Formentor lighthouse. | Jesus Carrillo


Majorca's lighthouses are once more a focus of attention for their potential conversion. As recently reported, the Council of Majorca is assessing the feasibility for their use as refuges (akin to hostels) for hikers.

One of the lighthouses yet to be considered is on the cape of Formentor. It dates from 1863, a building whose construction was far from straightforward given its isolated location. It now operates through a combination of solar and telematic control.

The lighthouse itself is one consideration. Another is the old lighthouse keeper's house. In 2006 the Balearic Ports Authority granted the concession for it to be a restaurant. The concessionaire, Colaboradora Hostelera Uno, now wants to give the property a total makeover.

The Formentor example was taken as a model for lighthouse conversion by the Spanish government. This is a model that has proved to be fairly successful in turning lighthouses and adjoining properties into tourist facilities, albeit not in Majorca, where there has been considerable resistance to redevelopment as hotels. Formentor is, therefore, something of an exception and a successful one as well. The concessionaire is asking the ports authority for permission to invest over a quarter of a million euros on the project.

This would be for the total area of the lighthouse and so include the car parking and road access. Much of the investment would in fact be intended for strengthening the road. The property's interior would be repainted, while the toilets would be redone and the terrace transformed. Work on the project would take two months.