Via Rhona: Geneva to Lyon
A cycling trip along the Rhone River!
before modern day roads and railways the Rhône River connected some of the regions most important cities, consequently it is now home to many quaint villages, historic chateaux and incredible scenic spots as it snakes its way through the swiss alps into southern France. The “Via Rhôna” 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 as it currently includes 700 km (435 miles) of cycling paths and runs through 12 different French departments.
the accommodation along the way has something to suit everyone from character-filled guesthouses to family-run hotels and are perfect on a trip geared toward relaxation, not perspiration. We even transfer your luggage for you! With the opportunity to travel at your own pace, it’s the ideal way to experience the Rhône.
Our seven-day cycling itinerary allows you to take in everything between the Rhône’s two big cities; Geneva in Switzerland and Lyon in France. The tour…
Day 1 : 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 sparkling Lake Geneva, it’s up to you.
Day 2 : Geneva - Seyssel
Following breakfast, you will meet our guide who will brief you on your itinerary and give you all the necessary equipment for your trip. This is when your journey really begins! Prepare for your longest 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 (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 — stunning panoramas, striking rock formations, and historic forts – and you’ll end the day in Seyssel, a sensational small village. Your hotel sits right on the river, providing the perfect spot to give your biking legs a rest.
Mileage: 62 km / 39 miles
Total Climb: 834 m / 2,736 ft
Total Descent: 961 m / 3,153 ft
Day 3 : Seyssel - Champagneux
Covering a shorter distance, following a nearly straight line, and climbing just 230 meters, this day’s ride 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 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. 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 Champagneux.
Mileage: 56 km / 35 miles
Total Climb: 325 m / 1,066 ft
Total Descent: 324 m / 1,063 ft
Day 4 : Champagneux - Villebois
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 village you choose. 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 in Villebois.
Mileage: 41 km / 26 miles
Total Climb: 202 m / 663 ft
Total Descent: 253 m / 830 ft
Day 5 : Villebois — Pérouges
today your ride will continue along the Rhône. Early on in your voyage you will have the option to stop at La Balme- les-Grottes, “the caves of Balme”, where you can find the largest variety 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 other unique sights. Enjoy your ride but leave yourself some time to explore your medieval destination, the walled town of Pérouges.
Mileage: 54 km / 34 miles
Total Climb: 265 m / 869 ft
Total Descent: 213 m / 699 ft
Day 6 : Pérouges — Lyon
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 a 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 of 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, or shop, visit a museum, or the Halles de Lyon market. Be sure to reward your cycling soul with a delicious meal
Mileage: 59 km / 37 miles
Total Climb: 380 m / 1,247 ft
Total Descent: 426 m / 1,298 ft
Day 7 : Departure
After breakfast, depart at the time of your choice.
- lake geneva
- botanical gardens of geneva
- Chanaz – the Little Venice of Savoie
6 nights’ accommodation
4 dinners (drinks are not included)
Meeting with our local representative
Marked maps and/or cue sheets and route notes
Pre-loaded GPS unit (subject to availability)
Assistance if necessary
All tax and service charges
- great panoramas and loads of places to stop along the way
- slightly easier days in the middle of the week to help conserve energy
Do also budget for:
- Local tax
- transfers (if required)