Cycling in Mallorca
Great places to stop when cycling in Mallorca that you won't read about everywhere
This blog is about my cycling experiences on the island of Mallorca. Rather than focus on the routes themselves, I am going to tell you about some of my favourite 'hidden gem' cafés where you can stop for a coffee and something to eat.
Mallorca is definitely a place built for exploring by bike, where you can enjoy the most breathtaking scenery, many quiet roads and where you can relax with a drink in one hand and a picture postcard backdrop at the end of a hard day in the saddle.
A quick search online and it is quite easy to find a number of "Best of" lists about cycling in Mallorca covering anything from the best climbs or must ride routes to the best places to hire bikes or where to base yourself.
Because there is so much written about Mallorca as a popular cycling destination, I decided to write this blog to offer you something a little different. To help you when planning your cycling holiday to this amazing island, I have sought out a number of great places to stop for coffee or a bite to eat that are away from the crowds you find at the popular cafés on the well known routes.
Most articles on cycling in Mallorca, tend to focus on staying in the north eastern area of Puerto Pollensa and indeed this is the favoured resort for many groups of amateur cyclists or cycling clubs from the UK. However, as I stayed at the Lagotel Hotel in Playa de Muro, I started my rides and my search for great coffee stops from there. Each of the routes and places to stop for coffee are also easily accessible from Playa de Muro's larger and busier neighbour of Alcudia, which is just along the bay.
Puerto Pollensa does give easier and quicker access to the mountains via Pollenca or Formentor. Playa de Muro and Alcudia, however, offer something different in terms of easier access to routes down the east coast and a wider variety of more affordable hotels outside the main tourist season. This can be particularly helpful if you are looking for cheaper accommodation as somewhere to "just rest your head" after a day out on the bike.
Playa de Muro is the start and finish point of the hugely popular Mallorca 312 cycle ride and home to specialist hotels for professional triathletes, such as Hotel Viva Blue and Spa, which is often visited by Olympic triathlete Mario Mola.
Alcudia is the preferred location for the Sky pro cycling team, who stay in the Vanity Golf Hotel during their winter training. It is also home to the IRONMAN 70.3 Mallorca, which starts on the white sand beach in Port d’Alcúdia. So, these two locations have a great reputation for hosting high quality sporting events and as locations that professionals base themselves when they go to train in Mallorca. In my view, these two locations make for a great base to stay for your cycling holiday.
The bike I hired was from Wheels Sport, who have shops in Alcudia and Can Picafort and who also offer a bike delivery and drop off service to your hotel. I was delighted to pick up an (Eddy) Merckx Salanches 64 carbon road bike. The bike offered enough lightweight performance for me to believe it was time to play fast, but at the same time the riding position ensured I didn't get too tired after a long day in the saddle.
So, here is my list of 'hidden gem' cafés on well known cycling routes in Mallorca
These café stops will let you get off the beaten track and avoid the crowds and overpriced coffee you'll find if you stop at the popular cafés at the Cap Formentor lighthouse, Lluc Monastery, Sa Calobra or various popular cycling routes on the island.
Instead, why not consider these slight detours from the main routes and you just might discover for yourself a quiet place away from the crowds to rest your legs and refuel with an espresso and an ensaïmada or tapas for lunch.
1. S'illot Restaurant; Route: Playa de Muro to Mirador de la Victoria (La Victoria) 26 km
The S'illot restaurant on the coast road to La Victoria is well worth a stop on your way back down the hill after riding this short sharp climb up to the Mirador de la Victoria. The restaurant is on your right hand side beside the large beach overlooking the glorious bay of Alcudia. This short but steep route which follows out of Alcudia through Mal Pas towards La Victoria is a good way to start your cycling holiday in Mallorca as an early morning ride out or when you first arrive. Take time to sit on one of the benches at the top and peer through the trees at the bay below.
2. Club Nautico Serranova; Route: Playa de Muro to Ermita de Betlem via Arta on Ma-3333; 62 km
Club Nautico Serranova in Son Serra de Marina is a fantastic place to stop on your return journey from the route to Arta and the climb up to Ermita de Betlem. Club Nautico is located within the enclosed marina next to the sailing school and surrounded by the boats moored up overlooking the bay of Alcudia. This is a a good early morning ride heading south from Playa de Muro or Alcudia, past the s'Albufera natural park and towards the historical and cultural centre of Arta village. After arriving in Arta, you take the Ma-3333 north out of the village on the narrow winding road up towards to the monastery Ermita de Betlem before descending to visit Arta or begin your ride back.
You could also stop by Café Parisien, which is a lovely café in the centre of Arta if you choose to spend some time visiting this charming cultural centre before starting your return journey.
3. Finca Hotel Binibona Parc Natural; Route: Playa de Muro to Lluc Monastery or Sa Calobra - via Sa Pobla and Buger (avoiding the Ma-13); 77km or 116km
Although perhaps not somewhere you would consider a natural stop for a cycling ride, The Finca Hotel Binibona Parc Natural, a 4 star hotel closeby to Campanet is an oasis of calm in the centre of Binibona where you can enjoy the tranquility and peace beside the hotel's pool. This is one of our favourite hotels and they will serve you amazing coffee in a peaceful location before you climb back on your bike. The hotel serve coffee to non-residents, however, if you are riding with a group you may have to contact the hotel to give them numbers and the approximate arrival time (contact them by email on firstname.lastname@example.org, or via telephone on 0034 971 873 565) . The rides up to Lluc Monastery and Sa Calobra (Coll de Reis) are two of the classic routes on the island.
Sa Calobra is often referred to as the 'must do' ride when visiting Mallorca and if you are wanting to do this 6% climb, you'll be welcoming some good places to stop and refresh yourself.
4. Café Ca'n Moixet; Route: Playa de Muro to Lluc Monastery or Sa Calobra - via Pollenca and Ma-10; 77km or 122km
My recommendation for this route is Café Ca'n Moixet in the centre of Pollenca. This traditional café is a great place to stop for lunch and enjoy a coffee and some tapas on the return leg via the Ma-10 road of the Playa de Muro to Lluc or the 'Sa Calobra' (Coll de Reis) routes. This is the route that heads out along the coast road towards Puerto Pollenca, with views across the bay of Pollenca before turning left towards Pollenca and picking up the Ma-10 road towards Lluc and onwards to Sa Calobra.These are both long rides and you'll probably want to stop by the roadside to keep hydrated before attempting the climbs.
5. Hotel Illa D'Or; Route: Playa de Muro to Cap Formentor lighthouse, 79km
Because of my love for this route, with its sumptuous views and dramatic changing landscape, I felt my recommendation for a coffee stop had to be equally matched for offering your senses an experience to remember. So although this last one doesn't quite fit with my promise of offering you places away from the crowds, a stop at the elegant Hotel Illa d'Or, which opened its doors in 1929 and is located on the pine walk in Puerto Pollensa as part of your return journey after riding the route up to Cap Formentor is a must do. You can sit on the terrace beside the hotel's own jetty and watch the sunset, while enjoying your coffee or why not enjoy a glass of wine to toast a cycling holiday you'll never forget.
The route to Cap Formentor was the first route I ever cycled in Mallorca and it is still one of my favourites.