Liam Hallam is a sports science graduate. He is also a keen cyclist and a lover of the Derbyshire Dales and Peak District.
Warm Weather Bike Training in Mallorca
After a tough battle to ride and concentrate on training through the winter, as well as the lure of the oncoming racing season many cyclists look forward to a warm-weather training camp to help break the monotony and set us up for the season ahead.
The Balearic island of Mallorca (which us Brits know as Majorca) is a veritable road cyclist's playground with the promise of warm temperatures and the opportunity to sort ourselves some tan-lines before we’d even dare show some skin back home.
Training in Mallorca offers fantastic terrain which many cyclists continue to return for year on year. With the rugged Serra de Tramontana mountain range running along the Northern coast of the island and flatter, central plains with well-paved roads, it’s hard not to argue that Mallorca is a cyclists paradise—especially with relatively short flights from the UK, Germany and Switzerland allowing you to board a plane early in the morning and be out in the mountains for the afternoon.
- Detailed descriptions of eight Mallorcan road climbs (my personal favourites)
- Map of the climbs' whereabouts to help you find your way on the island
- Mallorca Climbs Strava Leaderboard (times to measure yourself against!)
A Great Map for Cyclists in Majorca
- Majorca Bicycle Map- On Waterproof Paper
Buy Majorca bicycle map wp by Alpina Editorial SL (ISBN: 9788480903639) from Amazon's Book Store. Free UK delivery on eligible orders.
1. Sa Colobra (Coll des Reis), Mallorca's Toughest Climb
Arguably the toughest climb on Mallorca both physically and mentally. With an average of 7.1% over 5.9 miles, the climb of Sa Colobra is easily as close to a Cat 1 climb Mallorca has to offer riders.
Sa Colobra strikes fear into many an amateur cyclist thanks to a total of 26 hairpin turns which twist their way up from almost sea level up and over a mountain into the Serra de Tramuntana. There's even a hairpin which physically sweeps a full 360 degrees over the road and a section that passes through a narrow gap which forms a rocky tunnel.
Climbing Sa Colobra
Accessing Sa Colobra
Part of the difficulty of the climb of Sa Colobra is created as there's no road option to get to the foot of the climb. You have to descend from the top of the climb to be able to climb back up again. Access is via the Col des Reis cllimb with the road off the MA-10 beside the legendary 'Orange Hut' aside the aquaduct.
The climb of the Col des Reis climbs up to a meagre 682 metres, but you've done a huge amount of climbing to get to the Orange Hut itself by tackling the ascent of either Puig Major, the Coll de sa Batalla or Coll de Femenia from Pollenca and heading along the tough undulating MA-10 to the Sa Calobra junction.
The descent of Sa Colobra is not for the faint-hearted as the below video will show you.
Read More From Skyaboveus
Why You Should Descend and Climb Sa Colobra
Sa Colobra has to be on any rider's cycling bucket list. Lots of sheer drops, jaw-dropping views and awesome scenery. You haven't cycled on Mallorca until you've done Sa Colobra.
The gradient stays relatively constant throughout and its 7% average means you will be spending lots of time in the little ring. It's rideable if you're relatively strong in the 39x23 although many will wish for a much lower range of gears to allow a little recovery time if you start to struggle.
Be aware that the road is popular with coaches which tend to drop off tourists early and return in the afternoon to collect so the descent and climb are better to be tackled mid to late morning if you have the possibility.
If you have issues with the descent and would prefer to start from the bottom of the climb you could check out the option of the ferry which drops off in the village at the bottom coming out from Port de Soller to Sa Colobra and alternately if your legs are wrecked the ferry goes in the opposite direction too. For more information on this check out Barco Sazules Boats.
The Sa Colobra Leaderboard on Strava
- Strava Segment | Sa Calobra - Coll dels Reis (official)
See how you rank against Pros and Amateurs alike on Sa Colobra
2. Puig Major, The Highest and Longest Climb on Mallorca
Known as "The Pig", Puig Major is Mallorca's longest climb at almost 9 miles in total. Its position in the middle of the Serra de Tramuntana means that you'll have already done some climbing to get to the start in the town of Soller but it's a majestic climb up to 854 meters on a wide, meandering road.
Accessing Puig Major
Taking the turn off for the MA-10 in Soller the climb starts at its steepest with a section of tight hairpins to test your legs. The gradient then settles down to allow you to find a rhythm to get you all the way to the top. Once at the top it's customary to re-group at the parking area before the tunnel which offers expansive views down into the valley.
Unfortunately the road does not head up to the top of this legendary climb. Atop Puig Mayor is a series of military units and a private road linking them from the Embalse de Cuber. From the photo below all road cyclists I know would love to tackle this section of the climb.
Climbing Puig Mayor
3. Coll de Femenia, Climbing into the Mountains from Pollensa
For the many cyclists that stay in Puerto Pollensa each year, the climb of the Coll de Femenia is the main way up into the mountains. With 7 km of steady climbing with a barely altering gradient, the Coll de Femenia is one of those climbs where you quickly start to realise if you've warmed up thoroughly.
Accessing Coll de Femenia
The climb starts gradually from the Pollensa roundabout on the MA-10 before starting to rear up a couple of kilometers later into the ragged white rocky cliffs of the Serra de Tramuntana which reflect heat and the sun on a hot day to ensure you're not just battling with the gradient.
Whilst a steady 7 km in length the Coll de Femenia is classified as a category 2 climb by European standards. It's tough enough to split amateur groups to shreds on their ride up but it's not something that will push the top riders to their limits.
If you're racing Ironman Mallorca or Ironman 70.3 Mallorca, the Coll de Femenia has a big part to play in your big leg. It's the key big climb as part of the race route and anyone riding it not accustomed to long continental-style climbs will have their work cut out. You'll be wishing for a light set of climbing wheels instead of heavy deep-section clinchers or a disk wheel if the gradient kicks in.
The climb tops out at 517 meters but this isn't the end of the climbing as the road drops down for a short period before kicking up again. You know you've hit something a little easier when you ride past the turn-off for the Santuari de Lluc and reach a T Junction which offers the opportunity of a coffee (and cake or a bocadillo) at the garage cafe to your left atop the Coll de sa Batalla.
Alternately you can turn right and head further into the Serra de Tramuntana toward Puig Major or the turn-off for Sa Colobra beside the orange hut.
4. Caimari to Lluc, The Coll de sa Batalla
For many riders, the Coll de sa Batalla is their first taste of Mallorca's climbs. For riders starting off in Puerto Pollensa and Alcudia a great first day of riding (or afternoon if your flight gets in on time) is to head over to the town of Campanet, then pick up the signs for Caimari and progress on to the top of the Coll de sa Batalla before descending the Coll de Femenia back to your accommodation with a nice 60 or so miles ticked off on the quest for a magic 500-mile week.
Accessing Coll de sa Batalla
As you leave Caimari the inevitable is showcased with a sign showing 7.9 km and 5%. In truth you've already climbed slightly through Caimari so those legs are already starting to feel some strain.
The climb of the Coll de sa Batalla features lots of hairpin bends. Stick to the outside of these are you're rewarded with a gentler more gradual gradient to allow you to spend some time focusing on the beautiful views of the way up into the mountains.
At the top of the climb is a wonderful cafe attached to a garage. The cafe really welcomes cyclists and there are a large selection of racks to hook up your bike (it feels like an Ironman transition at times!). The petrol station itself has a great shop to allow you to stock up with water or sports drink (check out Aquarius if you need something more than water). The cafe is a fantastic point to re-group, reflect and head on into the mountains if you're on a long day of riding.
Heading South-East to the San Salvador and Cura Climbs
For cyclists looking for a day on flatter roads, it's an easier option to head for the South and Eastern areas of the Island. Featuring slightly rolling parcours these areas offer a fantastic opportunity to experience cycling in Majorca without the extremes of mountain ranges. Here you can relax between towns in grand squares and soak up a more Mallorquin atmosphere.
However, the areas to the South and East of the island aren't completely flat and feature two iconic Mallorcan climbs: San Salvador and the Cura. Both finish at hill-top monasteries.
More on the Castell de Santueri, San Salvador
- Castell de Santueri . Castillo de Santueri . Santueri Castle - Benvinguts, Bienvenidos, Welcome
Portal Web Official del Castell de Santueri - Sitio Web Official del Castillo de Santueri - Santueri Castle's Official Website
5. Climbing San Salvador from Felanitx
For Sa Colobra you had the joy of a 10km descent before the pain and suffering of coming back down again. On the climb of San Salvador, it's the opposite. You're treated to a fantastic meandering climb where you can stop and re-group at the top before a dream-like sweeping descent back down to the small town of Felanitx.
Accessing San Salvador
Taking the PM- 401 road out of Felanitx for about a kilometer the climb and Santueri is signposted and you'll turn off through a set of gates to start the ascent up the mighty hill which faces you.
This 5-kilometer climb is short by Mallorcan standards but has some pretty tough sections with a few hairpins at around 15% gradient to break your rhythm but the views as you climb are absolutely stunning and at the top there's a cafe to celebrate your achievement which offers 360-degree views. The average gradient is 7% but the varied nature of the climb will allow you some opportunity to recover.
6. Tackling the Cura Climb, Puig de Randa
Located in almost the centre of the island climbing out of the small rown of Randa lies the main Cura climb. At 4.4 kimilometres in length, it may be on the shorter side compared to many on this list but with an average gradient of 5.6%, it's definitely not an easy climb.
This route is a real favourite with cyclists and meanders up to a height of 534 m. Its proximity to the German cycling favourite resort of Arenal allows the route to be attempted by all and allows an additional climb up to San Salvador from Felanitx to create a challenging double-climb circuit.
There is an alternative Southern route up to Cura if cyclists are looking for a quieter option which can be attempted further South on PM 501 through the Santuari de Gracia which offers a much tougher route with abundant switchbacks.
7. Coll de Claret, The Rugged Roads of the Western Serra de Tramuntana
The MA-10 from Andratx looks like a knife-edge in profile as the road follows the whole length of the Serra de Tramuntana. Coming from the South on the MA-10 after you pass the turn-off for Esporles you hit the climb of the Coll de Claret.
The road snakes its way through the beautiful Western coast of the Island up to the Mirador de Fuig de sa Naneda vantage point. The vegetation is lush and green as you pass many olive groves unlike many of Majorca's more rugged climbs as you head up to 560 meters above sea level over the course of a blissful 3.7 kilometers. It's climbs like this that bring you back to cycling in Majorca year upon year.
8. Soller, Almost Car-Free Roads and an Awesome Ascent
The authorities on the islands provided a fantastic gift to cyclists in 1997 when they opened the Soller tunnel connecting the towns of Soller and Bunyola. There was already a long twisty mountain pass which cars had to negotiate but the tunnel has almost removed the cars from the Coll de Soller ever since.
Accessing Bunyola from Soller
As a climb, it's best tackled from Soller which is its toughest side and turns left off the C711 road to twist you through the hillside over 7.4 kilometres and an average gradient of 6%. Tackled from the South the climb is an easier 4.7 kilometers with an average 5% gradient although the road becomes a very open sun trap which intensifies the temperature on warm days to add a little more challenge.
Majorca's Best Cycling Climbs- Where to Find Them
Mallorca Cycling Climbs Strava Leaderboard. See How Fast You Can Climb
Sa Colobra- Male
Sa Colobra- Female
Puig Mayor Eastbound- Male
Puig Mayor Eastbound- Female
Coll de Femenia (correct finishing point)- Male
Coll de Femenia (correct finishing point)- Female
Coll de Soller- Male from North
Coll de Soller- Female from North
San Salvador- Male
San Salvador- Female
Randa-Cura desde la carretera- Male
Randa-Cura desde la carretera- Female
Where Is Your Best Climb in Mallorca?
Have you cycled the roads of Mallorca? Where do you love to ride? I'm always looking for your feedback, so please let me know your favourite suggestions for the best places to cycle on Mallorca in the comments below and any climbs I might have missed which you feel deserve a mention.
Enjoy your riding!
© 2015 Liam Hallam
Liam Hallam (author) from Nottingham UK on February 26, 2015:
Thanks Adam glad you appreciated.