My husband and I had a two day stop over in Madrid before meeting our daughter in Valencia for 4 days. I’ve listed a summary of what we did in each location rather than a day by day detailing.


Madrid: 2 Days, could have stayed 2 more


Hotel:Gran Hotel Ingles. It was fabulous and about 200 Euros a night. The room, the breakfast, the people and the location were all fantastic. It’s not on the main drag but is in the center of town. Highly recommend.


Restaurants:

We went to places we happened upon and had great meals. Reminder: They eat very late in Spain – 9 pm is considered early!


Activities:

Museo Del Prado – loved it

The Royal Palace of Madrid “Palazzo” Tour

Walk, Walk, Walk


Took 2 1/2 hour train to Valencia – super easy and beautiful scenery. Booked it ahead of time online.


Valencia: 4 Days


Hotel:Hotel Marques House: Was very good but be sure to get room on 3rd or 4th floor because the city has a sewer issue and there is sometimes a smell on lower floors (in any Valencia hotel).


Restaurants:

– Restaurant Casa Rafa – small local neighborhood spot that’s authentic and delicious. After dinner, the owner will invite you to have a shot with him!

– Bar Richard Tapas- the BEST food in this tiny restaurant. Be sure to get a reservation if possible. If not then go right when it opens and you can stand at the bar.

– Gran Azul – fancy restaurant with incredible food. You choose your fish before they cook it!


Activities:-

Aquarium – Oceanografic. Very modern, huge facility. Rode bikes there through the main park (The Turia Park) of the city that goes through the whole city. The park used to be a river but now has beautiful walking and biking paths, trees, flowers, etc. You can rent bikes nearby.

– In the same complex as the aquarium there are other museums and places of interest to explore as well.

– Mercado Central de Valencia Food Market – spectacular. You can get lunch there or groceries.- Wander the streets and squares – it’s beautiful!

– Porcelain museum

– The Basilica of Our Lady of the Forsaken is located in the center of the city very close to The Cathedral. It is one of the most significant sites of the historic (old part of) Valencia. In 1981 it was declared a Historic Artistic Monument. It has a great significance among the local people of Valencia, because it houses the patron saint of the city (la Virgin de los Desamparados).

– The famous DRINK of Valencia is “Agua de Valencia”. It includes orange juice, cava, rum and gin. The best places to order it? Cafe Negrito and Catin.If we were to do the trip again we’d also add some of my daughter’s favorite cities and stay longer:


Seville (4 hour train ride away)

– Check out the rentable row boats at Plaza de Espana, tapas, islamic tiles, Flamenco shows!, and the Alcazar (get tix in advance).


Grenada (7 hour bus ride away)

– Check out the Alhambra (tix in advance) and the Mirador de San Nicolas for a beautiful lookout point, walk the Albacin neighborhood.


Porto (1 1/2 plane ride from Madrid) – Check out wine tasting, gondola rides, beach, and the bookstore where JK Rowling got inspiration for Harry Potter.Heard great things about Toledo and Cordoba as well

The week was organized by Gourmet Gravel and rofaendurance.com . Led by world class cyclists Robin Farina and Kurt Stockton, the week is for strong riders who love adventure, good food and good wine! I landed in Palma and spent a night at the Hotel Saratoga and explored Palma for a day before starting the trip. The beauty of this is that the on ground team of Mills and Honey Bespoke Active Holidays in Mallorca do an incredible job as the ground crew and you have world class and national champion cyclists leading the rides each day and coaching you along the way. It doesn’t hurt that they are huge foodies and wine connoisseurs as well! Every detail is taken care of! But this is NOT a trip for beginners!


Day 1:

Cap Formentor Distance: 40Km / Climbing: 1000m

Highlights:The amazing road to/from Cap Formentor Lighthouse


Today you’ll ride to Cap Formentor, one of the most beautiful ride on Mallorca. Only a few few out of the hotel you’ll start the Formentor Road, which is 18km out and back to the lighthouse. Important note: There’s a 150m straight but dark tunnel on the Formentor road. Please bring lights and take off your sunglasses as you go through. Once arrived at the lighthouse, we recommend you to head back after a few pics and stop for a coffee or lunch back in Port de Pollença.For detailed info go to the APP Ride With GPS:Dinner: Restaurant La Llonja/La Cantina


Day 2

Towns and Vineyards Distance: 103km / Climbing: 900m+

Highlights: country roads, charming towns and vineyards


Today’s ride will take you along the feet of the Tramuntana Mountain Range. You’ll first start heading to Alcudia along Pollença Bay and the inland through the protected wetland area s’Albufera. The rice and potato fields will change to vineyards as you continue heading South West towards Santa Maria. Then you’ll head to Alaró and start the hillier part of the ride through Lloseta, Mancor, Caimari and Binibona. From Campanet you’ll take the old Pollença road and cross behind Puig de Maria back to Port de Pollença.Dinner: La Terraza


Day 3

Calobra Distance: 105km / Climbing: 2200m+

Highlights: Coll de sa Bataia, Sa Calobra + Coll de Femenia descend Definitely


THE most iconic rides on the island. First you’ll head down the old Pollença road to Caimari, where you’ll start your first climb of the day called Coll de sa Bataia (7km at 5%avg.). After 10km of undulating terrain you’ll pass an aquaduct and start a 3km steep warm-up to what will be the summit of Sa Calobra. Then a 9km amazing descend that you’ll be climbing back up after. Sa Calobra is 9km at 7%avg. On the way back you’ll pass Lluc Monastery and ride a rollercoaster road to Coll de Femenia. The reward is a great descend towards Pollença and a flat leg recovery spin to Port de Pollença.Dinner: Zarzales


Day 4

Puig Santa Magdalena Distance: 82km / Climbing: 780m+

Highlights: Old Pollença Road & views from Santa Magdalena


This route takes you south towards Campanet on lovely rolling country roads. From there you head towards the Santa Magdalena Sanctuary (3km climb at 6%avg.). If the weather is favourable you’ll have some amazing views over the Tramuntana Mountains. After descending you’ll head towards Muro and Can Picafort by Alcudia Bay. We’ve put in a detour to Alcanada, but you could also go to the old town of Alcudia, before returning along Pollença Bay to the Port.


Day 5

Puig Major Distance: 93km / Climbing: 1800m+

Highlights: Coll de Soller, Puig Major; the lakes


Today you’ll be transferred to Santa Maria to start your ride from there. First you’ll head to the charming town of Bunyola. A few km after you’ll start ascending the many switchbacks or Coll de Soller (5km at 5%avg.), followed by even more turns on the descent into Soller Valley. This is where you’ll start the longest climb on the island. Puig Major is 14km at 6%avg. After passing the Monnaber Tunnel you’ll start a 5km descent past the lakes. You’ll remember the next part, from the aquaduct to Port de Pollença. There’s a detour included to Cala Sant Vicenç.Dinner – La Fonda


Day 6

Puig De Bonany Distance: 102km / Climbing: 950m+

Highlights: inland villages & Puig de Bonany views


This ride takes you along the coast to Playa de Muro and through the wetlands to Sa Pobla. You’ll head South through the village of Llubí and former capital of Mallorca, Sineu. A lovely country road will take you to the town of Petra and the climb up Puig de Bonany (2km at 7%avg.). After crossing the town of Petra you’ll head back towards the coast on a road with long straights and great views and follow the coastline all the way back to Port de Pollença.Dinner: Restaurant Bellaverde


Day 7

Valldemossa & Orient Day Distance: 110km / Climbing: 1500m+

Highlights: town of Valldemossa and Orient Valley


Today you’ll be transferred to Santa Maria and will start riding from there. First towards the town of Esporles, after which you’ll start climbing 2km to warm-up for Coll d’en Claret (5km at 5%avg.). After descending you’ll pass through a beautiful ancient olive trees area and arrive to Valldemossa, which is really worth a visit. Coming out of town you’ll have a 7km descent and will head back to Bunyola to start climbing the Coll d’Honor (7km at 5.5%avg.). After descending you’ll enter the Orient Valley, cycling straight through its tiny village. A few kilometers after you’ll start a long descent to Alaró. A short climb will take you over Coll de Tofla to Lloseta. The route continues through Selva, Campanet, the old road to Pollença and back to the Port.Dinner: Restaurant La Llonja/La Cantina

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