Spain: Mallorca

June, 2015

KmM = Kilometer Marker

One of the things about being a popular cycling destination is that people write web pages about it. I’ve given several links in the Links and Other Clicks section below.

We arrived in Mallorca in early June and stayed in Sóller, Port de Sóller, and Pollença. If you are on the island mainly to climb and will just be staying in one place, I would recommend Sóller. Port de Soller is nicer but you will have to ride to Sóller every time you want to ride. Pollença has a lovely old downtown, but you have fewer good rides nearby.

While there were many cyclists on the road, it was too much into tourist season to really enjoy the roads at times. There were far too many cars on some of the narrow roads – in particular the Ma-10 – for the riding to be completely enjoyable. And it gets much worse during prime tourist season. At one point we even considered trying to change our ferry date and return to Órgiva to ride. Riding early is definitely a good option, as is staying off the popular roads. And Sundays seemed to be less busy.

Many of the climbs have signs at the bottom showing the length of the climb and the average gradient and a few of them even have start and finish signs, presumably so you can competitively compare your ascent time with that of other people.

Cycle Fiesta has a list of the 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs in Spain. I’ve noted the list position of the climbs described below if they are in the top 100. For example, the spectacular Sa Calobra climb is #9.

Puig Major (#28) – Sa Calobra (#9)

IMG_2642

Looking down the Sa Calobra climb

This is a great out-and-back from Sóller or Port de Sóller. From the intersection of the Ma-11 and Ma-10 in Sóller, the ride is 68 km with almost exactly 2,000 meters (6,562 feet) of climbing. Puig Major is the biggest climb on the island, but Sa Calobra is by far the more impressive. It’s one of those iconic must-do rides. You can obviously do either separately but together they make a great day.

When we rode it in early June, there were many cyclists on the Sa Calobra climb. The traffic is not too bad early morning but by 11 am you start to see the tour buses. By noon there are many buses taking people down to Sa Calobra for lunch. It’s worth avoiding the buses as they slow down all the traffic, and they take the tight corners very wide.

From the intersection of Ma-11 and Ma-10 ride up the Ma-10 towards Pollença. After about 14 km and 882 meters (2,894 feet) of ascent you will reach the Monnàber tunnel that cuts through the limestone cliffs. There is a parking area on the right, which is basically the end of the Puig Major climb, if that’s all you are planning on riding.

Continue through the tunnel – it  helps to have at least a back light on your bike. From here it’s about 8 km of mainly downhill (and another, shorter tunnel) to the turnoff for Sa Calobra. On the way you pass a military base on the right, and the start of the amazing switchbacks up to the top of the Puig Major Peak, which are unfortunately off limits to the public because of the military installations on top.

DSCN0707Turn left at the Sa Calobra intersection and climb for about 2.5 km to the Coll dels Reis. From here it’s all downhill to Sa Calobra, down one of the most amazing roads you will ever ride, with spectacular views of the road twisting below you. There’s even a 270 degree turn up near the top. Continue down to the parking lot at the bottom, which is a bit after the 12 km marker (KmM). At the split in the road, take the right hand road and go past the No Entry sign. A few hundred meters later you’ll be down at the sea.

Continue round the bottom loop and ride back up the spectacular climb. The Coll dels Reis is at 682 meters (2,237 feet), so from the sea front you’ll ascend almost that much. At the split in the road there is a Start sign, and the corresponding Finish sign is at the 270 degree turn. I assume this is for people to compare times, although the actual top of the climb is another 0.5 km further. There is a small restaurant at the 270 turn where you can admire the view while refreshing yourself, and another one at the intersection of Ma-10 and the Sa Calobra road.

Turn right at the Ma-10 and ride uphill for 8 km back to the Monnàber tunnel, then do a fun 14 km descent back into Sóller.

Extra Credit. About 1.5 km before the parking lot at the bottom of the hill there is turnoff to the left, signed to Cala Tuent. It’s a lovely ride, adding about 9 km and 284 meters (932 feet) of ascent. When you enter the Cala Tuent, the road splits – take the right hand road down to the sea. It’s best to do it on the way down because once you start climbing back up from Sa Calobra, you probably won’t want to stop.

Coll de Femenia (#57) – Sa Calobra (#9)

DSCN0705

Another view of the Sa Calobra climb

This is another way to get to, and to climb Sa Calobra, starting in Pollença. It’s about 92 km with 1,925 meters (6,316 feet) of ascent.

Start in Pollença, at the roundabout where the Ma-10 and Ma-2200 intersect, to the north-east of Pollença. Ride generally westwards along the Ma-10. After about 7 flat km you reach the start of the climb to Coll de Femenia. It’s a lovely climb, about 7.2 km long with 420 meters (1,378 feet) of climbing.

From the Coll de Femenia, continue along the Ma-10 as it rolls towards Lluc. Keep on the Ma-10 is it turns left and climbs for about 1.5 km then turns right and continues rolling to the top of the Sa Calobra road (after about 29 km).

See the previous description for the Sa Calobra descent and ascent.

Coll de Sóller (#38), Coll d’Honor (#96), Coll d’Orient (#45)

IMG_2666

Looking down the easier side from the top of the Col de Sóller

Soller-Honor-OrientA fun out-and-back day, climbing three passes from both sides. The most classic pass is Col de Sóller with it’s incredible switchbacks, the best road surface is on the Col d’Orient from Alaró, and the roughest road is on the Col d’Honor (both sides). The whole ride is about 72.4 km (45 miles) with 1,616 meters (5,302 feet) of climbing.

Start on the Ma-11 in Sóller, at the second roundabout from the top, where the hill starts on the Ma-11. From here ride up the Ma-11 to where the road splits, the Ma-11 going through the tunnel and the Ma-11a switchbacking up to the Coll de Sóller. Climb the switchbacks to the top – this is the harder side and has much tighter switchbacks. This climb has about 300 meters (984 feet) of ascent from the road split, and 445 meters (1,460 feet) of ascent from the roundabout in Sóller. I rode the switchbacks with a Brit named Kevin who was doing the ride to help recover from a knee injury!

Descend the other, easier, side and ride up to the turnoff to Bunyola. Turn left and ride to the town square in the center of Bunyola. Turn left following signs to Orient and climb through the narrow streets of Bunyola, up the valley, and up the tight switchbacks to the Coll d’Honor. The climb from the turnoff in Bunyola to the Coll d’Honor is about 330 meters (1,083 feet) of ascent. The road on both sides of the Coll d’Honor is rather rough.

Descend the other side and continue through Orient, up the easy side of the Coll d’Orient, and  descend the longer side of the Coll. Continue along the flats to just before Alaró, to where the main road turns left and is signed to Lloseta and Inca. Turn round here.

Ride back up the lovely climb to the Coll d’Orient on a wonderful road surface. This climb has about 270 meters (886 feet) of ascent. Continue through Orient, over the Coll d’Honor, down through Bunyola, and back to the base of the Coll de Sóller.

Climb back over the easier side of Coll de Sóller – about 245 meters (804 feet) of climbing. Descend the very tight switchbacks on the other side and ride back down the Ma-11 into Sóller.

Coll de Sóller, Coll d’Orient, Coll de sa Batalla, Puig Major loop

Orient LoopI didn’t do this loop, although I’ve done most of the riding on it. It would be a great loop to do, with about 93 km of riding and 5 passes.

Start as for the previous ride and do this until the turnoff just before Alaró.

Turn left towards Lloseta and Palma then shortly turn left on the Ma-2110 to Lloseta. Just before Lloseta turn left on the Ma-2111 then in Lloseta turn left on the Ma-2113 towards Biniamar. Continue on the Ma-2113 until it reaches the Ma-2112. Turn right then very soon turn left on the Ma-2114 towards Selva. Turn left on the Ma-2130 and follow this through Selva, past Caimari, and up to the Coll de sa Batalla.

Turn left on the Ma-10 and follow this past the turnoff to Sa Calobra, through the Gorg Blau tunnel, through the Monnàber tunnel, and down to Sóller.

Cap de Formentor

DSCN0658

A must-do ride. Not particularly hard – only about 35 km out and back from the roundabout just before the first climb, with 846 meters (2,775 feet) of climbing – but with spectacular scenery, especially if you stop at the overlooks.

DSCN0629Start somewhere (Pollença, Port de Pollença), and ride out to the start of the road to Formentor and Cap de Formentor. The first – and hardest – climb, is about 3.5 km. It finishes at a parking area with a strange stone statue dedicated to Antonio Parietti, the creator of this road and the road to Sa Calobra. From the parking lot you can walk out and up steps to a viewing area with absolutely beautiful views of sea and cliffs.

Continue along the rolling and twisting road to its end at the lighthouse. Then ride back.

Extra Credit. From the parking area after the first climb (by the Parietti statue) climb the switchbacks on the other side of the main road to its end at some deserted buildings and a tower. This climb is on a much rougher road, and adds about 5 km to the ride. If you feel like it you can enter the tower via steel rungs.

Coll de sa Batalla (#39)

DSCN0669
Pollença – Campanet –  Caimari – Lluc – Pollença. This ride is about 51 km (31 miles) with 820 meters (2,690 feet) of ascent.

A great loop which starts with a lovely flattish section along very quiet country roads, then climbs the wonderful road to Coll de sa Batalla to the Ma-10 near Lluc, then descends the Ma-10 back to Pollença.

Sart in Pollença at the roundabout at the eastern edge of Pollença, where the Ma-2200 and Ma-2201 intersect. Follow the Ma-2200 towards Palma for about 5 km to a turnoff on the right (Camí Vell de Campanet) which has bright signs to Can Guillo and Fangar, and, on the other side of the road, a dull wooden sign to Campanet. Turn right and ride along the smooth, quiet road.

After riding for 13.3 km turn right following a bright sign for Hotel Rural Monnaber Neu and a dull wooden sign for Campanet. This turn is immediately after a 90 degree left hand turn. The next two km into Campanet are on much rougher road. As you enter Campanet, turn right following the sign to Binibona, then in 100 meters at the T-junction again turn right for Binibona.

After about 18 km you will reach a crossroad with lots of signs. At this point you can turn right into Binibona, but the road between Binibona and Caimari is horrible. Instead, continue straight (there’s a dull wooden sign for Caimari). In about 1.5 km there’s another turnoff to the right. Turn right here (if you continue and see you are going towards Selva you have gone too far.) Climb the lovely hill to a T-junction and turn left into Caimari.

Once in Caimari, ride generally down and right through town until you reach the T-junction with the Ma-2130. Turn right, following signs for Lluc. Do a beautiful climb for 8.2 km with 400 meters (1,312 feet) of ascent to the Coll de sa Batalla. Just past this you will join the Ma-10.

Turn right following signs for Pollença and follow the road steeply downhill to a T-junction. Turn right again and follow the road as it rolls, then does a gradual descent, then a steep descent into the valley. A few km of flat riding takes you back to Pollença.

Avoid the turn that is signed to Pollença and continue to the roundabout (it’s deceptive as the roundabout is about 50 meters past what seems to be a long roundabout). Turn right here following the signs for Palma and continue to the starting roundabout.

Puig de Maria

DSCN0674A very short and steep climb up the obvious hill just outside Pollença. It is usually done as a walk to the sanctuary or restaurant at the top but it makes a fun little climb if you are in the area. The road is about 1.4 km with 174 meters (571 feet) of climbing, which gives it an average gradient of 12.4%.

From the roundabout at the eastern edge of Pollença, where the Ma-2200 and Ma-2201 intersect, follow the Ma-2200 towards Palma for about 0.4 km. Turn left following the signs for Puig de Maria. The first third of the climb is on a good road but the last two thirds are on a very rough road. After 1.4 km the road ends and the way up continues on a cobblestone track. Turn around here.

Two Short but Steep Climbs

img_2684I was looking at the Mallorca cycling map I bought in Port de Sóller. The map shows 12 big rides – mainly loops – but I noticed two small roads with gradient markers of 17% and 20% and decided to ride them. The map shows the roads as disconnected, so I checked with Google Maps. Google shows that they are connected so I thought I’d ride up the road from Esporles, ride down the southern road, then ride back up and over.

Well, they are connected, but the road between the two is horrible. It’s rideable on a road bike, but not a lot of fun. If you are doing these two rides as part of a longer ride, I would do the Esporles climb, ride the Ma-1040 from Esporles to Establiments, then take the Ma-1042 and Ma-1041 to the southern climb, then do that. But if you are comfortable with poor road surfaces, well it’s only about 2.6 km of bad roads between the two.

I ended up riding over the bad road, but not back. If you choose to ride over, you continue over the top, then at the fork you turn left, go between two stone pillars, then turn left again, down the hill. Eventually you reach the top of the southern climb.

The Esporles Climb

EsporlesIn Esporles, find the street Costa de son Trias on the west side of the main street (Ma-1040). It is two streets down from the restaurant plaza, which is just below the church. There are signs at the bottom of the street for Es Verger and the hotel La Posada del Marquès. Climb this street to where it turns left and leaves town. Follow the road as it climbs, then descends, then climbs more steeply, with several sections of 13-15%.

There are a few decisions to make when the road splits, but they are all fairly obvious. The first decision is when you reach La Posada del Marquès and take the right hand fork. Further up you take the right, then right, then left, then right turns (in each case you follow the main flow of the road surface).

The climb is about 5.7 km to the top, with 385 meters (1,263 feet) of ascent. However, the road surface deteriorates after about 5.1 km so unless you are planning on riding over to the southern climb it’s probably better to turn round here.

Sobremunt (#75) – The Steepest Climb on Mallorca

dscn0718I don’t know if it really is the steepest climb, but it’s easily the steepest climb I’ve done on the island. It’s only 4 km long and some of that is downhill, but you climb 312 meters (1,024 feet). I doubt the gradient hits 20% but my GPS showed 19% and there’s a lot of 13-16% climbing on this ride.

About 1.2 km west of the intersection of the Ma-1041 and Ma-1042 west of Establiments there is a road to the right. There is a sign to Sobremunt and another sign saying you are crossing the torrent de Sa Riera. Head steeply uphill then follow the road left as it descends a bit. Then it rears up and is consistently steep to the top where the road surface changes from good to terrible.

The Southern Loops

DSCN0598

To the south of Sóller are many possibilities. The Ma-10 down the coast is beautiful with lots of hilly rolling riding. It can be split into three sections:

  • Sóller to the Valldemossa turnoff. This is a lovely ride with north-to-south being much harder. This section has the best road surface.
  • The Valldemossa turnoff to the Esporles turnoff. This section has a much rougher road surface than the other two sections.
  • The Esporles turnoff to Andratx. The best and hardest section, with the best views of the sea. South-to-north is harder.

You could do the whole thing as a 116 km out-and-back from Sóller. Or you can make loops out of it. The obvious loops are as follows but you could also combine loops – in particular the first and second loops (59 km), or do figure-of-eights. Obviously you can start anywhere on these loops. If you are staying in Palma you can simply ride from Palma.

  • Sóller – Valldemossa. 50 km with 1,000 meters of climbing. A lovely loop, which I would clockwise. Start by climbing the Coll de Sóller, and continue along the Ma-11 towards Palmanyola. Just before Palmanyola turn right at the roundabout towards Valldemossa and S’Esgleieta on the Ma-1140. Follow this to the Ma-1130. Turn right and do the lovely climb up to Valldemossa. Turn right at the Ma-10 and follow the wonderful coast road, mainly downhill, back to Sóller. (Extra Credit: Just north of Deià, just past the Robert Graves house, a wonderfully twisty little road leads down to the sea. It starts by the bus stop and has signs to Cala Deia and Restaurante Can Lluc.)
  • Valldemossa – Esporles. 26 km. The least interesting loop, although the climb to Valldemossa and the climb above Esporles are both good. I’ll describe it counter-clockwise. From Esporles take the Ma-1120 to S’Esgleieta. Turn left on the Ma-1130 and do the lovely climb up to Valldemossa. Turn left on the Ma-10 and follow it to the Ma-1100 leading back down to Esporles.
  • Esporles – Andratx. 61 km with 1,380 meters of climbing. This is the big, bad loop, the one with the most climbing and the best views. Start above Esporles at the intersection of the Ma-1100 and the Ma-10. Follow the Ma-10 westward into Andratx. As you enter Andratx turn left at the roundabout onto the Ma-1031 to Es Capdellà. In Es Capdellà turn right following the sign to Palma then in 100 meters turn left following the sign to Puigpunyent. In Puigpunyent follow the sign to Esporles into town, then turn left to Esporles. Follow the Ma-1101 up and over the lovely climb of Es Grau (#64). The road eventually arrives in a large parking circle. Follow this round to the right and you will reach the intersection with the Ma-1100. Turn left and ride back up to the Ma-10, Ma-1100 intersection. The road surface is not very good between Andratx and Es Capdellà, getting a bit better after Es Capdellà, then a lot better after Galilea.

Links and Other Clicks

Here’s a great page all about Mallorca Cycling which gives information about climbs, and about complete rides. Here’s another great page about Mallorca Cycling Climbs. And here’s yet another wonderful page called Training in Majorca- Mallorca’s Best Cycling Climbs. Finally, here’s a fun page with great photos of one person’s experience on the Sa Calobra climb.

Michelin Map. A wonderful online map.


Other Cycling in Spain

Other Cycling Pages

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s