The ultimate guide to cycling in Mallorca

Monday, April 18, 2016 Cycling by Elina Pedersen

You might not believe it, but:

Cycling is considered to be one of the most popular recreational activities in the world.

Do you know why?

Well, it’s dead simple: cycling is amazing, it’s easy to do, and it gets you places.

Plus, it’s a great memory from childhood:

I don’t know about you, but I was extremely excited about my pink tricycle at the age of 3.

Once you learn how to ride a bike, you never forget and that my friend is a scientifically proven fact.

So if you are not on “wheels” yet, today is the day I am going to convince you to get back in your bicycle saddle.

Especially, if you are planning a trip to Mallorca – adventurous or not, you can’t miss on the opportunity to explore Mallorca by bike.

Cycling in Mallorca

Bicycle on a seashore

I write quite a lot about Mallorca lately, and you might be wondering:

Why?

Here at ActivityFan,, we love Mallorca, and we are planning to make Mallorca our first destination for the activity-booking platform.

Mallorca with its warm climate and an amazing landscape is a truly brilliant location for active visitors.

Cyclists are not an exception.

As a matter of fact: professional cyclists and triathletes train here throughout the year.

Guess what’s the most popular destination for IRONMAN triathlon in Europe?

I must have given it away…

Yes, it’s Mallorca.

All athletes participating in IRONMAN Mallorca have to do an 180km bicycle ride through the island.

The cycling season on Mallorca usually starts in February and ends in May.

However, the cycling shops are only closed in November, December and January. So you’ll be able to rent a bike or get help almost throughout the year.

If you are serious about cycling, you want to come in a cooler month. As cycling in July and August might be unbearable.

Looking to be alone on the routes?

Not a problem, just don’t come in April or May either. Those are the busiest cycling months on the island.

Nonetheless, I don’t expect you to be a Pro and go on a real cycling training mission.

That is why:

We will start with the basics:

What is there to do on Mallorca if you decide to rent a bicycle?

First things first, there are two options you can choose from when renting a bicycle on Mallorca:

You could either go on a touristy journey through Palma or go for a real adventure through the island’s mountains and wilderness.

When I travel – I act like an unashamed tourist, and I am proud of it!

Hence, I did the Panoramic Bike Tour when I visited the island.

So let’s go ahead and explore what can be done on the island with a set of wheels and peddles.

Palma de Mallorca by bike

There are three main ways in which you can explore Palma de Mallorca – the capital of the island.

Walking excursions, Segways and of course – bicycles.

Cycling is probably the quickest and easiest way.

You won’t need to learn a new skill and you can always dismount if you want to see some part of the town closer.

It won’t come as surprise that where there is demand there is obviously supply.

Therefore there is three different types of bicycle excursions available in Palma de Mallorca.

Namely:

  • An excursion through Palma’s old quarter also know as the old town bike tour.
  • Palma Panoramic tour to explore the most amazing views of the town and the surrounding area.
  • Palma tapas bike tour, which is pretty much an old town tour, but with a tapas stop at the end of the tour.

Further, I will talk about each of the options in greater details.

Palma Old Town:

As you may have read or heard before Palma de Mallorca was founded a very long time ago – to be precise in 123 BC.

The town has lived through various historic periods and you can find the trace of this heritage in Palma’s architecture.

The points of interest for the Old Town cycling tour is actually the same as the ones for the walking tour – no surprise here.

You will see all the usual:

  • Cathedral of Mallorca (also known as Le Sue) – the 5 highest Gothic cathedrals in the world originally build on a Mosque. You will probably be able to recognise this astonishing piece of architecture, as it became an iconic symbol of Mallorca. Interestingly, Antoni Gaudi led the restoration project for the cathedral in the early twentieth century until he had an argument with the constructor and the project was abandoned altogether. I am wondering if you’ll be able to spot the bits Gaudi did manage to change before he quit.

Palma de Mallorca Cathedral

  • The City Wall – Palma was greatly fortified throughout its existence. Historians do not always agree which parts of the wall date to Romans and which parts date to Arabs.Nonetheless, all nations built walls to protect their cities and citizens. An interesting fact, in the medieval period the sea came straight to the walls next to the cathedral. Imagine, how amazing it looked? Unfortunately, in the 19th-century city planners decided that the walls are no longer needed, thus massive part of the walls was demolished. We are lucky to have parts of the walls left untouched next to Le Sue and Parc de la Mar, which you will pass on your bike tour.
  • La Lonja of Palma – Is a district in Palma’s old town where the main trade used to take place. Right now the area is filled with amazing bars and restaurants, so even if you won’t visit La Lonja during the bicycle tour make sure you come back in the evening.
  • Royal Palace of La Almudaina – Initially built as an Arabic fort this amazing palace was claimed by the royals in the early fourteen century. To nowadays the Royal Family uses the palace for ceremonial purposes.
  • Ajuntament (Palma Town Hall) – Previously used as a gothic hospital this wonderful building is located right in the middle of the Palma square (not to be confused with Plaza Mayor, the main square). En Figuere – the town hall clock has sat on Ajuntament for centuries, but the present mechanism dates back to 19thcentury and hasn’t been changed since.
  • Plaza Mayor (Placa Major) – The town’s main square. Very lively during the day the square becomes peaceful at night. The town’s most famous streets all begin at Plaza Mayor – San Miguel, Colon and Sindicato. Many amazing restaurants are located on this square, and it’s always good to stop for pizza or paella with a refreshing glass of Sangria.
  • La Rambla – Is the most beautiful boulevard in Palma de Mallorca. A river La Riera used to flow through the city up to 1613 and La Rambla was located right at the riverbed at that time. Nowadays, La Rambla is a traditional place to sell fresh flowers as well as a well-known spot for fairs and festivals. If you are into antiques or collect, rare coins make sure you visit this fantastic boulevard (bike tour or not), as there are plenty of stalls selling antique coins throughout the area.
  • Passeige des Born (Paseo del Born) – Basically, a main shop street of the town, thus the name. Trendy and lively, this street is a great point to visit on its own, especially if you are looking for shopping or would prefer an evening walk with the nice architecture. On most of the bike tours, you will simply pass through the street.

The Palma Old Town tour usually lasts for 3-4 hours and starts twice a day in the morning or the afternoon, depending on the company you book with.

Some companies also offer a more romantic night and sunset version of the tour, but I suggest you inquire with them directly.

Palma Panoramic Bike Tour & Castle

Usually, with the Panoramic tours, you will see the Bellver Castle as well as the harbour.

Some companies would offer a slightly different tour and call it Old Town and the Castle tour. Which pretty much give you the same views as the Panoramic tour.

It usually lasts just an hour longer than the Old Town tour.

No matter of the tour you will always visit the castle as it offers the best views on Mallorca.

Located three kilometres away from the centre of Mallorca the castle was built in the 14th-century by King James II of Mallorca.

The castle has a circular structure and is one of the very few in Europe.

Bellver Castle

Located on a hill the castle provides both: amazing views and the opportunity to learn more about Spanish heritage by visiting the castle museum.

Palma Tapas Bike Tour

Frankly, the best of both worlds! You will go on a tour through Palma and get to eat some tapas and drink Sangria.

The best part is that all of the food is included in the price, and it’s not a lot more expensive than the Old Town tour.

Just don’t eat too much or it might be hard to get back on the road.

tortilla tapas

Before we move on to the next cycling type, I would like to note that for a real cycling holiday experience you should stay in one of the Mallorca’s cycling friendly hotel.

The best place to look for a great cycling accommodation is through Mallorca Cycling Hotels website, as they list a variety of options around the island.

Wine Tasting

Moving further from Palma de Mallorca city biking, but not quit yet going into the craziness of off road mountain biking there is an opportunity to do a bike tour through the vineyards of Binissalem.

Binissalem is a small municipality located in 30 kilometres to the north from Palma de Mallorca and half way to Alcudia.

Cycling through the amazing vineyard and learning about the grapevine cultivation and after trying some amazing wines is what you’ll experience on a wine tour.

There are altogether 13 vineries in Binissalem, and all of them are ran by the local families. It’s unbelievable how fun and welcoming these wineries are.

Now:

Most of the companies that do tours in Binissalem are located in Mallorca.

Frankly, I wasn’t able to find a tour departing from a different location. But, I guess you can always contact the local winery and rent a bike yourself or agree to meet at the spot.

I don’t support drinking and cycling, but I guess it because I live in London.

I’ve seen one too many drunk cyclists in the city on Thursdays and Fridays. So if you are going on your own make sure to organise a transfer back and don’t even think of cycling back.

Mountain Biking

If you are comfortable on a bike and love nature, this option is for you.

The abundant trails on Mallorca range from beginner’s level with simple flat dirt tracks to rough down and up hill tracks.

The guided tours for Mountain Biking adventure are usually tailor made to your skill and preferred area of exploration.

Most of the mountain biking trails cover the areas of Soller, Sa Comuna, Lluc or Arta.

Some regions of Mallorca truly deserve weeks of riding, but I will briefly discuss the main location.

Soller Valley

Soller is the town that lies not far from Port de Soller and its located in a valley surrounded by Serra de Tramuntana mountains.

The Soller area is covered with amazing places and has many 15-25 kilometres routes around the town of Soller.

The places worth visiting in the area and providing amazing mountain bike trails are:

Fornalutx – a traditional old Spanish village surrounded by mountains and located on the hill above Soller. There are plenty of restaurants and coffee shops in the village. The amazing stone stairs will take you straight to the town centre.

Fornalutx

Balitx Valley – is a valley in Serra de Tramuntana covered with very old olive trees and an old farmhouse of Balitx d’Avall used for agritourism at the moment. The views are astonishing and truly represent scenery of rural Spain.

Mirador de Ses Barques – a viewpoint from which you will be able to see the cost, Port de Soller and a valley spangled with olive trees. Miradora de Ses Barques – possibly provides the best scenic view on Mallorca!

Deia – is a small coastal village in Sierra de Tramuntana very popular for attracting writers and musicians to its idyllic landscape throughout the 19th century. Guess who has a residence in the village? The founder and owner of the Virgin Empire – Richard Branson.

Cala Tuent – A beach located not far from very popular Cala de Sa Calobra, ideal to skip the crowd.

You will most likely be able to see the Deia and Cala Tuent from a boat if you’ll decide to take an East coast Mallorca sea excursion.

My post called “Everything you ever wanted to know about Mallorca charter boat tours and coastal points of interest” will help you find the best boat tour on the island.

Lluc Monastery & Pollenca

Any routes you may decide to take including Lluc and Pollenca are usually a little more challenging than the ones in Soller Valley.

If you are not familiar with the locations, Pollenca is the town on the Eastern Part of Serra de Tramunatana.

Most of the town was built in the 16 and 17th centuries and is a great place to wander around.

Pollenca is located between two hills and has some of the most amazing beaches on the island: Cala Figuera, Cala Murta and Cala Formentor.

You can ride your bike from Pollenca straight to Lluc Monastery.

The holy site of Lluc was formed when in the 12th century a local shepherd said he saw Virgin Mary appearing in the sky.

Another story claims that in the 13th the statue of the Virgin Mary was found there and taken to the nearest hamlet.

However, the next day the statue was at the same place again.

The church was built, and it has very soon become a pilgrimage site, and it’s very famous to the present day. The ceiling in the church is covered with gold and images of saints, saying: “Avee Mari” being the first line of the prayer to the Virgin Mary.

lluc church ceiling

The statue of Virgin Mary can still be found at this amazing site; it’s not an original one, but the one made in the 14th century also known as the Black Madonna (due to the stone it is made from).

Sa Comuna

Located in Banyola this Sa Comuna is about 15 minutes’ drive from Soller.

The place itself is a communal park area, and the bike route is of a medium difficulty.

The lower parts of the route are surrounded by pine forest.

If you are lucky enough to have a good weather (which often happens on Mallorca), you will be able to enjoy a scenic view of Palma Bay.

Arta

A little town, very famous for its Tuesday Market days. The market sets out on a 14thcentury town square right next to the impressive town hall building.

Raising high above the town you can find Santuri de Sant Salvador is mighty walled fortress that you can visit as a part of your bike journey, and you won’t be disappointed.

Not good enough?

To the north of Arta you’ll be able to find Llevant National Park. If you’ll ride through the park, make sure you bring a swimming suit. As there are plenty of secluded beaches you can reach only by bike in this area.

Road Cycling

It’s a well-known fact that many word class athlete train in Serra de Tramuntana to prepare for Tour de France.

Nearly half of all Mallorcan roads and that’s more than 1000 km have been rebuilt to accommodate road cyclists.

They even went as far as separate bike lanes and special cycling signs.

Now:

I don’t recommend you jump on a road bike and start cycling on busy roads on your own. Everything takes time and so does road cycling.

However, if you feel comfortable here are some ideas:

  • Palma to Capocorb Vell – where your end point will be a talayotic site covered with megaliths (large stones used for building) of the Bronze Century.
  • Andratx to Monestir de Lluc – Good old Lluc Monastery I spoke about in the mountain biking section, but this time you will be cycling on a road.
  • Port d’Alcudia & Cap des Pinar – be ready for a little hike at the end to get to Cap des Pinar (a cliff with a view on Cap de Formentor to the north).

If you are planning road cycling in Mallorca, you will most likely bring your own bike with you.

Nonetheless, there are plenty of bike rental companies around the island you can contact. All of them supply both mountain and road bikes.

In general, finding a bike shouldn’t be a problem no matter where you are on Mallorca.

If you are from North America and are not quite sure how to organise your cycling trip to Mallorca, I recommend you contact  MajorcaCycling.

Hajo is a great cycling guide and a member of a Team Danbury Audi, he has been bringing American cyclists to Mallorca for over 16 years.

The trip includes accommodation and guided cycling tours, so you will have everything you need for a fantastic trip.

This is it for my Mallorca cycling post. If you feel I haven’t covered any “must visit” places, please do let me know!

All in all, there are plenty of bike routes in Mallorca to choose from for both mountain bikers and road bikers no matter experienced or newbies.


Don’t forget:

You can always use a bike to go from point A to point B and do a whole cycling tour around Mallorca.

You will definitely find great cycling routes through out the Island without any problems.

Just make sure you stay safe and comfortable with the level of the route you are choosing for your next adventure.

Go ahead! Try cycling in Mallorca and do something amazing today!