Sa Calobra: Mallorca's Greatest Climb

Mallorca is home to several superb mountainous routes. From the undulating Cap de Formentor, to the technical Coll de Soller, it is a dream for cyclists that enjoy climbing and wish to test themselves.

There is, however, one climb which stands above the rest. For both its beauty, and also the challenge that it poses, the climb from Sa Calobra into the heart of the Tramuntana mountains is rightfully the most revered in Mallorca.

Sa Calobra - Mallorca



Sa Calobra: The Descent

One of the distinctive features of the climb is that you have to descend first. From the Ma-10, just past Escorca, there is a short climb before a fantastic 11km descent to the beach below. The views on the descent are incredible; you can see the road snake down in front of you, in what appears to be a never ending series of switchbacks and sweeping corners.

The road is built into a sheer cliff in places and is acclaimed as an architectural and engineering triumph. At the bottom of the descent, there are a few restaurants, a small beach and a series of pedestrian tunnels which visit secret beaches.
Sa Calobra Cyclist



The Climb

The only way out from Sa Caloba (apart from catching the seasonal boat to Port Soller) is up the same road that you have come down. As is often the case with mountain roads, the scenery is completely different depending on the direction in which you are travelling, and it is every bit as impressive as the descent.

Although the climb is one of the toughest on Mallorca, it is not particularly challenging compared with the monster climbs of the Pyrenees or the Alps. Sa Calobra is 11km long and rises from sea level to just over 700m. So the average gradient is respectable, but not earth shattering at under 7%. It is also fairly consistent, only getting a bit steeper for short sections, including near to the top. (Check out the full profile and map here).
Sa Calobra Sign



The Challenges

Although the road itself is not particularly challenging for seasoned climbers; there are other factors which add to the difficulty. Firstly, in order to do the climb you have to cycle to the top of the climb from a different route, before descending into Sa Calobra. There are three main ways to reach the top; from Soller, Inca and Pollensa. Depending on which of the routes that you choose, you will already have climbed between 700 and 1100m before you begin the ascent from Sa Calobra.

Another issue is the weather. Fortunately, it does not rain often in the area, as this would make the route considerably treacherous. However, the sun can be just as a big of a problem, particularly if you are not used to cycling in the heat.

From May until October, temperatures can be in excess of 30C on the climb, sometimes a lot hotter in the summer. There is nowhere to fill up with water until you reach the top, so make sure that you stock up before starting to climb. The heat also saps your energy, and there is very little shade to hide in once you begin.

The north coast of Mallorca is also sometimes exposed to strong winds. Due to the nature of the climb, with the road snaking around, you will face a headwind in sections. At times, this can be ferocious enough to force you to get off and walk; however, thankfully this is rare. The last 3km of the climb are the most exposed; it is also the steepest section of the climb.

The technical nature of the climb is more of a factor on the descent than the climb itself. But all in all, it's not too hard, even if you are not used to riding in mountainous terrain. Just take your time and we're sure you will love it!

Sa Calobra wild goat
The final challenge of the climb in the past was the amount of traffic on it. A few years ago this had become excessive, with many tourists driving the spectacular road. The local authorities have since put restrictions on the times that cars are allowed, and so it is much quieter now for cyclists. In fact, it's peaceful enough that you may well spot the wild goats roaming around, as in the photo above!

You still have to be a bit careful of the buses which navigate the tight hairpin bends - certainly don't try to squeeze past as they need the full width of the road! But the road is once again a real pleasure to ride.




The climb of Sa Calobra is one of the highlights of our Mallorca Mountains & Coast cycling holiday.

If you would be interested in joining us on the tour, check out details below of this and other nearby holidays. You can also return to our Guides & Articles or Mallorca climb profiles to find out about what to do and see in this beautiful island.





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