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.
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