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San Francisco, Formentera (Sant Francesc)

The charming capital is great for walking around and admiring, browsing in shops and markets and finding some excellent and well-priced restaurants.

The village of San Francisco is the island's capital and the most populated by locals. In summer, it makes for a very pleasant place to walk around; at its centre is a church square that's surrounded by white-painted houses and shops that sell a variety of goods.

Eating, shopping, sightseeing

You will also find a great selection of restaurants here that are open for lunch and dinner and which are reasonably priced. These places are a great alternative to the expensive beach restaurants, which are a great experience, though much less so for the budget traveller.

More shops and restaurants can be found on the side streets that lead from the church square; many shops are particularly good for a variety of handmade clothing and accessories like jewellery and leather goods. During the evening the town is filled with a buzzing, yet tranquil atmosphere and makes for a lovely way to spend a night after a day on the beach.

The fortress-like church, Sant Francesc Xavier, was built in the 18th century, doubling as an enclave to escape marauding pirates and other invaders. At night it is beautifully illuminated, though it's a building that has great presence at any time of day.

For a break between walking around, sit in one of the bar terraces with a drink and admire the pretty surroundings and buildings. Here, life seems to go at a slower pace and all is clean and neat.

Culture

Fans of culture can visit the Ethnographic Museum on Calle Jaume I, showing how life was lived on the island in times past with clothing, furniture, tools and utensils on display. Admission is free and it's open Monday to Friday from 09:00-14:00 and then 17:00 to 19:00.

In the main square lies the Ajuntament Vell Exhibition Centre, where you can find a series of temporary exhibitions throughout the year showing works from local and international artists. Admission is also free.

During June, it's music month on Formentera with lots of concerts in the squares of the island. In San Francisco, it's jazz each Saturday in the church square and the Formentera Jazz Festival adds even more of this music genre when it takes places during the same month.

Local markets

Fans of markets should head to the morning craft market that's open daily from 10:00 to 14:00 from May to October. There's also a flea market all year round, behind the church on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 10:00 to 14:00. Please check the actual times in the events calendar of the island's government.

Everyone should make time to visit this delightful place at least once when on Formentera, the special old-world Mediterranean charm is infectious.

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