Switzerland Bike Trips
(including provinces of neighboring France...)

On this page, you will find...

 

Two sets of mountain scenery for the price of one! 

First the Jura:  goofy cow bells and achingly beautiful vistas, which you know from chocolate wrappers and always assumed was the Alps.

The Alps follow close behind:  Lake Geneva lies like a gem set in the dramatic necklace of the Mont Blanc chain.  A paradise with an age-old devotion to the comfort of travellers.  We cross the border to France several times in our first days, most notably to visit Evian, the famous spa town, and source of all that pink-labeled water.

The Rhône valley is a giant fruit basket:  orchards bracketed by vines bracketed by Europe’s highest peaks.  Martigny hosts famous museums, a roman arena, and the distillery of a pear brandy that tastes more like pears than pears do.

We cross into German-speaking Switzerland, and come to Zermatt, at the base of the Matterhorn.  Zermatt offers a great variety of back-to-nature stuff like caves, hikes, skiing, and plastic models of the Matterhorn.

The remarkable Swiss social (and other) organization will marvel, vying for attention with the dramatic backdrop, mountain cuisine, unexpected wines, and international nightlife.





The following trips visit Switzerland:

Biking Transcontinental  (5 weeks)
Visits France (Northern Burgundy), Switzerland, the Italian Lakes, and Austria

Tour de France (3 weeks)
Visits 3 French (or part French) itineraries, including Switzerland
— no 2017 departures include our Swiss route

Alpine Lakes (2 weeks)
Visits Switzerland, then the Italian Lakes

C'est Cheese (2 weeks)
Visits Southern Burgundy, followed by Switzerland

Swiss Cycling follows this itinerary exclusively.
Departure dates and prices are in the table, below.


 

Our Cycle Trips

Overview Map
of the places we stage trips


Departure Calendar
of our scheduled trips


Trips by Length / Title


 
 
 
 
 
or...
Short Trips from Paris
 

What's Included
...
...in the Trip Cost


Additional Services...
...which you can add to your trip.


Other Trips We Offer

 

Daily Itinerary:  Switzerland
Day of the Week
Description
Typical distances, in km
Sunday
LAC DE JOUX
We assemble in a little village on the shores of the beautiful Lac de Joux on Sunday evening.  Detailed information is offered on the page describing our Access Package.  Since people arrive from many directions and at many hours, this is usually one of our trip’s “independent nights,” but the hotel’s restaurant is warm and cozy if you make it in in time....  For entertainment, walk down to the shores of the lake to watch the fish jump.  Think “card game.”

Half Baggage
0 - 10 k
Monday
The FRENCH JURA
We collect our wheels and head over the border into France.  You will quickly meet your first hill:  a genuine Jura ridge, which you cross.  These lines of buckled mountains gave their name to a geological era (and to a movie about dinosaurs).  Their odd form will make it obvious just why (regarding the geology, not the dinosaurs).

The roads are quiet, the views stunning, the lakes picturesque and very cold, and even the snack foods taste wonderful.  Lunch in France (yum!), then head back to Switzerland for the night.  Your bike ride has brought you down a long hill: climb back up through a fragrant pine forest, or let a train haul you up.  Enjoy the healthy gastronomy in the evening – perhaps a fondue for din-din, or maybe one of the local lake perch you watched jumping last night.

Half Baggage

25, 55,
or 85 k

Tuesday
From the JURA to the ALPS
Today we go waaay up, then waaaaaay down.

First, ride down the Lac du Joux.  If this tires you out, refuel in lakeside Le Pont, at the far end.  Now 200 meters up to the top of the col, where you are rewarded with a dramatic view of Lake Geneva to the south.  On a clear day, the entire Mont Blanc chain is laid out before you.  Then it’s all downhill along quiet country roads, past dairy farms and peaceful villages, to the shore.

Lake Geneva has hosted visitors for 500 years, and the local expertise in the matter is immediately obvious.  Lakefront promenades planted with bougainvillia, pretty terraces with views of the mountains, lake perch and white wine....

Check out Lausanne on your way through.  Then an international ferry carries us across the lake back into France, and to the spa town of Evian.  Kick back and relax:  it's what they do best here.  The spa, the casino, and as much mineral water as you can drink are all possible distractions.
45 or 60 k
Wednesday
LAKE GENEVA
Spend today pack-free, on a loop ride from Evian.  Geneva, Montreux, back to the Jura, Lausanne - all are worthy destinations.  Use combinations of your bike, the lake boats, and the train to work in as much as you wish.  One of our favorite destinations is the Côte du Lavaux, a hillside home to a dozen beautiful wine villages, surrounded by their vineyards.

Or just relax in Evian.  Play on the water slide, sail on the lake, or maybe get in a round of golf or a game of tennis.  Rough life, eh?
As few, or as many, as you want
Thursday
The RHÔNE VALLEY
Now east along the shore of Lake Geneva, to the head of the lake where the Rhône River flows in. Back across the French-Swiss border for the umpteenth time.

Turn south following the river and watch as the mountains come to greet you.  With the wind at our backs, we slide between the steep walls of the narrowing valley.  Incredibly steep terraced vineyards line the hills.  Visit the salt mine at Bex, pause for grape juice at St.-Maurice.

Evening sees us in Martigny, at the foot of the St.-Bernard pass, surrounded by the birthplace of Switzerland's finest wines.  Martigny is also home to the Fondation Pierre Gianadda, one of the world's great art museums (and which bizarrely doubles as an old car museum).  Wander through the sculpture garden, admiring works of Calder, Chagall, Miró, Rodin... interspersed with the occasional Buick.
60 or 75 k
Friday
SION, and the VINEYARDS of the UPPER RHÔNE
Zermatt, our final destination, is 100 k away and 1 k+ higher in altitude.  So start by forgetting your cares with a tasting at the Morand distillery, which makes fine brandies from the fruits of the orchards which surround us.

Still with the wind at our backs, we charge (or wieve) up the flat floor of the Rhône valley.  Car-free bike paths through apricot orchards and disguised military installations.  Fresh grape juice from the station café at Riddes, a subterranean lake full of school children in St.-Léonard, castles in Sion, fondue in Leuk.  Language changes from French to German.

At Visp we turn right toward the mountains and begin to worry.  In the last 80 k we’ve climbed only 100 meters.  That leaves 1,000 to go in the next 20.   “Train.  Can you say that?  I like the way you say that.”  A cog railway pulls us up a dramatic valley to Zermatt.  Walk around town and get used to the special pace of this alpine resort village.

Half Baggage
45, 60, k
Saturday
The MATTERHORN
A free day in the mountains.  No packs, no bikes.  There are, however, high altitude skiing, hot chocolate, saunas, tennis courts, glorious hikes along the banks of glacial lakes, alpine air....  and a vicious mini-golf tournament, the losers of which are sacrificed in a tribal ritual involving boiling cheese (optional).

Not even one single k.

Half Baggage
0 k
Sunday
The VISPA VALLEY, maybe the SIMPLON PASS
Spend a last morning breathing in the mountain air. Souvenir shopping for Swiss hats, chocolate, and cuckoo clocks.  Pick up a pocket knife as a gift for your favorite airport security agent.  Snap some quick photos of the Matterhorn before it slips behind its robe of clouds.  Then, back down the mountain.  Whether under your own power (start with a serious brake check) or by grace of the railroad (make sure all the cog teeth are in place) depends on your trip, morning activity, foolhardiness, and (obviously) the tooth fairy.  40 downhill k to Brig.  Enjoy every centimeter.

TRAVEL DAY.  
For those now leaving our care, the trip disbands in Brig.  Our “Access Packages” presume that you spend Sunday night in the area, either here or over the border in Italy, for a flight on Monday from Geneva, Milan or Zurich.  Alternatively, it is possible to get a Sunday afternoon flight from Geneva, Zurich, or even Milano Malpensa.  But don’t do this unless you really have to, as it means you miss the bike ride on Sunday (and breakfast).

Those whose trips continue to Italy (Biking Transcontinental or Alpine Lakes,” for example) cycle on from Brig.  The valiant (and nutty) try to tackle the Simplon Pass.  The rest of us take advantage of one of the wonders of modern engineering:  the Simplon Tunnel, bored through Monte Leone.  Our bikes safely stowed on a train, we burrow into Italy.  Then cycle on downhill through the Ossola Valley to Domodossola.  This is where we pick up our Italian Lakes itinerary, in time for a Barbera-licious dinner.

Half
Baggage
40 k

60 k if continuing to Italy

Monday
WHATEVER’S NEXT
A flight, for example....

Swiss Cycling — Facts & Figures
2017 Dates
Baggage Services Offered**
(optional)
Difficulty of the Ride
May 28 - June 4
$2,250 US
$2,895 C
1,895€
Daily, Half
Moderate

Some long days, but the longest are flat, as is most of the “base” (suggested) route — a paradox, given that you are surrounded by Alps.  The use of the ubiquitous back-up trains can make the trip an “Easy.”  Or cycle up an Alp or two for a “Difficult.”   The ultimate vacation ride:  you can really get whatever you want to out of it.

* Prices in $ and € do not include precisely the same things.  Click here for details.

Prices of Optional Extras (links lead to explanations)
Currency
$ prices include
the bike.
See here for information on bringing your own.
** At least 4 riders must subscribe to a given baggage service for it to operate.  The services listed are those currently offered on the departure in question. Services which appear in bold already have at least 3 subscribers (so, one more would ensure their operation).
Daily
Half
$US
$250
$110
$390
$C

$326

$140
$510
€uros
234€
100€
365€
160€

Reaching & Leaving Your Trip:  General Information on Access Packages
Specific information on reaching your trip’s start in... Lac de Joux
Specific information on departing from your trip’s end... Brig