5 secret cycling climbs in Mallorca (picked by Mallorca cycling guides!) Back to top
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5 must-do
cycling climbs in Mallorca

If you’re heading to Mallorca, chances are you’ve got the famous Mallorca cycling climbs on your must-do list.

But what do you do once you’ve ridden those? Or if you’re someone that prefers quiet roads to roads full of cyclists all checking off the same cycling climbs?

Step in David Harwood of SunVelo

He and his team have been running Mallorca cycling holidays since 2012 and have a passion for getting cyclists off the beaten track.

In this article he shares his team's favourite cycling climbs in Mallorca, some of which you may not have heard of. 

These are not Mallorca’s most famous cycling climbs - but they are very beautiful and perhaps even more memorable than the Sa Calobra, Formentor and Puig Major climbs of this world.


Sponsored by SunVelo

SunVelo logo


1. Please introduce yourself

My name is David and I am the co-founder (and chief dogsbody/fixer) at SunVelo.

We’re based in the UK and currently offer cycling holidays in Mallorca and Switzerland, with the Sierra Nevada and the King Alfred's Way trail in the UK being added in 2022.

We first started our expert guided group riding holidays in Mallorca way back in 2012.

SunVelo is born from being passionate about cycling. We’re founded by cyclists for cyclists and we take pride in being extremely professional in how we operate. We’ve got a 70%+ return rate amongst our clients. They tell us they come back because we take them on the best cycling routes and create happy, well-matched groups of riders on the road.

Cycling in Mallorca on a cycling climb

SunVelo group out enjoying Mallorca's roads

Cyclists at the top of Randa cycling climb

Cyclists at the top of the Randa/Cura Monastery climb

2. What are your favourite cycling climbs in Mallorca?

At SunVelo we absolutely love to take cyclists to the parts of the island that are less visited and are away from the obvious places most cyclists ride.

For the cyclists that want to climb, our weekly ride schedule includes the classics of Coll dels Reis/Sa Calobra, Puig Major and Coll de sa Batalla. We also include a number of other favourites that are more off the beaten track and lesser known.

Many professional teams use the island for their winter camp training camps but even they often don’t venture to the more out of the way, scenic climbs and cycling routes that are favourites with our ride leaders.

I asked our ride leaders for their opinion of the best cycling climbs in Mallorca. In no particular order, this is what they came up with.


1. Atalaya de Albercutx


Vital statistics

Length

2.3 km

Average Gradient

6%

Height at start

205m

Height at finish

353m

Total Elevation Gained

148m

Note: all climb statistics in this article are estimates.


Where is it?

As you leave Puerto Pollensa and ride up the first section of Formentor, the crowds cycling Mallorca usually continue on to the famous lighthouse and miss a real gem.

After the first part of the climb, where it flattens off, there’s a right turn off the main road which leads to a rough road and eventually a track, but it is worth the effort.


Why is it special?

The summit sits at 380 metres above sea level and forms part of the system of fortified defence towers that were built on the island between the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century. This was one of the main lookout points to ward off the threat of pirates attempting to come ashore and loot nearby villages.

There are fabulous views from the watchtower, including the Formentor headland, the islet of Colomer, the Bay of Pollença and the Sierra del Cavall Bernat. 

Cap de Formentor cycling climb views from the Pepperpot cycling climb

The kind of view you can expect from Atalaya de Albercutx (AKA the Pepperpot) 


2. Coll d’honor


Vital statistics

Length

5.4 km

Average Gradient

5.9%

Height at start

200 m

Height at finish

550 m

Total Elevation Gained

350 m


Where is it?

Coll d’Honor is the more difficult south-western climb up to the Orient valley. It starts after Bunyola, following the Ma-2100 to Orient. The gradient stays above 5% most of the time and reaches 10% on a few occasions. The last few hundred meters of Coll d’Honor has tight switchbacks that are tough and can really catch you unprepared, just when you are thinking that the end of the climb must be near.


Why is it special?

We love this because of the amazing hanging valley between the summit and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Orient village. Although this is a known cycling route in Mallorca, we include it in our list because it feels like you are being shown a secret place of hidden beauty midway along the Tramuntana mountain range. 

You also get to experience one of the fastest and most enjoyable descents on the island as you drop down from Orient towards Alaro.

Road after Orient towards coll d'Honor mallorca

The magical hanging valley near Orient

Cycling climb after Orient

Coll d'Honor


3. San Salvador Monastery


Vital statistics

Length

5 km

Average Gradient

7%

Height at start

100 m

Height at finish

510 m

Total Elevation Gained

410 m


Where is it?

Located in the eastern part of Mallorca, it is a rather steep climb with gradients up to 15%. It starts on the Ma-4011 road, near Felanitx, and finishes at the mountain top which thankfully has a very welcome café. 


Why is it special?

Of all the monastery climbs, San Salvador is the toughest. Although it's known by cyclists, very often it's not part of cyclists' riding schedules as it takes people a long way from the more common cycling bases in the northeast of the island.

It's a shame many people miss this ride out! It's one of the most challenging monastery rides in Mallorca and the far-reaching views at the top make you feel like you're on top of the world.

View from Ermita de San Salvador Mallorca

View from the top of Mallorca's San Salvador cycling climb


4. Puig de Randa – Cura monastery


Vital statistics

Length

5.5 km

Average Gradient

6%

Height at start

175 m

Height at finish

534 m

Total Elevation Gained

359 m


Where is it?

Known by SunVelo as the Ayers Rock of Mallorca, it sits all alone in the middle of the island and can be seen from miles away, instantly recognisable by its steep sides and long flat top. 

From the lesser known south side that we love to ride, the first part of the climb is quite difficult with bend after bend and testing gradient. Then after Santuari de Nostra Senyora de Gràcia, the road merges with the route of the main climb from Randa.


Why is it special?

On a clear day this climb provides the most spectacular view to the north, of the full length of the Tramuntana range. There’s also a monastery to marvel at both for its architecture and location.

Cura Monastery is a commonly visited climb, but this climb from the south side is rarely done. It provides an interesting and testing climb before it joins the main route to continue the climb to the summit.

Monastery de Cura Randa and hotel

Puig de Randa monastery, Mallorca

SunVelo cyclist having completed the Randa cycling climb Mallorca

On the summit of Puig de Randa


5. Ermita de Betlem


Vital statistics

Length

2.5 km

Average Gradient

5.7%

Height at start

210 m

Height at finish

372 m

Total Elevation Gained

162 m

Note: these figures are taken from the turn off from the main road to the top of the climb. GPS file here.


Where is it?

This climb begins a few kilometres north of the town of Arta, a lovely medieval town situated in the east of the island. 


Why is it special? 

It’s another hidden gem in an area of the island that’s rarely visited by cyclists. 

This piece of road has a taste of the most beautiful places of Mallorca. It offers epic views, in a similar way to Formentor, the twisting turning roads of Sa Calobra and the quiet peace and tranquillity of the Coll d’Honor.

While climbing, the views of the local surroundings open up as the switchbacks go on. You then reach the summit with jaw dropping views, especially towards the northeast and Alcudia bay.

From here you descend to the Ermita de Betlem, a 200 year old Monastery, where you can take a short break before heading back up and over the switchbacks towards Arta once again.

A must visit if you want to try something different.

Cyclist on road to Ermita de Betlem, one of Mallorca's best cycling climbs

Descending down towards Ermita de Betlem


3. What’s special about SunVelo cycling holidays in Mallorca?


The routes

For many people, cycling in Mallorca is an annual pilgrimage as the island offers so much varied terrain that can be covered in one day. However, most cyclists follow their usual routine of tick list routes each year, whether that be fighting the traffic on the climb from Sa Calobra, Formentor lighthouse or over Puig Major. They miss out on so much more the island has to offer. 

SunVelo guided rides have, over the years, established themselves for being different.

We take you to the “must do climbs” but you will also find yourself on routes with SunVelo away from areas which can become congested with both traffic and other cyclists. Some of these such as the “Hidden Valley”, the “Llubi Loop” and the “Twisty Turny” have legendary status amongst SunVelo’s core customer base, many of whom return each year.

However, that is not to say each year a returning SunVelo customer is taken on previously guided routes; the ride leaders are constantly refreshing the route selection with new and varied road cycling choices each year.


Our team

We really believe our ride leaders are the best in the business. They’re so important to what kind of holiday you have and we go to huge lengths to make sure they’re brilliant. More on that below.


We’re ABTA bonded 

As members of ABTA, we operate to the high standards of the ABTA code of conduct and are secured by an ABTA bond. This means your booking is always financially secure (more on that, here).

We also offer a flexible approach to bookings and will offer refunds should your holiday with us not be possible due to travel disruption.

SunVelo at Playa de Muro Mallorca

At our Playa de Muro base

At the top of Puig Major

SunVelo cycle the popular routes but also the "secret" roads too

4. Why is it worth paying for our guided cycling?


Our ride leaders will get you away from the cycling hordes

Our team knows Mallorca intimately. We operate on the island for five months each year across winter, spring and autumn seasons.

We take particular pride in being able to take customers on group rides away from the regular cycling crowds to discover and ride the “real” Mallorca.

We have extensive knowledge of the intricate network of country lanes that most cyclists visiting Mallorca never see, the best coffee stops and safe leadership of group cycling on the island.


They’re qualified

SunVelo prides itself on being one of the most qualified and experienced cycling holiday and training camp ride leader teams in the cycling sector travel industry.

For example, all ride leaders are qualified by an “official” body as either a group ride leader and/or a cycling coach.


They’re experienced

The team operate under the guidance of SunVelo’s head of cycling, Alastair Irvine, who is an ex-professional road racer, multiple Commonwealth games medallist and former Northern Irish team manager.

Team members have a wealth of individual cycling achievements across all disciplines as well as other sporting accomplishments and importantly considerable experience of riding and leading on Mallorca’s roads.


They’re first aid trained

All ride leaders maintain up-to-date first aid certificates and focus on safety being the number one priority on each and every ride.

Cyclists on a Mallorca cycling holiday with SunVelo

A SunVelo group off to tackle the hills

Ride briefing at SunVelo headquarters before going out to tackle Mallorca's cycling climbs

Pre-ride briefing


5. Tell us more about what it’s like to ride with SunVelo?

Each day we run four groups that ride at different levels - the picture below explains these.

Each group rides under the guidance of their experienced ride leader as if they are riding in their own mini peloton, sharing the pace and working together as a team. 

This philosophy is a winner and means everyone enjoys the camaraderie of their group, regardless of the level. It delivers a great experience and a fantastic ride each and every day.

Cyclist-illustrations-x-4


6. Why are you based in Playa de Muro rather than Port Pollensa?

When setting up SunVelo, we decided quite early on that the “Little Britain” of Puerto Pollensa probably wasn’t what we were looking for in a cycling base!

We wanted somewhere that felt more diverse, offered a greater variety of immediate access and departure points for cyclists and had that little something extra.


Beach

When you get to Playa de Muro, it’s easy to see why we chose our base at the Prinsotel Hotel. The long expanse of smooth sand at the Playa de Muro beach is less than 200 metres from the hotel front door.


Nature reserve

The Prinsotel Hotel also has the Albufera nature reserve directly behind it. The changing seasons of the nature reserve means you see a fascinating array of migratory birdlife, from flamingos to ospreys.


Bars and restaurants

There’s an extensive selection of restaurants, bars, cafes, cycling shops and a generally more European cycling flavour in Playa de Muro than Puerto Pollensa. It has been a very comfortable home for SunVelo for over 10 years.


Access to riding

We love the fact you can start rides from our base and head in four or five different directions without having to ride a long distance along the same road in and out every day.


Bikepoint Café

We use the well known Bikepoint Café, just 400 metres from our hotel, as our clubhouse. All our riding groups finish their daily rides here and come back to tell their stories of the day’s ride.

We find it a really friendly and happy environment in Playa de Muro. We have been so lucky to find our ideal base for a cycling holiday.

Nature reserve in Mallorca

Albufera nature reserve

Playa de Muro beach Mallorca is perfect for relaxing after Mallorca's cycle climbs

Playa de Muro beach

7. Does SunVelo only run holidays in Mallorca?

We have very many customers that have been visiting us in Mallorca every year since we started. They like what we do and how we do it, the way we run our groups on the road, the variety of daily group riding options and our general approach to being on the bike and off it. 

While many of them are happy with Mallorca each year, recently we’ve started offering trips to Switzerland and Sierra Nevada in mainland Spain. Additionally, we are excited by the ever-growing gravel scene and will be running supported trips on the King Alfred's Way travel throughout summer 2022.


Switzerland

When ride leader, Jonni Harris, who lives on the shore of Lake Geneva mentioned Switzerland to us a few years ago, we thought why not! From our base there you can be cycling through stunning vineyards, fields of sunflowers and following roads leading towards the Jura mountains within minutes. We offer guided group rides there in July.

You can find out more here.


King Alfred’s Way

The 352km mostly off-road trail of the King Alfred’s Way through central southern England presents a fabulous opportunity to take on a multi-day trip in the UK.

With so many hardcore roadies now also taking up gravel biking and off-road, this is a great introduction to endurance cycling away from the tarmac.

You can find out more here.


8. Where can people get more information about SunVelo?

Come and join us on our very active Facebook and Instagram pages. 

There’s tons of information about our trips on our website: https://www.sunvelo.com

Or if you’ve got questions and want to email or speak with someone directly, you can do that here: enquiries@sunvelo.com and 0044 (0)1432 860 609.


More About David

SunVelo ride leaders

David with members of his SunVelo ride leading team (left to right Sam Bollon, David Harwood, Alastair Irvine)

David enjoyed a long career working for a global medical devices manufacturer. On a three year posting to the United States in 2002 he rediscovered his love for road cycling. On his return to working in Europe from 2005 he uncovered the thrill of riding in Mallorca. 

It was on regular training camp visits over the next few years that David got to know former professional racer Alastair Irvine who was a vast resource of knowledge about everything cycling and especially riding in Mallorca.

When given the opportunity to leave the medical devices world, David jumped at the chance of a work/lifestyle change and set up SunVelo with Alastair. 

The company has gone from strength to strength and is now one of the UK’s leading cycling holiday tour operators. While many travel companies have suffered in our new Covid world, SunVelo has not just switched off the lights and waited for things to start again but has tested alternative routes and researched new destinations to offer customers. It’s no longer just Mallorca.

In asking David what has led to the success of SunVelo, his answer is:  “it is all about the people…..we are very fortunate in that we have an amazing team of people that ride lead for us every year and a fabulous and loyal customer base that really appreciate our approach to cycling as delivered by our experienced ride leader team."

"We have a culture that is inclusive, it doesn’t matter at what level you ride a bike, whether you travel solo, with a partner, a friend or in a group, when you step off the plane you are immediately part of the sociable SunVelo family. We are not just a holiday tour operator with bikes, we are a cycling business run by cyclists for cyclists."

"We ride together as a team and never leave anyone behind!"

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