We've had the good fortune of cycling and visiting Mallorca many times and it can be a great destination for a cycling holiday or training camp. There are a few things to consider to get the best of your trip and you might also want to consider the mainland alternatives, especially at certain times of the year.
When to go? Without a doubt the best time to visit the Island is Spring and Autumn. From late November onwards, many of the resorts essentially close, including lots of the hotels and restaurants, and don't really start reopening until April. The weather is often not great either and there are certainly drier and warmer destinations over the Mediterranean Sea on the mainland. It's often wet and anyone who seen the race the Mallorca Challenge Bike Race will have seen snow on more than one occasion! The one key advantage of staying out of season is that the roads are much quieter and largely free from the hordes of cyclists, buses and tourists that visit Sa Calobra and Cap de Formentor that can plague the roads later in the year. The weather in Spring in and Autumn is fantastic for cycling and many thousands of cyclists visit the Island every year. On our last trip (mid November) the road to the Lighthouse at Cap de Formentor was closed to traffic which made for a wonderful ride, however Sa Calobra was busy as usual and the descent far from enjoyable. For good reason, cyclists largely avoid Mallorca in the summer. The 'feature' climbs are too busy with traffic and the weather, especially the heat and humidity can be too much. Our recommendation would be to visit in May, June, September and October. Where to stay? Many cyclists take advantage of discounted hotel rates, plentiful bike hire options and easy access to Formentor and choose to stay in the Alcudia and Port de Pollensa area. We would recommend staying elsewhere. Indeed, we've largely stayed near Valdemossa, Soller or Deia towards the middle of the Island, or closer to Palma. The smaller inland villages of Mallorca make for an excellent location on which to base any holiday on the island. From a cycling perspective, it opens up more terrain and different climbs, that are typically much quieter. If you stay in Alcudia, it's a very long ride to Andratx and back! Out favourite ride? It's not Sa Calobra, Puig Major and Cap de Formentor! We love the coastal route south from Deia and Valdemossa towards to Port Andratx and returning back via mountains, through Galilea and Puigpunyent. It's a spectacular ride and one we've recommended to many of customers who also visit the island. It is an absolute must if you visit. Sa Calobra really has to be done very early in the morning before the traffic builds up. It's a great climb and perhaps the best on the island, but the descent is nearly always ruined and can be quite frankly terrifying due to tourists buses and too many other cyclists. We've been lucky enough to ride most of the French and Italian Alps, Dolomites, Pyrenees, Picos de Europa and Asturias in Spain. If you want truly epic climbs, there's a long bucket-list of HC and Cat 1 climbs we'd place well ahead of Sa Calobra. If you want access to an unparalleled number of amazing climbs, on perfect tarmac with no traffic, then look to the mainland. N.B. If you've not ridden Sa Calobra, plan your visit, go early (ideally before 08:00) and ride safely both up and down. Serious accidents do happen each season. The photos below give you an idea of how tight it can be. Mallorca 312 It is normally held in late April and the route has changed over the years, but it remains massively popular with strong competition for places. The weather can often be challenging and many riders now choose to make a weekend of it rather than a full week. For many, it might make the main challenge of the year, or a reward for putting in the winter miles. Of course, many people also choose to do the ride under their own steam at different times of the year. If you're not excited by the mass start, atmosphere and vibe of 1000's of like minded individuals all riding the same route on the same day, a self guided trip might appeal more. Alternative Options? In winter ... We've highlighted that Mallorca is not the best winter option and we would absolutely choose mainland Valencia, Alicante and possible Canary Islands over Mallorca for any trips from December to early May. Indeed most of the Pro Teams visit the Spanish mainland for theirTeam launches and press presentations, normally in December. They normally run early season and spring training camps, from January to April here, but you'll find pro cyclists year round between races. For the press and team launches, a UCI World team may bring several buses, vehicles and up to 50+ staff, including riders. This means they'll usually forced stay in one of the larger hotels in Gandia, Denia and Calpe. Some unwisely choose Benidorm! All of them head inland to the valleys and mountains for the best riding. For access to all of the the best riding, without any 'junk miles' getting there and back everyday, staying inland is the best option. Late Spring, Summer and early Autumn ... If you've not been to Mallorca before, it's certainly worth visiting in Spring and early Autumn to try the star climbs. However, if you're looking for somewhere different to ride we would highly recommend you consider the mainland. For cycling aficionados there's a wealth of iconic climbs, massive riding variety and routes, amazing sight seeing, historical towns, a rich cycling culture and history, not to mention some of the most beautiful and some of the most difficult climbs in all of Spain. We wouldn't recommend you stay in any mediterranean coastal town during high summer in Spain if the main purpose of your trip is cycling and that includes Denia, Calpe, Alcudia, Albir and Benidorm. Typically there's too many tourists, cars and little respite from the heat or humidity. So if you're planning a cycling holiday or training camp in 2021 we recommend you look a the best options in the Valencia and Alicante region. And if you're doing that, you'll want to know where the best places to stay are and where to find the best climbs. It's not Denia and certainly not Calpe or Benidorm. We'll cover that in future blog posts. In the meantime you can find lots of climb information here? #mallorca312 #sacalobra #denia #calpe #escapar