Road Cycling on the island of Mallorca : A cycle guide

Road cycling in Mallorca

 

When is the best time of year, where should I stay and what do I need to know about cycling in Mallorca

 

35,000 cyclists visit Mallorca every year. A small fraction of the total number of island visitors, which are now in the tens of millions, but a fair chunk nonetheless. 

Given the island's growing popularity as a cycling destination, the service industry has kept up with demand and supplies practically anything and everything you could dream of on a road cycling trip to Mallorca; bike hire, cycling transfers, route guides, support vehicles, sportives, specialist bike tour operators and the accommodation you need to make your cycle holidays unique.

 

The road cycling season in Mallorca

 

As opposed to the holiday season, road cycling conditions in Mallorca are most favourable out of season, when the weather is cooler and the island as a whole, is less busy. The pros start landing as soon as the almond blossom is out in late January, but these tend to commandeer entire hotels for their training camps, while the real cycle training kicks off a bit later, in March. By this point specialist sport hotels and small boutique hotels are up and running and spring temperatures make Mallorca a welcome tonic to UK and northern european winters. The cycling season will continue throughout April and May and slow to a halt with the rising heat. By mid June it is usually too hot to ride.

In autumn the season starts again, with clear dry roads in September and October (this year was unusually rainy, but then, you know that!) and sometimes as late as November.

 

Choosing your base camp

 

Though it is a small island, relatively speaking, and cycle routes abound, there are three main bike hubs in Mallorca, strategically located along the Serra de Tramuntana, with easy access to most of the more exciting and challenging parts of the mountain range and the plains. Anywhere in the vicinity of these three makes a great base camp.

The island's size obviously allows for you to base yourself practically anywhere and still be within easy reach of these wonderful routes and a drive-out bike-back transfer service can take care of the rest, but some places are just nicer to stay in than others.

Ours in a small, trendy hotel in the centre of Port de Pollensa, with a steady influx of cycling guests. We cannot accommodate enormous groups but can offer individual cyclists and smaller cycle groups comfortable and elegant hotel rooms in a great location. We are happy for you to take your bikes up to your rooms (we have a lift) or can store them downstairs for you. Either way, they will be safe. We also provide a super early breakfast buffet for athletes and sports people which will get you over those hills. For further meals you have a huge selection on the main square, just round the corner, and along the seafront, around the other corner, which has the added benefit of making you feel like you're on holiday too.

 

Port de Pollensa cycling holidays

 

Road cycling in Mallorca

 

Port de Pollensa (Puerto Pollensa) on the far northern coast of the island is an excellent place to stay for road cycling in Mallorca. This is where our hotel is so I admit to being just a bit biased. It is however a sentiment shared by many, so I'm not exaggerating when I say that Port de Pollensa makes any cycle trip a remarkable experience.

The town was once a small fishing village but has grown into a lively holiday resort wrapped along the beaches of a large horse-shoe shaped bay and flanked by the jaggedy mountains of the Tramuntana Mountains as they stretch on to the Formentor Peninsula, incidently one of the favoured cycle routes in the area. 

Head west towards the Tramuntana Mountains for 100km+ hill rides and south for the central plains. A combination of both is possible from here too and then of course there are the beautiful coastal roads.

 

Soller cycling holidays

 

Soller is a small town and port (Port de Soller) on the western facing coast of Mallorca, right within the Serra de Tramuntana, and a popular cycling hub thanks to its location, remote beauty and access to some of the most spectacular rides: Coll de Soller, Cuber, Puig Major.

It has the advantage (and disadvantage) of being fairly off the tourist trail and far from everywhere, great if all you want is cycling and cafes, not so much if you are looking for a more all-rounded trip to the island. 

 

Andratx cycling holidays

 

Andratx is on the southwestern tip of the island and like most old towns in Mallorca, the village is slightly inland and the port on the coast. It was originally built by the Romans in the 2nd Century BC and was until fairly recently a very low-key village. A brand of high class tourism and real estate speculation has seen the town grow and flourish into a luxury resort however, its location on the southern side of the Tramuntana Mountains makes it an attractive cycling destination.

 

How to get there and get around

 

Palma de Mallorca has a vast and sprawling airport which welcomed 26 million passengers last year. Considering the island has a resident population of around one million, you can see how enormous the numbers actually are. Cyclists luckily favour the off-season, pre and post summer, and arrive when traffic is lower, both in the air and on the roads. This way you get a much calmer airport and not only benefit from lower prices in everything from flights and taxis to hotel rooms and bike rentals, but can also enjoy the advantages of a modern infrastructure, primed for tourism.

Cycle transfer and shuttle companies provide transport to and from the airport and all over the island. You can also hire a car, but if you are thinking about clocking in some serious miles, one way of going about this is to book a drive out and cycle back transfer or viceversa.

 

Mallorca's top road cycling routes

 

Road cycling guide to Mallorca

 

Your routes will depend largely on the kind of cycling you are after, because road cycling in Mallorca can be anything from extremely steep hills and dizzying descents, to meadering coastal roads, while you can also ride the miles of flats and rolling hills in the marshlands and winecountry of the island's central plain. And given the size, it can be a bit of all three. Here are our 3 favourite rides!

 

Sa Calobra cycle route

 

You have probably seen Sa Calobra is pictures. To some this is the hook that brought them here in the first place. To others its the best climb in the world. Either way, as a training route, Sa Calobra is unbeatable; it is the ride where you descend first.

Here are the STATS:

Length: 9.5 km
Average gradient: 7 %
Elevation gain: 658 m

 

Cape Formentor cycle route

 

Short and sweet with breathtaking sea views, the cape route can be done in a morning from our hotel in Port de Pollensa. Curiously, it was designed by the same engineer who built the Sa Calobra road.

Here are the STATS (from Port de Pollensa and back):

Length: 35 km
Average gradient: 7-8 % 
Elevation gain: 967 m

 

Serra de Tramuntana cycle route

 

The mother of all rides, this is a one way trip from the southwest to the northeast of the island, taking in the entire length of Mallorca's largest mountain range and it's highest mountain, Puig Major (14 km @ 6.2% average gradient, 828m of elevation). Take a cycle transfer to Port d'Andratx and cycle back. Route: Andratx - Estellencs - Banyalbufar - Valldemossa - Deia - Soller - Lluc - Pollensa - Port de Pollensa.

Here are the STATS:

Length: 115 km
Elevation gain: 2400 m

 

Boutique hotel or rental villa?

 

This is a question of taste, budget and priorities really. The holiday rental market has positively exploded here on the island and the offer is immense. It is often the best plan for family holidays and large groups, but if you're travelling solo, as a couple or a small group of friends, then the villa option tends to fall short, not least because they are just too big and expensive for one or two people. In much the same way, the need to fend for yourself at a villa; preparing meals etc., is fine if you're planning to spend most of your holiday around the pool, but if it's a training holiday that you're after, all this domesticity is just going to steal valuable time from what you're really after: the cycling!

A boutique hotel in a good cycling location gives you the home comforts, privacy and luxury of a hotel, with the added facilities and cycling services on tap, and is usually a good deal better value in the long run. 

 

Sportives and races in Mallorca

 

Mallorca 312

 

The Mallorca 312 is on the 27th of April 2019 and takes in the whole of the Serra de Tramuntana starting from Playa de Muro, it goes to Pollensa and then all the way to Andratx and then loops back via Esporles, Sta. Maria, sa Pobla, Artá and back to Playa de Muro. There are 2 shorter distances to choose from as well.

 

La Vuelta

 

The Challenge Mallorca is run by International Masters Cycling Week and took place this year from the 30th September to the 4th of October. The race is divided into 4 separate stages: Llucmajor, Lloseta, Tolo's in Port de Pollensa and Pro Cycle Hire in Port de Pollensa.

 

Half Ironman

 

The next Mallorca IRONMAN 70.3 will be held on the 11th of May 2019. The race starts and ends in Alcudia, with the cycling stage taking in the northern part of the Serra de Tramuntana.

 

If you would like to read more on cycling in Mallorca: BIKE TOURS AND CYCLE HOLIDAYS