Tour length: 5 nights/6 days
Ancient navigators first spurred the development of the Rhône river valley, bringing new ideas to a quiet region of fierce natural beauty. Over the centuries, some communities along its banks grew rapidly — into sophisticated cities like Lyon and Geneva, who still attract visitors in droves — while others never quite progressed beyond sleepy little outposts. Today, traffic is diverted to highways and railways, leaving the riverbanks in peace and quiet… for cyclists! This allows you to enjoy one of our best self-guided cycling trips from Switzerland to France!
The “Via Rhona” project is a bicycle path connecting Lake Léman (Geneva) to France’s Mediterranean beaches. The project is still a work in progress, but it is a huge accomplishment for France — and an incredible boon for the people who love France (and French Switzerland, of course). If you’re dreaming of la bonne vie but are short on time, our five-day cycling itinerary is the perfect fit!
Enjoy plenty of time to visit two incredible cultural capitals, Lyon and Geneva, and lead your own way on our cycling journey between them. The route we’ve carefully planned will introduce you to Pérouges, Chanaz, and Seyssel, to name a few of France’s best-kept secrets! Along the way, you’ll uncover countless hidden gems, from towering forts and Roman ruins to shimmering lakes and flower-filled fields. You’re free to stop wherever and whenever you choose — even the smallest hamlets along the Rhône possess nuggets of history, timeless beauty, and a hint of magic.
Geneva is easily accessible by car, train, and air — many low-cost carriers stop at the city’s manageably sized airport. You’ll arrive in a cultured and cosmopolitan city with more than enough attractions to fill a day, so you can check in to your hotel in the heart of the city, then head on out to explore.
Whether you want to stroll around the city’s beautiful botanical gardens, go shopping for world-famous watches, chocolates, and Swiss knives, or set sail on sparkling Lake Geneva, it’s up to you.
We will outfit you with bikes and provide your itinerary briefing after breakfast, so you’ll be ready to jump on your bikes and ride! This is the toughest day of cycling during the whole tour; with rolling hills, you’ll climb your highest ascent — but the good news is you’ll get to enjoy plenty of downhill riding (nearly 800 meters)! The route itself winds its way southwest, across the Swiss border at Chancy into the picturesque wine region of Rhône-Alpes, France, where you will spend the remainder of your tour. There are plenty of reasons to stop along the way: stunning panoramas, striking rock formations, and intriguing ruins, to name a few.
Your hotel in Seyssel sits right on the river, providing the perfect spot to give your biking legs a rest.
On more level terrain, today’s ride will feel like a picnic compared to the previous day. Consider exploring Chanaz — the Little Venice of Savoie — or park your bikes to try the exquisite local cheeses in the Roman town of Belley. Or, if you are content to add some extra kilometers to the journey, you can also head just off route to enjoy lunch in one of the ancestral wineries on the banks of Lac du Bourget. Whatever you choose, be sure to save a little energy for the climb up to your hotel in Champagneux.
Your extra effort will be entirely worth it when you feast your eyes on the incredible valley view — and a delicious dinner.
The Rhône river will show you the way through small villages and quiet countryside…the navigation couldn’t be easier: all you have to do is follow the traffic-free bikeway. From Saint-Sorlin, you’ll leave the Via Rhona and ride on secondary roads through the rural “Bugey.”
Your destination will soon be in sight as you approach the hilltop medieval village of Pérouges. This is where you’ll stay overnight.
If you just can’t get enough of France’s pretty villages, you’ll want to opt for the longer route we’ve devised. You’ll leave the path of the Rhône River for a while, but trust us, it’s well worth it (and you won’t have to worry about falling in the river when the marvelous scenery steals your attention)! On the other hand, if you’re dreaming of diving right into the food stalls at Les Halles in Lyon, you may follow the Via Rhona directly into the city.
Tonight, you’ll retire your wheels in the hilly neighborhood of La Croix Rousse.
After breakfast in Lyon, depart at the 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 hotels, 1 night in a 2-star hotel
From 740 euros per person sharing a room (single supplement is 295 euros)
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