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Via Rhona: Geneva to Lyon
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Via Rhona: Geneva to Lyon

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 7 day(s)
Group Size: 1 - 16 people
Destination(s): France  
Specialty Categories: Bicycle Touring  
Season: April - October
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 920 Euro (EUR)
Maximum Per Person Price: 920 Euro (EUR)

Long before rickety railways and rushing roads, it was the Rhône River that connected the region’s most important cities. Consequently, this dazzling azure artery, stealthily snaking through the Swiss Alps into southern France, is home to a wealth of quaint villages, historic chateaux and spectacular scenic spots. The “Via Rhôna” project is a bicycle path created from Lake Geneva to France’s Mediterranean beaches. The project is still “in progress” but it is a huge accomplishment for France as it currently includes 700 km (435 miles) of cycling path and runs through 12 different French counties.

We happen to think that makes for a special cycling tour!

Our seven-day cycling itinerary takes in everything. Transporting you between the river’s two big cities, Geneva in Switzerland and Lyon in France, the tour serves up the very best the Rhône has to offer along the way: from historic forts to glistening lakes; Roman ruins to parkland panoramas. Best of all, this high, dramatic scenery is enjoyed from a painless route, making it the ideal tour for families and leisure riders.

The accommodation we provide along the way – from characterful guesthouses to family-run hotels – is also tailored for relaxation not perspiration. We even move your luggage for you! So, with no scheduled start date and the opportunity to travel at your own pace, it’s the ideal way to see the Rhône at leisure.

Tour Itinerary:

Friday or Sunday: Arrival in Geneva.
The first day of the itinerary is the easiest of all – all you have to do is get here! Geneva is a cultured and cosmopolitan city with more than enough attractions to fill a day, so you can check in to the lovely Hotel Jade 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 the sparkling Geneva Lake, it’s up to you.

Saturday or Monday: Geneva – Seyssel: (approx. 60 km/ 37 miles)
Following breakfast, you will be met by our guide at your hotel, at 9am, who will brief you on your itinerary and give you all the necessary equipment for your trip. This is where your journey really begins. This is the longest day of cycling during the whole tour, with rolling hills it has the highest ascent – but the good news is you’ll get to enjoy plenty of downhill riding, 715 meters total! 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 – including for stunning panoramas, striking rock formations and historic forts – and you’ll end the day in Seyssel, a sensational small village. Your hotel, Hotel Beau Sejour, sits right on the river providing the perfect spot to give your biking legs a rest.

Sunday or Tuesday: Seyssel – Champagneux (approx. 53 km/33 miles)
Covering a shorter distance, in an almost straight line, and with a total climb of just 230 metres, this will feel like a picnic compared to the previous day. Consider exploring Chanaz – the Little Venice of Savoie –or park the bikes to try the exquisite local cheeses in the Roman town of Belley. Or, if you are content to add some extra kilometres 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. It’s your call – that’s the beauty of a self-guided tour. End with a fine meal, relaxing swim and good night’s rest in the Hotel Bergeronnettes in Champagneux.

Monday or Wednesday: Champagneux – Villebois (approx. 42 km/26 miles)
From Champagneux you can take a small detour and travel southwest to visit Saint-Genix-sur-Guiers to learn the story of Louis Mandrin, the French Robin Hood. Then as you head north you can stop in any or as many villages as you chose. From Morestel, a charming town known for painters and flowers to Briord a small town with a Roman aqueduct, it’s up to you where and when lunch will be served! Riding adjacent to the Isère your day will conclude at Le Domaine des Cedres in Villebois.

Tuesday or Thursday: Villebois – Perouges (approx. 53 km/33 miles)
Today your ride will continue your travels along the Isère as you pass through towns such as Sault-Brénaz, Hières-sur-Amby, Vernas, Loyettes, and Chânes. Early on your voyage you will have the option to stop at La Balme-les-Grottes, “the caves of Balme” where you can find the largest number of bat species in the region! If bats aren’t of particular interest to you, no need to fear boredom as you will be able to see stalactites, stalagmites, an underground lake, and many unique sights. Also worth a stop, Hières-sur-Amby has an archaeological site rich in natural history. Enjoy your ride but leave yourself some time to explore your medieval destination, the walled town of Pérouges.

Wednesday or Friday: Perouges – Lyon (approx. 61 km or 38 miles)
As Lyon has plenty to keep you busy for days if not weeks, you can bike directly to the city or take a few breaks along the way. If time is not your concern, you can have lunch in the Miribel Jonage Park (one of the largest urban parks in Europe) and enjoy a swim in Lac des Eaux Bleues (Lake Blue Waters). Upon arrival to Lyon your options for the rest of the day are endless. Trek to the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière for the best view in town, shop, visit a museum, or reward your cycling soul with a delicious meal!

Thursday or Saturday: Departure
After breakfast, depart at the time of your choice.

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Pricing: 920 euros per person sharing a room. Single supplement is 320 euros.
A minimum of 2 riders is required for this tour. Solo rider's price on request.

This price includes:

- 6-night accommodation (4 nights in 3-star hotels; 1 night in a non-rated hotel of charm; 1 night in a 2-star hotel)
- Daily breakfast
- Meeting with our local representative on Sunday
- 4 dinners
- Detailed marked maps and/or cue sheets
- Garmin GPS 705 (subject to availability)
- Luggage transfers
- Assistance if necessary
- All tax and service charges

This doesn’t include:

- Drinks
- Expenses of personal nature
- Travel insurance
- Bicycle rentals. Hybrid bikes are available at the rate of 95 euros per bike. A fee of 20 euros per bike is added if clients don’t return the bikes to Geneva.

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Europe   France   Outdoor: Land Rambler   Bicycle Touring