Mallorca remains a Mecca for cycling so we spoke with island ride Guide Juliet Wolfe to get some tips and suggestions to make the best of your trip. We hope that whether you are thinking about your first trip to the island or you’ve been many times that this will provide a useful outline and inspiration!
When to go: We are actually seeing the riding season extend over the last few years. We are getting riders coming through November and December and the weather can be beautiful as early in the year as January and February. A lot of the Pro teams train here through that period but clearly you have more chance of some inclement weather so come prepared with a variety of kit. Cyclist numbers are highest in March – May when the weather is more consistent and before the island gets too busy with mainstream tourism and also before temperatures get too high. During the summer we then see quite a few people combining family holidays with cycling excursions, typically the best summer riding is to be had in the morning or evening. September and October may be a time of training winding down, but on Mallorca that period offers another window of great weather and quieter roads.
In terms of how to long to stay, a trip of even 2.5 or 3 days riding can give you a great introduction to the must-do routes. If possible, it is very easy to fill a week long trip with varied riding to start to get to know the island and that also allows for an easier recovery day or two if your legs start to feel it! In either case I’m sure you’ll leave feeling tired but already planning the next trip back!
A flatter portion of Coll de sa Batalla close to the summit.
Where to stay: The two main centres that we see people enjoy staying in are either Pollenca or Soller (both these have more authentic “old towns” and also more modern port towns). In either case they have a range of accommodation, restaurants, coffee and bike shops, including good rental options. Both these areas are well located to take advantage of the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range on the west cost of the island with its beautiful scenery and challenging climbs. It should be noted that Pollenca offers easier access to flatter rides around the interior of the island compared to Soller which requires some climbing to leave in any direction.
It is worth noting that for the quieter season between November-February some visitors enjoy staying closer to the main city of Palma which continues to be quite active throughout the year whereas other parts of the island can be very quiet and with many restaurants closed for the winter. In any case Palma old city is actually very attractive and worth a visit as part of your stay if possible.
Puig Major, the longest climb on the island.
Best routes: Although some will want to enjoy the long quiet roads of the island interior, personally I think that the best of Mallorca is in the stunning climbs of the UNESCO Heritage Listed Serra de Tramuntana mountain range along the west coast.
From Pollenca: There are effectively two routes to head into the mountain range. The first is to take the Coll de Femenia starting outside Pollenca. Alternatively, you can take the MA-2200 for a few kilometres before taking a right turn heading through Campanet, Selva and from Caimari you can ascend the Coll de sa Batalla. Either of the the Femenia or Batalla climbs take you close to Lluc on the MA-10 which heads further south toward the famous Sa Calobra and beyond that you can descend Puig Major to Soller. You can then either return the same way or go over the Coll de Soller and back to Caimari via Bunyola.
The other must-do ride from Pollenca is along the Formentor peninsula all the way to the lighthouse at the end. This may be single most beautiful stretch of cycling road in the world, though depending on the season it can be busy with traffic so may be best tackled at the start of the day.
The final switchbacks to Formentor Lighthouse.
From Soller: In addition to variations of the route described above which would start with the climb up Puig Major there are two other main routes to take in. The first is to climb the Coll de Soller and then head to Bunyola and the connected Coll de Honor and Coll de Orient. To get back to Soller you can return a similar way or head to and over the Coll de sa Batalla and enjoy the long descent of the Puig Major. The other area to explore from Soller is the MA-10 south which includes the beautiful villages or Deia, Valldemossa, Banyalbufar, Estellences before reaching Andratx and its port in the south of the island. You can do as much or as little of this route and return to enjoy the breathtaking coastal views a second time or head inland towards Galilea and Puigpuyent to head back north.
For those training for long-distance triathlon or looking for flatter rides there are many routes around the interior of the island that will provide flat or rolling roads. Depending on your range this might include Pollenca to Arta, Petra and/or Sineu.
Summary details of listed climbs
Coll de Femenia: 7.6km @ 6%
Coll de sa Batalla: 7.9km @ 5.2%
Sa Calobra: 9.8km @ 7.1%
Puig Major 14km @ 6%
Coll de Soller (leaving Soller) 7.4% @ 6%
Coll de Soller (toward Soller) 4.9km @ 5%
Coll de Honor 5.4km @ 5.9%
Coll de Orient 5.2km @ 5.1%
Looking down on Sa Calobra from close to the summit.
Best coffee shops and ride stops: Both Puerto Pollenca and Port de Soller have a range of beachfront coffee shops, restaurants and ice cream shops. The old towns of each have attractive town squares which make pleasant spots for people watching over a café con leche. Although only a basic coffee shop, the shack at the turn-off for Sa Calobra is something of a mecca for cyclists either heading to or returning from arguably the hardest climb on the island. Another popular cyclist spot is the small restaurant facing the sea in Cala San Vicenc, which is reached after turning off of the road between Pollenca and Puerto Pollenca.
This piece was written by Mallorca guide Juliet Wolfe (@juliet.wolfe).
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