The toughest climb in Mallorca on an incredible out and back road down to a quiet beach. One of the world’s great rides but avoid doing in the middle of the day or afternoon when tourist coaches clog the road.
When to Ride Sa Calobra
The climb is open all year round but the peak cycling season is March to May & Sept to Oct. It is rideable in the middle of winter but there can be snow in the mountains. In the middle of summer the road is busy and temperatures very hot. Even by March there are tourist coaches driving the Sa Calobra road and on narrow sections this can be annoying to cyclists. We always try to ride as early as possible, later in the season (May, Sept) there is enough light to ride the climb after the tourists have all gone home and still get back before sunset.
Getting to Sa Calobra
The vast majority of cyclists stay in Port de Pollensa or Alcudia meaning you have one of two climbs to get to the top of Sa Calobra. From Port de Pollensa, the Coll de Femenia is a lovely 7.5km at 6%. With nice, varied views and gentle gradients, this is an ideal warm up climb. From Alcudia you can ride down to Selva and then climb the Coll de sa Batalla. This is in 8km at 5% with a long flat section in the middle and two slightly steeper, hairpinned sections at either end.
Both climbs are very enjoyable and good warm ups. The meet at the popular petrol station & cafe at Lluc before a beautiful 9km rolling section to the top of Sa Calobra with lovely views of the Med. A great day out is to go up the Coll de Femenia, across to Sa Calobra and then home via the Coll de sa Batalla, a real Mallorcan classic route.
Riding Sa Calobra
At the top of the climb is the famous archway and a popular food stand selling overpriced drinks and snacks. From here, take the road right to Sa Calobra rather than straight to Puig Major. Before the 10km descent, you have a short 2km uphill to the famous part of the road that loops around and then under itself. The descent is incredibly fun but be careful for vehicles (particularly those coaches) ahead of you that might be blocking an entire hairpin as the manoeuvre down to the beach.
When you reach the end of the road the only option is to loop round and come back up. The climb is quite pitchy with several short flat & downhill sections meaning the true average gradient of the climbing is above 7%. The first 3km is straight and nice to get a bit of rhythm before hitting the hairpins where the gradients increase.
The hairpin section is the heart of the climb as the road winds it’s way back up to the cafe. The views here are great and it’s a perfect length ride to either smash it or sit up, spin easily and enjoy the sights of this part of Mallorca. There are three short sections of over 10% but always with a flatter section to come. The climb get’s slightly harder the higher you get but there is nothing to fear about the climb. As you get towards the top you ride through a narrow gap in the rocks and then go under the tunnel and follow as the road wraps around and back over the tunnel to the finish of the climb. From here it is mostly a descent all the way home (though often into a headwind) or you can turn right and go up to Puig Major and the highest point in the island.
Overall, this is a great climb and a perfect early season challenge. The descent is really fun and the climb is tough without ever being nasty. Make sure you avoid the traffic by going early and then this is one of the best spring climbs in the world.