scene of the town.

Sant Francesc Formentera Exposicion Pintura
Museo Etnográfico Formentera

Sant Francesc is also home to the “Centro Gabrielet,” located just a few meters from the church square. The center was named in memory of the Ibiza-born ceramic artist, Antoni Tur Gabrielet, who lived in Formentera during the 1950s until the late 1980s, and his artwork can still be found in many places on the island.

Additionally, Sant Francesc houses the Museo Etnográfico de Formentera situated on Jaume I Street, right in the heart of the town’s pedestrian area. Admission to the museum is free, and though it was initially a private initiative, the Formentera Council has taken over its management and maintenance in recent years. The museum offers a window into Formentera’s past, a time before tourism arrived, providing insights into the island’s history and its economic model before the transformation brought by tourism.

These cultural spaces, along with the galleries and artisan stalls, contribute to Sant Francesc’s vibrant cultural scene, offering visitors a chance to appreciate the island’s heritage and the artistic contributions of both local and visiting artists.

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History and Heritage

The church is the most prominent historical and heritage landmark in Sant Francesc, Formentera. Its austere appearance is a result of its design as a defensive fortress and a place of worship, reflecting the constant threat of piracy during its construction. The church’s entrance is reinforced with iron plates.

Completed in 1738, the church is located in the town square, facing the Formentera Council building (Consell Insular de Formentera).

In addition to the parish church, Sant Francesc is also home to the small chapel of Sa Tanca Vella, featuring a barrel vault. It is believed that the chapel dates back to the 13th or 14th century, adding to the historical and architectural charm of the village.

Sant Francesc Sa Tanca Vella

As the population of the Sant Francesc area grew during the 18th century, the chapel of Sa Tanca Vella became too small to accommodate the community, leading to the construction of the larger Sant Francesc church. While the chapel is no longer in use, it has been restored and is open to the public from Tuesday to Saturday, from 10 am to 2 pm.

Located near Sant Francesc, just north of the village, visitors can find the Sa Mirada windmills. The first one, Molí d’en Mateu, is currently part of a private residence, while the second one, Molí d’en Jeroni, is easily accessible. Both windmills were built in the 19th century and ceased operations in the 1950s. From the windmills, you can enjoy a beautiful panoramic view that includes a series of promontories and coves, as well as the Estany des Peix and La Savina, the island of Ibiza, and the islet of Es Vedrà on the horizon. These scenic spots offer a glimpse of the natural beauty that surrounds the area and adds to the allure of Sant Francesc and its surroundings.

Services in Sant Francesc

In Sant Francesc, although it’s not a large city, you should be able to access most of the services or shops you might need during your vacation in Formentera.

In addition to the headquarters of the island’s governing institution, the Formentera Council (Consell Insular de Formentera), Sant Francesc is also home to the Guardia Civil headquarters, the Insular Hospital, and the Local Police.

You’ll find various opticians, private healthcare centers, dentists, pharmacies, notaries, stores for buying and repairing appliances, and a variety of shops in different sectors. Overall, we believe that you can address any immediate needs by seeking them in Sant Francesc, especially during the summer months when the town is bustling with activity and services are readily available.

Sant Francesc Formentera
Sant Francesc Formentera

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