Tour length: 6 nights/7 days
Experience the essence of Switzerland on a cycling tour from the French-speaking section all the way to the German-speaking region on one of the best cycling routes in Switzerland. Yes, this means plenty of cheese(you’ll stop in Gruyères, home of the famed Gruyère cheese) and plenty of chocolate. Trust us, the Swiss have good taste (buds)! You’ll pedal through noted vineyards and famous cheese-producing villages, tour medieval castles and visit Gothic cathedrals, look up at towering mountain peaks and look down at shimmering alpine lakes, and lodge every night in top-rated towns bursting with beautiful views and delicious dining opportunities.
Start in Geneva, a multicultural jewel where you’ll overhear many languages aside from French. Your biking adventure commences alongside quaint vineyards and the stunning Lac Léman as you head to Lausanne. Next up is Gruyères, where you mustn’t leave without a bite of cheese — or a pot of fondue. Take in the endless beauty as you pass through Lavaux (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). When you really feel like your eyes can’t handle anymore, you’ll enter the medieval town of Fribourg. Conclude your trip with panoramic views of Lake Thun (Thoune in French), gently rolling hills in the Bernoise countryside, and a night in Interlaken, one of the world’s adventure capitals.
Geneva’s airport and main train station (Gare Cornavin) are only a ten-minute train ride from each other, making it an extremely easy city to access. From the train station, your hotel is a quick trip by foot! If your schedule allows, we highly recommend arriving earlier in the day to have time to explore the city.
Visit the Palais des Nations (the European headquarters of the United Nations), gasp at the 12th century Cathédrale de Saint-Pierre, enjoy your first bites of Swiss chocolate, set sail on the sparkling lake, or stroll the beautiful botanical gardens. You won’t find yourself short on things to do!
The bike portion of your tour begins along the banks of Lake Geneva (Lac Léman). Pedaling east on mainly traffic-free roads, you’ll wheel through a chain of sleepy lakeside wine villages before reaching Rolle. Here you’ll have the opportunity to visit the Château de Rolle, a 13th-century castle right on the waterfront. Next, you can either board a ferry (with your bikes) for a leisurely cruise to Lausanne, or follow the route map and ride all the way there — the decision is yours.
Whichever way you choose to get there, you will have plenty of time to experience Lausanne’s magic. Meshing old with new, Lausanne is part medieval, part cosmopolitan; you’ll find a wealth of five-star attractions including the Lausanne Cathedral, the Château de Vidy (home to the International Olympic Committee) and Ouchy, a lively lakefront nightspot.
Continuing east along Lake Geneva’s northern shore, wheel into the picturesque wine region of Lavaux. A cascade of terraced vineyards stretches across 30 kilometers, except where small villages intervene — a sight UNESCO took into consideration when granting the region World Heritage status. Here you’ll have the opportunity to pedal up to Chexbres, “the Balcony of Lake Geneva”, and enjoy postcard-like views. In Vevey you’ll have the chance to test your leg muscles with a ride up to the town of Châtel-Saint-Denis — a 500-meter elevation gain over a 13 km stretch. This climb is only recommended if you’re in top physical condition; otherwise, you can ride Vevey’s funiculaire (cable car) to Mont-Pèlerin and pedal a much easier path into Châtel-Saint-Denis. Whichever route you choose, reward your efforts with lunch in one of the town’s cafés. Indulge in fondue moitié-moitié (Swiss cheese fondue), an area specialty.
Be sure to top your water bottles before exiting Châtel-Saint-Denis. The pastoral nature of the inland ride into Gruyères doesn’t lend for refill opportunities! Gruyères is an ancient, one-street village noted for its Cheese Museum and the Castle of Gruyères, which some call one of Switzerland’s finest. If you are interested in a chocolate factory or cheese factory visit, we are happy to provide you with details.
Take some time to visit (or revisit) Gruyères before embarking once more on your voyage. You’ll follow a northerly path along the western banks of Lac de la Gruyère, pedaling through a Swiss showcase of tiny villages, lush green valleys and jutting mountain peaks. Just as you enter the small town of Le Bry, at about your halfway point, you can take a small detour to Pont-en-Ogoz, the perfect resting point for stunning panoramic views of the lake and Ogoz Island (Île d’Ogoz). For a 1-hour side trip, you can even hop on the barge to see the island with its restored chapel and historical ruins. From Le Bry, your route will be mostly downhill and a piece of cake (or Swiss cheese)!
Eventually you’ll roll into Fribourg, long recognized as one of the Europe’s most beautiful medieval cities. Fountains and flowers adorn Fribourg’s ancient streets. Its historic Old City district features an impressive array of ancient architecture, highlighted by the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas, which stretches 76 meters into the sky and boasts a stunning collection of stained glass windows. If your arrival to Fribourg falls within opening hours, we recommend spending a little time at Musée Gutenberg (dedicated to the history of printing), the Vélo-Club Musée (dedicated to bikes!), or Espace Jean Tinguely — Niki de Saint Phalle (focusing on the two artists). Prefer to stay outdoors? The Fribourg Botanical Gardens are your perfect match.
The most challenging day of your trip begins with three options. To get to the charming village of Schwarzenburg, you can go by bike if you’re up for the challenge, or choose to take the train. If you want the view from the hills but would prefer a little boost to help with the pedaling, we can offer e-bikes for this trip. From Schwarzenburg, follow a gently rolling route into the breathtaking Bernoise countryside. Prior to reaching the village of Wattenwil, you’ll come across a panoramic viewpoint over Lake Thun (“Lac de Thoune” in French) below.
After snapping a few photos, coast down to Thun on the gleaming shoreline. We highly recommend exploring the Old Town and the striking 12th-century castle before retiring for the night.
Your final cycling day will bring you to Interlaken along a quiet, traffic-free route with constant views of the lake. Before leaving Thun, feel free to take a lake cruise! You will also have plenty of time for a coffee and/or snack stop in Spiez, an ancient lakeside village. Start considering which activities you’d like to partake in as you head towards Interlaken. Bridging Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, this popular resort town personifies alpine splendor. You can fill your time with just about any activity imaginable! Paraglide, tree climb, or even enjoy a Segway tour. For spectacular views, you can take a cable car (about 8 minutes) to Harder Kulm, or enjoy a longer journey by train (2.5 hrs) to the Jungfraujoch(referred to as “the Top of Europe”).
Another incredible sightseeing opportunity from Interlaken includes the Trummelbach Falls (10 gorgeous waterfalls flowing inside of a mountain), just 40 minutes away. Interlaken has it all — mountains, lakes, five-star dining, museums, nightlife — making it the perfect ending place for your bike tour.
After breakfast, depart from Interlaken at a time of your choice.
These are special group rates for parties of 6 or more. For smaller parties, please refer to cyclomundo.com
4 nights in 3-star properties, 2 nights in a 4-star property
From 990 euros per person sharing a room (single supplement is 535 euros)
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