Even if you are not an early bird make sure to set off at sunrise. Enjoy the low temperatures, avoid the countless rental cars and look forward to the reward at the top. On a Sunday morning Palma is still sleeping, except for a few cafeterias that serve first customers on their way to work or back home. The head and tail lights of our race bikes are flashing in sync with the traffic lights. Once you leave the city you can already see the Tramuntana mountains and the Coll de Sóller.
The old road to Bunyola rises gently but steadily. So the good thing is that we gain part of our climb on the way, already, before we reach the mountains. Bunyola is a beautiful town and a great starting point for hiking or to ride further on to Orient. But it’s a bit chilly today and I don’t really trust the clouds. And indeed, at the foot of the Coll de Sóller a heavy shower is waiting for us, and there is thunder rumbling nearby. But we are lucky. The Tramuntana is a meteorological divide. I remember one day I started in sunny Port de Sóller only to seek shelter from the strong hail at the petrol station behind the tunnel.
Now the clouds are clearing and the sky is turning blue. The views are getting more exciting with every serpentine. And while you are still marveling at the scenery you arrive at the pass, from zero to slightly under 500 meters altitude. Where Paula and Damian offer fantastic homemade cakes, snacks and coffee in their lovely café Ca’n Topa. A wonderful place to sit by the road and watch other cyclists coming and going. While the donkeys in the opposite meadow are vociferously asking for attention. But then it’s time to move on before the Sunday drivers arrive.
Before the tunnel was opened in 1997 the pass was the only connection from Palma to Sóller. Nowadays, and particularly since the tunnel is free of charge, most cars use that way. And leave the scenic route to the cyclists. Unfortunately, tourists still love to drive the coll, although many of them are rather overwhelmed by the serpentines. So you are not into hiking or cycling but you would like to cross the mountains in a more fancy way? Why don’t you take the historic train from Palma to Sóller. And leave the Coll de Sóller to the cyclists. The trip with El Tren is really kind of an adventure, and we’d be grateful for your respect.