A Handbook for Cycling Geneva: The Essentials

Geneva tends to be overshadowed as a prime cycling destination, often seen merely as a transit point for cyclists heading elsewhere, typically towards the Alps or deeper into Switzerland.

Yet, this overlook is a disservice, as Geneva emerges as a stunning gem, perfect for exploring on two wheels. Not only does it boast the renowned cycling circuit around Lake Geneva, known as the Tour du Lac Léman, but it also provides convenient access to acclaimed mountain passes such as the Col de la Colombière, Col de Joux-Plane, and the Col du Grand Colombier.

 Located between Lake Geneva and the French Alps to the east and the Jura mountains to the west, Geneva offers diverse cycling experiences for all enthusiasts. Besides, the city has significantly improved its bike infrastructure in recent years, adding more lanes to promote cycling, especially in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

When to Cycle in Geneva

The best time to visit Geneva for cycling trips largely depends on personal preferences and the type of cycling experience you’re seeking:

Spring: This period offers milder temperatures, blooming landscapes, and fewer tourists. Spring is ideal for leisurely rides around Lake Geneva and exploring the surrounding countryside. However, be prepared for occasional rain showers.

Summer: Summer brings warm temperatures, perfect for high-altitude rides in the nearby Alps. The Tour du Lac Léman and other scenic routes are also delightful during this time. However, Geneva can be crowded with tourists, so consider venturing early in the morning for quieter rides.

Autumn: Autumn offers cooler temperatures and stunning foliage, creating picturesque landscapes for cycling. The crowds thin out, providing a more serene experience. It’s an excellent time for longer rides and exploring vineyards.

Winter: While Geneva remains relatively mild in winter, nearby mountain passes can be covered in snow, limiting access to certain routes. However, lower-elevation trails and urban cycling remain viable options. Additionally, you can use Geneva as a base for skiing and other winter sports in the Alps.

Top 6 Cycling Routes in Geneva

Tour De Luc Léman (Lake Geneva)

Distance: 175.1 km with 1147 m elevation gain

The Tour du Lac Léman is a 175-kilometer cycling route that encircles Lake Geneva. It offers picturesque views of surrounding mountains and charming towns.

Lake Geneva, known as Lac Léman in French, is Europe’s second largest freshwater lake, separating Switzerland from northern France. Geneva is situated on its shores. The route offers stunning scenery and passes through quaint port towns like Nyon and Rolle and larger cities like Lausanne and Montreux. After reaching the lake’s easternmost point and entering France, the route may become congested with traffic, a potential drawback.

Don’t forget to visit the picturesque medieval town of Yvoire, known as the “perle du Léman,” before returning to Geneva.

O-La La outdoors Cycling solo-tour around Lake Geneva

Vue sur le Lac – Col de Saxel loop from Chêne-Bourg

Distance: 69.6 km with 869 m elevation gain

An intermediate route with great roads for you to enjoy the scenery. It takes around 3–3.5 hours to complete and offers great green scenery with hills along the countryside. Besides, you’ll get to see Château du Crest, a castle where local wine is produced.

Cycling in the Alps Etape du Tour 2023 Reconnaissance | Col de Saxel full descent real-time

Route Des Grandes Alpes

Distance: 680.3 km with 16399 m elevation gain

The Route des Grandes Alpes ranks among the world’s most scenic roads, akin to Route 66 or the Silk Road. Spanning the French Alps from north to south, it offers cyclists a remarkable journey from lake shores to the Mediterranean coast.

With breathtaking panoramas at every turn, the route showcases the diverse Alpine landscapes, from Mont Blanc to the Southern Alps and onward to the hinterland of Nice.

It presents an opportunity for cycling enthusiasts to conquer iconic Tour de France climbs and some of Europe’s highest paved roads. Immersing in Alpine villages allows for a genuine cultural experience and insight into the local passion for cycling. Don’t miss out on tasting Alpine cheese specialties like Beaufort, Abondance, and Tomme de Savoie, which add to the authentic charm of the journey.

Terra Nova Route des Grandes Alpes Cycle Tour

Via Rhona

Distance: 568.7 km with 1661 m elevation gain

Via Rhôna is a grand journey, guiding you from the shores of Lake Geneva to the sun-kissed beaches of the Mediterranean. You’ll traverse Alpine panoramas, Cotes du Rhône vineyards, and the enchanting landscapes of southern Provence. Along the way, you’ll also encounter hilltop villages, lavender fields, olive groves, and culinary delights, unveiling over 2000 years of history and heritage treasures. The route offers a blend of secure greenways and shared paths, ensuring a safe and enjoyable cycling adventure.

Nick Barrett ViaRhona by Bike following the Eurotrek 17 Rhone route

Saleve Loop

Distance: 42.4 km with 1152 m elevation gain

This thrilling cycling loop starts with the challenging ascent of the “Croisette,” the toughest route up Salève, followed by a scenic descent to Gaillard via Monnetier. Though relatively short, it offers magnificent views and a great opportunity to breathe fresh air on hot days.

Col de Cou + Col du Perret 

Distance: 88.4 km with 1461 m elevation gain

This cycling route passes through the scenic Chablais region, characterized by rolling hills, dense forests, and charming villages. You’ll enjoy panoramic views of Lake Geneva and the nearby mountains throughout the journey. Besides, you may encounter local wildlife, such as birds of prey and grazing cattle, adding to the natural beauty of the route.

Cycling in the Alps Etape du Tour 2023 Route | Col de Cou | Full Descent

Recommended Hotels in Geneva

Geneva offers the convenience of a major city with the freedom to explore by bike. In general, most areas of the city have access to bike paths to the lake and surrounding countryside.

Hotel N’vY: Rue de Richemont 18, 1202 Geneva link instagram

Warwick Geneva: Rue de Lausanne 14, 1201 Geneva link instagram

Hotel Edelweiss: Pl. de la Navigation 2, 1201 Geneva link instagram

Hotel Mon Repos: Rue de Lausanne 131, 1202 Geneva link instagram

Recommended Bike Rentals in Geneva

Bcyclet Genève : Rue du Champ Blanchod 4, 1228 Plan les Ouates link instagram

Geneva Cycling: Cyclomundo SARL La Chatelaine 18 rue René Cassin 74240 Gaillard link instagram

Genèveroule: 19A, route de la Galaise 1228 Plan-les-Ouates link instagram

Bike Switzerland: Bike Switzerland 22 Rue des Grottes 1201 link

Recommended Cafes in Geneva

Cafe de la Tour: Chemin de la Bâtie 32, 1213 Petit-Lancy link

Restaurant La Table de Mary: Rte du Gymnase 2, 1400 Cheseaux-Noréaz link instagram

Restaurant Auberge D’oul: 73480 Bonneval-sur-Arc link instagram

Le Torrent: 18 Rue Ambroise Martin, 74120 Megève link

Table et Partage: 52 Rue Etienne Richerand, 69003 Lyon link instagram

Chaumière: Chem. de la Fondelle 16, 1256 Troinex link instagram

Restaurant Reposoir:  Rte de Lausanne 222, 1292 Pregny-Chambésy link instagram

If you spot any inaccuracies or have more routes, events, viewpoints, or places to add to our guide, don’t hesitate to reach out through our WhatsApp Community! Your feedback is valuable, and we’re excited to make any necessary adjustments to make our guide even better. Let’s collaborate to enhance your cycling experience!

Scroll to Top