In the 1930s, the Spanish engineer Antonio Parietti mapped out a route from Port de Pollenca in Mallorca to the northernmost point of the island where the Cap de Formentor lighthouse can be found, and that road has gone on to become one of the favourites routes for cyclists on the island.
With its challenging climbs, good climate and numerous bike rental locations Mallorca has become one of the most popular destinations for cyclists in Europe. Many cyclists stay in Port de Pollenca in the north of the island and the town is the starting point for the ride to Cap de Formentor.
Setting out from the town, riders are climbing just a kilometre into the cycle. The 3.7-kilometre long Coll de Sa Creueta is a steady climb averaging 5% with a maximum gradient of 7.9%. A couple of hairpins have to be negotiated and these turns provide some good views back over Port de Pollenca.
The Coll de sa Creuta is used as the summit finish in the early season Challenge Mallorca: Trofeo Andratx and this year, Belgian rider Tim Wellens was first over the line. The climb finishes at the car park at the Mirador des Colomer viewing point and it’s worth stopping for a few moments to take in the view.
A really nice descent follows with a number of hairpins through a pine forest which takes you down to Formentor Beach. Soon after the turn-off for Formentor Beach, the forested scenery gives way to a rocky landscape with the road hugging the coastline. The road is constantly up and down with very few flat sections. There’s an unlit tunnel along the way, so it’s worthwhile bringing lights.
The road twists and turns and provides stunning views of hard-to-access beaches and Pollenca Bay. Parietti who designed the road was also responsible for the construction of the equally stunning Sa Calobra, the famous climb further south in the Serra Tramuntana.
After nineteen kilometres, the lighthouse comes into view. A final ramp up to the lighthouse beckons with numerous cars parked here from tourists visiting the cape.
One thing to be mindful of is the volume of motorists with numerous drivers negotiating a road they are possibly not too familiar with. On a couple of occasions, I encountered cars pulling out from viewing points without indication or taking it too wide on hairpin bends so exercise caution.
The return journey to Port de Pollenca provides more stunning views with a better opportunity to view the Cala Figuera beach with its turquoise waters. The beach is just 40 metres long, situated at the bottom of some steep cliffs and involves a 1.5-kilometre walk to get there.
The final challenge of the ride is the ascent up Coll de sa Creuta. This side has more hairpins than the side from Port de Pollenca but apart from some steep ramps at a couple of the hairpins, it is steady enough.
At the Mirador des Colomer car park, there is an option to take in an additional climb to Talaia d’Albertux where there is the ruin of a castle and some excellent views over the bay of Pollenca.
From Mirador des Colomer, it’s a fast descent with sweeping bends back down to Port de Pollenca. The out-and-back trip is only 39 kilometres, but according to Strava involved 1,084 metres of climbing. It’s a highly recommended cycle for anybody heading to Mallorca.