The ride to Ermita de Betlem is one of those Mallorca cycling climbs that gives serious bang for buck!
With average gradients around 5.5%, it’s relatively accessible (we toyed with a one difficulty rating) and repays the effort with sublime scenery and majestic solitude. It feels like a cross between a quiet, mini Sa Calobra (due to the fact you climb to a col before descending) and a quiet, mini Formentor (for the impressive views across the sea).
In early November we found it almost car-free, reflecting what others had told us about this ride. So perhaps the fact it’s often quiet makes it a particularly good choice if the more famous roads of the Serra Tramuntana are too busy for your liking.
All metrics in this article are approximate.
Ermita de Betlem Mallorca: higlights
There’s beautiful scenery on the climb, but the jaw-dropping “wow” moment is when you come over the summit and get a panoramic view of Alcúdia and Pollença bays, the Serra Tramuntana mountains and Cap de Formentor.
Bring your camera.
1. Artà to Betlem turn off
After a climb up through the pretty town of Artà (perhaps via one of the lovely cafés?!), you find the route out north on the Ma-3333 beneath the mighty walls of the Santuari de Sant Salvador.
Helpfully, the Ma-3333 is signposted to Betlem so you shouldn’t go too far wrong.
It’s a gentle climb through farmland for around two kilometres before the gradients start to increase, coinciding with the turn off left to Ermita Betlem.
Note: this section isn’t on the GPX file as it’s not part of the climb
2. Turn off to summit
The narrow road climbs the hillside via a series of switchbacks.
The scenery on the way up the climb is reminiscent of British moorland; green, grassy slopes dotted with trees.
The views stretch back towards Artà and the lack of development and traffic means a calm, peaceful atmosphere prevails.
3. Summit to Ermita de Betlem, Mallorca
At the top there’s a 300m straight section before you descend down into a ladder of switchbacks. It’s around here that you get your first glimpse of the staggering views across the bays of Alcúdia and Pollença.
At the bottom of the switchbacks, you curve (largely) down and around the cliff before a fast, straight descent to the monastery at the bottom. From the summit down to the monastery it’s about two kilometres of unforgettable riding.
Do it and surely you’ll agree this is one of the best cycling climbs in Mallorca?
We didn’t see a café/restaurant at the monastery – your best bet is to get refreshments in Artà. In particular, we’ve heard that the the cafe in the Sanctuari de Sant Salvador in Artà does amazing cakes! If you try it, let us know in the comments below!
Artà is a popular destination for those looking for Pollensa cycling routes: it’s a relatively flat, easy ride from Pollensa, Port de Pollensa or Alcúdia, though it’s also accessible if you’re staying in places like Campanet or Alarò (as we were when we did the ride).
Read our tips for cycling in Mallorca before you set out.
The road is narrow and even though it is relatively quiet, you will come across cars and vehicles (many of which will be rental cars and whose drivers may well be looking at the views rather than the road).
Also beware the goats!
We found the road surface very bumpy towards the bottom, near the monastery.
If you head down the cypress tree-lined avenue to the monastery itself, you’ll find a white stone church built in 1805.
If you’ve got a support car with you, note there’s limited parking – when we were there there was hardly any cars in the car park but this may be problematic at busier times of year.
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