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This handy guidebook contains route descriptions for the 9 Swiss National cycle routes including the difficult Alpine Star tours. The National Routes are signposted in both directions which makes it easy to create longer tours. There are routes suitable for all abilities, from gentle family rides to strenuous routes for the experienced cyclist.
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Switzerland is an ideal country for cycling – not only for its spectacular alpine landscape, but because of the extensive network of cycle routes that cover the most scenic areas of the country. This guidebook describes about 5000km of routes in Switzerland, as well as sections in neighbouring Austria, Germany and Italy. The routes range from gentle rides along rivers and lakesides to thigh-busting climbs over passes featured in the Tour de Suisse. The routes are mainly on well-signposted dedicated cycle tracks and quiet roads, and can be linked to form tours of up to several weeks.
All the national and several regional routes are described in this guidebook. In addition, some as yet unmarked and signposted variations are suggested in Central Switzerland, the Berner Oberland, Graubunden in south-eastern Switzerland and in and around Andermatt and The Alpine Star. All of the Swiss National Routes are signposted in both directions and the modifications that are suggested mean that certain routes can be cycled in reverse.
The aim of this guidebook is to offer a weave of routes so that not all east-west routes, for example, are described in the same direction so it’s easier to combine routes into longer tours. Estimated cycle times are based on a leisurely progress on touring bicycles with baggage and no sag wagon, allowing time to smell the flowers and look at the scenery. The grades are the subjective judgements of the authors, ranging from easy to exceedingly strenuous. All routes are suitable for road bikes or touring bikes.
There are routes to cater for all abilities from gentle family rides to much harder 100km trails for the dedicated and experienced cyclists. The easy routes are normally flat or climb imperceptibly and are suitable for families and returning or new cyclists. The moderate routes have stages that are short and climb a maximum of 800m. The more challenging route stages – difficult or strenuous- normally involve between 800 and 1500m climbing. The exceedingly strenuous routes described in the Alpine Star chapter are over 100km long and feature climbs of 3000m. Each individual route is broken down into a series of stages, rather than days. Sometimes it is be possible to cycle two stages in a day.
We are always grateful to readers for information about any discrepancies between a guidebook and the facts on the ground. If you would like to send some information to us then please use our Feedback form. They will be published here following review by the author(s).
|An overview of the routes|
|How to use this guide|
|Staying Alive: Safety and route finding|
|Getting there and getting about|
|What to take|
|Food and drink|
|Notes on the tables|
|1 The Rhône Route, R1|
|Stage 1 Andermatt – Oberwald|
|Stage 2 Oberwald – Sierre|
|Stage 3 Sierre – Montreux|
|Stage 4 Montreux – Genève|
|2 The Rhein Route, based on R2|
|Stage 1 Andermatt – Disentis|
|Stage 2 Disentis – Chur|
|Stage 3 Chur – Buchs|
|Excursion Rund um die Churfirsten (Around the Churfirsten)|
|Stage 4 Buchs – St Margrethen|
|Stage 5 St Margrethen – Lindau|
|Stage 6 Lindau – Konstanz|
|Stage 7 Konstanz – Gailingen|
|Stage 8 Gailingen – Koblenz (Hochrhein)|
|Stage 9 Koblenz (Hochrhein) – Basel|
|3 The North–South Route, based on R3|
|Stage 1 Basel – Sursee|
|Stage 2 Sursee – Gersau|
|Stage 3 Gersau – Linthal|
|Stage 4 Linthal – Altdorf|
|Stage 5 Altdorf – Disentis|
|Stage 6 Disentis – Bellinzona|
|Stage 7 Bellinzona|
|4 The Alpine Panorama Route, R4|
|Prologue Rorschach or Bregenz – St Margrethen|
|Stage 1 St Margrethen – Heiden|
|Stage 2 Heiden – Kaltbrunn/Filzbach|
|Stage 3 Kaltbrunn – Gersau over the Klausenpass or through the Klöntal Valley|
|Stage 4 Gersau – Sörenberg|
|Stage 5 Sörenberg – Burgistein|
|Stage 6 Burgistein – Fribourg/Bulle|
|Stage 7 Bulle – Aigle|
|Epilogue Aigle – Montreux|
|5 The Mittelland Route, R5|
|Stage 1 Romanshorn – Winterthur|
|Stage 2 Winterthur – Aarau|
|Stage 3 Aarau – Biel/Bienne|
|Stage 4 Biel/Bienne – Yverdon-les-Bains|
|Stage 5 Yverdon-les-Bains – Lausanne|
|6 An Engadine Circuit, and beyond, based on R6|
|Stage 1 Chur – Chiavenna|
|Stage 2 Chiavenna – St Moritz|
|Stage 3 St Moritz – Davos|
|Stage 4 Davos – Nauders|
|Stage 5 Nauders – Santa Maria|
|Stage 6 Santa Maria – Pontresina|
|Stage 7 Pontresina – Chur|
|Southern Leg Splügen – Bellinzona|
|7 The Jura Route, R7|
|Stage 1 Basel – Courgenay|
|Stage 2 Courgenay – La Chaux-de-Fonds|
|Stage 3 La Chaux-de-Fonds – Baulmes|
|Stage 4 Baulmes – Nyon|
|8 The Aare Route, based on R8|
|Stage 1 Koblenz – Brugg|
|Stage 2 Brugg – Zofingen|
|Stage 3 Zofingen – Solothurn|
|Stage 4 Solothurn – Bern|
|Stage 5 Bern – Interlaken|
|Stage 6 Interlaken – Meiringen/Brienz|
|9 The Lakes Route, R9|
|Stage 1 Montreux – Bulle|
|Stage 2 Bulle – Gstaad|
|Stage 3 Gstaad – Interlaken|
|Stage 4 Interlaken – Giswil|
|Stage 5 Giswil – Zug|
|Stage 6 Zug – Filzbach|
|Stage 7 Filzbach – Buchs|
|Stage 8 Buchs – Rorschach|
|10 The Berner Oberland|
|Route 1 Lauterbrunnen Valley|
|Route 2 Meiringen/Brienz via Grosse Scheidegg|
|Route 3 Around Thunersee|
|Route 4 Wattenwil|
|Route 5 Luzern|
|Route 6 Frutigen and Kandersteg|
|11 The Alpine Star|
|Tour 1 The Alpine Circuit Gotthard–Nufenen–Furka|
|Tour 2 The Three Language Tour: Oberalp–Lukmanier–Gotthard|
|Tour 3 The Alpen Brevet Junior Route|
|Appendix 1 Useful websites and information sources|
|Appendix 2 Recommended accommodation|
|Appendix 3 Glossary of cycling terms|