El Pilar de la Mola
Although it is just 11 kilometres from Sant Ferran, El Pilar de la Mola feels very distinct from the rest of the island. Perhaps it is the steep incline that you need to overcome to get there that contributes to this sense of divide, maybe it is the dark passage of pine trees that you go through to enter the village that makes it feel other-worldly, or it could just be the location at the edge of the island. Whatever, the reasons, it is true to say that the El Pilar population don’t leave their part of the town too often, and have developed a locals mentality within an island of just 7,000 people. And this is no bad thing. You really do get the sense of coming to a different place. There are some on Formentera who use the terms ‘molers’ for the residents of the village and ‘baixers’ for the rest of the population, with baixer meaning ‘from below.’
The cycle up to El Pilar de la Mola is pretty tough, but it can be done in less than an hour from Es Calo, and that includes some time for walking up the steeper inclines, and pausing at the bus stop on the right to admire the panoramic views looking out across the Es Carntage isthmus and over to Ibiza. Just next to the bus stop is the El Mirador restaurant, but if you want to enjoy the views from a seated position, with a cool drink in your hand, then make sure you book in advance as it gets extremely busy in the summer.
If you enter El Pilar on a bicycle and keep peddling, then you will exit the village in two minutes – it is small! It is just a strip with a few restaurants and farmhouses, with acres of farmland behind it. There are around 50 houses in the village and it is mainly farmers who live here.
Taberna Can Blaiet La Mola is the first restaurant as you come into town on the left, and it also doubles up as the village post office. The church Esglesia del Pilar de la Mola was built between 1772 and 1784 in the typical whitewashed style of Ibiza, and is fairly unremarkable.
The windmill of Moli Vell is just inside the village and although it was built in 1778 still works. Rumour has it that Bob Dylan lived inside Moli Vell in the 1960s. I wonder how he got to La Fonda Pepe every day?
The highest point of the island at 663 feet (202m) is Sa Talaiassa. This is located south-west of the village, and is on Route No.9 of the Circuits Verds. If you make it up to Sa Talaiasaa then to the east you will see fields of farmland with figs, wheat and vines, which were first tended to by the Augustinian monks of the thirteenth century. The dry stone boundary walls (parets seques) that are typical of Balearic farmland mark out the farms. As you get closer to the sea there are some spectacular cliff top views, with the limestone cliffs over 190 meters in height at some points.
If you stay in El Pilar de la Mola for an extended period then it is one of the few places on Formentera where you need some form of motorized transport. Even if you are just planning to chill out in Es Calo, then cycling the hill on a daily basis is probably not on the agenda of most holidaymakers.
La Mola Craft Fair
The La Mola craft fair has been running since 1984. It starts up in early May, and runs every Wednesday and Sunday until the 12th October. Many of the people at the fair make their living from selling the arts and crafts on display. In addition to the arts and crafts there are entertainers such as musicians and jugglers making it an enjoyable day out. It’s a good place to get a souvenir and have some fun.
Sellers are issued with a craft guarantee certificate which is issued by the Formentera Municipal Council and the Formentera Association of Craftspeople to show that the products have been designed and made in local workshops, and if you are interested many of the workshops are available to visit.
Some of the gifts to consider are the local grass sandals known as espardenyes, and there is also a lot of local food produce, including wine, figs and cheese.