This ride is one that can be slotted in before breakfast, on a rest day, as the last ride before the plane home, or even to tag on the end of a longer ride if you feel you’ve not quite done enough. It may be a short ride, just under 25 miles, but it packs a lot in; fantastic scenery, tunnels, hairpins, abundant goats and around 970m of climbing. You can also start and finish it from Cafe 1919 on the harbour front in Port de Pollenca. Always a bonus! Oh, the road surface is nice and smooth all the way, well until that last 200m.
In terms of navigation it’s not difficult really. Follow the signs for Formentor from Port de Pollenca and keep going till you get to the lighthouse some 12 and a bit miles later. It’s the same road back! The road has two types of gradient on it; up or down, in varying degrees of severity. Don’t think there is a flat bit on it the whole way!
Pretty much as you pass the sign out of Port De Pollenca you’re in to the first climb. It weaves it’s way up the rocky escarpment that overlooks Port de Pollenca from the north east. It’s not massively steep or overly long but it makes you work, particular at the end of a long day. It climbs up to the view point at Talaia d’Albercutz, with its obligatory ice cream van and tourist buses and then starts to descend immediately. There is a scabby track leading off to the right from the top of the pass that will take you up to the monument on the top of the rocky crag overlooking the town. I’ve never ridden it personally but am led to believe it is quite broken up and brutally steep in places, but the view from the top is well worth the effort.
The descent down the far side takes you to Formentor and the large car park for the beach. It was at this point a few years ago that the smooth tarmac ended and the road became increasingly rougher and broken for the last half of the ride out to the lighthouse. Not so now! The Majorcan road fairies came out a couple of years ago and laid gloriously smooth tarmac to the foot of the lighthouse, where clearly their responsibilities ended and became that of the lighthouse owners. So the last 200m is a real teeth rattler still!
From here the road drags steadily upwards through a pleasant wooded section before a short descent and you’re back into the climb up through the tunnel. The first section of this round a left hand bend is the steepest bit, before it settles into a steady gradient up through the tunnel and continues up to another little pass. As you approach and exit the tunnel look down to the stunning sheltered bay of Cala Figuera below you. More often than not there is a yacht anchored in this bay.
Over the top of the pass and the road descends again and this sequence of steady ups and downs with tight hairpins continues, with the fantastic views until you reach an obvious plateau. Here the view opens out in all directions and the tree line ends. Still no glimpse of the lighthouse though; you don’t see this until you round a sharp left hairpin and drop down the side of the cliff towards the lighthouse itself. This descent is probably the steepest on the whole ride. As you plummet down it, just remember this will be the first thing you tackle as you depart the lighthouse for the ride back.
There is a cafe at the lighthouse and view point. As you would imagine the prices in the cafe reflect the fact that it has a captive market but it’s a good place to shelter if the sea breeze is particularly strong. When you’re suitably refreshed then there is only one way back!