Switzerland
Destination
Expert
Difficulty level

Probably the fact of travelling and crossing one country from side to side could be a very interesting tourism situation. Crossing Switzerland on a mountain bike is a fantastic experience for any well trained biker, interested in experiencing great riding through marvellous landscapes and mountains, discovering the outstanding net of trails and back roads, digging into the culture and gastronomy that this central European country has to offer. The tour starts in Rorschach, near Lake Constance and nearby the borders of Germany and Austria, and goes from east to west through the “Röstigraben” the cultural & linguistic border between German and French speakers, and arrives in Montreux, by Lake Leman. Switzerland is a renowned country for its cheeses and lakes, for idyllic amazing mountains and delicious chocolate and for its famous “Victorinox” army knife. It’s also a noted country for its efficiency and organization and along the bike ride we will experience why this is one of the most visited countries in the World. We will rarely cycle through flat land: Every day we’ll face different challenges so it will be very important to be in the best possible shape. The reward won’t take long in being noticed; the beauty of the views, the different traditions displayed in the architecture of towns, churches and chapels and the perfect combination of the harmonic work of humans and nature together will be part of the everyday experience of this tour. The tour of the Swiss Alps will be a never-to-be-forgotten experience!

DEPARTURE/ARRIVAL Regensdorf / Geneva
DEPARTING TIME 2 p.m. in Regensdorf
SERVICES INCLUDED
Guide book in French or German plus maps of the route. Route tracks can be loaded in your GPS.
Trilingual guide Spanish/English/French along the tour
Eight nights in Hotels (3 stars) double based, breakfast included & one night in Hotel (2 stars) breakfast included
Medical insurance
Mechanical assistance
Daily transportation of your luggage
Van transfer Zurich’s airport – Hotel in Zurich
Van transfer Montreux – Geneva
NOT INCLUDED
Lunch, dinner and drinks, air tickets and taxes, transfers not detailed in the program, mechanical parts, laundry and personal expenses
MTB rental
Transfers in ferry, train and cable cars

Additional information

LocationGeneva, Gruyères, Lucerne, Montreux, Rorschach, Thun
Duration10 days
DatesJune, July

Mountain bike tour in Switzerland starting in”Rorschach” (East Switzerland, near Germany and Austria) to “Montreux” (west Switzerland) near France.

1

Day 1

Meet & greet in Regensdorf, a short distance away from Zurich, at 2pm. Transfer from Zurich’s airport to the hotel included. After checking in we’ll have a meeting and introduction speech of the tour. The rest of the afternoon will be free to walk and explore some of Zurich.
Hotel Trend en Regensdorf or Hotel Airport en Glattbruck
2

Day 2: Rorschach - Appenzell

After breakfast we’ll pick the rented bikes and will make all the needed adjustments and tunings (saddle, pedals) to ride comfortably. Then we take a van to Rorschach, a beautiful city by the Lake Constance (Bodensee) that will be the launching spot for our great adventure.  Our luggage will be picked up daily after breakfast to be transported to our next hotel; therefore we’ll only ride with a small backpack carrying what we’ll need during the day (Granola bars, fruit, waterproof gear, basic bike pieces and a photo camera). This routine will be repeated each day. As a gift, we’ll receive a travel book of the route, plus a big scale daily map manufactured in waterproof paper so we can have it with us all the time The start of the ride will be representative of the rest of the tour: We’ll climb 500mts in eight kilometers, in the first of four uphills of the day. While gaining altitude, with spectacular views of the massive Lake Constance, the Alpine Mountains and of Germany too.
Heiden will be the first little town we reach and from there the ride continues towards Trogen, a nice town with enormous old mansions where we’ll stop to have our pic-nic.
The ride so far switches between dense forests and little rural areas, where every inch of ground is cared for and they grow grass which is to save for the harsh winters. These little farms normally have ancient wooden barns where they store their tools, the bells that cows wear to be indentified and the buildings also protect the cattle from bad weather; we will notice how beautiful these barns are decorated often with red flowers.  The Swiss government has marked the whole route from East to West, so our task will be to follow these marks that will always have the same number, colour and symbol. After climbing a hill of 400mts, we’ll pass by “Gais”, then another climb before starting a deserved downhill towards “Appenzell”. This town with a population of 7000 is the economic and cultural center of the Appenzell Rodas Canton, the smallest in Switzerland.  It’s very well known for its decorated and painted houses, the famous Appenzell cheese and the Appenzeller Bier, from Brauerei Locher AG beerhouse, founded in 1886.
45km and 1590mts elevation gain
3

Day 3: Appenzell - Arvenbuel

We start the day with a 14km and 600mts elevation gain uphill through very dense forests. Through the morning we will leave the rural scenery to start riding nearby the massif of “Alpstein” for the rest of the day. In this massif of 2500mts, the “Säntis” stands out and guards the scene and from up there it’s possible to see the alpine peaks of Italy, Austria, Germany, France, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. During the morning we cycle along the walls of the “Säntis”, surrounded by the emerald green meadows, with occasional remnants of winter snow and escorted by the typical cattle “Browne Swiss” that makes its presence known with constant tinkling of their bells. Once in “Schwagalp” we leave the uphill trend and up here there is the terminal of the cable car which has been going up to “Santis” since 1935 and here is also the “Appenzell” cheese factory. From here there are two options to get to “Stein”:  Either by an asphalt easy downhilling road, or through a much more intense shortcut called “Risipass” in which we gain 400 meters in just four kilometers. “Stein” is the place for lunch after having done 33km, and here begins the last effort of the day which is 600 meters of elevation gain in 10km in the “Vorder Hohi” hill. The rest is just gently gliding down towards “Arvenbuel”.
47km – 1800mts elevation gain
4

Day 4: Arvenbuel - Einsiedeln

We start riding down while enjoying postcard views that combine the snowcapped mountains of the Alps, the very green and flowered meadows mixed with human endeavour which all blends in total harmony. Once by the deep blue “Lake Walenstadt” we ride along flat land following the lakeshore until arriving in “Nierderurnen” where a tough uphill of 12km and 900mts elevation gain starts.
There’s a cable car that goes to “Morgenholz” half way up the hill, so if the cable car is in operation, bikers wanting to save some energy can count on it. Once on the top in “Rossweidhöchi” we will have a great descent on a trail that then turns to gravel road, again surrounded by pure nature, forests and hills “decorated” with small wooden houses and barns and a mountain panorama that takes your breath away. We ride down towards “Vordertal” and once there we can enjoy lunch before facing the last uphill of the day towards “Satteleg”. From up there we’ll have hundreds of panoramic shots of the “Lake Sihl”, the largest lake in Switzerland, which will be crossed some minutes later through a two kilometers bridge that will lead us to Einsiedeln. In Einsiedeln, a city of 12,000 inhabitants there is the most famous Swiss convent built in Baroque style between 1704 and 1735 to replace an earlier one built in 835 in Gothic style. The imposing Monastery is the best example of the Baroque style and is the most popular point of pilgrimage in the country, due to its incredible black mother Mary.
45km – 1770mts  elevation gain
5

Day 5: Einsiedeln - Lucerna

We head through the Baroque styled city and southbound in slight uphill for the next 10km. In “Alpthal” begins a more intense climb up to 1400 meters in “Haggenegg” where we reach the base of the famous emblematic granite massif of “Mythen”. On the top there is a restaurant which is reached by a very steep path. In “Haggenegg” you can take more postcards photos: the “Rigi” and Lake “Urnersee” or “Four Cantons”. Are you ready to go all the way down? First on a singletrack and then on a gravel road, we’ll ride down until arriving in Schwyz, and then in Brunnen we’ll jump in the ferry that will take us to Lucerne, sailing along the “Urnersee Lake” in a two hour ferry cruise. The beauty of the boat ride can’t be easily described: the blue waters, the piers, the horizon combining the green and the snow of the Alps, it’s a sight not to be missed! Once in Lucerne, and checked in, we will be able to see one of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland.
31km – 500mts elevation gain
6

Day 6: Lucerna - Thun

Today we’ll just relax and hang out after the last few days of riding. At noon we’ll take the train to “Thun” which is a journey of one and a half hours.
Thun is part of the Bern Canton; it has more than 40,000 inhabitants and lies nearby the Lake of Thun. The three eternally snowed Alp massifs of “Monch”, “Eiger” and “Jungfrau” can be seen in clear days, thanks to their more than 4.000mts in height. The name of “Thun” comes from Celtic language and means “fortified city”. The city is divided by the “Aare River” that comes from the “Lake of Thun”, which reinforces its beauty. It was part of the Roman Germanic Empire in about the year 1194 b.c. when the Dukes of Zähringen built the magnificent Castle of Thun that governs the whole city and has a very interesting museum that is worth a visit. After that just a gentle walk by the river and a stop in one of the various cafes and restaurants can be the ideal program for a relaxed day.
7

Day 7: Thun - Sangernboden

We leave beautiful Thun with a kind 18km uphill, through rural paths up to “Blumenstein” where we start a serious climb of 900mts in 13km to the “Ganstrich” region. It’s an extremely remote, green and dense forest that we will go through. Once on the top it will be great to refill our energy and have lunch in “Berghaus”. The path will switch between gravel and paved while it slightly goes up and down until finally turning to gravel in “Otteleue”.
Winding roads and the undulated landscape, the planted fields and the “Browne Swiss” tinkling cattle will be part of the scene today. Arrive in “Sangernboden”, the smallest town on this trip.
43km – 1550 elevation gain
8

Day 8: Sangernboden - Gruyères

Today we’ll pass through a curious cultural and linguistic situation: Without leaving the country we’ll leave the region where Swiss German language is spoken to enter Fribourg Canton where French is spoken. This imaginary border is known as “Röstigraben”. Naturally we start the ride with an uphill through a very dense, deep and green forest, gaining 600mts in 9km and once at the top we’ll get great shots of the “Schwarzee” or “Black Lake”. Once by the lake, prepare yourself for a short but memorable ride uphill called “La Balisa”, which is very steep where we’ll probably have to walk with the bike at our side.
On the top, there is a farm where we can have a drink and taste the “Raclette” cheese.
In Switzerland there’s a tradition that became mandatory by the state: Cattle must carry a bell and on this farm we’ll see all the different models depending on the animal, its size and age. From “La Balisa” we enjoy a great downhill to “La Vailsante”, a convent established in 1295 from the Chartreuse order, and then continue over amazing singletracks towards “Charmey” and “Broc”, passing near “Le Moléson” and “Lake Montsalvens”.  From some respectable distance we will see the shape of a castle on the horizon and after doing 41km we’ll arrive at Gruyères, a fantastic medieval town, with plenty of history and beauty. The Castle of Gruyères was built in the XI Century and it’s surrounded by a medieval walled city whose architecture will lead us through different historic time periods. Not forgetting the cuisine! We can’t leave Gruyères without tasting a “moitié-moitié” fondue of Gruyère cheese accompanied by a local beer.
41km – 1370mts elevation gain
9

Día 9: Gruyères - Montreux

The last morning of this fantastic trip will take us from “Gruyères” to “Les Paccots” climbing 750mts in 18km until arriving in “Les Chaux” where a great path leads us down to “Les Paccots”. The last challenge of the tour is ready to be started: “The Col of Soladier”. Once on the top, the view can’t be described, as the fantastic mountainous landscape is garnished by the famous “Lake Leman” at the end. In only 20km of downhill we arrive in Montreux and crown a very demanding trip which was full of rewards, gratifications and wonderful memories.
51km – 1450mts elevation gain
10
Transfer to Geneva’s airport, from where you can connect flights to different European and international cities.

Tour Reviews

5 based on 1 review
April 28, 2016

Hi Mariano,
Thanks for the pictures. The riding on this trip was just so fun. Definitely looking at full suspension bikes and improving my technical skills, especially downhill.
You worked hard and ran a great tour. Thanks!
Kathy

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