Mallorca has been on the cycling radar for many years but to date we have resisted the temptation to run a tour there. That will change in 2018 with our new tour of the island in April.
We have been looking ways to give our guests a more comprehensive approach to preparing for our Epic Adventures and training camps were a logical progression. Mallorca was the natural choice for where to start.
On the cycling front, the varied terrain of the island makes it a perfect destination. Rolling low hills, a pan-flat plain, and a mountain range of perfect proportions (high enough to excite the adventurous, not so high as to be closed to snow) mix beautifully to provide great ride variety. The 300 days of sunshine per year help too.
In terms of the tour structure we were keen to avoid the cookie cutter approach though and have stuck with many of the elements that feature on our regular tours – Garmin navigation technology to enable you to ride at your own pace, optional extra loops, a gastronomic focus and an embracing of the local history and culture.
At the same time, we have also included some of the camp elements that work so well such as a tour soigneur for massages and the joy of staying in one place for the duration of the tour.
With a great hotel booked on the beach in Puerto Pollensa and a guide team that knows the Island really well we are looking forward to putting our own slant on the bike tour scene in Mallorca.
> Ride at your own pace and choose your level of difficulty through the regular and extra loops planned for each day.
> Daily massage options with our on-tour soigneur.
> Indulge in a Michelin starred dining experience on our final evening.
> Take on the mythical Sa Calobra twice. You will not be able to suppress a child-like grin when descending and climbing.
> Evening briefings at the pool bar on the roof of our 4 Star hotel.
> Van support on the rides to provide sag wagon, mechanical and culinary support.
> Cycling clinics to improve your cycling and general bike knowledge.
> Sample the native Callet grape that is giving the Island justified claim to being a quality wine producer.
Mallorca Bike Tour Dates 2018
|Stage||Start Date||End Date||Days||Distance||Cost (Euros)|
|Mallorca Training Week||18 April||24 April||7 (6 nights)||480 km (298 miles)||€1750|
With over 2400 eateries Mallorca is a wonderful culinary destination. As part of the Balearic Islands it has its own traditional Spanish style, but this is married to a more exotic twist that reflects its varied history. Both Roman and African influences pervade in the Islands cuisine giving it a diverse and colourful identity.
Synonymous and emblematic of the Mallorca diet are the olives and almonds that we’ll see being cultivated across the island. Traditional dishes that we recommend sampling during the week include arròs brut (saffron rice with pork, chicken and vegetables), sobrassada (minced pork mixed with paprika) and the camallot and botifarron sausages. The ensaïmada pastry is a great dessert and local herbal liqueur bring any meal to a fine end. The cafes are also known for their great coffee and their own local pasties and cakes.
The Islands culinary diversity is also reflected by the contrast between the land and sea. The hearty dishes that can be found inland such as perfectly roasted suckling pig, are contrasted with the wonderful fresh seafood dishes that are prevalent in the coastal restaurants. We look to embrace three contrasts on our tour.
On the wine front, it is worth noting that Pliny, in his Natural History book, once compared the wines of Mallorca favourably with those of Italy! This was back in the 1st century though and the wine industry of the Island has had its challenges since. In recent years it has definitely gone back on track with a focus on quality over quantity and an embracing of the indigenous grape varieties.
In our opinion, the Callet grape gives Mallorca claim to produce one of Spain’s finest wines. Other grape varieties such as Manto Negro, Fogoneu, Prensal Blanc and Girò Blanc are being creatively blended to create some great local wines. These wines are being produced in the DO areas of Binissalem ad Pal I Levant, the former in the centre of the island and the latter on the eastern side. Given the value of land on Mallorca production isn’t high, but what is produced is often noteworthy for its quality.
Our hotel for the week is La Goleta – Hotel de Mar. This 4-star hotel is in Puerto Pollensa and is newly renovated. With a strong authenticity and traditional charm this boutique hotel deserves all the plaudits it receives. Their attention to detail extends to the services they provide to their cycling guests as well as their Michelin starred restaurant. We think it will serve as a base for our Mallorca tour for many years to come.
Beloved Majorcans (Guy de Forestier) -This book tries to explain the character of the Mallorcan people. The pseudonym Guy de Forestier is derived from the Mallorcan term “guia de forasters” meaning guide for the outsider. It’s an interesting read.
Mallorca – The Magnificent (Nina Larrey Duryea). A romanticised view on the history of Mallorca and its palaces and country houses. It is however fun to read as a time capsule from the beginning of the last century.
Majorca Observed (Robert Graves) – The author Robert Graves spent a large part of his life in Majorca. He gives his reasons for living in Majorca as well as expressing concerns about the extent of modern development in the island. Prescient given how it is today!
The central location of Mallorca in the Mediterranean has made it a significant trading route since ancient times. Owing to this the Island has experienced its fair share of historical upheaval over the centuries. We’ll try and provide you with a brief chronological overview below.
Its first settlers can be dated back 3000 years ago to the Phoenicians who set up trading posts there, alongside the Greeks. This then became part of the Carthaginian trading empire that stretched out from North Africa. At this stage though the island had not been settled in great numbers.
This was to change though in 123BC with the Roman conquest of the island who set up two significant centres – Palma and Pollentia (now Alcudia). For 600 years the way of life and prosperity of Mallorca was inextricably linked to Rome.
This would only change in the 5th century AD when the Vandals took over the Balearic Islands including Mallorca. Much of the Roman infrastructure was destroyed in this period. In 534AD the Island would become part of the Byzantine Empire.
With the spread of Islam in the 7th century the Moors then came to leave their mark. It was an indelible mark that lasted some 400 years and whose influence is still found in the local culture and traditions today.
Perhaps the period of greatest prosperity for Mallorca though came during the period in which it was part of the Kingdom of Aragon. The ousting of the Moors by King Jaume led to a period in which many of the islands most significant building were built, such as Belver castle and the Almudaina Palace.
In more recent history Mallorca was attacked by the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War for being a Nationalist stronghold. The Battle of Mallorca in 1936 resulted in the nationalists defending the island and played a significant role in their overall victory.
Since the 1950’s the history of the Island has been most notably linked to the advent of mass tourism and then a shift towards a more sophisticated tourist market over time. In theory, the hordes of cyclists that head today are part of the latter phase!
The Stages at-a-glance
Mallorca Training Week
Length: 7 nights / 6 days
Distance: 480km I 298miles
Elevation: 6500m I 21325ft
Dates: April 18 - 24