Day 1: Geneva Arrival
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 just ten minutes 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 of things to do!
Day 2: Geneva – Lausanne (70 km / 44 miles)
Following breakfast at your hotel, the bike portion of your tour begins along the banks of Lake Geneva. Pedaling east, mainly on 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 famous for its history, architecture and lakefront views. Next, you can either board a ferry (with your bikes) for a leisurely cruise to Lausanne, or reach the town by bike–the decision is yours. Whichever option you choose, both will afford plenty of time to experience Lausanne’s magic. Meshing old with new, Lausanne is part medieval, part cosmopolitan, offering 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.
Day 3: Lausanne – Gruyères (64 km / 40 miles)
Continuing east, along Lake Geneva’s northern shore, you’ll wheel into the picturesque wine region of Lavaux. Small lakeside villages bordered by a cascade of green slopes terraced with vineyards stretch across the entire region, providing 30 kilometers of visual proof why Lavaux was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to pedal up to Chexbres, the Balcony of Lake Geneva, and enjoy postcard-like views of Lake Geneva and the surrounding mountains. In Vevey, yet another lakeside village, you’ll have the chance to test your leg muscles again with a ride up to the town of Châtel-Saint-Denis, which features a 500-meter elevation gain, over a 13-kilometer stretch. This climb is only recommended if you’re in top physical condition. Otherwise, you can rest the legs and ride Vevey’s funiculaire (cable car) to Mont-Pèlerin and then pedal a much easier path into Châtel-Saint-Denis. Whichever route you choose you’ll want to reward your efforts with lunch in one of the town’s cafés and indulge with fondue moitié-moitié (Swiss cheese fondue), an area specialty. From here you’ll continue inland, away from the lake, to Gruyères, an ancient, one-street village noted for its Cheese Museum and the Castle of Gruyères, which some rate as one of Switzerland’s finest. If you are interested in a Chocolate Factory or Cheese Factory visit, we are happy to provide you with the details of your options. NOTE: Be sure to top your water bottles before exiting Châtel-Saint-Denis. The pastoral nature of the ride into Gruyères doesn’t lend for refill opportunities.
Day 4: Gruyères – Fribourg (45 km / 28 miles)
If you missed any of Gruyères’ attractions yesterday, feel free to start today with one. Once you head on your voyage, you’ll follow a northerly path along the western banks of Lake of Gruyère (“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 half-way point, you can take a small detour with a turn to the right on “Pont-en-Ogoz”, the perfect resting point for stunning panoramic views of the lake and Ogoz Island (Île d'Ogoz). If you want an extra excursion (1 hour) you can hop on the barge offered by the Ogoz Island Association 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)! You’ll head north of the lake, but your views of breathtaking water will continue as you’ll cross the Sarine River twice. 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. And 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 spotlights a stunning collection of stained glass windows. If your arrival to Fribourg falls within opening hours, we recommend spending a little time at Musee Gutenberg (a museum encompassing the history of printing), the recent Velo-Club Musee (yes, velos means bikes!), or Espace Jean Tinguely - Niki de Saint Phalle (focusing on the two artists). If you are feeling like you’d rather stay outdoors for your time, the Fribourg Botanical Gardens are your perfect match.
Day 5: Fribourg – Thun / Thoune (56 km / 35 miles)
This day, the most challenging of your trip, begins with options. To get to the charming village of Schwarzenburg (east of Fribourg) you can take a climb, follow an easier route, or take the train. If you want the view from the hills, but would prefer a little boost to help with the pedaling, we do offer e-bikes for this trip. From here you’ll then continue east, following a gently, rolling route into the pastoral wonders of the Bernoise countryside. Prior to reaching the village of Wattenwil, you’ll come across a viewpoint affording panoramic views of Lake Thun (“Lac de Thoune” in French) below. After snapping at least six pictures, you’ll then coast down to the shorelines of Lake Thun and into the picturesque lakeside town of Thun. We highly recommend exploring Old Town and the striking 12th century castle it hosts before retiring to your hotel in the
center of Thun.
Day 6: Thun – Interlaken (33 km / 21 miles)
Your final cycling day will guide you to Interlaken along a quiet, traffic-free route with constant view of the lake. Before leaving Thun, feel free to take a cruise on the lake. You also will have plenty of time for a stop in Spiez. This ancient village’s lakeside setting will serve as a perfect backdrop for a cup of coffee or snack. Continuing on you can ponder which activities you will take advantage of as you head into Interlaken. As it sits between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, this popular resort town personifies alpine splendor. Once you arrive in Interlaken you can fill your time with just about any activity you can think of. Paraglide, tree climb, or even enjoy a new form of movement on 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 well known as the Top of Europe. Another incredible sight-seeing 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 for the perfect ending to your bike tour.
Day 7: Departure
After breakfast, depart Interlaken at your convenience. If needed, Interlaken is well serviced by train.
Pricing: 825 euros per person sharing a room. Single supplement is 370 euros.
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Europe Switzerland Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring