Puig de San Salvador, in eastern Mallorca, is a staggeringly beautiful climb.
On an island of amazing roads, it stands out from the competition due to the views it offers much of the way up. The enormous religious monuments that dominate the hillside are also highly memorable. These include the Creu de Sant Salvador (cross) about two-thirds of the way up, the Santuari de Sant Salvador (sanctuary of Sant Salvador) just before the summit and the Ermita de Sant Salvador (monastery) at the top.
It’s probably a bit steeper than many Mallorcan climbs - from the first bend, the average gradient sits at nearly 6% (and the signpost on the climb says 6.4%) and there are some tougher sections within this. Yet the climb is only 5 km long, so it’s hardly an Alpine beast.
If you’re based in Port de Pollença or Alcudià, San Salvador is not massively convenient to get to, but it is do-able and we recommend you do it (route info below)! Combine it with Randa (and even Betlem too?!) for a long day out.
Route map and profile
Distance: 5 km (ascent only)
Elevation Gain: + 350 m
Max Grade: 22 %
Avg. Grade: 5 %
All metrics in this guide are approximate
Puig de Sant Salvador: HIGHLIGHTS
Views over what feels like the whole of Mallorca. What’s great is that these views aren’t just from the summit, you get them for much of the way up.
Whatever your view of religion, it’s also difficult not to be impressed by the vast religious monuments that have been built on this hillside.
1. Junction to the little chapel: 0-3 km
The climb starts about two kilometres east of the town of Felanitx. San Salvador is clearly signposted, and you can see it from miles around, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to locate!
You turn off the Ma-4011, ride between two pillars and you’re on the PMV-4011 that will take you to the summit.
The first kilometre is on a straight, open road between agricultural fields dotted with olive trees and grazing sheep. Ahead you can see the distinctive triangular shape of Puig de Sant Salvador rising up from the flat plains around it. On the left-hand side you can probably just about make out the San Salvador cross and on the right, the imposing walls of the Monasterio San Salvador.
As you enter the sparse woodland, the road narrows, the gradients pick up and you ride through sweeping bends. There are views through the trees, up to the cross and monastery above you and out across the flat plains below.
2. Chapel to Santuari de Sant Salvador: 3-5 km
At around three kilometres you pass a pretty creamy stone church/chapel and the turns become tighter as the road snakes its way upwards. There’s the odd section of double-figure gradients through these turns but they don’t last for more than a couple of hundred metres.
You continue to get views over the countryside below and up to the cross above your head that’s getting tantalisingly close.
As you near the cross, the Monastery comes into view again, its huge stone walls rearing up above you. Take care as you pass the cross as there may well be lots of people on the road; access to the cross itself is by footpath.
You continue on up well-engineered switchbacks that offer gorgeous views out over Mallorca. A communications mast comes into sight and then shortly after, you round a corner and suddenly see a tall steepled monument and the summit sign.
Either ride over to the Santuario San Salvador monument to take a closer look, or continue up around the last corner to the Monastery, where you’ll find the Petit Hotel Hostatgeria Sant Salvador and a restaurant.
The place to stop is at the top! Bar San Salvador serves meals and cool beer (at a price) and they come with a view.
Many people will tackle this climb on a route from Port de Pollença or Alcudià (see below). We rode it from Alaró (route also below). Neither of these locations is particularly close by, but that’s because most of the best riding in Mallorca is in the Serra Tramuntana to the west of San Salvador.
Read our tips for cycling in Mallorca before doing this ride.
Watch out for groups of hikers. We found more people on the road than livestock - but that’s not to say you won’t meet stray sheep and goats!
The road surface was not perfect when we rode - but neither was it terrible. The road is, however, narrow and since it also gets a fair amount of tourist traffic, care is needed, particularly on the technical switchbacks.
Since riding here, we’ve heard that there is a small museum with framed cycling world champion jerseys within the monastery. We’re sorry not to have seen these ourselves - have you visited the museum? Tell us about it in the comments below!
People often include Randa and Sant Salvador in one loop (see below). Just in case you have to decide between the two, we’d say we preferred San Salvador over Randa. The climb was probably a bit more difficult but we found it more visually impressive.
In case you’re with a support car, they’ll be pleased to know that the car park at the top is large. It wasn’t overly busy when we visited in November, but we guess that the size of the car park may reflect the fact that the monastery gets a lot of visitors. Don’t expect this to be a totally quiet, unknown climb!
There’s more information on the history of the Santuari de Sant Salvador here.
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(AKA the Santuari de Cura Mallorca climb)