The mere mention of Switzerland evokes breathtaking images of verdant green pastures, long-lashed brown cows, towering pinnacles and impossibly-blue lakes flanked by dark forests and criss-crossed by romantic lake steamers.
If you’ve ever visited this intriguing land of four official languages, you’ll know why it has delighted visitors since the nineteenth century. If not, and you love cycling, now’s the time to discover why, despite its mountainous terrain, Switzerland was made for cycle adventures.
For 10 inspirational days, you’ll explore well-preserved medieval villages and cycle beneath peaks that define mountaineering history. Fairy-tale castles and picture-book cathedrals wait around the next corner of cycle-friendly routes, while medieval cities bid a warm welcome from their well-preserved fortifications.
And of course, with around 7000 sparkling lakes in Switzerland, there’s always the temptation of a refreshing dip along the way…
Today we say ‘Gruezi!’ to Switzerland.
After breakfast, as we lick the last delicious gipfeli crumbs from our lips, the excitement mounts. We’ll personally equip you with your choice of bicycle – and make sure it fits perfectly for your forthcoming Switzerland cycling holiday.
Then we’re off to explore beautifully preserved Gruyères. What a way to begin our first day on Swiss time, by discovering this enchanting medieval village with its fairy-tale eleventh-century castle overlooking the Saane valley.
Soon it’s lunch time, so let's sample authentic cheese fondue, Switzerland’s best known delicacy. After all, Gruyère cheese, with its distinctive nutty notes, is a key ingredient. Then enjoy an easy introductory ride to explore nearby Lake Gruyère. En route, meander through idyllic pastures to the tinkling of cow bells; then relax and let the vestiges of workaday cares drift away as you take in the lake views.
For another recommended excursion, take your bike on the train, through breathtaking scenery, to stylish Gstaad. In the jewel of the Saanen Valley, one of Switzerland’s smartest resorts, walk in the footsteps of famous residents such as Roger Moore and Peter Sellers. On the way back to Gruyères, we follow the national cycle route for more wonderful immersion in the Swiss landscape.
Today we continue our adventure along the shore of tranquil Lake Gruyère on quiet lanes and forest tracks; soon, we’re navigating immaculately maintained farmland with stunning views of snow-capped peaks. Already, the Bernese Oberland beckons us closer; we'll visit in the days ahead. But for now, it’s Fribourg’s charms that invite us into this delightful walled city perched on its rocky spur overlooking the River Saane.
Today, let’s explore Fribourg’s steep cobbled streets – with regular stops for coffee and mouth-watering Gâteaux Bullois. The narrow streets and alleyways are packed with ancient buildings. Most spectacular of all is perhaps the Gothic, thirteenth-century, St Nicolas Cathedral with its landscape-dominating spire and impressive statues depicting Christ’s entombment.
Then it’s a short walk to the Grand Rue, before further exploration of myriad steep, cobblestoned streets, fortified ramparts, medieval gates, towers and a great Bulwark – an artillery fort from the 1490s and one of only two in Switzerland.
Fribourg also homes several fascinating museums, including the Swiss Puppet Museum, a Gutenberg Museum and a gallery celebrating acclaimed Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely.
We also recommend visiting lakeside Murten. At its heart is one of Switzerland’s best preserved medieval towns; it's still encircled by fifteenth-century walls – Ringmauer. Explore the historic arcaded main street and red-roofed towers of Murten Castle. Then enjoy the tranquillity of Lake Murten’s shore and sampling the renowned fillet of perch meunière before cycling back to Fribourg.
After more fortifying Bircher muesli and gipfeli, we leave for another day’s relaxed riding through the heart of Switzerland’s Mittelland – the gently undulating plateau separating the Jura from the high Alps. It’s a wonderful journey of quiet roads, rolling meadows, and quintessential Swiss villages. Let’s enjoy it!
Around halfway, we cross the boundary between cantons Fribourg and Berne, pedal over the River Sense and enter Laupen. This unmissable village is the site of the Battle of Laupen (1339) and a valley-dominating castle with an impressive keep, tower and ring wall.
Enjoy a leisurely lunch before exploring the old town. Walking or riding up cobbled Marktgasse to the Laeubliplatz really is like entering a giant stage, backdropped by bright-coloured, half-timbered houses and the pretty, white-spired church. The castle’s nearby too, before we ride on, following the Sense for several kilometres before striking off towards Bern, Switzerland’s capital.
Today, we say ‘Gruessach’ to Bern, the birthplace of cycle-racer Fabian Cancellara. With so many wonderful corners to explore, our day is unscripted, so we can go wherever the mood takes us. Let’s get started!
If you prefer two wheels, Bern, is extremely cycle friendly. Alternatively, the city’s a joy to explore on foot. From the famous clock tower – the Zytgloegge – to the imposing Munster with great views from its Munsterplatform, Bern’s medieval old town – a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983 – is compact and accessible. Cross the Nydegg Bridge – one of several spanning the deeply-incised River Aare – and visit the new Baerenpark. It’s home to real brown bears; they gave Bern its name and have been associated with the city since 1191. Then visit the nearby rose garden further up the hill for wonderful views of the old town and river.
If you love museums, Bern is sure to delight: the Renzo Piano-designed Paul Klee Centre and Albert Einstein House should please art and science lovers. And then there’s the History Museum, Natural History Museum, Swiss Alpine Museum and Communication Museum – all conveniently located just across the Kirchenfeld Bridge from the old town.
All this exploring – including calorie-burning walks down cobbled streets to the river and up again – is sure to give us appetites. That’s good, because Bern is home to all manner of delicious treats to enjoy. Try sweet Berner lebkuchen, schoggikuchen, savoury zweibelkuche (onion pie) or the classic – vegetarians look away now – Berner Platte of meats and sausage. And all washed down with a refreshing Felsenau beer or Apfelschorle… En Guete everybody – enjoy your meal!
We’ll sleep well tonight. Tomorrow, we reach the Bernese Oberland…
We leave Bern with happy memories and unforgettable impressions of Switzerland’s fascinating capital.
Today’s adventure is dominated by the rich agricultural land alongside the mighty River Aare – the longest river rising and ending entirely within Switzerland. It’s a gentle, always-engaging ride towards the 4000m peaks of the Bernese Alps that beckon us inexorably nearer.
Stop a while in Thun, on the shore of the similarly lake. Visit captivating Thun castle, perched high on the Schlossberg overlooking town – with panoramic views to match. Then find somewhere to enjoy a coffee, refreshing beer or glass of delicious Swiss wine – it’s so good, the Swiss keep most of it to themselves rather than export it! Then, in the grassy Schadaupark, enjoy a lakeside promenade where the blue-green Aare leaves 11 mile-long (17.5km) Lake Thun.
From here, it’s a relaxed hour’s ride along the lake, past the idyllic, wooded, Kander delta, to Spiez, where we’re booked for three-nights.
After another delicious alpine breakfast, today begins with the bliss of a help-out lift past the distinctive cone-shaped Niesen to Kandersteg, up at 3900 feet (1200m).
We recommend walking to the incomparable Oeschinensee. Just imagine the sheer unadulterated joy of its wooded shores – and looking up in awe at the towering Duendenhorn, Doldenhorn and Bluemlisalphorn cradling its impossibly-blue water. Back in Kandersteg, we saddle up again for the exhilarating ride down the Kander valley to Spiez. On the way, a short (well-signed) detour to the crystal-clear, legend-steeped, Blausee is recommended – perhaps with a lunch break to enjoy the lake’s renowned organic trout.
Today also starts with another help-out lift; this time, up to Grindelwald in the Bernese Oberland’s heart. Located at the feet of three of the world’s most iconic peaks, the village enjoys one of the Alps’ most beautiful, dramatic and recognisable settings.
Grindelwald could be the ‘poster child’ for chocolate-box pretty villages nestled amid mighty peaks, eternal snows and emerald green alpine pastures. From its chic restaurants and Europe’s highest mountain railways, to mind-blowing vistas and traditional alpine food, this is everything you ever imagined about Switzerland.
Ride a gondola up to lofty Maennlichen for wonderful panoramas of the Wetterhorn, Eiger (Ogre), Moench (Monk) and Jungfrau (virgin). Or catch the Wengernalpbahn that creeps, like a tiny clockwork caterpillar, up to Kleine Scheidegg – then crane your neck to look up the sheer (5900 feet/1800m) Eiger Nordwand.
The choices are yours until, with afternoon shadows changing the mountains’ character by the minute, it’s time to swoop back down the valley of the Schwarze Luetschine. En route to Spiez, do explore elegant Interlaken before returning to our hotel.
Today we say a fond ‘Uf Widerluege’ to Spiez. We’ll transfer you direct from Spiez to Geneva or Basel Airport, by train or minibus and, look forward to welcoming you back next year.
After another wonderful day’s cycling, what a joy it will be to return to your base in Switzerland’s lush Saane valley. The wonderful Hotel de Gruyères located close to the town’s hilltop château with all its fairy-tale promises...
As your hotel’s website says, you’ll ’Sleep at the gates of Medieval Gruyères’. Look forward to relaxing in a quiet room with balcony, private bathroom, quintessentially Swiss rustic decoration, minibar, hairdryer and free Wi-Fi access. Most rooms also feature panoramas
Wake up to breathe clear mountain air, watch deer, Swiss cows and sheep graze peacefully, and savour panoramic views to the Dents du Chamois that come with most rooms. The views are equally beguiling from the garden and terrace where we can unwind with a drink and recall the day’s adventures. Then, how about a massage or sauna in the spa area before strolling into the medieval village for delicious, authentic fondue or raclette?
And in the morning, before exploring the village or venturing further afield to the Lake of Gruyère or glitzy Gstaad, tuck into delicious breads, croissants, meats and cheeses. Another amazing day has just begun in your Swiss paradise…
‘Let us add sunshine to your stay!’ bids the lovely Hotel de la Rose in the heart of Fribourg’s medieval old town. Welcome to your boutique-hotel base in this most enchanting of Swiss cities.
Leave the seventeenth-century frontage, step onto Place de la Grenette and you’re immersed in the historic ambience that makes Fribourg so special. You’re just across the street from the acclaimed Espace de Jean Tinguely. And magnificent Saint Nicholas Cathedral is minutes away down Sankt-Niklaus-Gaesschen.
After an amazing day – or to start the next – listen to the bells of Fribourg’s churches, then savour magical views over the city and the square. The rooms are cosy, appealingly decorated, with pretty private bathrooms – everything needed to feel at home after another day’s adventures.
For your comfort, the rooms have flat-screen satellite TV, tea and coffee-making facilities, safes, hairdryers and that ever-useful free Wi-Fi. Guests can even use a free ‘travel buddy’ during their stay – a smartphone – the Swiss say Handy – for free calls and internet in and outside the hotel!
But before heading out to explore, enjoy a delicious Fribourg breakfast of mouth-watering local produce, delicious coffee and freshly-squeezed orange juice.
You’re visiting the heart of the Swiss capital, Bern – or Berne – close to the old town’s medieval streets, towering bridges over the River Aare, Bern’s famous brown bears and its diverse cultural attractions.
The location is undeniably ‘Swiss Old Town’ – in the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage Site near the Swiss parliament buildings. But your modern boutique hotel features all the modern facilities and appointments that you desire after a fascinating day’s cycling – or just strolling around the city.
So, fuel up for a long ride or more urban exploration with a delicious daily breakfast buffet. And at journey’s end, relax with a Felsteiner beer or a coffee in The Bristol’s bar and lounge area while planning tomorrow’s adventures using the free Wi-Fi.
Your room at The Bristol is likely to combine quirky décor with Swiss urban elegance: look forward to a private bathroom, cable TV, tea and coffee-making facilities and a hairdryer – maybe even a balcony too…. Reviewers also rave about the free pass for Bern’s bus and tram system – we’ll leave it to you to decide whether you prefer this to your trusty Oro Tours bike!
Your base in Spiez, in the heart of the Bernese Oberland, is the gorgeous Hotel-Restaurant Seegarten-Marina. Imagine the sublime pleasure of relaxing in one of Spiez’s top-rated locations – next to the shimmering blue waters of Lake Thun at the foot of the towering, distinctively cone-shaped, Niesen.
Yes, your base in Spiez right on the lakeshore with panoramic lacustrine and mountain views from most rooms – and the sun-kissed terrace overlooking the moored yachts and launches on the azure waters. Imagine falling asleep to the peaceful lapping sound of lake water and the hypnotic tinkle of boat rigging.
The rooms are beautifully appointed and packed with the comforts that you deserve after a busy day’s cycling or walking – a private bathroom, flat-screen TV, minibar, tea and coffee-making facilities, hairdryer and complementary Wi-Fi.
After adventuring to Grindelwald, Kandersteg or other alpine highpoints, it’s a joy to relax and daydream while you survey the lake scene and let any remaining cares drift away. Later, enjoy delicious fish specialities or home-made pizza in the Seegarten-Marina’s acclaimed restaurant – washed down with some of the wonderful wine that the Swiss love to keep for their own…
|Jul 7, 12, 21, 26||£1,495|
|Aug 4, 9, 18, 23||£1,495|
|Jul 9, 14, 23, 28||£1,095|
|Aug 6, 11, 20, 25||£1,095|
Prices are per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room without flights and transfers.
Triple room: £10 per third person per night.
Infants under 2 years: Sharing bed with parents FREE. Additional expenses e.g. food or cots, to be paid direct to the hotelier.
Children under 12 years: £15 off per night.
Single room: £32 per night.
E-Bike: £20 per day (number of days charged will be one less than the number of nights of your tour).
Tandem: £15 per day (number of days charged will be one less than the number of nights of your tour).
£250 per person
Our experts shall be only too pleased to research the most convenient and best value flights for you and, to arrange your airport transfers. Please call on 01568 780777 for an individual quotation, which will be sent to you by email. On acceptance of our quotation, we shall be pleased to book all arrangements for you.
Holidays booked together with a flight are protected by The Travel Trust Association’s ATOL (number: 10300).
Flights and transfers are charged at cost, plus a £20 per person booking fee to cover service and ATOL fees.
If you wish to extend your holiday, with perhaps a short stay in a nearby city of interest, please call our experts on 01568 780777 for help and guidance.
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