The Sa Calobra road: pure charm on wheels
Undoubtedly, the Sa Calobra road (the snake, in Spanish) is one of the most charming places the island of Mallorca offers to visit on wheels. And, additionally, it is one of the most spectacular panoramic roads on the planet. It is a joy to trace its intricate – and, dangerous – curves, meandering between a steep rocky landscape while enjoying one of the best views of the island, with the Mediterranean in the background. It is also important to finally arrive at the destination and enjoy the charms of the bay which has the same name and the spectacular Torrent de Pareis. Let’s start this exciting and zigzagging journey together!
The Sa Calobra road – originally named MA-2141 – was a very impressive engineering work, being part of the improvement of public roads undertaken during the Second Republic and led by the Spanish engineer Antonio Parietti. Its complex layout required six years of construcion -100% manual, without any machinery- and 30.000 cubic meters of stone. Due to the constant budget problems, which led to financial support of the owners of the surrounding farm, Parietti was a visionary and defended his claims traced -compared to the demands of the neighbours who were asking for simpler and cheaper version- thinking of the future touristic use of the road.
The Sa Calobra road is a branch of the MA10 that starts from the municiplity of Escorca, near the Gorg Blau reservoir and at the foot of the Puig Major (maximum height of Malorca with its 1500 meters), and ends on the beach of Cala Tuent. This is a very narrow road, with very few guardrails and no central division in the roadway, which saves a gap of 800 meters in just 13 Km in length, in which there are a whopping 12 curves of 180 degrees or more. Including the famous Nus de Sa Corbata (Knot of the tie), in which the road passes under itself forming a chilling angle of almost 360 degrees. At this exact point you will also find one of the most incredible viewpoints of Mallorca.
This spectacular route attracts a large number of visitors, especially during the summer months. It must be added that its asphalt becomes dangerous when it rains. That’s why, it is one of the most dangerous and most difficult roads in Spain. At the same time one of the most spectacular ones, where lovers of curves will be very satisfied. The route is between two ravines: Morro de Sa Vaca and Morro de Ses Felles. Furthermore, its cliffs are some of the most incredible ones in Mallorca. Under normal conditions the road is travelled in about 25 minutes.
Thanks to its layout, Sa Calobra road is not especially steep and its maximum slopes have around 8% of unevenness. That is why it is recommended for expert bicycle-lovers. We must remember that its summit (Col dels Reis) is 730 meters high and that, as we know, it ends at sea level. The descent on two wheels, as you can imagine, is incredible and is absolutely loaded with adrenaline.
Can it get any better than this? In fact, yes. If the route is wonderfut, the destination is no less. One of the essential routes by car in Mallorca definitely has to have a happy end. A few km before reaching Cala Tuent, we find the detour to Sa Calobra: an increasingly visited bay where we find a small hotel and several restaurants. It is one of the few beaches in the Sierra de Tramuntana. It is one of the most spectacular beaches in Mallorca: encased among the cuttings of the sierra, with stony ground, between walls of 200 meters in height, offering spectacular turquoise waters and from where you can contemplate one of the best sunsets of Mallorca.
As if all this was not enough, between the bay of Sa Calobra and Cala Tuent there is another spectacle of nature: the mouth of the Torrent de Pareis. Sa Calobra can be explored on foot (as long as it does not carry water), to discover curiosities such as the Ferreret or Sapillo balear, endemic to Mallorca. The first km of the trip is simple, then it begins to get more complicated.
In your trip to the heart of Mallorca, you cannot ignore this route on the Sa Calobra road, provided that you have a two or four-wheel vehicle. A wise mixture of adrenaline, nature, hustle and peace in doses that only Mallorca seems to know how to balance out perfectly.