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Bike the Rhone Cycle Path from Switzerland to France
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!
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.
- ViaRhôna cycle path along the Rhone River
- Sophisticated cities like Geneva and Lyon
- Towering forts and Roman ruins
- History, timeless beauty
Learn more about self-guided tours.
Day 1: Arrival in Geneva
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.
Day 2: Geneva — Seyssel (39 miles/63 km, elevation gain 2,733 ft/833 m, descent 3,179 ft/910 m)
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/2,625 feet)! 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. Dinner included
Day 3: Seyssel — Champagneux (Short Option: 34 miles/54 km, elevation gain 1,647 ft/502 m, descent 1,585 ft/483 m; Long Option via Bugey 48 miles/77 km, elevation gain 2,418 ft/737 m, descent 2,372 ft/723 m)
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, make 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.
Day 4: Champagneux — Pérouges (Short option: 42 miles/68 km, elevation gain 1,637 ft/499 m, descent 1,604 feet/489 m; Long option: 55 miles/88 km, elevation gain 1,906 ft/581 m; descent 1,873 ft/571 m)
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 Perouges. This is where you’ll stay overnight.
Day 5: Pérouges — Lyon (Short Option 27 miles/43 km, elevation gain 984 ft/300 m, descent: 1,220 ft/372 m; Long Option 37 miles/59 km, elevation gain 1,647 ft/502 m, descent 1,857 ft/566 m)
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.
Day 6: Departure
After breakfast, depart at the time of your choice.
Surface and terrain
This tour takes place on a variety of terrains, but mainly along the Rhone River cycle paths. Each stage will have some climbing and descents, but the first cycling day from Geneva to Seyssel is the most significant of these. On this day, You can expect 2,733 ft of elevation gained and 3,179 feet of descending. On Days 3-5 you have the choice for shorter cycling routes or longer, so please be sure to note the variations in the Daily Program.
These are sample hotels and may vary by availability.
Hotel Jade, Geneva
Hotel Beau Séjour, Seyssel
Hotel Les Bergeronnettes, Champagneux
Hostellerie de Pérouges, Pérouges
Résidence Belambra Villemanzy, Lyon
Interested in visiting other areas before or after your tour? Visit our hotels page to learn more about lodging options.
How to get there
Nearest airport and train station: Geneva (GVA), Switzerland
Getting from the airport to the city is easy, and free. From baggage area, look for the Rail Tickets machine and print one. This ticket will give you 80 minutes of free access on Geneva's public transportation system, called TPG.
Once you have your luggage and your Unireso ticket, and you've cleared Customs, head to your left through the Arrivals Hall. Just outside the exit, you'll find an entrance to the Gare CFF Aéroport. Head inside and down to the lower level. Check when the next train to Geneva city center (Gare Cornavin) departs and on which platform. The ride to Cornavin is only 6-7 minutes.
Alternatively, you may use your Unireso ticket for the bus. You will take bus #5, #10, and F to reach Gare Cornavin. For late night arrivals we recommend taking a taxi (about 30-40 CHF).
Once you reach Gare Cornavin, you can walk or take a tram, bus, or taxi to your first hotel.
Nearest airport: Lyon Airport (LYS), France
Nearest train station: Lyon, France
Tips on getting to and from your tour.
Sundays, Apr 1-Oct 31, 2022 (minimum 2 participants; starting other days except Fridays are possible upon request with 4 or more participants)
Per person, double occupancy € 845 Single room surcharge (1 person/1 room) € 310
Hybrid touring bike € 90 Full-carbon road bike € 170 Electrically assisted bike (upon request) € 175
Extra Nights, Geneva, prices starting at
Single room (1 person/1 room) € 170 Per person, double occupancy € 95
Extra Nights, Lyon, prices starting at
Single room (1 person/1 room) € 95 Per person, double occupancy € 65
- 5 nights accommodation
- Breakfasts, 2 dinners (drinks not included)
- Luggage transfers
- Maps, cue sheets and route notes, and pre-loaded GPS unit (subject to availability)
- Emergency service if necessary
- Tour briefing at beginning of tour
- All taxes and service charges
Bikes available to rent on this tour (must be reserved in advance at time of booking) include:
- Hybrid touring bikes
- Full-carbon road bikes, on request
- Electrically assisted bikes, on request*
*More about electrically-assisted bikes >
Note: the tour price does not include the fee to return the bike to Geneva at the end of the tour (€20 per bike, €30 per e-bike). This will be applied to your booking after confirmation.
Bikes come equipped with the following at no extra charge:
- Rear rack
- Water bottle cages
- Water bottle
- Repair kit with multi-tool
- Spare tube and CO2 cartridge (CO2 cartridge for road bike only)
- Saddlebag (hybrid bike only)
- Hand-held bicycle pump (hybrid bike only)
The bikes will have flat pedals. If you want to bring your own pedals, please bring your own shoes and also the necessary equipment to change the pedals.
Helmet rental is available on this tour. However, we recommend that you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene purposes.
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