Switzerland is a dream for cyclists due to its unbelievable landscapes and top-notch bike infrastructure. The country has made tons of investments to ensure residents and visitors can easily get around on two wheels. When we ventured to Switzerland ourselves, we couldn’t believe the number of bike tours in Switzerland to choose from.
From national to regional routes, there are endless opportunities for biking adventures in Switzerland. Whether you’re a novice or seasoned cyclist, Switzerland has biking routes suitable for any skill level. You can slowly coast beside crystal-clear lakes or trudge through a challenging mountain pass.
After cycling around Switzerland to witness its beauty like never before, we made a list of 5 bike tours that should top your bucket list. We’ve covered all skill levels to show you the diversity of Switzerland’s best cycling holidays. Read through our selection of routes and pack your gear for an unforgettable Switzerland bike tour.
How to get to Switzerland with your bike
Unless you’re planning on renting a bike, you may be wondering how to get your bicycle into Switzerland to start your bike tour. For those traveling from outside of Europe, flying is the only realistic option. Although it’s possible to fly with your bike, it’s time consuming and pricey to prepare it for a flight. If that’s your only choice, make sure you research the fees and packing requirements of your airline.
For our Switzerland cycling tour, we took Flixbus from the Netherlands into Basel. Fortunately, Flixbus is operating nearly everywhere across Europe, and we had no problem booking tickets. We placed our bikes on the rack at the back of the coach and enjoyed the ride to Switzerland.
It’s also possible to take your bike on the train and coast along the European countryside. Switzerland trains accommodate cyclists by allowing you to bring your bike onboard and across the border. SBB offers an international bike ticket that lets you transport your bike through numerous European countries. Check out this link for bike storage info on other European trains.
Of course, you can easily use your car to travel to Switzerland from other European countries. Our advice would be to compare petrol and toll costs of driving to Switzerland from your location versus plane/bus/train tickets.
Where to stay while biking in Switzerland
For adventurous travelers who are often on a tight budget, camping is your best option while cycling around Switzerland. There are hundreds of clean, well-equipped campsites in the Swiss countryside and near major cities. We loved sleeping beneath the stars and waking up beside alpine lakes and snow-capped peaks made our trip even better.
Just know that wild (free) camping in Switzerland is only allowed in the mountains above the treeline. You won’t reach these areas often while bike touring around Switzerland, and you’ll need to stick with mostly paid campsites. For one night at a campsite with a tent and +1 person, the average cost is about CHF 20-25 (about $22-27.50, €19-23.50, £17-21).
Our favorite Switzerland bike tours
1. Bodensee (Lake Constance) Round Trip
- Distance: 270 km (about 168 miles)
- Difficulty: Medium
- Ascent & Descent: 672m Ascent & 671m Descent
The Bodensee bike tour is one of Europe’s classic tours that follows the banks of this oddly-shaped lake. As the third-largest lake in central Europe, Bodensee gives you lots of opportunities to cycle around European towns and scenic countryside. In total, the lakeside path takes you to parts of Switzerland, Germany, and Austria.
Bodensee is wildly popular amongst European cyclists for its stunning views of the lake and limited inclines. The path mostly follows the banks of the lake, and the signage varies considerably depending on the country. Although the signposts are near perfect in Switzerland, parts of Germany and Austria can be tricky.
While cycling in each country, you’ll ride through historic towns, see gorgeous mountain vistas, and coast through picturesque farmland. There are slight challenges at the Bodanrück hills and Schiener Berg on the Höri peninsula, but the other sections are suitable for all skill levels.
The trip is usually divided into 4-7 stages, and you won’t have any difficulty finding campsites and other accommodations near the lake. Many campgrounds are located by the shoreline and provide beautiful views of the alps in the distance. Some of the towns you’ll pass include Kreuzlingen, Romanshorn, Arbon, Bregenz (Austria), Friedrichshafen (Germany), Überlingen (Germany), Stein am Rhein, and Konstanz (Germany).
You really need to check out this link: Interesting facts about the lake Constance cycle path
2. Lake Geneva Round Trip
- Distance: 190 km (about 118 miles)
- Difficulty: Medium
- Ascent & Descent: 1,677m Ascent & 1,677m Descent
Biking around Lake Geneva (Lac Léman) lets you explore beautiful regions of France and Switzerland with the Alps and Jura Mountains as your backdrop. Bike tour 46 (Tour du Léman) transports you around the largest natural lake in the Alps and along scenic roads in the countryside. The regional route doesn’t include many strenuous inclines, and most sections are suitable for riders of all skill levels.
To stay closer to the shoreline and farther away from road traffic, cycle around the lake clockwise. You can also alter your bike tour by hitching rides on the Swiss train for stunning views of snow-capped peaks. Part of this adventure around Lake Geneva wanders into bustling urban centers, but you’ll have plenty of time riding through tranquil, rural areas.
As you pedal along the shoreline, it’s incredible how the mountains reflect on the water’s surface. In between tourist hotspots like Geneva and the Vaud Riviera, you’ll cycle past beautiful vineyards and unspoiled nature reserves. Cycling the slopes of La Côte will require some effort but reaching the peaceful Grangettes Nature Reserve is worth it.
This bike route in Switzerland can easily be broken into stages, and there’s no shortage of camping sites on both sides of the Lake Geneva border. You’ll save a few bucks camping on the French side, but all campgrounds on the shoreline have great amenities. If you wish to spend a few days in the city, Geneva, Lausanne, Montreux, and Thonon-les-Bains (France) have lots of accommodations.
3. 3 Lakes Tour
- Distance: 162 km (about 101 miles)
- Difficulty: Easy
- Ascent & Descent: 397m Ascent & 397m Descent
For first-time cyclists, the 3 Lakes Tour offers exceptional lakeside views on flat terrain for an enjoyable vacation. The lakes of Neuchâtel, Murten, and Biel rest in the Jura region of Switzerland, and the bike route ventures into tiny villages and small towns. For a base location to prep your journey, the capital city of Bern is around 30 km from Lake Murten.
The route has very few inclines and lets you coast along serene country roads by the lakes. You’ll also pass spectacular views of the Jura Mountains, vineyard landscapes, tranquil forests, and lush marshlands. Lake Neuchâtel is the largest lake entirely in Switzerland, and its southern shore is not far from a pristine bird habitat.
Most campsites and accommodations are situated around Lake Neuchâtel, but you’ll also find campgrounds on the shores of Lake Biel and Murten. The 3 Lakes region is highlighted by many historic towns rich with medieval sites. Yverdon-les-Bains, Neuchâtel, Biel/Bienne, and Estavayer are popular options to spend the night while touring the 3 lakes.
Check out this link: Map – 3 lakes bike tour in Switzerland
4. National Route 9
- Distance: 510 km (around 317 miles)
- Difficulty: Medium
- Ascent & Descent: 6,100m Ascent & 6,100m Descent
National Cycling Route 9 is the longest of the nine national cycling routes in Switzerland and cuts through the heart of the Swiss countryside. Known as the Lakes Route, the journey stretches from Bodensee to Lake Geneva and passes 10 other lakes in between. Some of the enchanting lakes you ride by include Lake Zug, Lake Ägeri, Lake Zurich, and Lake Lucerne.
Although the inclines aren’t as treacherous compared to other routes, you will face several uphill climbs and mountain passes. The alpine beauty you witness throughout the ride make the ascents totally worth it. If you do need a little boost, you can always take the train uphill and race downhill on your bike.
In addition to mountain and lakeside vistas, this bike tour in Swizerlands lets you visit and spend the night at some of Switzerland’s charming cities. You can begin the trip in either Montreux or Rorschach, and visit popular places like Gstaad, Gruyères, and Luzern. This route is fantastic for camping beside lakes or beneath alpine vistas that Switzerland is known for.
5. Round Trip Switzerland (National Route 7-2-1)
- Total Distance: 1,065 km (about 662 miles)
- Difficulty: Medium-Difficult
- Ascent & Descent: Route 7 (5,400m Ascent & 5,200m Descent) Route 2 (3,600m Ascent & 4,800m Descent) Route 1 (3,600m Ascent & 4,600m Descent)
If you have a few weeks for your Switzerland bike tour, consider traveling around the entire country by bike. For our cycling holiday, we used National Routes 7, 2, and 1 for a round trip across Switzerland. The itinerary combined the Jura, Rhine, and Rhone routes to explore famous Swiss towns, breathtaking mountain scenery, and sparkling lakes.
The landscape diversity was off the charts, and we saw for ourselves why Switzerland is one of European’s most beloved destinations. From evergreen forests and peaceful valleys to gushing waterfalls and snow-capped peaks, this route had hundreds of postcard-worthy images. For experienced cyclists, National Route 7-2-1 receives our highest praise for an adventurous vacation.
Whether you prefer camping or a comfy snooze inside a hotel, there’s an abundance of accommodations to choose from. You have the chance to spend nights beside beautiful lakes, such as Lake Geneva and Bodensee, or bustling towns like Basel and Chur. In between, there are rural campgrounds, cozy hotels, and affordable hostels to accommodate you.
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Thanks for checking out our favorite bike tours in Switzerland. Hopefully, this has provided the information you need to select the best Switzerland cycling tours for your interests and skill level. If you have cycled in Switzerland before, or if you have a question, please leave a comment below.