Cap de Barbaria
The name Cap de Barbaria reflects the fact that Africa’s Barbary Coast is just 60 Miles (100km) away from Formentera’s most southern point. But whatever the locals might tell you, I am convinced that you cannot see as far as Algeria from here. Or maybe they just eat more carrots than me.
The video below really captures the desolation of the place. You see the defense tower, with the La Mola plateau behind it in the distance. Then the camera sweeps in to take in the lonely road back to Sant Francesc, and around to views of Es Vedra and the dramatic lighthouse.
The PMV-820-1 will take you direct from the relative hubbub of Sant Francesc to the total desolation of Cap de Barbaria. As you get closer to the lone lighthouse at the end of the road the vegetation gets ever sparser; there is a total absence of the pine trees that cover the rest of the island, and on a windy day you feel like you could get blown off your bicycle. The ride is not as arduous as to Far de La Mola, as this area of elevation is not as high, and it takes less that an hour to reach Barbaria from Sant Francesc.
The reason for the lack of vegetation is deforestation during the early part of the twentieth century, and subsequent use of the land for grazing. The pine here was all used for charcoal in the 1930s, and the only plants you will see these days are rosemary and thyme.
At the end of the road is a solitary lighthouse, from which you have great views of Es Vedra, Ibiza, and the second major elevation of La Mola. After checking out the lighthouse, you take a short walk up the coastline to the defense tower sat on top of some impressive cliffs.
As you head down from Sant Francesc there is a barbeque spot with parking, tables, and an area for you to set up barbeque equipment. Look out for it on the right hand side around two kilometers from the light house.
South of the lighthouse is Sa Cova Foradada, which is a cave sitting 100 meters above the sea. Accessing the cave is not for the claustrophobic as you have to lower yourself through a very narrow roof.
Also, on your left as you head to the coast are two megalitiques – these are arrangements of stones from the megalithic era. It’s no Stonehenge, but you might as well take a look. They are quite tricky to spot, so I have included the video below so you know what to look out for.
Barbaria III – The Third Megalithic Site in the Area
Barbaria was the first area that was settled on the island, and these remains indicate that there was a large megalithic community. Archeologists have claimed that the similarity of buildings on Formentera, and those of the Talayotic people of Mallorca and Menorca, are a sign of trade links.
Approaching Barbaria the first of the remains that you come across is the 3,800 years old Barbaria II. This Bronze Age structure is made up of a total of nine buildings, including a kiln and livestock building. Barbaria III is the remains of buildings used to keep animals, and Barbaria I is a circular group of stones which was probably a place of worship.
Looking across the barren landscape of Far de La Mola you see Torre de Garrovert. This defense tower is 100 meters north east of the Far de Barbaria lighthouse. It looks out to the African coast, and would have been used to spot the approach of Barbary pirates.
This video doesn’t do the cycle ride justice, but it gives you an idea of what a dramatic landscape you experience.