It is no surprise that Mallorca has become a Mecca for cyclists from around the World. Thanks to its warm climate, clear and smooth roads, the spectacular mountains of the Serra de Tramuntana and considerate local drivers, the island is now a year round magnet for road cyclists. The many thousands who descend on the island every year is testament to the rich cycling culture that thrives here - attracting both the pro teams and road cycling fanatics from around the World.
Mallorca is proud of its reputation as one of the most popular cycling destinations in Europe and cyclists are not only respected and tolerated by the locals, but well provided for in every department. There are numerous signposted cycle routes, bike lanes on the major roads and restaurants and cafés have bike racks ready to accommodate their lycra-clad clientele!
There are routes to suit all abilities and cycle hire firms can provide maps and itineraries, though if you prefer to be led then there are many companies offering bespoke cycling holidays and training camps all over the island. It is not only the varied terrain that attracts cyclists, but also the stunning scenery. A typical ride can take you through olive groves and orchards of lemon and orange, up into the imposing peaks of the mountains or along rugged coastlines dotted with aquamarine bays. The interior of the island is far quieter than parts of the coast, but there are plenty of small towns and cafés in which to enjoy a break.
The main focus for cyclists is the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range that dominates the north of the island. Running in a SW to NE direction for over 90km, the peaks are rugged and spectacular, with undulating roads that pass by mountain lakes and challenging mid-gradient climbs, punctuated by hamlets and picturesque villages that provide plenty of opportunity to refuel on tapas or cake!
Puerto Pollensa and the Serra de Tramuntana from the Col de la Creueta. Image credit: Helmut Hess
Puerto Pollensa (or Port de Pollença) is a perfect base for cyclists with plenty of hotels, restaurants and bike shops, all located in sight of the mountains, but far enough away to ensure you are well warmed up before the roads start ramping up into the foothills. Situated in the northeast of the island, it is an attractive town set on an expansive bay and outside the main holiday season retains a low key, local feel.
The town is a hub for cyclists, particularly popular with the British - Sir Bradley Wiggins has an apartment on the seafront - and is a good starting point to ease yourself into a long day in the mountains or to explore the flatter hinterland. Hotels and apartments line the sandy bay and after an epic day in the saddle what better way to cool off those aching muscles than a dip in the sea.
The pretty town of Pollensa, 8km inland and en route to the mountains, is another option when looking to find a place to base yourself and there are countless villas dotted around the beautiful valleys that surround it. Though popular with tourists - attracted by the boutiques and the vibrant market held every Sunday morning - the town has real charm and the cafés and restaurants that spill out from the main square are a perfect place to enjoy a cold beer or some tapas after a ride.
The large resort of Alcúdia lies 10km south of Puerto Pollensa and is where Team Sky base themselves for their winter training. Characterised by large hotels and a long strip dotted with fast food outlets, Alcúdia swells during the summer months, though the old town has been preserved and retains some charm. The area around Port d'Alcúdia on the town's sourthern edge is also worth exploring if you prefer a more low-key feel.
The picturesque town of Valdamossa nestles on the western edge of the Serra de Tramuntana. Image credit: Gene Krasko Photography
Another popular choice as a base for cycling is to stay in the western side of the Tramuntana Mountains. Valldemossa, Deià, Fornalutx and Port de Soller are all set in spectacular scenery with some of the most challenging and beautiful climbs literally on your doorstep. Palma de Mallorca, the capital of the island, is another option for those who hanker for a less sedate base. It has a lively and sophisticated café culture, a stunning and imposing Cathedral, galleries, museums and plenty of activities for those rare occasion when you might feel the need to stay off the bike.
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Main image: Dawn over the Bay of Pollensa. Image courtesy of Bikadelic
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