Careening Through the Serra de Tramuntana – Amazing Road Trip!

Mallorca is an island full of hills, bays, and great road trips. The scenery is spectacular as is the fun on the curves of the road.

“One of the most dangerous roads in Spain…” These few words in our Lonely Planet Guide on Spain were enough to convince us that Sa Calobra, a stretch of 13 kilometers set in the scenic mountains of western Mallorca, were a worthy destination.

Knowing full well we were going to rent a car and explore as much of the island as we could, we couldn’t pass up the idea of driving Mallorca’s most famous road. The fact that it leads down to some of the most beautiful beaches on the island was just a bonus.

Mallorca’s Wild Ride on Sa Calobra

A peaceful town square in Mallorca.

Northwestern Mallorca is covered with a small mountain range and national park called the Serra de Tramuntana.  It is a wild, hard-to-tame environment filled with craggy rocks, deep river gorges, and steep inclines, making it a difficult area to cultivate and eek a living from.

The Serra de Tramuntana is full of curves and switchbacks.

The industrious islanders found a way, terraced their crop fields, raised goats, built towns on the hillsides, and have conquered the harsh terrain. Due to this industrious task and having made the area livable for over 1000 years, UNESCO inscribed the area as a world heritage site in 2011.

Mallorca is so idyllic with sheep and goat and cows and more.

The mountains, with their spotty clumps of tough grass and stunted trees, makes me think of an old man waking up with a five day stubble on his chin. The rocks and soil are dry, almost white from the limestone, and gives the entire region a washed-out look.  However, once you get up close, you can see the trails of goats, the vibrant colors of the short desert-like flowers, and the towns are sleepy but colorful with their terra cotta roof tiles nestled into the valleys.

Bicyclists love training in Mallorca, because of the varied terrain.

We drove along route 10 until almost to the end of the road where Sa Calobra begins. From the top, it takes you down through 26 hairpin turns, dropping 800 meters. For the short 13 kilometers to the coast, you are not only careening, like a rock star head-bobbing all the way down, you have the added obstacles of dodging bicycle after bicycle.

Lighthouse on Mallorca.

Apparently this is a training ground for bicycle teams, and while the rest of Europe is still gripped with the end of winter, the temperatures are just right to start training. What better road to get fit than one that is all up and down and turn after turn. It was great fun in a car, and I imagine it’s even more so on a bike. There were plenty of bike tours doing the route as well.

Donkeys on a hillside.

At the very end of the road, there are two choices that lead to beaches and lunch. The more popular road is to the right.  We took that option to begin with, and couldn’t believe our eyes when we reached this gargantuan parking lot filled with tour buses, cars, bicycles, and people everywhere.

The goats are really not afraid of heights or people as this one demonstrates.

We promptly turned around, went left, and found a quiet, almost empty beach in a tiny cove. There was only street parking, and not much of that, a small fisherman’s hut, and not much more. It was a perfect way to spend an hour near the water.

While we explored the Serra de Tramuntana, we stayed a few nights in the Santuari de Lluc, a well-known monastery where both pilgrims and tourists stay. It hosts a restaurant as well as everything from dorm rooms to doubles. It’s not a luxurious stay, but it’s quiet and convenient, and if you are lucky enough you might get to hear the choir sing.

Mallorca has many bays.

Are you drawn to curvy roads?  Would you bike or drive Sa Calobra?

Looking for a scenic road trip? How about the Serra de Tramuntana in Mallorca?

14 thoughts on “Careening Through the Serra de Tramuntana – Amazing Road Trip!”

  1. I just stumbled on this and enjoyed the description, especially because we were just talking to a guy from Mallorca when we were in Munich. (He was on his last day of work at the Eurostar hotel there, and anxious to get back to his native land!) Looks gorgeous, and I didn’t realize it was a UNESCO site.

  2. Hi Corinne. I’ve driven the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia a few times, and that is pretty windy with more than a few hairpin curves. Your road looks like is has even a few more twists and turns. I’m not sure I’d be happy navigating around all the bicycles, but for that scenery I’d probably give it a go! Thanks for linking up this week. #TPThursday

  3. Very nice road trip, Corinne. I don’t like windy roads, they make me sick, but sometimes you have to put up with that in order to get someplace nice.

  4. I am not drawn to curvy and high roads but I think I can survive 13 kilometers. We have done over 100 miles of sharp curves (my husband driving) and it wasn’t fun. But, have to admit the scenery was spectacular.

  5. I would be the passenger, hubby would drive. He loves driving, and does great on curvy windy roads. I think I would have my eyes closed and miss too much of the beauty.
    I love the photo of the goat on the rail.

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