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Pedaling for Paella: Mallorca is a Cyclist’s Paradise

Posted on Friday, March 17th, 2023

Story by: Molly Waldstein | Travel Writer


You don’t have to be a pro cyclist to enjoy biking Mallorca! The island’s tropical valleys, turquoise beaches, incredible biking infrastructure, and low-traffic cycling routes make VBT’s Spain: Balearic Islands, Mallorca & Ses Salines Guided Tour a perfect getaway for novices and experienced cyclists alike.

Pedaling for Paella: Mallorca is a Cyclist’s Paradise

In the azure waters off Spain’s eastern shore lie the Balearic Islands—a small Spanish archipelago known for sandy beaches, citrus groves, dock-fresh seafood, and innovative cuisine. Mallorca—the largest of the Balearics, is where many professional cyclists come to train in the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range and the dramatic switchbacks of Cap de Formentor. But you don’t have to be a pro cyclist to enjoy biking Mallorca! The island’s tropical valleys, turquoise beaches, incredible biking infrastructure, and low-traffic cycling routes make VBT’s Spain: Balearic Islands, Mallorca & Ses Salines Guided Tour a perfect getaway for novices and experienced cyclists alike.

Mallorca is Built for Biking

While the high summer months attract beach-goers to Mallorca’s white sand shores, the cooler temperatures in spring and fall make Mallorca a cyclist’s dream destination. “It’s like a cycling paradise—not only because of the beautiful climate and sunny weather, but also because there’s an excellent cycling infrastructure,” says Andrea Chlebova, VBT Trip Designer for Mallorca. “VBT’s Spain: Balearic Islands, Mallorca & Ses Salines Guided Tour is perfect for beginning cyclists because there’s very little traffic, and the routes are mostly flat with rolling hills. Bikers who want to add extra kilometers can also choose to do the big climbs—which makes this the perfect cycling vacation for couples with different levels of cycling ability.”

Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation

Mallorca’s biodiversity is one of the most remarkable features of this island paradise. Starting on the palm-fringed shores of Port de Sóller, your path winds through tropical mountain valleys, rice paddy fields, and serene turquoise lagoons—pausing to explore charming medieval villages along the way. For example, the mountain hamlet of Fornalutx is often called the most beautiful village in Spain—and for good reason! When the light is just right, the ancient stone houses and cobbled streets glow with the golden radiance of Mallorca’s famous peach-colored limestone as the scent of orange blossoms fills the air. Pedaling on from the lush mountain village of Fornalutx, our path takes us to subtropical Sóller, with its palm trees, orange groves, and vibrant artistic community. Among ancient streets hung with potted ferns, orchids, and succulents, you’ll discover the complex Spanish architecture of Gaudí disciple Joan Rubid, and can browse the market for colorful Ikat fabrics, artisanal ceramics, and fine Mallorcan leather. Although just a few kilometers east of its oceanside counterpart, Port de Sóller, Sóller boasts a very different topography. This lush mountain valley provides optimal conditions for citrus groves—and oranges from Sóller are prized throughout Europe. For a special treat, you might stop at a local gelateria for a decadent ice cream float made with Sóller’s signature orange ice cream submerged in fresh-squeezed orange juice and crowned with a rich dab of whipped cream.

With its wealth of gorgeous scenery and biodiversity, it’s easy to see why environmental conservation is a hot topic in the Balearic Islands. Non-profit organizations such as and Save the Med organize volunteers to reduce consumption of single-use plastics, establish marine protected areas, and educate youth in the Balearic Islands. Many Mallorcan hotels have taken strong steps to encourage environmental conservation efforts—cutting down on plastic waste and water consumption and investing in alternative energy solutions. These changes make a big impact—and help ensure the beauty of Mallorca will be there for future generations to enjoy.

A Culinary Playground for Europe’s Great Chefs

The abundance of fresh seafood, superb wines, and lush gardens have long been Mallorca’s siren song to the great chefs of Europe. Famous British chef Marc Fosh is the head of Mallorca’s only Michelin-starred restaurant, located within our elegant Palma boutique hotel, Convent de la Missió. At Ses Salines, Fosh teamed up with Swiss culinary innovator Katja Wöhr to showcase one of Mallorca’s most exquisite natural resources—salt.

To those of us who experience salt primarily as a tumbler of sodium chloride from the local supermarket, flor de sal is nothing short of a revelation. A naturally occurring crystal that blooms on the surface of salt marshes, flor de sal is carefully gathered by hand using traditional methods. As it travels towards the salt flats at Salinas d’Es Trenc, sea water passes through a series of canals and basins—slowly evaporating and allowing the delicate flor de sal crystals to blossom. The dynamic culinary duo of Fosh and Wöhr crafted a unique infusion of flavors with flor de sal from Salinas d’Es Trenc. During your visit to the famous salt flats, you can sample a variety of flavors of flor de sal—perhaps including those infused with black olive, lemon, and even rose.

The Prince of Paella

There’s arguably no food more iconic to Spanish culture than paella—a complex and flavorful dish made with locally-grown bomba rice, fresh-caught seafood, and sultry saffron. Originally from the coastal Spanish city of Valencia to the west of the Balearic Islands, master rice chef Kike Martí has truly made paella his life’s work. Trained by Valencia’s master chefs,  Martí has taken paella cooking to a new level—adding fresh innovations to incorporate local ingredients such as suckling pig, tender quail, and even succulent snails. After relocating from Valencia to Palma, Martí took his innovative paella style on the road—earning the coveted title of Rice Master within the Spanish Selection of Professional Cooking, representing the nation of Spain in international culinary events. He’s also el gourmet de La Roja—traveling with Spain’s official soccer team and keeping them fueled up on hearty Spanish paella as they compete. A natural entertainer,  Martí loves to teach the world about his passion for rice—holding “show cooking” events and classes to educate aspiring arroceros everywhere. During our visit to the spectacular wine region of Binissalem, we’ll enjoy a paella cooking show with the famous Rice Master himself.

Discover Ancient Olive Oil Traditions in Sóller

Mallorca’s subtropical climate makes it an ideal location for cultivating grapes, citrus, and olives—with hot summers, mild winters, and a unique terroir of limestone over clay. While the excellence of Mallorcan olive oil has long been known in Spain, one islander has made it his mission to educate visitors about the quality of Mallorca’s “liquid gold.”

The proud lineage of the Can Det finca dates to 1561 when Pedro Ozonas established the olive groves and oil mill. Today, the Deyà family takes great pride in maintaining the traditional method of oil production that’s been honored in the Sóller valley for centuries. “Several generations of the Deyà family live right there on the finca. The Deyà brothers, Tomeu and Guillem, are proud of their ancient traditions and want to teach people about their olives and olive oil,” says Andrea. “And this is really special, because most people don’t know the traditional way olive oil is made on Mallorca—and may not know that Mallorcan olive oil is among the best in the world.”

During our visit to this historic finca, we’ll tour the house, gardens, and ancient olive oil mill with its gregarious owner—learning about Mallorcan olive oil traditions and techniques. Afterwards, we’ll be treated to a delicious lunch of locally-produced specialties—including rustic Mallorcan bread, ripe olives, Ramallet tomatoes and freshly-squeezed orange juice in the finca’s sunny dining room.

Palma: Sunny and Chic

Before starting your Spain: Balearic Islands, Mallorca & Ses Salines Guided Tour, you simply can’t miss a two-night Pre-Trip Extension to Palma—the island’s capital. Here, the five-star Hotel de Convent de la Missió is the perfect introduction to this exclusive island vacation. Set in an historic convent, the hotel combines old-world Palma with the luxury of a five-star hotel—and Marc Fosh’s famous Michelin-starred restaurant. While in Palma, you’ll find a delightful mix of small boutique shops, pristine quayside cafés, and even a smattering of island nightlife. You can also check out historic sites such as the Royal Palace of La Almudaina, the Catedral de Santa María de Palma de Mallorca, and museums dedicated to the island’s vibrant artistic tradition. This Palma Pre-Trip Extension is a little slice of sophistication before cycling through the biodiverse landscape of Mallorca’s lush mountain valleys and spectacular coastal byways.

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