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Cycling to Cape Formentor

I am just back from a cycling holiday on Mallorca. This is a great way to do some enjoyable cycling while the weather at home is not so encouraging.

If you are planning a trip to Mallorca as well or are looking for a tour on the island, here is my tip: You should take the tour to Cape Formentor, the northernmost point of Mallorca.

Spring Time is Cycling Time on Mallorca

Mallorca has a reputation for mass tourism. While there certainly is something to it – about 10 million visitors per year – it is not true everywhere or all the time. During Spring, when the beach holiday season has not started, the island is a hub for cyclists. As a cycle tourist you can use the great tourist infrastructure – cheap flights, plenty of options for accommodation, great roads – while still exploring the island on your own terms.

A Road Built for Tourists

The Formentor peninsula, north east of Port de Pollenca, is a good spot for it. It is a scenic area with remote sandy beaches, forests, rugged cliffs and panoramic views of the Bay of Pollenca. The road that makes all these features accessible today was actually built specifically for that purpose: Led by local engineer Antonio Parietti, the 18 km long road from Port de Pollenca to the lighthouse at Cape Formentor was built to promote early tourism in the 1930s.

I think that as a cyclist you are in the best position to enjoy this road:

  • The climbs are gentle and steady although they will add up to about 1,500 m for the return trip.
  • The hairpins offer real mountain feeling.
  • You can smell the forests.
  • There is a scenic view at almost every turn and you can stop anywhere with your bike.
  • There is nothing like going through an unlit tunnel with a road bike (it’s short and straight, so don’t worry).
  • You will benefit from the new road surface which was put on in 2014.
  • Since you are going back the same way, every climb will become a nice descent (and vice versa).
Cape Formentor
Close-up of the lighthouse at Cape Formentor
Cape Formentor
The lighthouse at Cape Formentor lies at 210 m above sea level.
Cape Formentor
View back from the lighthouse. You can see the road and the old mule tracks (right near the cliffs).
Cape Formentor
Hairpin in the descent from Es Colomer.
Cape Formentor
View from the lookout at Es Colomer.
Cape Formentor
View of the Formentor Peninsula. The road passes the rock face on the left by a tunnel.

Starting from Port de Pollenca you will start with a 3 km climb (200 m) to the lookout at Es Colomer. You should have a break here and enjoy the views. The cliffs are pretty impressive.

The descent through the forest ends at Formentor Beach but the road to the lighthouse at Cape Formentor continues through this forested stretch of the peninsular, which is especially nice, as it offers some shade.

Out of the forest, the second climb starts where the road runs below some big cliffs. Here, one of the rock faces is cut by the above mentioned tunnel.

The final 5 km to the lighthouse are winding along the headland with a couple of smaller climbs and ever changing views.

You might want to take a break at the lighthouse at Cape Formentor before heading back. Great views of the rugged coast and the sea. And then it is the end of the road and the island – a somewhat special place.

Next Tour: Sa Calobra

If you like the Cape Formentor ride, you might want to explore the Serra Tramuntana, a mountain range that runs along the north-west coast of Mallorca. It is part of the World Heritage and offers some nice climbs. The approaches to the Monastery of Lluc for example or the second famous road that Antonio Parietti built: Sa Calobra. A winding 8 km roads leading down 700 m to a remote beach. It is the only road connection there. You are not thinking of taking the ferry out of that beach! 😉

 

Cape Formentor
Memorial to Antonio Parietti who led the construction of the road. Located on the Formentor road at the lookout at Es Calomar.
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