Sa Calobra’s Little Sister: The Road To Port De Valldemossa // Epic Road Rides // #2

Sa Calobra’s little sister: the road to Port de Valldemossa

Have you ever ridden the Sa Calobra and wished there was less traffic?

If so, you need to try the road to Port de Valldemossa.

This little gem is located around 40km southwest of the Sa Calobra turn off, also on the MA-10.

There’s an obvious comparison to be made between Port de Valldemossa and Sa Calobra because there’s a lot that’s similar about the two roads: a descent to a port before a testing climb back up, stunning scenery and technical switchbacks.

Yet Port de Valldemossa is less demanding and less iconic. So why does it occupy such a special place in my heart? Read on to find out!

1. Vital statistics

Let’s start by comparing numbers. For obvious reasons, I’ll focus on the climb rather than the descent.

My ridewithgps.com figures (which are approximate) show as follows:

Sa Calobra (not including Coll dels Reis)
Distance: 9.6 km
Elevation gain: 672 m
Elevation loss: 16 m
Average grade: 7.3%
Max grade: 15.1%

Download our ridewithgps file for the route here.

Port de Valldemossa
Distance: 5.8 km
Elevation gain: 379 m
Elevation loss: 15 m
Average grade: 6.4%
Maximum grade: 12.9%

Download our ridewithgps file for the route here.

So on all measures, Sa Calobra is the more challenging climb.

Can you see where I was coming from with the little sister analogy for Port de Valldemossa?!

the road to port de valldemossa
the road to port de valldemossa

2. The road to Port de Valldemossa

For the first kilometre or so after you turn off the MA-10, the road is relatively straight, flat and unremarkable. “What’s so amazing about this?” you might be thinking to yourself!

Soon the magic begins. The road falls away more steeply and you find yourself on a crazily narrow ribbon of tarmac, dropping down through tight, technical hairpins that offer tantalising views of an aquamarine sea.

The cliffs you’re riding alongside are orangey-gold and crumbly in places – pretty but, on a practical level, you should be prepared for some debris on the road (as well as goats!). The roadside is dotted with aromatic pine trees through which you glimpse dramatic sea views in one direction and rocky cliffs in the other, as the turns take you back inland.

As you near the port, you ride over a short paved section. Turn right and you’ll find yourself at the marina, where waves pound a rocky sea wall.

As with the Sa Calobra, the disconcerting thing about this road is the lingering suspense of the climb back up that hangs over you and makes relaxing tricky. The restaurant is an amazing place for a break, but there’s the nagging suspicion you should be turning straight back up rather than resting in the sunshine while your legs seize up…

What’s certain is the fact you’ll find the road back up as steep as you feared when you flew down it on the descent. Take the outside of the bend wherever possible: the inside corners are often very steep.

the road to port de valldemossa
the road to port de valldemossa

3. The scenery

As I’ve alluded to before, the landscape is pretty magical.

Where Sa Calobra is impressive in a cold, vast and barren, the road to Port de Valldemossa is a greener, prettier landscape. Riding down to Port de Valldemossa feels like riding into a happy haven rather than a craggy void.

The sea is also a bigger presence – it seems as though you’re closer to it, for longer.

4. Traffic

(Probably) my absolute favourite thing about this ride is the lack of coaches. Whereas Sa Calobra is often dogged by incessant tourist traffic, I simply can’t see how anyone could get a coach down to Port de Valldemossa.

The road is so narrow in places that if you had the skills to take both hands off your bars and stick them out either side of you, you’d touch both sides of the road.

I certainly didn’t see any coaches when we there. Yes, there were a few cars (the restaurant has a good reputation and there’s a small beach), but nothing by Sa Calobra standards.

the road to port de valldemossa
the road to port de valldemossa

5. Port de Valldemossa village

There’s an authentic village feel to Port de Valldemossa, which occupies an idyllic spot at the base of the towering green cliffs.

It’s certainly more of a hamlet than a town and there’s a low key yet upmarket buzz around the boat-strewn harbour.

It’s the perfect spot for an espresso or a (light) lunch. The restaurant is also far superior to the dreary canteen food we experienced at the port at Sa Calobra. What’s more, if you’re doing the Big Daddy challenge ride from Andratx, Port de Valldemossa is about halfway along the ride; a perfect lunch stop!

To summarise

I love the road to Port de Valldemossa at least as much as I love the Sa Calobra. Dare I say it? Maybe even more so.

Want more information? Check out our Port de Valldemossa guide and Sa Calobra guide. Meanwhile, our Mallorca cycling destination guide will give you all the details you need to plan your trip.

Have you ridden Port de Valldemossa? Drop me a message to let me know?

Happy riding and until next time,

Clare

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