The Best and Worst Bases in Mallorca for a Cycling Holiday

If you have never been to Mallorca, you may be vaguely aware of its rather unfair reputation as a cheap and cheerless package holiday destination. While there are indeed several bloated resort towns dotted around the coast, there are also some of the most charming villages and most spectacular cycling scenery in all of Europe.

Mallorca was ahead of its time as a holiday destination, attracting northern Europeans to its shores for their summer holiday well before all inclusive overseas holidays had become common place. Today, however, these resort towns are somewhat tired and almost feel like a different country from the rest of the island, which boasts fantastic natural landscapes and a culture that is noticeable unique from mainland Spain.
Cycling in Mallorca

The Tramuntana Mountains


Mallorca is quite a large island, measuring nearly 100km across at the widest point, and its topography is dominated by the distinctive Tramuntana Mountains which run the entire length of the north-west coastline. It is here where the real beauty of Mallorca is found. Picture postcard villages, historic castles and spectacular beaches are common place and, combined with high quality roads, they make for a cycling holiday as interesting and enjoyable as anywhere in Europe.

At Cycle Fiesta we have a lot of experience of organising cycling holidays in Mallorca and here you can find some of our recommendations on how to get the most out of your stay on the island.

We are massive fans of cycling holidays being as much of a general cultural experience as about the cycling routes themselves. And you may wish to check out our article about Cyclist's Guide to the Historic Villages of Mallorca where we explain in more detail our favourite places to stay.

Here though, you can find some more general tips about which areas we recommend, and where is perhaps best to avoid.

The Good

These regions are what we consider to be the best for cycling. They place a heavy focus on cycling and look to promote more than - some of the island's other core activities - such as drinking and clubbing (although you can still do that as well if you wish!).

Most importantly, they have a variety of excellent cycling routes nearby, enough for at least two or three days of excellent riding.


Port Pollensa / Alcudia

At the northern tip of Mallorca you will find the most popular destinations for cyclists, in the towns of Port Pollensa and Alcudia. These are both situated on or close to the coast and on the edge of the Tramuntana Mountains. Their location allows you to choose between a flat or mountainous holiday and there are some marked cycle routes in the area.

Alcudia is the more historic town and is dominated by the 14th century walls which surround the old town. As we have looked at in a different article - this is one of our favourite towns on the island for its culture and charm. But nearby Port Pollensa also has its advantages. It is much more modern and more of a resort, but has a better beach and a pleasant promenade.
Alcudia City Gate

Alcudia's Medieval Walls



There are many excellent routes from this region. The most well known is the ride out to Cap de Formentor. But it is also not far to the Coll de Femenia and Coll de sa Batalla - both of which take you right up into the heart of the Tramuntana mountains.

For cyclists looking for more leisurely rides, this is also a good area. There are beautiful rolling routes to Cap d'Alcudia and Campanet. And you can also explore the Albufera Nautral Park, which is a popular spot with birdwatchers.

The main disadvantage of this area is that it is relatively far from the airport, and so it can involve a costly taxi transfer. It is also too far to ride the southern part of the Tramuntana mountains, which contain probably the best cycling route on the island.

Other popular towns in this region include Playa de Muro and Port d'Alcudia. These are resort type places, but are calmer and more relaxed than those in the south or east of the island. They lack the charm of Alcudia and Port Pollensa, but if you are solely interested in the cycling and the beach, then they are worth considering!

Port Pollensa Beach

Port Pollensa Beach





Port de Sóller

Port Sóller is one of Mallorca's most charming towns. Set on a small bay, and surrounded by mountains on three sides, it isn't a good choice if you are looking for flat or more leisurely rides. However, for climbers it is an excellent location.

It is at the foot of the climbs to Puig Major and Coll de Sóller, and within comfortable riding distance of a whole host of other great climbs. Riders in good shape can ride Sa Calobra, Coll de sa Batalla, Coll d'Honor, and Can Costa from here without too much difficulty.

The town itself is charming, as are the nearby towns of Deia, Sóller and Fornalutx. Port de Sóller also has a fantastic beach though which sets it apart, and which is why we stay there for a night on our Mallorca Mountains & Coast cycling holiday.

The main downside to this area is that it is expensive. Very expensive - at least compared with some other parts of the island. It is also not really the best to stay for more than two or three nights, otherwise you will end up riding the same routes repeatedly, which can be avoided in other areas.

For one or two nights though, Port de Sóller and the neighbouring villages are absolutely fantastic for sporty riders, and we highly recommend including it on any itinerary in Mallorca.

Tramuntana Mountains - Port de Soller

The Tramuntana Mountains from Port de Sóller





Selva & Alaró

Nestled on the northern edge of Mallorca's central plains, the region around Selva and Alaró is another excellent base for cycling.

We have looked at the historic village of Selva in more depth elsewhere, but suffice to say it is one of our favourite parts of the island, and we stay there on both our leisurely and sporty holidays on the island.

In general though, the whole area is great for its central location. You can easily take the Coll de sa Batalla or Coll d'Orient right into the heart of the Tramuntana mountains.

But there is also the option to head south into the vineyards of Binissalem and to enjoy the rolling routes between the villages of central Mallorca. This is much less challenging than the mountains further north, but there are some great leisurely routes in this region, following quiet country lanes with picturesque dry stone walls.

The disadvantage again is that it is not a particularly cheap area to stay. Accommodation tends to be more boutique villas rather than the high rise hotels of the coast, but even if it's only for a night or two, we certainly recommend this area.

Vineyards of Mallorca

The vineyards of Mallorca





Southern Tramuntana

The southern part of the Tramuntana Mountains is not as popular with cyclists as further north, but it really should be. The scenery here is the most spectacular and unspoilt on the island, and there are some absolutely fantastic cycling routes.

The stunning village of Banyalbufar is our favourite destination, for its picturesque setting and superb cycling options nearby.

The climbs in this part of the mountains are not as high as around Puig Major, but they are just as spectacular in terms of scenery. Our favourite ride in Mallorca is here which follows the Ma-10 coastal road before looping back to Banyalbufar via the climbs of Galilea and Es Grau.

The challenging Sobremunt is another option in the area, which is also full of delightful rolling routes. As we mentioned, Banyalbufar is our favourite, and is where we stay for two nights on our tour of the region, but the downside is that it is quite an expensive area.

The southern coast is an alternative to this, offering much cheaper accommodation which is still within easy reach of the cycling routes. Towns such as Peguera and Portals Nous are good low budget places to stay at certain times of the year. They are big resort towns and get very crowded from June to September. But for much of the rest of the year they are pleasant, and you can have a great cycling holiday staying there.

As with most places on Mallorca, ideally you would only spend two or three days here, and then move to the northern part of the island to do routes such as Cap de Formentor. However, this part of the island is probably the best if you are looking for a single center week long cycling holiday.
South Tramuntana Mountains

The Southern Tramuntana Mountains





The Bad

Now, we should say, that there is nothing wrong with the areas we are about to list. It's more that they tend to cater for different activities other than cycling, or that the surrounding scenery is just not as spectacular as the places we have named above.

If you've already booked in one of these areas though, don't worry. You'll still have a great time, as you can find some excellent riding pretty much anywhere in Mallorca. You will just have to come back next year and try one of the areas above to see how they compare!


The South Coast

The south coast either side of Palma should generally be avoided, albeit with a few exceptions. We have already mentioned above that the resorts to the west of Palma actually provide good access into the Tramuntana mountains, and so they are worthy of consideration.

The main issue is that towns such as Magaluf and Palmanova are more set up for tourists looking for bars, clubs and partying, rather than for cycling. The towns and hotels themselves can be loud until the early hours, and the bars and restaurants are generally aimed at a youthful market. But you can certainly have a good time here on the bike, and it's not difficult at all to get out of the towns and into the mountains.

The towns on the south coast to the east of Palma are much worse for cycling. Resorts such as s'Arenal and Can Pastilla are the wrong side of Palma to get into the Tramuntana mountains, which means you have to take busy roads or plan very complicated routes to avoid the traffic and the airport.

The cycling routes in the south of the island are also, for want of a better word, a bit boring. They are mostly flat, and there simply isn't a lot to see in terms of scenery or cultural sites. If you want to do leisurely rides, the areas listed above around Selva and Sineu are much more interesting - with more charming villages and more picturesque scenery.

There are a couple of nice climbs around the town of Felanitx which are popular with cyclists who happen to be in the area (for some reason it's very popular with German riders). But if cycling is the main purpose of your holiday, then you are better off staying further north.

San Salvador Climb

The climb to San Salvador is the best in this part of the island






Eastern Mallorca

Similarly to the south coast, the east of Mallorca is not terrible for cycling; there are some pleasant, if unspectacular, rolling routes that you can do.

But overall, it simply doesn't stand up to what is on offer on the North and West of the island. The scenery is less spectacular, the villages are more modern and somewhat lacking in character and there are very few decent climbs for cyclists that like to challenge themselves.

The main Ma-4014 road that runs parallel to the coast can carry quite a bit of traffic and so isn't great for riding. Some of the towns along the coast are also very seasonal and so are pretty dead outside of the summer. Whereas those in the north and west, which focus on the cycling crowd, tend to be much more lively.

Again, Eastern Mallorca is not bad for cycling. If you are staying here and rent a bike to go out for a day or two it is fine. But if you want to go for a week long cycling holiday it would be a poor choice.

Ses Salines

The riding here is OK, but a bit boring compared with other parts of Mallorca






Can Picafort

Situated not far from Alcudia is the town of Can Picafort. Between the two towns there is a conglomeration of large hotels, centered around fine beaches such as Playa de Muro. Whilst some of these can serve as a good base for cycling, we advise staying as close to Alcudia as possible, rather than towards Can Picafort.

Can Picafort is a modern town which lacks the charm of Alcudia and is also significantly further away from the best cycling routes. The roads around there can also have a lot of traffic and you will have to use the busy MA-12 every day to get to the better areas.

We also advise against riding along the MA-12 road in the direction of Arta. It becomes quite narrow and cars drive along there at high speed, making it one of the more dangerous roads on the island for cycling.



Cycling in Mallorca

It is worth repeating that this review is based on our personal experiences on the island and so is quite subjective. If, for example, you want to go clubbing in the evening after riding, then many of our 'good' places would be terrible suggestions for you, and you would be better off heading to Magaluf or Arenal.

We also recognise that many of you will be on a family holiday and perhaps only able to go out for a couple of rides. In this case, it doesn't really matter too much where you stay. Choose the best place for your family (taking into account things like accommodation, beach etc...) and wherever it happens to be, you will still be able to get in some nice rides.

This review is really just if you are going specifically on a cycling holiday, and want to ensure that you get the absolute most out of your time on the bike.

Estellencs

Stunning views in the South of the Tramuntana mountains







For more information you check out more of our Guides & Articles or mountain profiles of Mallorca.

You can also find details of the holidays that we run on the island below, with links to the full itineraries. These are fully customizable, so if you would like to change them in some way, please get in touch and we would be happy to organize it for you.



Tramuntana Mountains - Mallorca
Spanish FlagSpain

Self-Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 7 Days
Level: Difficulty Medium to Challenging
Price: from €1,110 EUR
Alcúdia City Walls - Mallorca
Spanish FlagSpain

Self-Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 7 Days
Level: Difficulty Easy to Medium
Price: from €1,250 EUR
*Bike Hire Included