Hiring a bike in Palma & cycling to El Arenal

Hiring a bike in Palma & cycling to El Arenal

9th December 2019 2 By Biggsy
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Last Updated on 13th July 2021

The island of Mallorca is becoming somewhat of a Mecca for cyclists, what with its warm, sunny climate and smooth well-surfaced roads. Its even become the home for some professional cycling teams over the Winter! However if you’re not quite ready for tackling the 26 hairpin bends of the Sa Calobra then hiring a bike in Palma and exploring this easy cycling route along the seafront from Port de Palma to El Arenal might just be for you?

If you need to find somewhere to stay first then check out all these Palma deals at Booking.com

How far is this Palma bike ride?

The route is approximately 18km (11.25 miles) there … and the same back … and is as “flat as a pancake”. The majority of which is also on a dedicated cycle path. The last 2.7km stretch along the Les Meravelles Esplanade to El Arenal is on a wide red-bricked road and felt totally safe when I visited, albeit in November.

This bike route is a great way to find and experience all the restaurants, bars and resorts along the coastline and “gets you out” of Palma nice and easily without having to hire a car.

Where exactly on Mallorca are we talking?

Palma lies towards the west of the island and is the largest city in the Balearic Islands. This popular bike route is on the coast and most importantly is almost perfectly flat.

Map of Mallorca showing Palma to S'Arenal bike route
Traversing the Bay Of Palma by bicycle – from Palma > El Arenal > Palma

Here is the route below taken from Strava. In this view I started out at the Passeig Del Born just up from Palma Cathedral [Google Link] but it’s worth first doing the little detour west to wizz along the promenade of the Port de Palma. More of that shortly.

The Palma to S'Arenal bike route map
“Flat as a pancake” peaking at 26ft above sea level! 22.5 miles (36km) in total there & back

First up – hiring a bike in Palma

There are many bike hire stores in Palma. I stumbled upon NANO Bicycles just down from the Passeig Del Born in the centre of the city. They have a variety of options ranging from ‘City’ bikes, through to ‘Comfort’, ‘Fitness’, ‘MTB’, ‘Road’ and ‘E-bikes’. The price going up from left to right.

Palma Cathedral looking through a bicycle wheel
Palma Cathedral framed within my bicycle wheel

Knowing the route was pretty flat I decided on a Specialized Alibi 700c-wheeled ‘Comfort’ bike at just €14 for the day, together with an included lock and front basket. Unbeknownst to me until I returned to the hire shop it had ‘airless’ tyres made out of solid foam. No punctures guaranteed! I didn’t even notice the difference. And there was me wondering if I needed a pump.

A nice starting point is at the end of the Port de Palma

After leaving the bike hire shop and facing the coast I incorrectly turned right, instead of left, but was glad that I did. The red bike route takes you parallel to the Avinguda de Gabriel Roca road along the Port De Palma for 2.7km.

You’ll spend as much time marvelling at the wonderfully prepared bike route, shielded by a chain of palm trees, as you will at the magnificent boats moored up in the harbour. Keep your eyes up though as there’s a “river” crossing halfway along it which might take you by surprise.

Mallorca port bike route river crossing
Not as deep as it looks! Stepping stones to the left: safer road/path route to the right.

The water is actually only 10-15cm deep but as it’s salty the bike shops advise you NOT to cycle through it. There are stepping stones to the left, or a safer, alternative route up above to the right which you can take instead.

“Please, do not go across the sea water – Penalty fees will be applied”

Nano Bicycles

Use this ever so cute little roundabout near the end of the port as your starting point. Do a little loop of it and then head back east along the port, this time with the water on your right-hand side. [GOOGLE LINK].

The Paseo Marítimo de Palma bike route roundabout
Go west to the Paseo Maritimo “roundabout” before heading back east!

And we’re finally off, cycling east to El Arenal

From Palma you start out along the Paseo di Maritomo before passing the resorts and ports of Playa de Palma. These include Portixol, El Molinar, Ca’n Pastilla and Ciudad de Jardin, before you finally arrive at El Arenal.

The bike path is an absolute delight! Take care on some of the narrower sections though and for British people reading this make sure you cycle on the RIGHT! The rear brake is on the RIGHT-hand side too!

View from the saddle cycling along the Palma bike path
If Carlsberg did cycle paths … although be careful on some of the narrower sections
The bike route, sea and passing cyclist at El Molinar
A passing cyclist at El Molinar. If you’re lucky/unlucky you might get splashed by a wave!

The path is mostly red in colour but on some sections it’s concrete, and in other sections cream-coloured paving slabs. Halfway along towards the airport the path seemingly disappears altogether, but don’t fear, there are blue signs that point you in the right direction to join you back up with the main cycle path.


The blue signs that help point you in the right direction

Stop at the end of the runway to watch the planes overhead

At Es Carnatge, an area of dune regeneration, if you time it right you might get to see a plane taking off overhead. Either way it’s a nice place to stop to check out the dunes and the relatively rocky shoreline. This link has the Palma de Mallorca Airport information for you. Click on ‘DEPARTURES’ from this link.

Hire bicycle and a plane departing Palma airport
Stop for a rest at the end of Palma airport’s runway. This plane was heading to Munich!

Do I cycle near the actual beach?

You might be asking how close do I get to the actual beach? Well at C’an Pastilla (El Ancla) you get pretty close! Once again I imagine the bike hire shops would prefer you not to ride on the sand or in any of the salty water.

C'an Pastilla bike route along the beach.
How close do you get to the actual beach? Pretty close at C’an Pastilla!

Biking the Les Meravelles road section

The 2.7km section from the eastern edge of C’an Pastilla all the way to El Arenal is actually along this road. Although I did see some people carefully cycling along the path/promenade so you might be able to do that too if the road’s busy.

Along this stretch you’ll find multiple bike hire shops so if you do have a mechanical you’re never too far away from a helping hand/spanner.

The Les Meravelles Esplanade and many restaurants
The Les Meravelles Esplanade. Wide and relatively empty on a late November bike ride

El Arenal – you’ve reached your ‘halfway’ destination!

At El Arenal there’s a port, restaurants and lots of bars and cafés to peruse. I was keen to do a quick pit-stop so paused for a few piccies and then turned around to do the return leg straight back to Palma. In fact door-to-door it only took 2 hours so I was back in time to hand the bike back before they closed for lunch. You might want to take twice as long as this though, if not longer!

The Bay of Palma has a slight arc so at El Arenal you can actually look back 11km across the coast “as the crow flies” to Palma Cathedral where you started out. In the photo below the cathedral is just to the right of the bike’s main down tube. You’ll have to take my word for that in this small, optimised image.

Bicycle at S'Arenal Beach with Palma in the background
Palma Cathedral is in the middle of the bike frame … 11km away!

You know where you’re going now and the return leg is just as enjoyable as the outward one! The reward is this distant view of the cathedral as you approach Palma once more!

Palma Cathedral at the end of the bike path
Not a bad finishing view!

In conclusion – a lovely introduction to Mallorcan cycling

This easy bike ride out of Palma gives you a way to experience what bike riding Mallorca has to offer, without having to resort to any busy roads or hills. It’s a family-friendly cycle route starting and finishing near the splendid Palma Cathedral so what are you waiting for? Book a nice hotel and try it out for yourself 🙂

In Mallorca you’re not quite as far east as Menorca, but you’ll still get to see one of the earliest sunsets in Spain. Read up on how to take those perfect sunburst shots.

While you’re still here there are many other little cycling adventures on my blog for you to discover too.

This post is part of a paid campaign to promote the Balearic and Canary Islands, as part of their #SpanishIslands Campaign. Although all views are my own and I have not been instructed what to include.

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