Albufera Gravel Route to Son Real

  • 67 KM
  • 380 meters of climbing
  • 3-4 hours
  • 60% tarmac 40% gravel

A great gravel route in Mallorca is like a great tumbet. (Is it a layered ratatouille or a cheeseless grilled vegetable lasagna? Either way we love it !)

A tumbet isn’t just potatoes, aubergine, peppers and tomato sauce. Each vegetable is cooked individually, layered, smothered and baked to perfection so that all the flavors meld together.

We try to create our gravel routes with a similar amount of love and artistry and we hope you enjoy this fantastic Albufera gravel route. Our tour takes your from the medieval walled city of Alcudia south to the Albufera wetland and through the forests of Finca Son Real.

You will climb up through forested hills, through 5 meter high Elephant Grass, along the beach and more on this fun gravel adventure.

Our Albufera gravel route starts in Alcudia, but it is easy enough to start in Pollenca, Muro, Playa de Muro or Sa Pobla.

After a trivial bit of highway riding on the Ma-13, we jump into the gravel riding with a decent climb up towards Puig de Sant Marti.  Ambitious riders are certainly welcome to climb the steep tarmac up to the radio towers near the peak. The views looking down at the Alcudia peninsula are spectacular, but this is a steep climb and digging deep early in the ride might be a bit much for some riders.

gravel road climbing to Puig de Sant Mari
Gravel road climbing to Puig de Sant Mari

Once you have reached the minor col, enjoy the fast dirt descent down to the Ma-3470.  Cross the highway with care and then on to some hidden dirt tracks through an undeveloped area that somehow avoided the chaos of Platja d’Alcudia that sits on the other side of Es LLac Gran.

Ride past the Endesa power plant on Ma-3433 for about 4 kilometers before leaving the tarmac for an adventure through Parque Natural S’Albufera de Mallorca.

bike riding in Albufera park
Bike riding in Albufera park

The name Albufera means lagoon and comes from the Arabic word “al-buhayra” which means lake or small sea.

It’s thought that this area has been used by humans since at least Roman times. The Roman author, Pliny the Elder, describes night herons, probably exported from S’Albufera, being eaten in Rome as a delicacy. The wetlands were drained for agriculture in the l9th century by John Frederic Bateman and his Majorca Land Company.

Engineering from this time included 40 kilometers of roads, eleven bridges,the Grand Canal – which carried water from the Albufera’s two torrents to the sea.  Mother nature however, was not so easily tamed and the land company was eventually bankrupted.

bridge across canal in Albufera
Bridge across canal in Albufera

Other commercial ventures include the introduction of rice in the early 20th century and the manufacture of paper from the reeds and sedge.  In 1985, the park was created to protect the wetland and the incredible bird habitat from the tourist development that was happening in so many other areas nearby.

Wetland bird species are everywhere with numerous species of ducks, herons, herons, ibis and egrets.  Whether you call it Elephant Grass, Wild Cane or Giant Reed, it’s incredible to ride among this gigantic plant which can grow to a remarkable 10 meters high in the right conditions.

Albufera Gravel Route Tips

Of course you are riding through a wetland so here a few caveats or warnings:

  • Avoid the area after a rain.  To say that the roads flood, would be an understatement and both you and your bottom bracket will get soggy if the roads haven’t properly drained.
  • Similarly, the area is a great habitat for mosquitoes.  In the winter months, they aren’t much of a problem, but you might consider a spray if you are visiting during the warmer periods of the year.

Our route winds through the Albufera park for nearly 12 kilometers before emerging into the farmlands on the outskirts of Sa Pobla. Backroads take you to the next jewel of our adventure.

Finca Publica Son Real is a former “possessio” or estate that was purchased by the government in 2014 and is now open to the public. It includes the manor house and associated buildings along with gravel tracks for hikers and cyclists as well as archeological sites that include a talaiot and an ancient necropolis.  Without motorized vehicles, the 4 kilometer gravel road through the pine forest stays in excellent condition and is some of the smoothest riding you will encounter.  At the end of this track, instead of a pot of gold , you will find yourself at the beach along Alcudia Bay looking out at the Mediterranean.

gravel road in finca son real
Gravel road in Finca Son Real

Some of the route along the beach is rideable, but the sand will likely cause most riders to dismount, depending on skill and tire size. Luckily, the beach section is only a kilometer long before you emerge in the resort area of Son Baulo and then along the sea through Can Picafort as well.

Sandy trails through the pines take you through the coastal area of Albufera Park once more. You aren’t in the wetlands here, but the forest trails just upland of the beach and the dunes.  A few more gravel sections keep the ride interesting as we make our way back to the start in Alcudia.

Riding gravel bike in sand

Click on the map below to download a free GPX / GPS route for your Garmin or Wahoo cycling computer.