Why not take your bike on an adventure along the Rhone route in Switzerland and discover its hidden treasures?
From the source of the Rhône in the Valais to Geneva, this magnificent route offers spectacular scenery: green vineyards, medieval castles, the confluence of Alpine rivers and the banks of Lake Geneva.
Cycling the 350 kilometres of the Rhone route is a unique experience that will delight nature lovers and history buffs alike. Are you ready for an extraordinary journey? Let’s go!
Presentation of the Rhone Bike Route in Switzerland
The Rhone Bike Route is an exciting route between Geneva on the shores of Lake Geneva, the sources of the Rhone in the Valais and the town of Andermatt in the canton of Uri after the Furka Pass.
Approximately 350 kilometres long with 8 suggested stages, the route passes through one of the most beautiful regions of Switzerland, dotted with fascinating mountains, picturesque villages and vineyards stretching along the banks of the Rhone Valley.
In addition to the spectacular scenery, this journey offers cyclists the opportunity to discover the rich culture, history and gastronomy of Switzerland through the 4 cantons it passes through.
Description of the route
The route starts in Geneva in the west, Gletsch or Andermatt in the east, depending on your preference, where cyclists can hop on their bikes and set off on a more or less winding path between the sources of the Rhone and Lake Geneva.
Throughout the journey, cyclists will have the opportunity to admire magnificent and spectacular panoramas such as the Geneva water jet, the castles or terraced vineyards of the Valais or the Alpine glaciers.
The well-maintained cycle paths also allow cyclists to enjoy the green forests and lush plains with numerous stops in town and country.
Distance and time
The total distance is 350 kilometres with 3,700 metres of ascent* and 4,700 metres of descent, if you start from Andermatt.
If you start or stop in Gletsch, the difference in altitude will be much less, as you avoid the famous Furka Pass, which is not only beautiful and interesting to look at, but also has a lot to offer.
The time required to complete this route varies according to the number of kilometres each person wishes to cover on a daily basis.
With an average of 40 kilometres per day, you should allow 8 to 10 days for the entire cycling tour, depending on the breaks taken along the way.
Difficulty and level of physical preparation
This is an accessible cycling trip for everyone, perfect for those who want to discover the natural beauty of Switzerland without getting too tired, if you limit yourself to the Rhone Valley for one or more stages.
However, this route is of medium to high level if you include the Furka pass, depending on whether your bike is electrically assisted or not. It is suitable for experienced cyclists as this section between Gletsch and Andermatt is quite difficult with a significant incline and a steep slope over the Rhone glacier.
To get the most out of this Furka adventure, it is advisable to be in good physical shape and well prepared before the start, especially with regard to equipment for the altitude variations.
The key stages of the Rhone route by bike in Switzerland
Andermatt is the starting and ending point of the tour, a village in the Swiss Alps and the canton of Uri, and a winter sports resort in the Urseren valley. It is located at the crossroads of the road to the Gotthard Pass and of course the Furka Pass, which can also be crossed by train via the car shuttle tunnel.
From Andermatt and over the pass, you can take a plunge into the Rhone Valley with a panoramic view of the glacier, the source of the mythical river.
The route can also be started from the village of Gletsch in the municipality of Obergoms, thus avoiding the tricky passage over the Furka Pass for amateur cyclists.
Then there is the Rhone Valley with its spectacular scenery. On this route, cyclists can admire the wooded hills, lush orchards and picturesque villages dotted along the enchanting banks. The well-tended vineyards and agricultural terraces also contribute to the peaceful and serene beauty of this region of the Valais.
The Valais is known for its beautiful alpine landscape; the Valais has a variety of fun activities for all types of tourists; there are relaxing spas, a multitude of typical restaurants and several shaded cycling routes to enjoy the natural beauty of the region.
The Valais also offers climbing sites with rock walls for all levels, endless hiking and trekking and a landscape rich in primary forests covered with fragrant fir trees and other species.
There are many important cultural sites on the shores of Lake Geneva on the way to Geneva. Among the places of interest are the Chillon Castle, situated on an island in this majestic lake, and the Prangins Castle, which sits above the calm waters of the lake and offers a romantic atmosphere to visitors.
The journey can continue to Lausanne, located on the shores of Lake Geneva.
The city offers a splendid view of the lake and is renowned for its beautiful heritage and historical attractions such as the Cathedral, the Olympic Museum and the Town Hall.
Situated on Lake Geneva, the Chillon Castle houses a wonderful collection of ancient armour and colourful tapestries dating back to the Middle Ages. The castle is certainly worth a visit as it offers visitors a magical and historic atmosphere only enhanced by the breathtaking views of the crystal clear waters along the shore.
Advantages and disadvantages of the Rhone route
The Rhone Route cycling trip in Switzerland is an incredible route that allows cyclists to explore the beauty of Switzerland’s mountains, lakes and cities.
The cycle paths are well laid out so that travellers can enjoy their journey in complete safety. The Alpine landscape gives cyclists the opportunity to discover breathtaking locations, as well as a variety of interesting stories and cultural and natural attractions such as Chillon Castle or the Rhone Glacier.
Despite all the positive wonders associated with this tour, there are a few minor drawbacks.
Some of the passages can be quite difficult, particularly the Furka Pass, requiring adequate physical preparation and good technical skills.
The temperature can also vary considerably between day and night or depending on the altitude; this can cause significant climatic variations along the way requiring appropriate protective clothing.
On our way to the Rhone!
The Rhone Cycle Route in Switzerland is an unforgettable experience for both nature lovers and cycling adventure enthusiasts. This route offers a splendid and enchanting panorama of some of the most beautiful places in Switzerland such as the Alpine peaks, the Rhone glacier, Lake Geneva and Valais.
In a peaceful and safe atmosphere, this tour offers cyclists a unique combination of natural beauty, remarkable archaeological sites and important cultural attractions.
And to finish with a connection, the Rhone Route can be continued or approached via the Via Rhôna (French), and thus continue to or from the Mediterranean.
Map of the Rhone route
Guide: Switzerland by bike
Are you looking for a guidebook with map included for cycling in Switzerland?
Here it is, to be ordered in your favourite bookshop or online:
- Stages, practical and tourist information, SwitzerlandMobility
- Profile and gradient of the route, SM
- Map of the route, SM
- The European Rhone cycle route, Eurovelo
- The Viarhona, Rhône cycle route in France