© Jose Rains
The diverse terrain and spectacular scenery in Mallorca make it the perfect cycling destination. Throughout autumn, spring and winter, the island welcomes thousands of cyclists keen to explore its enchanting corners.
Many come to take on the Serra de Tramuntana mountains, which have not only become a world heritage site in the past 20 years but their alpine-style climbs have attracted cycling pros all the way up to Olympic level. If you plan to tackle Mallorca’s mountains, then it should go without saying that you will need a certain level of fitness. The most famous road is the gruelling Sa Calobra climb which resides in the north of the Serra de Tramuntana. But there are some leisurely routes both within the flat plains in the centre of the island and along coastal cycle paths for those who aren’t as well acquainted with steep ascents and descents. These are just three of our favourites from the wide range of cycling routes on offer on the island.
Andratx to Port de Pollença - The Big Daddy Challenge (162km, +4300m)
Claimed by many as one of the most beautiful cycling routes in the world, the road from Andratx to Port de Pollença comprises of epic climbs, breathtaking sea views, majestic mountain ranges, lush pine forests and a wonderful selection of quaint villages on route. What more could you want from a cycle ride in Mallorca?
Starting from Andratx, you pretty much take the Ma-10 coastal road all the way to Port de Pollença. The only times you will veer off the road is to visit some key landmarks, namely, Port des Canonge, Port de Valldemossa and, of course, to face the illustrious Sa Calobra climb. From the start, the views are impeccable, with the ever-changing face of the rugged mountains on one side and the sparkling Mediterranean Sea on the other, the love affair with Mallorca’s west coast begins. From Andratx, it doesn’t take long to reach Estellencs, a pretty place but so small it will be over before you know it. Soon after leaving you will be greeted with the spectacular scenery of the ancient terraces of Banyalbufar, after which you will veer off the road towards Port des Canonge, a sleepy village with an old style fishing port. Return the same way back to the Ma-10 and continue towards Valldemossa. Before reaching the town centre, be sure to take the road signposted towards Port de Valldemossa, a winding road but well worth it for yet another beauty spot.
Returning to the Ma-10, you will travel through the splendid mountain town of Valldemossa, famously put on the map by composer Chopin and his lover and writer George Sand. Then the road continues towards Deia, yet another pretty blonde-stone village, and a popular haunt for the well-heeled visitors on the island, including Sir Richard Branson. From here you will travel down into Soller, and you will be surrounded by orange and lemon groves in abundance. Next head towards Fornalutx, described by many to be the prettiest village in Spain, but prepare yourselves for the big Puig Major climb. After a taxing climb, you will descend down into two tunnels, turn left at the aqueduct away from the Ma-10 and towards Sa Calobra. There’s a climb up to Coll dels Reis followed by a lovely descent winding down into the small fishing bay of Sa Calobra but make sure you use this to save up some energy for the return journey, as you take on the gruelling hairpin twists and turns which give Sa Calobra climb its reputation. Once reaching the Ma-10, you will be pleased to know the hardest part of this cycle is over. Head towards Lluc which is most famous for its monastery and onto the old town of Pollença, from here you can enjoy the leisurely ride all the way through to the port. To get back to the starting point, there is a cycle shuttle back.
Southwestern loop from Palma (80km, +1760m)
If you are staying in Palma and want to try a great medium length loop cycle ride from the capital, then this one’s for you. It’s a great way to get a taste of the impressive climbs in the Serra de Tramuntana, admire coastal views and visit some of the most beautiful villages in Mallorca.
From Palma, take the Ma-1040 road towards Esporles. As you leave the city, you can admire the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range from a distance and, as the peaks get closer, you will know you aren’t far from Esporles as it is on the doorstep to the mountains. Entering into the village you will merge onto the Ma-1100; the town is immaculately handsome, featuring typical Mallorcan ancient blonde stone architecture with green shutters. Leaving the village, don’t get too distracted by the unusual rocky terrain scattered with lush green plants and trees and keep your eyes peeled to make be sure you take the Ma-1100 which will then turn into the Ma-10. Windy roads await you as you climb into the mountains, before hitting the coastline and just before Banyalbufar you will be rewarded with a lovely descent and wonderful views over the ancient agricultural terraces.
Leaving Banyalbufar and continuing on the Ma-10 there is a gradual ascent with only a little respite, all the way through Estellencs. Halfway between Estellencs and Andratx you will come across a steep descent, followed by an even steeper ascent. There’s then a lovely decline down into Andratx where you can recuperate before the next leg of your journey. Skirting the north of Andratx take the Ma-1031 country road back into the mountains and embrace the twists and turns before venturing down into Es Capdella. From here it’s the Ma-1015 to the rural village of Calvia, at which point you are only 20km away from the end but don’t get too complacent for the steepest climb awaits you as you leave Calvia along the Ma-1016. Once you reach the top you can then enjoy a downhill ride back into the north-west of Palma.
Northeastern loop from Alcudia (63km, +1000m)
A relatively short but challenging ride which includes the famous windy Cap de Formentor climb and dramatic coastal views. The route starts and ends in Alcudia, journeying through Port de Pollença and the historic town of Pollença.
Starting from Alcudia, on the Ma-2220 you will enjoy flat terrain and views across the Bay of Pollença as you cycle the 9km coastal road travelling northbound towards Port de Pollença. Once here, you will be suitably warmed up and ready to take on the first steep incline travelling up towards the Cap de Formentor along the Ma-221. After 4km of climbing you might already feel the burn, so embrace the descent because the climbing intensifies on the next stage of the journey. This is usually the windiest part of the island, which makes it especially challenging for riders. At the end, there is a descent down to the lighthouse, where you must stop and soak up the unparalleled views from the most northerly point of the island.
From here you take the same road back to Port de Pollença but, upon reaching the port, take the Ma-2200 towards the old town of Pollença rather than the coastal road back to Alcudia. You will be pleased to know the hardest part of the route is over, with just a few small hills the rest of the way home. This road captures some of Mallorca’s inland splendour for you to enjoy. If you haven’t already stopped for a refreshment on route, we would highly recommend you stop in Pollença as it’s a charming town with plenty to see. From here, make sure you take the Ma-2201 which meets the Ma-13 entering Alcudia.
Want to try a race in Mallorca?
If you are thinking of competing in a race on the island, then there are a few different races throughout the year. The Mallorca 312 is one of the most famous and usually takes place at the end of spring. A route covering 312km, with 5050m of climbing, this isn’t for the faint-hearted! Although it is worth noting there are two shorter versions of the race taking place on the same day. This year's edition is already sold out but keep an eye on our site in October as the 2019 inscriptions will open then.