Pudent Lake of Formentera

Where is Formentera's Estany Pudent and why is it so important for the island?

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The lagoon of Estany Pudent, on the island of Formentera, is the largest natural lagoon found in both Formentera and Ibiza, and also of all the Balearic Islands. Located to the north of Formentera, it is part of the Ses Salines Natural Park.

It has an extension of 3 km2, as well as a maximum depth of no less than four meters.

In this article we will tell you everything you need to know about the Estany Pudent, so you can visit the lagoon and its surroundings during your days on the island of Formentera.

Where is the Estany Pudent in Formentera?

Photo of Pudent Lake from northeast shore (click to enlarge)

The natural enclave of Estany Pudent, as well as its annex of salt marshes, is protected by the Natural Park of Ses Salines.

This includes the salt flats of the neighboring city of Ibiza and the islets of Els Freus, the strait between the two islands.

On the other hand, these form a ZEPA area and an ANEI, of great ornithological interest for the whole of the European Union.

History of s'Estany Pudent Formentera

It is impossible to talk about Estany Pudent in Formentera without mentioning its history. Although today it is a saltwater lagoon, in the past its water was fresh.

In the 18th century the Sa Séquia canal was opened, communicating the lake with the sea, in order to be able to exploit it as a saline while the pond was purified to fight against some diseases caused by stagnant water.

The salt produced in the enclave was transported by train to the Port of La Savina for export by sea.

Photo of the ditch that connects the lagoon to the sea (click to enlarge)

Its history during the Civil War

One of the keys to Formentera’s Estany Pudent lies in the role it played during the Spanish Civil War.

In the period following the end of the Civil War and the first years of the post-war period, a base for landing, refueling and repairing seaplanes was installed on the north shore of the lagoon.

The most outstanding constructions of this period were a radio station, a pier and a fuel depot for aircraft refueling.

The radio and troop buildings (now tourist properties), the pyramid-shaped fuel depot and the pier (although in poor condition) survive from that era.

Where does your name come from?

But its waters, from being a freshwater lagoon to a saltwater lagoon, are not the only thing that has changed over time. Something similar has also happened with its name. Pudent translates into Spanish as malodorous, due to the smell that used to emanate from its stagnant waters at times.

Years ago, and even some locals still know it by that name, this lagoon was known as Estany dels Flamencs, (flamingo lake) because it was inhabited by a large population of flamingos. At present, the presence of flamingos in this lagoon is common in the autumn and winter months.

What to do if you visit the Pudent Lake

With a long history and natural interest, there are many activities you can do in this corner of the island.

Foto del estany pudent de Formentera cerca de Es Pujols. El agua de la laguna parece un auténtico espejo.

The Estany Pudent of Formentera has on its northeast shore one of the most interesting archaeological excavations of Formentera and the Balearic Islands.

It is the megalithic tomb of Ca Na Costa, a funerary work of more than 4,500 years old that has served to understand the history of Formentera in a much broader way.

The Sepulchre of Ca na Costa, archaeology near the lake

Sepulcro Megalítico de Ca Na Costa, Formentera

Admire the local fauna

Photo of Pudent Lake from northeast shore (click to enlarge)

First of all, one of the best things to do in Estany Pudent is to see a lot of animals.

In addition to flamingos, you can also see other types of birds, such as storks and plovers. If you go in winter, expert ornithologists have identified more than 5,000 black-necked grebes, which you will be able to see on site.

In spite of its rich fauna, the same does not happen with the flora. Due to the low rainfall, there are hardly any plants in the area in the summer, as the temperature is too high.

The Estany Pudent of Formentera is an exquisite place to take pictures of all the animals you can glimpse there.

In addition, you can also enjoy an excellent natural landscape and take a different route along the edge of the pond until it flows into the Canal de la Séquia, another must-see if you are in the area.

Enjoy nature in its purest form

Photo of Pudent Lake from northeast shore (click to enlarge)

Explore Estany Pudent seaplane base

Base de hidroaviones de l'Estany Pudent, Formentera

Of course, another activity not to be missed is a visit to the seaplane base built by the Franco regime during the Spanish Civil War.

Erected with the objective of controlling the southern Balearic Islands and North Africa, this was the third seaplane base in the Mediterranean Sea, together with Atalayón, in Melilla, and Pollença, in Mallorca.

Although it also operated during the Second World War, in 1950 the troops abandoned the base and it was in 1953 when its radio station was closed, moving the equipment to the Cala Codolar aerodrome, on the island of Ibiza (which later would be and is the Ibiza airport).

What to see at the seaplane base

If you visit this old base in Formentera, you will be able to admire some of its old facilities:

  • The seaplane docking dock is preserved, although it is quite deteriorated.
  • The fuel depot, a pyramid-shaped building located next to the road that is in better condition since it has been rehabilitated in recent years.
  • On the other hand, you will also be able to see some standing buildings, such as those used by the military and radio operators. At present, they are tourist accommodations.

Bathing, a prohibited activity

There are several things you can do in Formentera’s Estany Pudent, however, you should know that bathing in the lagoon is not allowed.

The lagoon is one of the largest enclaves of the Natural Park of the Salinas, which is why it must be cared for and respected due to its great natural and historical value.

Bathing in its waters translates into irreparable damage to the place and makes no sense, because in Formentera there are many other options to enjoy and cool off during the hot months.

Sunset at the Estany Pudent, Formentera

How to get to Estany Pudent in Formentera

If you are traveling to the island, a visit to the lagoon is a must. To get there, the most important thing you need to know is your location.

Located north of Formentera, it is very close to the port of La Savina, so you can visit the place if you get there.

In addition, you can also get there from Es Pujols. This will be a great option, especially if you plan to visit the town or one of its wonderful beaches. The truth is that you will pass in front of one of the shores of the lagoon several times during your travels through the villages of Formentera.

One of the easiest ways to get to Estany Pudent is from San Francisco or Sant Ferran. If you are staying at either of these two points on the island, you will have no excuse for not including this incredible lagoon in your itinerary.

In short, visiting the Estany Pudent of Formentera is almost mandatory for nature lovers and activities with a different point, enjoying a day of peace and relaxation.