- July 8 - July 19 (spaces left: 7)
- August 12 - August 23 (spaces left: 8).
Day 1: Arrival in Geneva
We’ll be there at the airport to pick you up and take you to your hotel in the heart of Geneva. We have busy day planned for you, so we ask that you arrive before 2 pm. Once unpacked, walk across the street to our workshop and we’ll fit you with your high-end, 22-lbs, Swiss-made BMC bicycle. Afterwards, you’re on your own to explore Geneva. Be back by 6 pm. We plan on making your first night special with an evening in the Geneva countryside. We'll all meet downstairs at 6 pm and you'll be whisked away to a vineyard in the small wine town of Russin. Once there you'll discover the vineyard of Les Molards, their 12 different wines, delicious appetizers and organic salads.
Day 2: Geneva - Morges (55 km)
We follow small country roads and vineyard paths to the Canton of Vaud with Lake Geneva always at our side. You’ve chosen our "lite" itinerary, and so fewer kilometers means less pedaling and more time to enjoy and explore the unique towns that line our path each day. We pass through the towns of Celigny, Coppet, Nyon, Rolle and St. Prex. They all deserve to be discovered, so stop and take those pictures. Otherwise consider arriving in Morges early and tour the Swiss military museum housed in a 13th century castle on the lake, or begin your souvenir shopping early at the small boutiques lining Morges’ traffic-free streets. Our hotel is in the historic center, so everything is within a 5-minute walk…including the lake.
Day 3: Morges - Estavayer (65 km)
This morning we turn North, away from the Lake Geneva. Unless you choose to do extra miles, today will be your longest day of riding. We follow the Venoge river through dark forests before reaching the open fields and yet wider plains. We may go off the path a few kilometers and allow ourselves to be mesmerized and cooled down at the gorges of Tine de Conflens where waterfalls and whirlpools spit beads of water at our wheels. Lunch is on the grounds of the majestic Castle of Sarraz. Bikers can take the castle tour and learn about medieval life, or immerse yourself in equestrian history and its world renown Horse Museum which adjoins the castle. After lunch we move into the flat and wide open plaines of Orbe with the Jura mountains on our left and the Alps far in the distance on our right. Lake Neuchatel lay ahead and we’ll follow its banks to our final destination: Estavayer-le-Lac in the Canton of Fribourg.
Day 4: Estavayer - Murten (45 km)
Today’s itinerary can be adapted according to your interests. Turing southeast away from the lake, we’ll travel through the flowered lowlands to the regional hub of Payerne and its arcaded pedestrian streets. This itinerary brings us to the town of Avenches. Once known as Aventicum, it was the most important Roman settlement in all of Switzerland. Or continue following the lake and its marshland to the wine routes of the Vully region. Here you’ll bike through the vines and stop as often as you like to sample the numerous varieties of grape that go into these excellent wines that seldom leave the region let alone the country. Our final destination is the town of Munchenwiler and its castle.
Day 5: Murten - Solothurn (50 km)
After a breakfast fit for kings, we leave our castle and head north towards Lake Bienne in the Canton of Berne. We’re now in the center of the "3-lakes region", the site of the 2002 Swiss Expo. The expo organizers, working to develop ecological tourism, invested in new bicycle paths, bridges and the rest areas that you’ll encounter on today’s ride. Once at the lake, you’ll see picturesque vineyard villages huddled and clinging to the high banks. When we reach Solothurn you’ll be able to continue contemplating the Aare from your hotel window which will directly overlook the river. But not for long, Solothurn is a baroque city and its period architecture is unrivaled in Switzerland.
Day 6: Day of hiking in Jura mountains
We'll start by taking a short train ride to Burgdorf where an historic chairlift will carry us to the top of Weissenstein. This is "Solothurn's mountain" and we'll enjoy the panoramic views of the Swiss Plateau and the Alps with a drink at the spa hotel at the top. From there we'll choose one of the popular circuit trails at Weissenstein for a 2.5 to 3 hike. You'll be back to in Solothurn in the late afternoon. Tonight is your "free night", a chance to get away from the group and explore on your own.
Day 7: Solothurn - Zofingen (50 km)
We bike through the Canton of Solothurn and into the Canton of Berne through sleepy pastureland and quite villages. It’s in these hidden swathes of Switzerland that you’ll notice the small differences that set the Swiss country folk apart. The Swiss values of family, hard work and beauty through precision are found at every turn in the Aare. After miles of happy meanderings, we’ll find ourselves in the Canton of Aargau and face to face with the Aarburg church and its fortress high above. Feel free to climb the long flights of stairs for a magnificent view, or head south to Zofingen with the others.
Day 8: Zofingen - Baden (60 km)
The twisting Aare grows more cosmopolitan as we pass through the larger, but little known cities of Olten and Aarau this morning. Olten’s majestic municipal tower and wide wooden bridge have long been its icons of modernity, certainly reasons for having made Olten a major train hub back in 1856. One of our own favorite stops is at the church of Konigsfelden at Windisch. The church is widely thought to contain the most beautiful stained glass in all of Switzerland. It’s right on our path, so you be the judge. We leave the Aare shortly after Windisch and overnight in the gorgeous town of Baden. As the name suggests, Baden is famous for its sulfur baths and you’ll have plenty of time to soak your legs in the reinvigorating water before going out for supper.
Day 9: Baden - Fischingen (40 km)
Today we offer our riders two possibilities: bike a longer day of 80 kilometers with approximately 500 meters of climbing or take your bicycle on the train to Winterthur and bike approximately 0.5 the distance. Bikers choosing to bike the whole distance will see how city meets country in the areas outside Zurich. You’ll be passing barns and cows and then turn a corner to see city agglomerations far off in the distance. The bike paths offer visitors a firsthand look at how Switzerland seamlessly combines the two ways of life in the densely populated Canton of Zurich. Bikers deciding to take the train may choose to linger longer in Baden or see the sites of Winterthur, famous for its architectural heritage.
Day 10: Fischingen - Rorschach (50 km)
Our last day of riding begins with a stop in the town of Wil. This former capital of the Princes of St. Gall sits high on a hill and has managed to keep all of its charm despite its diminished importance. We’ll be coasting downhill today, through meadows and alpine pastureland through the Canton of Thurgau and onto the Canton of St. Gall. As you’ve clearly noticed by now, preservation is a priority for the Swiss, so there biking across a 500 year old stone bridge or stopping at an 800-year old castle with moat and drawbridge shouldn’t be a surprise. Passing through some peat bogs and through the meadows you’ll get your first view of the vast Lake Constance, the second largest lake in central Europe (after Lake Geneva). Once at the lake, we’ll celebrate with drinks at the waterfront.
Day 11: Return to Geneva with return to Berne. We'll interrupt our five-hour train trip back to Geneva with a stop-over in the Swiss capital of Berne. You'll be on your own for lunch, sightseeing and shopping. Your last evening in Switzerland will be spent back where it all started: on the shores of lake Geneva for a banquet at the United Nations beach.
Day 12: Departure from Geneva.
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Europe Switzerland Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring Cultural Journey
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