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Island hopping in the Spanish Balearic Islands — the TransBaleares

Island hopping in the Spanish Balearic Islands — the TransBaleares

Bike Touring Collection by tristanbogaard

18

Tours

43:27 h

283 mi

27,075 ft

Bikepacking around the Mediterranean islands has become a hobby for Belén and me. On my komoot profile, you'll find an extensive list of trips on islands like Corsica and Sardinia but the Balearic Islands were still missing from that list, and they were high on our wish list. So, in the autumn, we decided to visit the four largest islands off the east coast of Spain.

We wanted to discover whether these islands are the perfect destination to escape the winter and so the 'TransBalearic Islands' was born, a 456-kilometre (283 mi) route across Ibiza, Formentera, Mallorca and Menorca. In this Collection, you can read our descriptions of each island, complete with experiences, local tips and information for ferry crossings. To give you a sneak preview of the islands, read the description per island below:

Ibiza: a gravel paradise. This island is known by most as a party island but what struck us is that there’s plenty of remote and challenging gravel across Ibiza. From the trails, the views of the coast and sea are amazing. The sunsets we saw from one of the coastal paths are some of our best of the year.

Formentera: a hidden gem. It’s small with few people and therefore easy to cycle in one or two days. Every view is graced by the crystal clear sea that surrounds the island. There aren’t many roads to choose from but all provide beautiful stretches and fantastic vistas.

Mallorca: a paradise of tarmac roads. Most cyclists know this by now, but we wonder what else there is to discover besides smooth tarmac roads through the Tramuntana Mountains. There must be a lot of potential in all the GR trails that explore the mountains on the east coast. Unfortunately, we had too much luggage to take these trails. Nevertheless, the tarmac roads along the coast and through historical and atmospheric towns are a pleasure to cycle, too.

Menorca: an island for mountain biking. This island is in a class of its own, and the Camí de Caballos trail provides the perfect guide for a bikepacking adventure on a mountain bike. Unfortunately, when we rode here, we were overloaded and stopped prematurely due to the persistent rain.

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At the end of February, we boarded the fast Balearia ferry from Denia on our way to Ibiza. Belén had (as always) carefully mapped out the route and, taking into account the timetable of the Balearia ferries, decided that it would be best to travel around the islands in the following order: Ibiza, Formentera, Mallorca, Menorca.

The start and end point would also be connected to the Spanish mainland by ferry, but due to the low seasonal timetable, we left for a new island in a different place from where we arrived. We recommend catching the fast ferry from Denia to Ibiza (city) and the slow or fast ferry from Palma de Mallorca to Valencia. Check balearia.com/en for the best connection.

According to Belén's planning, we think this is the best way to travel the route:
- Denia to Ibiza: fast ferry
- Round trip of Ibiza: ferry (fast) to Formentera
- Round trip of Formentera: ferry to Palma de Mallorca with a stop in Ibiza
- Tramontana ride (south to north): ferry from Alcudia to Ciutadella, Menorca
- Menorca loop along the Camí de Cavalls: Ferry to Alcudia
- Alcudia to Palma ride (or ride to Sa Pobla and get on the train to Palma): ferry Palma to Valencia
____

Another important aspect of our planning was, of course, the weather. The weather forecast for Ibiza was excellent, but when we were riding on Formentera and Mallorca, it started to rain, making a good report of this trip a challenge. Cycling in the Balearic Islands is possible all year round. But beware, in the months of September, October and November, there’s more precipitation and storms occur. For example, we had to shorten the last stage of our journey in Menorca because of an oncoming storm that ravaged the Spanish east coast for weeks afterwards. ‘Just in time' became the motto of our trip.




On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • 02:30
    18.0 mi
    7.2 mph
    1,575 ft
    850 ft

    Day 1 of our Ibiza adventure, and the initiation of the TransBaleares route! First in line is a loop around the island of Ibiza, starting at the city boulevard. We wanted to find a way around the 'Estanys des Codolar' bay and did so through a pebble beach trail, which proved to be really tricky to ride

    by tristanbogaard

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  • 02:48
    20.7 mi
    7.4 mph
    2,100 ft
    2,475 ft

    Day 2 of our TransBaleares scouting trip! After a windy night out at the Es Vedrà viewpoint we pushed back up the hill and rode down to Cala Valdella in search for coffee. A tasty brew later we cycled the long bike lane out of town, headed north.

    

    It was more difficult to find gravel roads on this day

    by tristanbogaard

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  • 04:22
    21.3 mi
    4.9 mph
    2,875 ft
    3,025 ft

    Day 3 of our TransBaleares scouting trip! A fantastic day full of highlights, starting with a collection of unidentified segments. These paths don't appear on multiple mapping apps but are definitely fine to ride. We took after a fellow rider who'd been there before us and uploaded a GPX file of her

    by tristanbogaard

  • 02:35
    13.0 mi
    5.0 mph
    2,025 ft
    1,925 ft

    Day 4 of our TransBaleares scouting trip! We woke up to another sunny day, savoring the warm morning rays while we descended to Portinatx. We had one goal for the day, which was to document two unidentified stretches of singletrack near Platja des Racó de Sa Talaia.

    

    The first is positioned after Puig

    by tristanbogaard

  • 02:33
    18.7 mi
    7.4 mph
    1,725 ft
    2,000 ft

    Day 5 of our TransBaleares scouting trip! The final push around the north-eastern side of the island, through the countryside instead of by the coast. This choice provided a chance at looking what landscape hides on the inside of the island, and we weren't surprised in finding it's mostly greenery and

    by tristanbogaard

  • 01:54
    12.7 mi
    6.7 mph
    875 ft
    500 ft

    Day 6 of our TransBaleares scouting trip! We arrived by ferry from Ibiza, with easy transport of the bikes. Riding off the boat into this small, special island almost felt like going on a holiday. We quickly found out it's an absolute gravel paradise as so many of the roads consist of a compact, rocky

    by tristanbogaard

  • 02:42
    18.8 mi
    7.0 mph
    1,250 ft
    1,175 ft

    Day 7 of our TransBaleares scouting trip! We woke up to an overcast sky and tried to stay on as much gravel as possible this day. Our itinerary would lead us onto 'la Mola' (I believe it stands for the big tooth in the back of a human's mouth) which is the large hill at the eastside of the island. We

    by tristanbogaard

  • 01:24
    9.49 mi
    6.8 mph
    325 ft
    500 ft

    Day 8 of our TransBaleares scouting trip! The closing day of our loop, and just a morning of riding. After a short section of main road we took a right turn onto the cliffs by the sea, to cycle a segment of singletrack that was so much better than the main road alternative!

    

    You can view the highlight

    by tristanbogaard

  • 02:52
    18.8 mi
    6.5 mph
    2,750 ft
    1,400 ft

    Day 9 of our TransBaleares scouting trip! We started out our route in Palma, the capital city of the island. Having arrived from Ibiza, we'd cross the island through the Tramontana mountain range that spreads along the western coastline, between the southern- and northernmost point. Unlike the other

    by tristanbogaard

  • 02:25
    20.5 mi
    8.5 mph
    1,975 ft
    2,825 ft

    Day 10 of our TransBaleares scouting trip! An easygoing day out on the paved roads between Galilea and Deià. There's two medium sized mountain passes and one small one to overcome along the way, each with scenic switchbacks and a very easygoing profile.

    

    One of the habits we quickly developed in Mallorca

    by tristanbogaard

  • 03:07
    19.9 mi
    6.4 mph
    3,350 ft
    1,750 ft

    Day 11 of our TransBaleares scouting trip! Leaving Deià behind, we descended into Soller, a bigger city that connects back to Palma for those planning a loop. The main square was full of people, even though it was only March! It's definitely a popular place for tourists because of the surrounding natural

    by tristanbogaard

  • 00:37
    8.39 mi
    13.7 mph
    500 ft
    975 ft

    Due to an error in the GPS tracking of my Elemnt Bolt (we sat inside a cafe that apparently boasts one of the Balearic's strongest magnetic fields) the initial 13.5km of Day 4 are but a simple blue line.

    

    Refer to Mallorca - Day 4 to see how the rest played out.

    by tristanbogaard

  • 02:11
    17.1 mi
    7.8 mph
    850 ft
    1,975 ft

    Day 12 of our TransBaleares scouting trip! A slight hickup at the start of the day makes the image coverage start later, but the route before is just another asphalt descent.

    

    Entering the a GR path from Binifaldó was a great way to flip around the our riding motivation as it provided crunchy gravel and

    by tristanbogaard

  • 01:01
    8.53 mi
    8.4 mph
    175 ft
    400 ft

    Day 13 of our TransBaleares scouting trip! As you can see at a glance; it rained a lot overnight and the entire path through Vall de Bóquer got super muddy! It got trapped in between our tires and frame, making it hard to cycle out of there. You probably shouldn't attempt to cycle this valley on a rainy

    by tristanbogaard

  • 02:47
    16.5 mi
    5.9 mph
    850 ft
    675 ft

    Day 14 of our TransBaleares scouting trip! We set out to cover as much of Camí de Caballs as possible, before an extended period of rain would hit the island.

    

    Menorca is a highly protected island, and the people here are very proud of the fast that most of the coast is still free from human intervention

    by tristanbogaard

  • 03:16
    21.0 mi
    6.4 mph
    1,850 ft
    1,925 ft

    Day 15 of our TransBaleares scouting trip! A tricky one, since we had to traverse a section of Camí de Caballs that's we now remember as hike-a-bike 2.0 territory!

    

    The day started out by trying to find an open cafe. Since we rode here in low season, we only spotted a handful of people out on the street

    by tristanbogaard

  • 02:28
    6.74 mi
    2.7 mph
    1,325 ft
    1,650 ft

    Day 16 of our TransBaleares scouting trip! This was the toughest day we spent on the island, as almost all of it was spent pushing our bikes up the incredibly steep coastal singletrack.

    

    You can take a look at the seperate highlights I created to understand each phase of this Camí de Caballs segment better

    by tristanbogaard

  • 01:55
    12.8 mi
    6.7 mph
    750 ft
    825 ft

    Day 17 of our TransBaleares scouting trip! Also our last day on the Camí de Caballs as rainy days ahead of us had us shorten the Menorca route to get out of the islands early.

    

    Starting on the cliffs of a nearby beach that looked like the Spanish version of Norway's Kwalvika beach, we had a relaxed breakfast

    by tristanbogaard

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    18
  • Distance
    283 mi
  • Duration
    43:27 h
  • Elevation
    27,075 ft

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Island hopping in the Spanish Balearic Islands — the TransBaleares

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