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European Island Finder

Spain: Formentera

Formentera, the sleepy little sister of Ibiza, is caught in an endearing 1970’s time warp. Its counterculture vibe is so laid back you’ll be grateful that it has resisted development for so long. Though the 10-mile-long, bone-shaped stretch of white sand and crystalline shallows is just a quick boat ride away from Ibiza, Formentera has no clubs, no traffic, no glitz. All you need to be a part of the “action” is a swimsuit and a rented scooter to zip around the narrow lanes. Swim, snorkel, nap: that’s the mantra. Between those lazy activities, visitors gather at local landmark Restaurante Juan y Andrea, a tented sprawl of wooden tables set beside the glassy Mediterranean, where stylish Spaniards sample giant prawns a la plancha or platters of lobster paella. Sunset worship is another ritual, a mellow affair at the ramshackle-glam Blue Bar, on Playa Mitjorn, where the caipirinhas are strong and the tapas spectacular. On Sundays, Jade Jagger types trawl the flea market at La Mola in search of handmade silver and bronze jewelry by native islander Enric Majoral. For less tumbledown luxury, stay at one of 28 sand-colored rooms at newly revamped Gecko Beach Club, overlooking the turquoise shallows at Playa Mitjorn. —Lanie Goodman

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