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Sa Calobra

sa calobra mallorca (Majorca)To find a crazy mountain road, a huge canyon and an unusual beach all in one, head east from Sóller on the Pollença road, climbing a fabulous road up the mountain. You may wish to stop at the viewpoint and restaurant called Mirador de ses Barques half way up or park at the mouth of the tunnel at the top to look back over Sóller valley. You will not be disappointed at either place.

Continue through the tunnel to find Cuber Reservoir nestling between Tossals Verds and Puig Roig, again pulling over to appreciate the mountainous terrain which forms the foothills of Mallorca's highest mountain, Puig Major, at 1,445 m (4,741 ft) . A little further on is the Blue Pool Reservoir, one of Mallorca's main water sources. Here you will a column from a Talayotic structure was moved from the valley when it was flooded.

0.5 beyond the reservoir an aqueduct crosses the road, turn left to find Sa Calobra, or the Snake, the craziest road on the island. Imagine dropping a long piece of wet spaghetti on the floor; the pattern it makes looks something like what the road looks.

sa calobra mallorca (Majorca)Drive up and over the crest of Sa Moleta to suddenly that find that the road crosses a small bridge and then loops back under itself beyond diving down the hillside. Antonio Paretti, the ltalian engineer who designed the road to Sa Calobra was inspired to create this unusual feature when he was tying his tie. He had been trying to work out how to make the road drop quickly in a small space without digging out parts of the mountain; Nus de Sa Corbata, or the 'tie knot', was his answer.

You may wish to stop in the parking area and have look under the bridge to check if you have the nerves to drive down to Cala de Sa Calobra. In front of you is a continuous strip of tarmac twisting and turning on itself. If you are not sure, just remember that coach drivers can manage it; if that is any consolation.

sa calobra mallorca (Majorca)The road is only 7.5 miles long and it is only 2.5 miles from the top to the bottom on plan but it feels like it is much longer. As you drive down give a thought for the labourers who moved a million cubic feet (31,000 m3) of mountain by hand to build the road. They worked long hours to dig soil and rock out of cuttings and then moved it up or down the hillside to create embankments. After endless hairpins and sharp turns you will soon be at the bottom where you can walk down to the tiny seaside village and relax. Bear in mind that before the road was built only a handful of people lived around the tiny harbour of Sa Calobra and they either had to make the difficult climb to get to the mountain road or sail around to Sóller to find civilisation.

But nature has not finished with you. Follow the avenue along the seafront to the east (right when looking out to sea). After a short walk and two short tunnels you enter a huge canyon with a shingle floor and it is the second largest ravine in the Mediterranean. The small amphitheatre built out of rock is used for classical concerts because the canyon has wonderful acoustics.

sa calobra mallorca (Majorca)The huge chasm was carved out of the rock by the Torrent de Pareis, or Paradise Stream, and it can only be climbed but only by the bravest under supervision. Canyoning can be a dangerous sport which needs, skill, strength, climbing equipment and a guide.

Right at the top is St Peter's Church, one of the oldest and smallest churches on the island   built by the Knights Templar in 1247. While it is only 3 miles (4.5 km) from Sa Calobra to Sant Pere the climb is over 2,000 feet (600 m) and in places the ravine narrows to a tiny gap with rock walls rising over 150 feet (50 m) from the canyon floor.

Walking around to the left we find the tiny shingle beach of Cala de Sa Calobra jammed between two high cliffs. Although it is small the views out to sea and back into the canyon are spectacular. It is also the perfect setting to enjoy a Mediterranean sunset. And then it is time to face Sa Calobra again...

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