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Written by
George Hudson
George Hudson

Weekly Cycle: Cycling the Alpine Lakes, Geneva to Annecy

Cycling in the shadow of the French Alps along scenic river paths and through picturesque wine producing villages, this 5 night cycling tour is one of the most aesthetically pleasing cycling tours Macs Adventure offer. As the gastronomical capital of Switzerland, the stylish lakeside city of Geneva is not short of eating options and is a great starting point for this classy cycling tour. Having crossed into France, the route to Annecy takes in charming wine producing villages, the spa town of Aix-les-Bains and its Roman baths. Views of the astounding mountain ranges of Beaufortain and Bauges indicate that you are getting close to your finishing point, Annecy. 
[caption id="attachment_19531" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Turquoise Coloured Alpine Lakes Cycling Beside the Turquoise Alpine Lakes[/caption]

In a Nutshell

Where?  Cycling from Geneva in Switzerland to the town of Annecy in France, this tour takes in some beautiful spots along the way. Cycling in the general direction of the Rhone and Isere rivers our route passes through the beautiful villages of Dardagny and Satigny, both of which are involved in the production of crisp Sauvignon Blancs and Chardonnays. Having crossed the French border the next stop is the spa town of Aix-les-Bains which sits on the banks of Lake Bourget, the largest glacial lake in France. This has been a popular destination over the centuries due to the thermal Roman baths. Peddling on, you pass through Chambery which has one of the most remarkable old quarters in all of France. It is worth spending some time exploring, to immerse yourself in the town's fascinating history. The final stops en route to Annecy are Albertville, the town that hosted the 1992 Winter Olympics, and Grésy-sur-Isère, both of which allow for stunning views of the Beaufortain and Bauges mountain ranges. [caption id="attachment_19534" align="aligncenter" width="1000"]Annecy in Summer With its Canals and Historic Stone Buildings Annecy is Beautiful on a Summer's Evening[/caption] Distance? 225 km. Grade? Moderate. The tour should not be underestimated, but can be enjoyed by anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. Choose from either a hybrid or road bike depending on how quickly you want to complete the day's cycling. Daily distances range from 47 km to 60 km with ascents of up to 603 m. [caption id="attachment_19535" align="aligncenter" width="1000"]Alpine Views Fantastic Views Make for Fantastic Cycling[/caption]

Why Cycle Here?

  • Stunning panoramic views across the turquoise perialpine lakes towards snow-capped French Alps. Aside from the stunning visuals, the beauty of this trip is the fact that it captures the majesty of the high Alps without having to complete difficult climbs to the high passes.
  • Fine Swiss and French wines aplenty. Take the chance to enjoy some of the finest wines Switzerland has to offer in the municipalities of Dardagny and Satigny, the latter being the largest wine producing municipality in the country. Crossing over the border into the Rhône Valley sees you cycling through hectares of vineyards whose yields are used in the production of the reasonably priced reds, roses and whites that come under the Côtes du Rhône AOC.
[caption id="attachment_19536" align="aligncenter" width="900"]An Old Vine in The Cotes du Rhone Region Wine Has Been Produced in The Cotes du Rhone Region Since Roman Times[/caption]
  • The Roman baths in Aix-les-Bains are the perfect place to rest your weary legs after the first couple of days cycling and after re-energising in the mineral enriched waters there are numerous roman era ruins to discover.

Planning and Preparation

As with any cycling tour, we recommend doing some training before hand in order to be prepared for a 50 km day in the saddle. This tour is available from April to October but cyclists should be aware of temperatures towards 30°C in July which come may find unpleasant.

Getting to Geneva

By Air: Geneva Airport is served by many airlines from the UK and throughout Europe. The airport is only 4 km from the city and it is possible to take either a bus or train into the centre. Trains take about 6 minutes and by bus a little longer, depending on the traffic. You can also take a taxi which costs between 30 and 35 CHF, depending on the time of day. By Rail: There are frequent trains from Paris Gare de Lyon. Please consult the SNCF website for more information. By Car: Eurotunnel from Folkestone to Calais takes approximately 35 minutes with the total drive from Folkestone to Geneva taking approximately 9 hrs. Ferry: Dover to Calais by ferry is a 90 minute journey, and then approximately 8 hrs from Calais to Geneva. [caption id="attachment_19538" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Lake Annecy Cycling Alongside Lake Annecy[/caption]

Getting from Annecy

Annecy does have a small airport but it is only served by Air France from Paris. We generally recommend taking a train to Geneva. By Rail: From Annecy you can get back to Geneva by train, or to Lyon where there are direct trains to Paris.
If you have any queries about the Cycling the Alpine Lakes: Geneva to Annecy self guided cycling tour, please get in touch with a member of our friendly team on [email protected]
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