Mountain Biking and Road Cycling in Majorca
It’s probably most famous for road cycling or hanging out on the beach after a long ride, but the island of Majorca is also well worth considering for a cycling holiday. The terrain can vary from flat to mountainous, with northern Majorca providing some really challenging rocky trails with scenic views. Cross country mountain biker Jose Antonio Hermida trains here with the Multivan Merida team to prepare for the European season and the Sky team use it for Tour De France practice, whilst the island has also produced Marga Fullana, who competed for Spain in the Olympics.
Like the rest of the Mediterranean, the best times to visit for good cycling conditions are between February to May or September and October, when it’s not unbearably hot but you’re still guaranteed a much warmer welcome than in Britain. There are some great places to explore on two wheels when you visit Majorca and whilst we’ve listed some top tips below, a good place to start looking for a cycling holiday in Majorca are holiday websites.
Mountain Bike Trails
There are some great places to warm up before the bigger challenges, so why not start by tackling the coastal tracks between Deia and Valldemossa and the rocky route from Cap de Formentor to Formentor? This second trail is about 20km so a nice gentle ride before tackling Puerto Pollensa to Lluc Monastery. This is a trail that loads of mountain bikers have tried and loved. You can get a free guide from Bicycle Mania which gives detailed tips for how to approach the tougher sections of this ride, and in which conditions you’ll be able to do it. When you reach the monastery, there are two cafes and a restaurant to reward you for your efforts.
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GR221 – also known as the Ruta de Pedra en Sec, this is a Dry Stone Way that cuts across the Tramuntana Mountains. Its main use is for hikers but it’s becoming popular with mountain bikers as well. The route runs from Puerto Andraitx to Pollenca and a lot of it is not yet signposted, so you should come prepared to ensure you don’t end up riding on private property. Ask at any cycle shop on the island and you’ll be given tips on the best sections of the GR221. The biggest challenge is Puig Mayor, known as The Pig, which takes an hour to climb but hey, you’re in Spain so why not take a siesta afterwards?
Sa Calobra – high up in the Tramuntana Mountains with sea views, this area is suited to more experienced mountain bikers who don’t mind a 14km ascent. Most trail maps estimate about 2 hours for a route around Sa Calobra, with amazing views on the descent along winding roads. Tramuntana Tours offers a guided route that also takes in Cala Tuent, which should take around 5 hours and is for experienced bikers.
Road Cycling Routes
Before you get serious, start off by getting to grips with Palma’s bike lanes and do some sightseeing as you go. Get used to the feel of a different bike and you will soon be ready to try one of these suggestions:
Palma to Campos
This is a mainly coastal road, from Palma City along to flat seaside resorts like C’an Pastilla and S’Arenal, before moving inland to reach Bahia Grande and Llucmajor. It’s not too challenging as it’s a south eastern route without many surprises and it should take about two hours, making it ideal for your first adventure in Majorca.
Palma to Sant Elm
For something more challenging, this is a more varied option that passes in the shadow of the south west’s mountains such as Puigpunyent. You’ll also get to see Palma’s Bellver Castle and some of the lesser known towns that are slightly inland, such as Calvia and Andraitx. Ending the trip at Sant Elm brings you back to the coast again, with beautiful views across to Sa Dragonera Island.
If you fancy negotiating countless switchbacks and a 500m climb then you’ll be up for the challenge of reaching the top of Puig de Sant Salvador, where there’s a monastery and café (the monks even make their own wine, though you’ll probably need to rehydrate first before you reach for a bottle). Start at Felanitx and be prepared for inclines of 6.4%. It gets very busy in the spring, so be prepared for lots of other cyclists to join you.
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Can I Hire a Decent Bike in Majorca?
If you’re looking to hire on arrival then there are loads of suppliers on the island worth checking out. Mountain bikes on offer include the Trek 4400 and the 7200; both are 24 speed and well suited to going off-road. Road bike brands include Van Nicholas and Kuota, with accessories such as helmets and pedals included in the price you pay. The roads here aren’t packed with cars, so it’s easier to get around than in the UK, but you’ll be fighting the Sky team for road space in December and January.
Where Should I Stay?
Most of the best mountain routes are centred on northern Majorca so it’s a good idea to head here if you want to be near the action. Puerto Pollensa is a great base as it isn’t a 24 hour resort, so you won’t be distracted by clubbers, but there are enough restaurants and bars to give you a taste of local culture. You’re right by the sea so you can try out plenty of water sports if you don’t want to be tied to your bike all holiday. There’s also a music festival in the summer and several Majorcan fiestas to check out, so you can make the most of island life. If you’d prefer to be nearer the south then try Palma Nova with the kids, as it has great beaches, or try Portals Nous for a more sophisticated vibe.
Majorca really deserves to be known as a top destination for cycling enthusiasts. There are loads of opportunities for devising your own routes or following trails, and you’re right in the heart of stunning scenery which easily rivals the UK’s hotspots. Add this Spanish island to your must-do list and get out there.