We think the Andratx to Pollensa cycling route is one of the best cycling routes on Mallorca. The scenery is nothing short of spectacular, and we love the flexibility you have to tailor the ride depending on how you’re feeling.
This flexibility could work well if you’re on a Mallorca cycling holiday in a group with a range of fitness levels.
While you’ll have all day to do the ride, be aware that even the plain vanilla version will be challenging!
If you’re based in the Pollensa/Alcudia area, and so have been focusing on local Puerto Pollensa cycling routes, don’t discount this ride. Andratx is nearly 90 km away but Mallorca Cycle Shuttle offer scheduled transfers for you and your bike so you can get a lift there and cycle back. We tried this option, and it works well – more details below.
All metrics in this article are approximate.
Andratx to Pollensa highlights
Andratx to Pollenca is often billed as one of the best cycling routes on Mallorca and, as you pedal along beside craggy, dramatic cliffs and a sparkling sea, it’s difficult to argue with that.
Our absolute favourite stretch was between Andratx and Banyalbufar: 25 kilometres of sea views along a quiet, well-surfaced road that hugs the vertical cliffs and meanders through Instagram-worthy villages.
The roads down to Port de Valldemossa and Sa Calobra are also right up there with the best of the best.
1. Andratx to Valldemossa (including Port des Canonge): 0-49 km
Andratx to Banyalbufar
This first section of the Ma-10 is our favourite of the entire cycle route. We’d describe it as being like a fabulously scenic rollercoaster.
You climb from the gun out of Andratx up a quiet, steep-sided valley to the first pass, Coll de sa Gramola, around 5.5km in.
There’s then a fast 5km descent down towards the sea, via a couple of majestic hairpins and several tunnels that are open to daylight on the lefthand side.
From here you’re straight into lumpy, rolling terrain with a succession of energy-sapping little cols. You often find sweeping ocean views to your left and vertical cliffs at your elbow. There’s little by way of development; it’s a serene, graceful road.
Your first real sign of life is the attractive village of Estellencs at 17km and then Banyalbufar at 24km. Both have shops and cafes should you be in need of refreshments. Don’t stop too long though – there’s a long way to go back to Port de Pollenca!
Banyalbufar to Port des Canonges
From Banyalbufar the road turns inland a little, so you lose the sea for a time but are still riding through attractive forest and craggy cliffs. At 40km comes the decision whether to turn down to Port des Canonge. There’s a full guide to that diversion here.
2. Port de Valldemossa turn to Sa Calobra turn (including Port Valldemossa and Puig Major): 49-128 km
In terms of terrain, we would summarise this section as Port de Valldemossa then a descent to Sóller followed by a climb up Mallorca’s longest, highest climb: the Puig Major (AKA “the Pig”).
Port de Valldemossa
Just before the tourist-mecca of Valldemossa, you’ll see the sign down to Port de Valldemossa. This was a truly stunning ride, and if we had to choose one of the three out and back add-ons on this ride, this would be it (you can always do Sa Calobra as a separate ride from Port Pollensa another day).
We’ve got full details of the Port de Valldemossa out and back, here.
Valldemossa to Sóller
This was probably the busiest section of the ride; it feels like you’re back from road cycling solitude and into civilisation. Don’t take that the wrong way: the scenery is still brilliant and by UK standards, we found the roads quiet and in great condition. It’s just relative to the previous section, there was more traffic, driveways, villas and signs of life.
For much of the road between Valldemossa and Deià you get fabulous views down to the sea and across terraced fields and rambling olive trees; we also caught noticeable amounts of wind.
Deià itself is a tourist hub so watch out for coaches and pedestrians as you come into the town.
The Puig Major climb starts from where the Ma-10 and Ma-11 meet at the roundabout between Sóller and Port de Sóller. It’s around 14km at an average 6% gradient to the top of Puig Major: total elevation gained is 830 metres. While 14km is a long climb in anyone’s book, the average gradient makes it manageable and the corners are wide and gentle.
Bear in mind that at this point you’ll have at least 60 hilly kilometres in your legs and a long way still to go, so don’t smash it up! Take time to breathe and enjoy the views through light pine forest, down over Sóller and the Tramuntana.
The tunnel of Monnaber (remember bike lights!) marks the end of the climb and as you leave the tunnel, the scenery opens up and you sweep 5km down past the Gorg Blau and Cúber reservoirs.
The road takes you over some lumps and then you’re at the aqueduct above Coll dels Reis and Sa Calobra.
Read about the Sa Calobra, here.
3. Sa Calobra turn to Port Pollenca (including Sa Calobra): 128-162km
Having climbed up Sa Calobra and back to the viaduct, the real hard work is done. It’s (basically) a 34km descent all the way home: you’ve got 850m of elevation loss compared with 260m of gain over the distance. Enjoy it!
As with the beginning of this ride, you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere; there’s hardly any buildings or development and the road surface was immaculate when we were there. You’re surrounded by jagged grey mountains and light pine forest following a beautiful ribbon of smooth tarmac; it’s this kind of riding that makes people fall in love with Mallorca!
You reach the top of the Col de Femenia and it’s a cheek-rippling descent down. Sweeping corners allow you to get up speed – just watch out for the goats! If you do lift your eyes at any point, the views are spectacular with the coastal towns of Pollenca, Alcudia and their ports are visible.
The last 10km is a flat semi-urban ride back into Port de Pollenca. Time for a beer, you’ll deserve it!
These are the key villages to have in mind (the kilometres are on the basis of the plain vanilla route without the extensions). These villages all have cafes/refreshments available.
Hopefully, this will help you plan your fuelling strategy.
* Port des Canonge
* Port de Valldemossa
Valldemossa: 39km (note the town is about 0.5km off the route)
Sóller: 58km (again, marginally off the route)
OJ shack by the Sa Calobra turn viaduct: 80km
* Village at the base of the Sa Calobra
Repsol garage: 89km (again, a fraction off track)
Lluc monastery: 91km
Port de Pollenca: 115km
The places with * are only relevant if you do the relevant out and backs.
Mallorca Cycle Shuttle has a useful list of their favourite cafes on the route.
The obvious way to do this ride is to stay in Andratx and ride from there.
Wondering the best way to get down to Andratx if you’re not staying nearby and haven’t got transport? One easy answer:
Mallorca cycle shuttle
Sponsored by Mallorca Cycle Shuttle
Mallorca Cycle Shuttle ensures that even if you’re not staying in Andratx, you can still ride this route. Their regular shuttle takes those staying around Alcudia and Port Pollenca in the north of the island, down to Andratx. This means if you’re staying along this coast, it would be easy to ride to the bus pick up point and use the shuttle.
They asked us to try out their service when we visited in October 2018 and we were impressed. We used their website to book onto the shuttle – it’s an easy to use and self-explanatory booking process. We liked the email we received after booking; it gave useful info on the route and what to expect.
We chose pick up from PortBlue Club. We arrived at the hotel and found the branded minibus was parked at the front of the hotel, so easy to spot.
We were greeted by Jenny, a friendly woman from the UK who explained the process while the driver carefully loaded our bike into the trailer, taking his time to put a mattress between each bicycle. This being the end of October, we were in one of their minibuses and small trailers (maximum nine bikes) but their larger trailers take more and they seem to have a good deal of flexibility and ability to offer more services at peak periods.
The bus left at the appointed time and just over an hour later, delivered us to a car park in Andratx. The drop off point is next to a cafe (and, in case you forgot your food supplies, it’s also close to a supermarket).
From here it’s an easy climb out of town and onto the route.
All in all, an easy to use, fuss-free experience that got the thumbs up from us.
Tips for the Big Daddy Challenge!
Read our tips for cycling in Mallorca before you set out.
Bear in mind that in summer (particularly July and August) this route is likely to suffer from traffic. We haven’t visited at that time of year, but we have read Puig Major can get hectic – and we imagine the same is true of the hotspots of Deià and Sa Calobra too.
Remember lights for the Monnaber tunnel – it is lit but lights would still be wise.
It’s common to come across goats and sheep on the quieter parts of the Ma-10. That can be pretty scary if you’re descending fast – just bear it in mind!
We know of someone that had a nasty collision with a tree descending the Puig Major. Many of Mallorca’s roads are lined with pine trees which drop needle and debris throughout the year. Even when it hasn’t rained, this can make the road skiddy – if the roads are wet, extreme caution is needed.
Don’t underestimate this ride. It’s long and it’s pretty much never flat. Plan out your fuelling strategy – you’ll need the energy!
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