IS Cap de Formentor The best cycling route on Mallorca?
We think it might be (especially with the restrictions on cars and buses (see below)).
It’s not an easy ride - at 35km long, it includes nearly 1,000m of climbing - but it combines dreamy views, impressive engineering, and near perfect tarmac. Sa Calobra may be the most famous ride on Mallorca, but we think the road to Formentor lighthouse has the most unforgettable scenery.
No surprise then that it’s become an icon of European cycling.
As if you needed any more persuasion, take a look at our video...
Route map and profile
Distance: 36 km
Elevation Gain: 960 m
Max Grade: 30.7 %
All metrics in this guide are approximate. 30.7% max. gradient is the figure provided by ridewithgps.com near Puig Major, but we think this is inaccurate.
CAP DE FORMENTOR CYCLING HIGHLIGHTS
The first view of the lighthouse through the gap in the rocks is exhilarating, as is the final descent to it. We also loved the stunning views down to Cala Figuera beach, before you head into the gloom of the tunnel through the cliff.
Those not on a rigid training session might want to get off their bike at the Mirador de la Creueta viewing point. The views are wonderful, though it gets even better for those prepared to totter in cleats down to the end of the viewing point (around 130 steps each way…). There you get the best views of towering rocks and islands poking out of the sea.
1. Port de Pollença to the El Mirador de sa Creueta: 0-3.5km
The climb starts almost immediately, through hairpins and up 223 m to the viewpoint (known as El Mirador de Sa Creueta but also Mirador Colomer). Gradients are 7-8%, but sweeping views over Port de Pollença should help take your mind off the grind.
2. El Mirador de Sa Creueta to the last kick up: 3.5-16km
It’s a fast descent down the other side of Col de sa Creueta.
Turning left at the crossroads, you pass Formentor beach (see below), and the road climbs up through fields and pine forest. These give way to rugged rocky grey terrain, and the road soon hits the coast. You’ll see signs to the tempting Cala Figuera cove, but stay on the road, and you’ll soon come to an impressive 300m tunnel through the mountain. Let’s hope you’ve remembered to take your shades off and turn your lights on...
From there it’s an undulating route, with some sharp kicks up, partly through trees, partly through barren, craggy outcrops. As the road nips back and forth across the peninsula, you get incredible views of the sea and coastline. Suddenly you’ll spot the lighthouse through a gap in the rocks on your left and, shortly after, the end point suddenly emerges: a long series of hairpins lead the eye up to the lighthouse perched on the horizon.
3. The last climb: 16-17.5km
A fast descent towards a tiny valley lets you catch your breath for the final, stinging ascent, up stunning switchbacks to the lighthouse.
Built in 1863 the lighthouse is an attractive, bright white building that sparkles in the sunshine. It’s a great place to rest and take in the majestic scenery you’ve just ridden.
4. The return to Port de Pollença
The reverse of what you’ve just ridden. There are two notable pain points. The rapid descent to the lighthouse now becomes a punchy ascent, rising 90m in less than a kilometre, with several 15% kicks, and the 3.4km climb back up to El Mirador de sa Creueta.
The coffee bar at the lighthouse is a bit of an institution, though it wasn’t open at 7:30 am when we were there!
If you need a break before the lighthouse, the coffee at the beach café at Formentor is meant to be good and has a terrace with views around the bay of Pollença.
For other ideas, check out our post on Mallorca’s best cafés. And, if you’re travelling out of season, bear in mind that the refreshment stops mentioned here might be closed.
You may also wish to consider stops at:
We stayed at the four-star Hotel Illa d’Or in Port de Pollença. We think it’s the best place to stay in Mallorca for cycling Cap de Formentor. It’s located on the Pine Walk, at the Cap de Formentor side of the town; you couldn’t get much closer to the start of the Cap de Formentor loop. The hotel is quietly bike friendly, with a good bike room, work-station, and track pumps. The hotel also serves great food.
For more of our accommodation suggestions, check out our ultimate guide to Mallorca for cyclists.
Alternatively, our best towns for cyclists article should help you narrow down the best town for you.
Read our tips for cycling Mallorca before you set out.
7 golden nuggets of information
- Precipices! There are lots of steep drop-offs if you stray from the road.
- Check the weather report before setting out. The roads can be treacherous in the wet and there can be very strong winds, particularly on the final descent to the lighthouse. Take a jacket, whatever the weather.
- Take lights for the tunnel (you will need them) and remember to remove your sunglasses.
- Take enough water with you in case the cafés (see below) are closed...
- Beware little rock falls - and the dopey goats.
- The tarmac was notably new and smooth when we visited - except for the last couple of hundred metres through the pillars up to the lighthouse, which was very rutted.
- Set out early (think sunrise). Even out of high season, this route suffers from traffic jams on the narrow mountain roads. One glimmer of hope: most vehicles are being banned from Formentor beach to the lighthouse between 10am and 7pm, 9 July to 31st August 2018. More details can be found here. It's a good start, but 10am is relatively late on in the heat of summer; we'd recommend starting earlier than that anyway. That said, it will be fascinating to see what effect this has; who knows, perhaps it could be the start of something more far-reaching?.
Mallorca cycling routes incorporating this climb
Here are some suggestions:
- Add on the 2.5km road to Talaia d’Albercutx viewpoint, by taking the turning opposite the Mirador de sa Creueta/Colomer. Just watch out for the potholes.
- The Cyclist magazine did one of their Big Rides in Mallorca in September 2016. Their route incorporated the Formentor peninsula as well as Campanet, Caimari and the Col de Femenina (similar to our Sa Batalla loop).
- After having cycled Formentor, continue around the Bay of Pollença, through Alcudia, along the coast to Bonaire, up to the La Victoria monastery and then back along the coast to Port de Pollença.
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Banner image credit: Mykolaiko/shutterstock.com
(AKA the Santuari de Cura Mallorca climb)