you're reading...
Cycle Touring, Mallorca, Spain

Sa Calobra

No words describe Sa Calobra – as a cyclist, it is just a road you have to experience to believe!  Welcome to the ultimate cycling destination that is cycling Mallorca.

The switchbacks are unrelenting – they just keep coming, piling one on top of the other.  The road is narrow and tight.  With the constant mass of cyclists travelling up and down the road, I can not even begin to imagine what it is like for the drivers.  Patience is a virtue as they are often made to wait behind the bikes navigating the twists and turns that give this road it’s name – the Cobra.

road bikes Mallorca

The climbing begins straight out of Inca – then it is game on!  To get to the Cobra, one first needs to climb up towards Lluc, following the masses as they make the turn to the road to head down to Sa Calobra.  The road to the port was built in 1935, giving beach access to the tourists – how did they do it?  But if you think heading down to the sea is all downhill, well, there’s a bit more climbing to be had. After cresting the peak, there’s 12km of descending through switchback after switchback – for cyclists – euphoria!

At its peak, Sa Calobra reaches 683m above sea level before serpentining through incredible rock formations, skirting the ridges and winding down through switchback after switchback of cycling euphoria.  In a word – a marvel – unimaginable how these ridges, twists and turns were ever put together to create such a journey from sea to sky.

bike tours

This is not a ride for the faint of heart.  First, there is the climb to get up to the turn to Sa Calobra.  Then, the descent – hair raising, exhilarating, breathtaking – the views are spectacular.  The turns are technical and the volume of cyclists on the road at this time of year only add to the mayhem – but it is so worth it.  No words adequately describe the experience.  The road down to the sea is 12 kms – blink and you miss the markers on the side of the road as you speed down the mountain.  On the way up, you will have more than enough time to count the kilometres down as you wind your way to the top!  It is unrelenting in the climb – the varying grades through the switchbacks a welcome relief to the legs as they turn the pedals up the road, some more slowly than others!  As you climb, you see cyclist after cyclist descending, grins from ear to ear as they soak it in, all senses going into overdrive!

Then you are at the top – from the peak, you descend back to the turn off and the well deserved snacks.  On a sunny day, it is a challenge to even get a spot to sit as the scent of fresh Valencia oranges waft through the air – the perfect reward for your efforts.  Back on the bike, time to descend through the trees, welcoming the shade as your hard work is done.  There are four noises that you hear on the Cobra – the free wheel of descending cyclists, the huffing and puffing of the climbers, the horns and engines of the buses as they haul themselves up the climbs and the wind chime sounds of the bells on the goats in the forest.

bike trips

Most of the group, it was the first time cycling Mallorca.  While they had all hear about Sa Calobra, it was the first time they had cycled switchbacks like these – a crazy 8 km maze of twisting roads and hairpins as the road carves through the cliffs and plunges down to the sea.   When asked to describe her first experience on the Cobra, the word that came to my friend’s mind is “surreal”.  Even though I tried to describe the experience to her, she agreed that it really was something that had to be experienced for herself.  Welcome to Sa Calobra!

About Anita Mac

The bucket list just keeps growing! The more I cross off - the more exciting new destinations and activities I find! I have been fortunate enough to travel a considerable distance over the years. My love of many things, including travel, cycling, kayaking and photography fit together like hand and glove. I have to keep asking myself....where to next? I am happy to share my travels and photography through my blogs: http://traveldestinationbucketlist.com and http://anitamacphotos.wordpress.com Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! On to the next adventure!


27 thoughts on “Sa Calobra

  1. That looks like it would be a blast going downhill. Uphill? Whew … looks like a lot of work. But it is a beautiful setting for a winding road in either direction.

    Posted by orples | March 31, 2012, 10:40 am
    • Both ways is a real treat – although as a not so great descender, I find the way down very technical! The views are spectacular and worth every hair that stands on end. The way up is definitely slower – more time to look over the cliffs at the views, or up the mountain to see the masses of cyclists climbing through the switchbacks – very cool.

      Posted by Anita Mac | March 31, 2012, 4:59 pm
  2. That climb has got to be real good for the quads!

    Posted by themofman | March 31, 2012, 11:05 am
  3. What an experience as well as probably an adrenaline rush too! Thanks for sharing & Happy Saturday!

    Posted by cravesadventure | March 31, 2012, 6:31 pm
  4. Looks amazing! I can feel the burn from here.

    Posted by drawandshoot | April 1, 2012, 9:04 am
  5. Wow – that adventure sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing!! Looks gorgeous there.

    Posted by cooperstown | April 1, 2012, 10:26 am
  6. One of these days, I’m going to have to ask you for help in planning my first cycle tour! That road is begging me to ride it for myself! 😀

    Posted by Jodi | April 2, 2012, 8:00 am
    • Sounds good. Let me know – always happy to help. Mallorca is so amazing for cycling – a number of years ago, I heard that 1/4 million cycle tourists a year visit the island – I would not be surprised if that has gone up – there are bikes everywhere at this time of year! Great fun.

      Posted by Anita Mac | April 2, 2012, 4:34 pm
  7. This is breathe taking! I’m not a pro biker, and I’m sure climbing a mountain on bike would kill me, bit I’d definitely visit this place!

    Posted by Someday I'll Be There - Mina | April 3, 2012, 8:30 pm
  8. Wow that first picture really says it all. What a view but what a challenging road to cycle!

    Posted by f-stop mama | April 9, 2012, 10:34 am
    • It is a stunning ride and a challenge – but you can go at your own pace so not so bad. I have done it with varying degrees of fitness – has taken me anywhere from 54 minutes to 1 hour and 8 minutes – I know I am a fairly slow climber compared to my friends, but it is about the climb and the views – they are happy to wait for me at the top – and those fresh oranges make it totally worth while.

      Posted by Anita Mac | June 7, 2012, 8:45 am
  9. You’re brave…and strong!

    Posted by Travel Spirit | April 15, 2012, 5:47 pm
  10. Here is the Sa Calobra Downhill in HD

    Posted by Sunracer | June 24, 2012, 6:38 am


  1. Pingback: Mallorca Daily Photo: March 31 « Shutter bug - March 31, 2012

  2. Pingback: The bikes have landed…we have 2 weeks of cycling in Mallorca | traveldestinationbucketlist - April 10, 2012

  3. Pingback: Travel By The Alphabet: C « Shutter bug - June 14, 2012

  4. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Friendship « Shutter bug - June 17, 2012

  5. Pingback: Travel By The Alphabet: I « Shutter bug - July 5, 2012

  6. Pingback: Cycling in Mallorca – great lunch stops to fuel your ride « traveldestinationbucketlist - July 11, 2012

  7. Pingback: Monday Morning Series: Sun Setting over Mallorca’s Tramuntana Ranges « traveldestinationbucketlist - August 27, 2012

  8. Pingback: Mallorca – the scenery, the food, the fun…captured in pictures « traveldestinationbucketlist - November 29, 2012

  9. Pingback: Top 5 Travel Experiences from 2012 « traveldestinationbucketlist - December 28, 2012

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Join me at TBEX

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts and adventures by email.

wordpress counter
%d bloggers like this: