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I’m not sure what is wrong with me right now, something between cabin fever (I’ve not travelled properly for two years due to my Masters studies) and writers block (suffering with weeks left to write my dissertation) and the feeling of “I’m so over this”… when I’m seeing posts every single day asking about the best routes to ride in Mallorca, or where to hire a bike from in Peurto Pollenca (in Mallorca)… it got me dreaming, and writing so I could put all the tips discovered into one place in the hopes that I get to plan an epic cycling holiday to Mallorca for myself soon!
First things first, Mallorca, or Majorca?! Both are referring to the same place and for clarity, I will stick to Mallorca throughout this post. If you catch me saying Majorca, let me know! Oh and Mallorca, is not to be confused with Menorca. I know.
So, Where Is Mallorca?
Mallorca is a popular holiday destination especially for Brits – it’s one of Spain’s Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, home to beautiful beach resorts, mountains and a fair bit of history if that is your kind of thing. It’s also made quite a name for itself with cyclists due to the smooth roads, considerate drivers and climbs to satisfy all levels or riders. Oh and not to mention half decent weather, good food and probably decent coffee…?!
Getting to Mallorca from the UK
Without a doubt, the best way to get to Mallorca is by flying (if you know another option, let me know!). The airport you’re looking to fly to is Palma airport, also known as Son Sant Joan Airport situated 8km east of the town Palma. The flight is typically around 2.5 hours non-stop with EasyJey flying from Stansted, Luton or Gatwick; RyanAir from Stansted or Southend; Jet2 from Stansted; Thomas Cook from Gatwick or Norwegian Air from Gatwick. I probably missed one or two but your best option is to use skyscanner to find the best flight combinations and deals to and from Mallorca.
Where To Stay in Mallorca
Once you’ve booked those return flights to Mallorca you’re gonna need to decide where to stay, right?! These 3 towns came out in the top spots for recommendations, by cyclists, for cyclists. They’re all well connected to beaches, places to hire bikes and good food.
Puerto Pollensa & Pollença Town
- Aparthotel Bahia Pollensa, Port de Pollensa
- Cabot Pollensa Park Spa
- You can stay all inclusive at this hotel which is just across the road from Pro Cycle Hire. “Nice, clean and convenient” was how it was described.
- Hoposa Uyal
Playa de Muro
Playa de Muro is a brilliant location for cycling from, right on the beach, between Alcudia and Can Picafort. There are reported to be lots of sport oriented hotels along the main section in Playa de Muro, such as Viva Blue & Spa – but there are a fair few others to chose from.
Alcúdia is a beach town in the north of Mallorca and is also the islands largest tourist hub. It is still however, steeped with history and culture.
- PortBlue Club Pollentia Resort & Spa
- PortBlue has both a spa and hire bikes on site
Explore Mallorca Accommodation:
Looking for more of an all inclusive cycle retreat vibe?
Booking a retreat can be a pricey option but it’s hassle free. Usually all you need to do is sort your own flights as accommodation, food, bike hire, routes and everything you need is organised for you. If that’s what you’re looking for in Mallorca, then knock yourself out…
Check out Cycle Retreats, Sun Velo, Stuart Hall Cycling and Love Velo for options to Mallorca.
Where To Hire Bikes in Mallorca
There is always the option to take your own bike – the costs of adding sports kit to your flight is probably cheaper than renting a bike but then you do need to buy / hire a bike box and transport it to and from the airport. If you end up travelling often to ride then a bike box is a great investment otherwise, rental can be sorted in advance and give you one less thing to worry about on your trip. Here are some rental shops you can check out; they all came recommended, of course:
- Bike Experience Mallorca, Pollença town
- Rent March, Pollença town
- Pro Cycle Hire Mallorca
- Bike Island Mallorca, Port de Pollenca
- You can hire a Liv Langma here which is my dream bike for endurance and climbing. It’s slightly more of an aggressive position than the Avail I have but I’m sure it’s a dream to ride. I’ve heard they’ll set it up according to your measurements and customer service is top notch.
- Pinarello experience
- Mallorca Cycle Hire
- These guys will deliver your rental bike to your hotel/villa if you’re staying in the Pollenca area. Mallorca Cycle Hire are run by Brits who use UK specification bike models so the bikes will be set up as you’re used to.
- Bicimed, Alcudia
- Tramuntana Tours
- They are an official Trek test centre renting bikes from March through to October.
Must Ride Routes in Mallorca
I published a post all about how to plan long rides using a GPS and to be honest that would stand for riding in Mallorca too. It could be fun to just play it by ear and explore but I reckon you’ll get the best out of your trip, especially if this is your first visit, with a bit more forward planning. Terry Sandoe (Essex) tells me that the Mallorcans are all very courteous and patient and when it comes to cyclists; when you’re in busy areas like Cap de Formentor and Sa Calobra, that we’re gonna cover next, you mostly need to just watch out for the hire cars! Also, a huge shout out to Terry who sent me over a ton of photos to share in this post. Here are some of the routes that were recommended as must do’s while in town…
Cap de Formentor & Sa Calobra
These two were the top two locations that came up again and again to be included in your rides while in Mallorca. Personally, I’m not a fan of hills but there is no rush and there are lots of views to take in, so don’t solely focus on the road ahead of you and your Garmin, take some time to look around.
Views from Cap de Formentor
Cap de Formentor is Mallorca’s most northerly point, with dramatic scenery worth riding for known to the locals as the meeting point of the four winds. Your destination on this ride is the lighthouse which also has a great cafe for you to refuel before you pedal back to your hotel and get horizontal on a deck chair.
Views From Sa Calobra
Meanwhile Sa Calobra, a category 1 climb is one of the major draws of Mallorca for cyclists. Just 9.4km of climbing but with an average gradient of 7% its a total of 670 metres elevation gain. To get the best experience of riding up Sa Calobra, you want to be descending by 1000am. And descending is how you get there… I haven’t quite gotten my head around this but it seems the route into Sa Calobra (a small town there the road forms a dead end) is downhill, so to come back out is where you actually climb.
Petra, of Be Healthy Now, shared with me that these routes are quite demanding. She said: “I recommend you do some training to prepare yourself before attempting them. But you can still do the easier routes in the south regardless of your fitness levels. And the cycling lane from Palma towards S’Arenal along the coast is also really easy (totally flat), suitable for anyone, even the families.”
Port de Valldemossa is a cat 2 climb of 5km in distance averaging a 7% gradient. Total elevation gained is 345m, pretty much a walk in the park after Sa Colabra? This segment is good for those looking for a quieter route that still has a decent climb. If you have time, take a bike lock and have a wander around the village which is truly stunning!
Andratx to Pollenca / Alcudia
For this ride you can get the Mallorca Cycle Shuttle over to Andratx to start your ride. It’s an epic days ride with time for lunch in Soller – which I’ve been told is a non negotiable! Soller is 3 km inland from the Port de Sóller which is on the North West coast of the island.
The Three Monastaries
This ride is one with epic views taking in the Randa, San Salvador and Betlem climbs all located near Arta. You can grab the GPX files for one version – a 111km route – on plotaroute here.
Photos will never do a great view justice but there is no harm in a preview…
Views From Betlem:
Views From San Salvador:
Views From Randa:
Routes Under 45 miles on Strava
Here are a few rides by Jo Gaffney over on Strava, which you can use as starting points to build your own routes. Hit ‘Duplicate’ to save the ride to your profile then you can edit it to start from your hotel and / or finish wherever you desire.
- Route 1 – 33 miles / 52.5km
- Route 2 – 38 miles / 60.7 km
- Route 3 – 43 miles / 68.3km
- Route 4 – 44 miles / 71.3km
- Route 5 – 13 miles / 20.4km
Prefer a Group Ride?
I have yet to verify these but there are supposed to be group rides going out from Rapha and Cafe du Cycliste in Palma on different days of the week as well as group rides on Tuesdays and Fridays from Tollos Bar in Port de Pollença.
And there’s always Mallorca 312
This mention is either for those that would consider taking part or those who want some forewarning in order to give this event a hard pass. Mallorca 312 is billed as one of the toughest endurance events in the cycling sportive calendar. Because 312km in one day is no mean feat. With a total elevation of 4,300m. No big deal. On this sportive though, it’s like taking a tour of the entire island including a roll through the capital Palma, whilst enjoying some of the challenging climbs like Puig Major, Col de sa Predissa and Col de Feminina that Mallorca has become renowned for.
In the past, the event took place on open roads but as it grew in size and popularity it’s become a closed road event. The 2020 event, the 11th in its history, is scheduled for Sunday 25th April so note that one down. It attracts over 8,000 riders from around the world… are you gonna be one of them?!
If you are thinking this might be the event for you, there is also the Mallorca 225 which includes most of the hardest climbs in the full route and evens out at 3980m of total elevation. The shortest route is the Mallorca 167 which is more suited to a leisurely pace, with a total elevation of 2,475m.
Off The Beaten Track in Mallorca
It looks like Mallorca doesn’t just dish up perfect tarmac for roadies. Bridgette, of Hyper Health Nut blog, shared with me about her day of cycling in Mallorca:
“Earlier in January, my boyfriend and I visited Mallorca and decided to explore a beautiful area of the north east of the island with a day of cycling. An incredible one-day adventure lost in the natural paradise of Mallorca. Little did we know that this ride would be such an epic and exhausting adventure through the ever-changing stunning landscapes of the island. It took us 6 hours to complete 32km, with a maximum elevation of 240m height. Our journey began from the small town of Cala Ratjada, from there we completed a circular route through dense woodland, deep soft sand, up rocky grassland hills, then along coastal cliff edges, over broken bridges and paths, through the valley, up steep secluded mountain paths and finally back to town, winding our way through the small quiet streets back to the bike shop.”
Other Things to Note For Your Mallorca Cycling Holiday
I’ve heard that around September time, there is quite the risk of getting eaten alive by mosquitoes so I pulled together list of the best products to keep you bite free on your trip.
- Avon Skin So Soft Original Dry Oil Body Spray
- Dettol Bar Soap
- Incognito Less Mosquito Insect Repellent Roll On
- Citronella Wrist Bands
Shop Insect Repellant on Amazon:
Incase Cap Formentor being known as the meeting point of the four winds didn’t give it away, Mallorca can be quite windy (reminds me of Lanzarote!) so you should defo pack yourself a windproof jacket. I own and love the Liv Cefira Superlight Wind Jacket which can easily be rolled up into a jersey pocket until it’s needed or when no longer needed.
Last but not least, check whether your travel insurance covers damage / theft of hire bikes and make sure it covers you for such an extreme activity as cycling (rolls eyes, lol). It could be worth getting out a policy that covers the excess for the bike hire, like when you hire a car, or paying the little bit extra when you rent the bike for that extra peace of mind. If you’re riding on your own out in Mallorca, you might wanna consider getting insurance from Mallorca Cycle Shuttle for Rescue & Recovery so that if you get a mechanical issue out in the mountains they will come and get you!
So, when are you planning on hitting up Mallorca for a cycling holiday?!