Ten of the best cycling climbs in Mallorca - Road Cycling UK

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Ten of the best cycling climbs in Mallorca

Mallorca is a cyclist’s paradise, and here are ten must-ride ascents on the Balearic Island

Mallorca boasts a reputation as a cyclist’s paradise with good reason; we’ve examined cycling on the island in depth in our Essential Guide to Road Cycling in Mallorca and the Balearic Island certainly has plenty of allure for us two-wheeled aficionados.

One of the main reasons pros and amateurs alike head to the Iles Baleares island is the wide variety of terrain it offers, with great year-round weather and quiet and smooth roads.

Mallorca is a cyclist’s paradise, popular with pros and amateurs alike (pic – Team Sky)

And the Island’s many climbs are among the highlights: with generally steady gradients they’re ideal for pre-season training, and have become so popular over the years they’ve become must-ride ascents in their own right – the likes of Sa Calobra are now mentioned in the same breath at the mythical Alpine and Pyreneén ascents.

So which should be on your hit list when you head out to the Spanish island? We’ve picked out ten of the best climbs in Mallorca (well, nine, plus a worthy wildcard). Read on to find out more…

Sa Calobra 

Sa Calobra is perhaps the most famous climb in Mallorca and you won’t be surprised to know it features among our top 12 climbs to ride before you die.

Due to its location, in order to ride up it, first you must descend it as the only way down to the start point is the one road atop the Coll des Reis.

Sa Calobra snakes up the mountainside in a series of switchbacks (pic – Team Sky)

That means you can scope it out before you ride it up, taking note of the switchbacks peppered all the way along the climb.

It’s one of the top training climbs you can ride because, like the Col de la Madone in southern France, its gradient is consistent throughout, with only a couple of steep pitches as you round the sharp turns near the top.

On top of those switchbacks, on the way you’ll pass cutouts in the rock, ride along sheer cliff faces and enjoy sea-view scenery as you roll your way to the top, where you’ll find the famous ‘270’ turn near the top. Make sure you don’t overeat at the restaurants at the bottom before you take this one on, though.

Vital Statistics

Distance: 9.6km
Average gradient: seven per cent
Steepest gradient: 13 per cent

Puig Major

We’ve already extolled the virtues of Puig Major in our Essential Guide to Road Cycling in Mallorca, and will do so again here – after all, it’s the highest climb in Mallorca, gaining 787m along our chosen 13.6km Strava segment.

It’s one of the main ways you can access the mountain lakes, with pro cyclists often seen using the roads around them as part of their training loops, and like Sa Calobra is a very consistent challenge from bottom to top.

Puig Major is Mallorca’s highest climb (pic – Carlos Delgado, via Wiki Commons)

Starting just outside Sóller on the Ma-10 road, you wind up the hillside to pass the town of Fornalutx, before arriving at the Monnaber Tunnel, which takes out the need to crest the Puig Major mountain itself. Once through the tunnel, you’ll be greeted with picturesque views of the stunning Gorg Blau and Cúbar.

Vital Statistics

Distance: 13.6km
Average gradient: six per cent
Steepest gradient: nine per cent

Coll de Sóller (northern climb)

The Coll de Sóller has two ascents as it’s a mountain pass, but we think the northern slope is the pick as it’s by far the longest. It’s characterised by its switchbacks (on both sides, incidentally), which means whichever way you head up it you’ll have a technical descent on the way back down.

It’s a quiet pass too – since the Ma-11 tunnel was built, traffic has usually opted for the shorter, more direct route, leaving the Sóller mountain road ideal for cyclists. Just peel left at the 2km mark, and you’ll leave the busy roads behind.

Coll de Soller is packed with hairpins, stacked on top of each other (pic: SantiMB.Photos, via Flickr Creative Commons)

From there you enter the switchbacks, before arriving at a set of 16 consecutive turns, not unreminiscent of compacted Alpine climbs like Alpe d’Huez.

It’s not over yet though, with six more near the summit – although you can take solace in the fact the gradient is, again, remarkably consistent throughout.

Vital Statistics

Distance: 7.3km
Average gradient: six per cent
Steepest gradient: seven per cent

Coll de sa Batalla

Another very popular cycling climb on the island, the Coll de sa Batalla is a 7.8km stretch of road starting in the town of Caimari. The start sign for the climb (like our selected Strava segment) is just outside the town, but you do have to climb through the town to get there if you approach it from Selva.

Sa Batalla is a climb typical of the island, with steady gradients punctuated by switchbacks on the way up. At the 5km marker, things do ease a bit, with a kilometre section that can be best described as a meandering false flat punctuated by views down into the valley and a high-walled cliff section.

From here the road pitches up again to around seven per cent, with the return of another set of switchbacks before you arrive at the summit. You’ll turn right over a bridge, before arriving at the summit.

First you’ll spot the petrol station, but just next to it there’s a café – perfect for a coffee stop before heading onwards towards the Sa Calobra/Coll des Reis duopoly, or to the Pollença port town.

Vital Statistics

Distance: 7.8km
Average gradient: five per cent
Steepest gradient: eight per cent

Coll de Femenia

The Coll de Femenia is the major climb you’ll take on if you’re trying to get to Lluc and head out towards the Puig Major, Sa Calobra and lakes from Pollença. It’s 7.5km long and is part of the Ma-10 road.

The road itself is one of the main tributaries on the island, but it’s not nearly as busy as you may think. Instead, it offers a wider, extra smooth boulevard on which to climb, with an average of five per cent.

The Coll de Femenia is surprisingly quiet, despite one of Mallorca’s major tributary roads (pic – Jun, via Flickr Creative Commons)

It’s punctuated in the middle by a short descent near the 5km mark, before rolling up again to the summit.

If you’re heading back the other way, then it’s a great descending road to Pollença, and isn’t particularly technical for the most part, allowing you to reach some hefty speeds should you desire.

Vital Statistics

Distance: 7.5km
Average gradient: five  per cent
Steepest gradient: eight per cent

Coll d’Honor

Coll d’Honor is different from many climbs on the island in that the gradients it can hit are a touch steeper. You’ll manage nine per cent in short stints up the 550m ascent, with our segment averaging six per cent for its 4.7km length.

Starting in Bunyola, you take the Ma-2100 road – one of the smaller main roads on the island – and wind up through the mountain cutaway.

There’s aren’t as many super-sharp switchbacks as other climbs on Mallorca, while the slightly more enclosed, tree-lined route up gives a different atmosphere.

We like this climb because it’s a quiet introduction to the Serras, heading from west to east, and is still in reach of the easier flatlands should you decide today isn’t the day for your best Nairo Quintana impression.

Vital Statistics

Distance: 4.7km
Average gradient: six per cent
Steepest gradient: nine per cent

San Salvador

If you want to reach a monastery at the summit of a climb, then the climb to the San Salvador sanctuary is a must. Starting just outside the town of Felanitx, the PMV-4011 road is the one you’re after, dead-ending at the top of the hill.

There are beautiful vistas at the top, but you’ll need to work hard to see them. While our selected Strava segment makes the gradient look a steady seven per cent, the winding road can actually fluctuate well into double figures at times, meaning punchier climbers will like this one at just under 5km in length.

San Salvador looms large over Felanitx, offering stunning vistas at the summit (pic – Gernot Ruthofer, via Flickr Creative Commons)

You’ll find a café at the top, so you can sip a café con leche while taking in the 360 degree views, and the historic monastery before you head back whence you came.

Vital Statistics

Distance: 4.7km
Average gradient: seven per cent
Steepest gradient: 15 per cent

Puig de Randa (from Randa)

Another monastery climb to the Santuari de Cura, this is another one to cross off your list. There are in fact two approaches, with both meeting just shy of halfway up, but we’ve picked out the approach that heads through Randa simply because the KOM is held by Fabian Cancellara.

Cancellara has never been a prolific user of Strava, but this is one of the KOMs he does own, reaching the top in a staggering average speed of 29.1km/h. That’s shifting, as you might expect from a multiple time trial world champion on a climb that averages a comparatively easy five per cent.

What sets the Puig de Randa out though, is the fact it’s not in the Serras at all – it sits right in the middle of the island near Llucmajor and Algaida. That means it’s a perfect climb to shake things up if you’re not the kind of rider that enjoys the big mountains every day, but enjoys the occasional smaller test instead. A bit like Cancellara, really.

Vital Statistics

Distance: 4.6km
Average gradient: five per cent
Steepest gradient: seven per cent

Coll de la Creueta (southern climb)

The Coll de la Creueta is one of the most out-of-the-way climbs on the island, but if you want to reach our wildcard tenth ‘summit’ at the Cap de Formentor, then you need to climb this 3.2km ascent.

It averages six per cent and starts at the Port de Pollença, which means there’s no excuse not to be fresh (if you’re staying in the port town, like many of the pro teams), or well-fuelled if you used the popular seaside Tolos Bar as a coffee stop.

What goes up must come down, so the other side features a sweeping descent with views of the seas as you head down to the Play de Formentor. If you’re heading the other way, the climb is slightly longer, although arguably a touch shallower.

Vital Statistics

Distance: 3.2km
Average gradient: six per cent
Steepest gradient: nine per cent

Cap de Formentor

While technically not a climb on its own (the last 500m, switchbacking rise to the lighthouse notwithstanding), the whole ride out from the Port de Pollença is worthy of inclusion – and takes in the Coll de la Creueta as an hors d’oeuvre.

From the bottom of the Creueta descent, there’s one road out as it follows the spit of land to the lighthouse viewpoint, meandering and rolling its way up to the cliff face.

Cap Formentor offers ‘endless’ views out to sea (pic – DustPuppy72, via Flickr Creative Commons)

There are three distinct climbing sections punctuated by mini descents, before a slightly longer descent and then the final rise to the Cap.

The route out and back is characterised by stunning ‘endless’ views out to sea, around 1000m of climbing (both ways) packed into less than 40km of riding, and a unique photo opportunity at the lighthouse itself. There’s also a café there, so need we say more?

Vital Statistics

Distance: approx. 18km

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