One of my favorite rides out of Port de Pollensa is the Cap de Formentor. It’s a great jet-lag ride, perfect for testing the legs and bike-reassembly. As many flights arrive mid-day, there is ample time to get out of the airport and get on the bike for a shakedown cruise, and this is one of the best. From the center of town, work your way eastward to the ‘ring road’ (MA-2210) that is on the north edge of the town. This will lead to the Coll de la Creueta, a short climb up from the bay. Like all Mallorcan great roads, you will be sharing this with tour buses and rental cars with questionable drivers.
At the crest of the Coll de la Creueta is a snack shack and short hiking path to a viewpoint. Stop here to adjust your saddle height and walk up to the point for some pictures. It is here that you get your first glimpses of the Cliffs of Insanity. If you’re feeling up to it, cross the parking area and ride the short climb to the watchtower. This climb looks more intimidating than it is, the grades are actually not bad and the view from the top is spectacular.
The Cliffs of Insanity
Continuing eastward, there is a short, twisty descent though the trees to the intersection which takes you to the beach (right) at the Hotel Formentor. This beach is nice, with good views and sand. Lots of sand. Bear left to start the climb past the Fire Swamps (you’ll see the signs tacked to fences and trees).
Riding through the Fire Swamps
The road works its way upwards at a comfortable grade, then goes through a narrow tunnel. At this point, you pat yourself on the back for having remembered to put lights on your bike (you always ride with lights, because you don’t like being squished, especially in dark one-lane tunnels). Past the tunnel, the road crests a bit, then rolls up-and-down before the sweeping descent to the lighthouse.
As you come around the last sweeping turn, you will encounter a long line of cars trying to get up the last pitch to the lighthouse and the miniscule parking lot.
The cafe inside has snacks, and there are plenty of places to eat and enjoy the view. It’s simply stunning, and worth the time to take photos. In and around the lighthouse itself, you will meet the Rodents of Unusual Size, who will beg for bites of your snack.
The one in the orange vest seems to follow us everywhere.
The return to Port de Pollensa is very nice, with great views. Climbing the back of the Coll de Creueta will get your attention as it has a few steep ramps, but you can always recharge at the cafe and viewpoint before dropping the 3km or so back into town.
Bahia de Pollensa on the return from Formentor
Once back into PP, you have options: continue the ride, stop and eat, or settle in on the beach. If you choose the beach and/or food, just head for the center of town and find something interesting. As noted in Part 1, there are excellent restaurants, and several are very good if you have food allergies. The beach itself is excellent, and there are plenty of places to get a snack and a cocktail. Additionally, the large Eroski grocery store was recently remodeled, and is a great place to pick up stocks for your hotel room. The store is located at the roundabout with the Airplane sculpture as you follow the Ring Road (MA-2210) down from the Coll de Creueta. It’s the 3rd roundabout heading west from the bottom of the Coll.
If you decide to keep riding, heading towards Pollensa, then turning right for the gentle climb over a saddle to Cala de Sant Vicenc. Bear right at the airplane roundabout onto MA-2200 towards Pollensa, then after 4km, turn right onto MA-2203. Sant Vicenc is a nice little cove, with a small beach and plenty of places to eat.
Cala de Sant Vicenc
If you continue down MA-2203 to Pollensa, work your way to the center of town. The main square is very nice, and has regular market days. At one side is a famous staircase with cafes along the large terraces immediately adjacent. Select and open table and have a seat, the meal will be great. Exploring Pollensa is a great way to kill a few hours.
Stairway to lunch
If instead you follow MA-12 along the shore of the Bahia de Pollensa to Alcudia, you will find that there is a really nice 2-lane bike path that inexplicably ends about 1/2km before the roundabout. Go left, then right, and you will see the old city walls, church, and the heart of the city. Take your first opportunity to cross the street and enter through the nearest gate. At this point, walking your bike is recommended, and exploring the walls and warrens of streets is really enjoyable. Alongside cheesy tourist trap curio shops are excellent restaurants.
Festivals make Alcudia really fun, if crowded. Check the calendar.
On the east side of the old town, there is a free-standing section of gate, with the remains of the portcullis and large town square.
Opposite the gate is one of our favorite restaurants, Me Gusta.
There are several sections of wall that are accessible via narrow steps. You can look through arrow slots and walk along the wall top. It’s pretty cool.
At the eastern side of the old town is a Tourist Information Center and bus hub. Across the street to the east is a dirt public parking lot, which is wholly unremarkable, but free. Hidden in the southwest corner of this lot, though, is a gate into the past. Adjacent to the lot is an active archaeological site, a Roman ruin, the town of Pollentia. This is a really fascinating place and worth the time to take the self-guided tour.
At one time, this was a large, bustling city, and the guide brochure walks you through residential and commercial areas, plus the theatre.
After your sojourn in Alcudia, you can proceed to the end of the road at the Ermita de la Victoria, a former monastery and current hotel. We stayed here, and it was wonderful, but quite a way from town. The road is narrow, twisting, and has some steep ramps, but the ride out is very rewarding and worth the effort. The road ends in a steep ramp to a parking lot and trailhead for hiking. There is a small shop where you can get a snack, as well as a good restaurant just a short walk past the Ermita itself.
From here, return to Alcudia and call it a day. Next up: Arta and its environs.