With 300 days of sunshine and a mild climate, Mallorca is a top spot for the sporty set all year-round.
"Sports teaches you character, it teaches you to play by the rules, it teaches you to know what it feels like to win and lose-it teaches you about life." – Billie Jean King
Sport tourism is big business in Spain… and nowhere in Spain is it bigger than in the Balearics. A recent report issued by the Spanish Ministry for Sport and Culture stated that the Balearic Islands are the most active areas in Spain, with nearly 55% of the resident population exercising habitually. This is certainly due to good climate, lots of open spaces, and many organised opportunities to get up and go.
It seems the locals rubbed off on tourists and now they too are flocking to Mallorca, not only for some fun in the sun, but also to enjoy activities they may not be able to do all year round at home. Some sports of choice for these intrepid travellers include cycling, hiking, golf, water sports, and organised events such as marathons and triathlons. Let’s explore these a little more in-depth!
Anyone who has spent even a few days here knows that cyclists adore Mallorca. So much so that 225,000 are expected to holiday on the island in 2019, a massive 25% jump from the year before. The varied and spectacular terrain, the vast number of challenging climbs, and the almost endless byroads make it a mecca for the hardcore athlete in training and the novice rider alike.
Their presence on the island has also woken up much of the island in winter time, especially the heretofore sleepy inland villages. Places that once rolled up the pavement come November 1st are staying open to accommodate the cyclists, who often come on organised tours, and therefore are not an inconsiderable number. Businesses that once relied on summer trade are getting a massive boost, and this in turn is allowing seasonal workers to become full time. Win-win!
Mills and Honey
Show up with shoes and cycling kit and the rest will be taken care of with this small local boutique outfit. They offer personalised service, airport pickups, and itineraries that cater to the specific desires of each client.
Address: Camí de Son Toells, 23A, 07015 Palma +34 692 99 18 90
Cycling Holiday Tours Mallorca
Paul, the owner, is a 23 year veteran of the island and has spent much of that time cycling, so this guy knows his stuff. He caters to all experience and fitness levels and organises day trips depending on individual client wants and needs.
Address: Carrer de Cala Bona, 38, 07009 Palma, +34 602 62 20 74
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Hiking on the island is almost as popular as cycling, but as the hikers are spread out over large swaths of land, one hardly notices they are here. The Tramuntanas and the surrounding foothills offer up something for everyone in terms of level, so even an experienced climber won’t feel cheated.
If you like a bit of structure, there are tours available at some places. A few are:
Torrent de Pareia Hiking Tour
This full day hike won’t disappoint. Best for a more experienced hiker, as the terrain gets difficult at times and the climb is rather steep, but the scenery is amazing with hidden caves and mountain terrain to captivate even the most jaded of climbers! Pickup are available to the site.
Book online at www.sunbonoo.com
Cami de S'Arxiduc
One of the most gorgeous hikes on Mallorca’s northwest coast, this 5-hour hike requires a certain level of fitness and is classified as medium difficulty. Following an old equestrian path built by Archduke Lluis Salvador, if it was good enough for aristocracy, it’s good enough for us! If you like even more of a challenge, there is an option to climb the Teix, which at 1,062m is only for the more intrepid hiker.
Book online at www.sunbonoo.com
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Mallorca has some wonderful options when it comes to golfing. Those who practice this sport of patience, skill and athleticism will find many challenging courses here with views that can’t be beat.
Affordable Mallorca Tip: If you’re on a tight budget, go online and check out Simply Mallorca Golf (www.simplymallorcagolf.com). They offer discounts on green fees all over the island and can even help out with transportation and accommodation!
This golf centre is made up of four individual courses, Golf Son Muntaner, Golf Son Vida, Golf Son Quint and Son Quint Golf Pitch + Putt. They each have their own distinctions, and they are conveniently located minutes from central Palma.
Address: Camí de Son Vida, 38, Palma 07013, +34 971 783 000
For those who are on the island’s east coast, this beautiful and tranquil course also boasts an excellent restaurant. Built on ancient farmlands, the first part of the course is fairly flat, but the last six holes are why people love to play there. They ascend into the hills and the views are incredible, not to mention a great challenge!
Address: Carretera Artà - Capdepera Km 3.5, 07570 Artà / +34 971 81 85 00
Maioris Golf Course
Located in the southeast of the island, this championship-standard course has four lakes and two islands to compete against, that is if you can take your eyes off the astounding views over Palma Bay.
Address: Camí de Cabo Blanco, Km 7, Llucmajor 07609 / +34 971 74 83 15
Water Sports #
Mallorca IS an island after all, so no list would be complete without water sports. Scuba diving, snorkelling, paddle boarding, kayaking, cliff jumping, or just good old-fashioned swimming are all accessible choices, and can even be done in the colder months with the right gear. Most resorts have equipment to rent or borrow. If you’re staying elsewhere, there are many stand-alone shops that rent by the day in the coastal villages. Tours and excursions are to be had, as well.
Paddle Board and Kayak Sea Caves Tour
Mallorca is crawling with hidden coves and caves, many of which are not possible to access from land, so a paddle board and kayak tour allows you an all-access pass to see what most people miss. The tours begin from Playa de Palma, run roughly 3 hours, and are suitable for all levels of fitness and skill.
Book online at www.viator.com
Sea Safari Mallorca
If you want a bit of this, a bit of that, this is your company. The team takes guests out on paddle boards, and they travel to great spots where you can snorkel and cliff jump. A day filled with adventure for the whole family.
Address: Carrer des Faralló, 38, 07590 Cala Ratjada / +34 634 33 51 07
Organised Events #
Zafiro Palma Marathon
Set aside October 13th for the Palma Marathon. Runners get a taste of it all with a course that takes you along the seaside, past the iconic cathedral, and into the vibrant old town.
For more info, go to: www.palmademallorcamarathon.com/english/
Ironman 70.3 Mallorca
It all starts and ends in beautiful Alcudia… and then the real fun begins. Swim in Alcudia Bay, bike loop through the Tramuntana Mountains and run along Alcudia Bay. Not for the faint of heart, but the scenery almost makes the pain go away!
For more info, go to: eu.ironman.com
Bottom Line #
If you are the type that likes to fill your leisure time with activities, Mallorca is the place. You can’t beat the scenery, the weather or the lovely people you are bound to meet along the way. So, the next time you plan a getaway, or are looking for weekend staycation plans, why not go sporty, and think Mallorca.
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By Stephanie Horsman
2 July, 2019