Hiring a bike in Palma & cycling to El Arenal
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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].
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!
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.
‘ITINERARI RECOMANAT’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 departure times for you.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.