Mallorca – Cycling in the South
an alternative to the North?
Every cyclist knows that Mallorca is an ideal base for cycling. Whether you want a serious training camp or to take in the spectacular scenery on a relaxing leisure ride, the miles of quiet roads, varied terrain, friendly motorists who give you plenty of space, the cyclist friendly hotels and facilities, quality bike hire shops, the hordes of like minded cyclists, the sun, the sea, the scenery – and the list goes on – Mallorca has everything a cyclist could wish for.
Traditionally many training camps and holidays from Britain and other parts of Europe have been based in the north of the island, particularly in Port Pollenca, nearby Alcudia or the surrounding area for all the reasons already mentioned but if, like me, you've been a few times and fancy a change, what's it like in the south?
After several cycling holidays based in Port Pollenca, I decided to try out the south of the island for a couple of reasons. First of all, being closer to the airport meant a swift transfer and depending on your flight times, this can mean an extra day of cycling. The shorter transfer meant plenty of time to get to the hotel, then hire a bike before lunch, leaving plenty of time for a decent ride on the first day. On a brief four or five day break an extra day really counts!
Secondly, I wanted to try out the climbs and different terrain that the south has to offer. Some of the climbs and the beautiful coastal road from Andratx were just a little out of reach before, unless I wanted to do a real epic ride from the north and back. There are plenty of serious cyclists who ride all the way down to Soller and back from the North, but for most, much of the south west corner of Mallorca is just too much in one day.
The resorts west of Palma are ideally placed – close to the airport and near to the hills, beautiful coast and the edge of the Tramuntana mountains. Palmanova and Santa Ponsa both have plentiful accommodation and bike shops hiring nicely spec'd carbon racing machines for the reasonably serious cyclist.
One of the highlights of the south western corner of Mallorca is the cost road from Andratx. Following the Ma-10, which spans the length of the Tramuntana, the road from Andratx starts with the 5.5km steady 5% climb of the Coll de Sa Gramola, then continues to rise and fall every few kilometres all the way along the spectacular coast past Estellencs, Banyalbufar, and the breathtakingly beautiful Deia to Soller. A return to your base in the south west inevitable takes you over the legendry 7km Coll de Soller with it's myriad harpin bends – definitely a must-do climb.
As well as the Coll de Soller – from both sides – other major climbs within reach of Palma and the south west resorts are the Coll d'Honor from Bunyola and the Coll de Sa Creu up through the military base just outside Palma both of which offer over 5km of challenging slopes. The interior of the south western peninsular is littered with shorter but delightful hairpinned climbs - indeed the road never seems to be flat for long in this region making for relatively tough going.
The edge of the Tramuntana proper is only just within reach – you'd need to be prepared for a really epic ride to make the most of the real mountains. Similarly, if you're after easier days over flat and rolling terrain it tends to be harder to reach than similar routes are from the northern resorts. For sheer variety of terrain you can't really beat being based in the traditional cycling hotspots of the north.
Dismiss the south at your peril though. Expect hilly, fairly challenging rides in the south western corner of Mallorca, rather than particularly mountainous or never endingly flat routes and you won't be disappointed. As elsewhere on the island there is plenty of stunning scenery, you can sample the delights of idyllic towns such as Port D'andratx and Valldemossa and there are dozens of hidden gems out there to discover – whether it's a breathtaking view at the top of an unnamed climb, or an exquisite cake in a delightful village undiscovered by tourists. If you're planning a brief trip to Mallorca and particularly if your cycling holidays have been based in northern Mallorca once or twice before, why not go discover the delights of the south for yourself?
Article written by Martin Burrows from KOMcoaching. Truly personalised coaching offering exactly what YOU need to reach your goals.