La Mola Lighthouse – Illes Balears, Spain - Atlas Obscura
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Illes Balears, Spain

La Mola Lighthouse

A solitary lighthouse in Spain was an inspiration to the great Jules Verne.  

The Far de la Mola lighthouse (also known as Far de Formentera) is located at the eastern edge of Formentera, the most southern of the Balearic Islands. It was drafted by the architect and engineer Emili Pou y Bonet and opened in November 1861.

The lighthouse is 21 meters tall and stands fiercely upon a 258-meter high cliff. It is one of the most beautiful spots of the tiny island, that offers a breathtaking view over an endless sea. The building has an interesting literary history.

In his novel, Hector Servadac Jules Verne described the place as the ’lighthouse at the end of the world’ (Le phare du bout du monde). In it, the astronomer Palmin Rosete was busy taking a measure of the earth’s surface just when a comet crashed into the earth and swept away part of the Mediterranean including Formentera, its lighthouse and the unfortunate scientist (who survived).

Jules Verne based his literary character upon Francois Arago, an adventurous astronomer, who stayed briefly at the lighthouse in 1808 in order to measure the meridian arc (by definition the forty-millionth part of a quarter of the meridian is better known as ‘the meter’). There is a small plaque in memory of Jules Verne and his novel at the side of the lighthouse.

Know Before You Go

Formentera can reached from Ibiza by boat. After arrival at the sole port of the island, one can rent a scooter or bicycle to reach the lighthouse. A beautiful (but steep!) road takes you along beaches and a pine forest. Plan ahead and beware not to miss the last ferry back to Ibiza. 

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