Ride the Rhone

Lyon

Belley

Chambéry

La Tour-du-Pin

Saint-Julien-en-Genevois

Nendaz

Verbier

Cycling route following the Rhone river from Switzerland to the Med

Also in Ain, FranceArdèche, FranceBouches-du-Rhône, FranceDrôme, FranceGard, FranceHaute-Savoie, FranceIsère, FranceLoire, FranceRhône, FranceSavoie, FranceVaucluse, FranceGenève, SwitzerlandValais, Switzerland

Road Biking Moderate

Distance
969 km
Ascent
12 km
Descent
14 km
Low Point
-9999 m
High Point
2.4 km
Gradient
19˚
VIEW ON MAP
Ride the Rhone Map

Description

The Rhone is one of Europe's great rivers, and it can be followed by bike for its full length from the mountains of Switzerland to the golden beaches of the Mediterranean.

The river begins in the meltwater of the Rhone glacier at 2208m in eastern Switzerland. It flows, always down, for 813km, first as a torrent, then as a great river, wider and wider until it reaches the Mediterranean just west of Marseille.

Even though the new Via Rhona cycle path stays close to the river, you will cycle further, around 970km, and not always downhill (the undulations in the track amount to several thousand metres of climb).

The route starts on the Furka Pass above Oberwald in Switzerland, plunging down a twisting valley with glaciers and snowy peaks to the north and south.

The valley widens and the river meets Lac Leman just beyond Martigny. This is one of Europe's great lakes forming the border between Switzerland and France with the magnificent cities of Montreux,

Lausanne and Geneva on the route. Look south approaching Geneva and Mont Blanc towers above the surrounding alpine mountains. Beyond Geneva, the river and the route enter France continue west to Lyon and then turn south.

To the south is Provence, increasing warmth and stronger sun. On through Valence towards Avignon, and a tempting diversion to Carpentras to ride Mont Ventoux, the 'Giant of Provence' at 1909m.

At Arles make the choice to finish to the west of the Camargue delta at Saint-Maries-de-la-Mer or to the east at Plage Napoleon.

Whichever you choose, the reward is a swim in the warm Mediterranean and lunch looking out on a sparkling sea.

Difficulty

Moderate

Best time to visit

June, July, August, September

Features

  • Picturesque
  • Road sections