The River Rhone Cycle Route

From the Alps to the Mediterranean

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7 Oct 2016
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.5cm

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Guidebook to cycling the Rhone Cycle Route, an 895km ride through France and Switzerland from the Swiss Alps to the Mediterranean Sea. Divided into 20 stages, each approximately 45km long, the route can be completed by most cyclists in 10-14 days. Includes information on preparation, navigation, accommodation and amenities on route.

Seasons Seasons
Except for stage 1 in the high Swiss Alps, the route can be cycled between April and October. Stage 1 can only be cycled when Furkapass is snow free, usually mid-May to mid-October.
Centres Centres
A point-to-point route passing through Martigny, Montreax, Geneva, Lyon, Vienne, Valence, Montélimar and Arles.
Difficulty Difficulty
A straightforward route that is generally downhill or level, (though there are a few short ascents). Mostly asphalt surfaces in good condition suitable for hybrid or touring cycles. Much of the route follows dedicated off-road cycle tracks, suitable for family cycling, though there are a few short sections where main roads are used.
Must See Must See
The Rhone glacier, Furka pass, Lake Geneva, Château de Chillon, Montreux, Lausanne, Geneva, Lyon, Vienne, Valence, Montélimar, vineyards of the Côtes du Rhone, papal city of Avignon. Roman Arles, Camargue delta.
7 Oct 2016
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.5cm
  • Overview

    Guide to The River Rhone Cycle Route, an 895km bicycle ride starting high in the Alps of central Switzerland and finishing at the Mediterranean Sea, near Marseille. The route - which is mostly downhill - is divided into 20 stages (averaging 45km per stage) and can be completed by most cyclists in 12-14 days. The described route uses two waymarked national cycle trails: the Swiss R1 Rhone Route and the French ViaRhôna, which together have been adopted by the ECF (European Cyclists' Federation) as EuroVélo route EV17. 

    The guide provides detailed route descriptions and 1:150,000 mapping for each stage, together with plenty of practical advice such as preparing for the journey, transport options there and back, what to take, accommodation en route and more. A Swiss/French glossary is also included.

    Taking in dramatic mountain vistas, Lake Geneva's enchanting beauty and the coastal delights of southern France, the route showcases some of the region's most spectacular scenery, making it a veritable gem for any tour cyclist looking to stretch their legs in stunning surrounds. If a visual feast is not enough, cyclists can indulge in the gastronomic wonders of the region. And need we mention the fact that the Rhone flows through some of the greatest wine producing regions of both Switzerland and France?

  • Contents

    The Rhone Cycle Route
    Natural environment
    Getting there and back
    Food and drink
    Amenities and services
    What to take
    Safety and emergencies
    About this guide
    The route
    Stage 1 Furkapass to Brig
    Stage 2 Brig to Sierre
    Stage 3 Sierre to Martigny
    Stage 4 Martigny to Montreux
    Stage 5 Montreux to Morges
    Stage 6 Morges to Geneva
    Stage 5A Le Bouveret to Thonon-les-Bains
    Stage 6A Thonon-les-Bains to Geneva
    Stage 7 Geneva to Seyssel
    Stage 8 Seyssel to Champagneux dam
    Stage 9 Champagneux dam to Lagnieu
    Stage 10 Lagnieu to Lyon
    Stage 11 Lyon to Vienne
    Stage 12 Vienne to Sablons
    Stage 13 Sablons to Tournon-sur-Rhône
    Stage 14 Tournon-sur-Rhône to Valence
    Stage 15 Valence to Le Pouzin
    Stage 16 Le Pouzin to Montélimar
    Stage 17 Montélimar to Pont-St Esprit
    Stage 18 Pont-St Esprit to Avignon
    Stage 19 Avignon to Arles
    Stage 20 Arles to Port-St Louis-du-Rhône

    Appendix A Stage summary table
    Appendix B Facilities summary table
    Appendix C Twelve-day schedule
    Appendix D Tourist information offices
    Appendix E Youth hostels and gîtes d’étape
    Appendix F Useful contacts
    Appendix G Language glossary

  • Updates
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    June 2017

    Stage 9, page 143. Between Le Port de Groslée and the Villebois dam, a new fully

    waymarked section of the ViaRhona was inaugurated in June 2016. This follows a
    route different to that in the guide, making a large detour away from the Rhone
    to pass through Morestel and Arandon. This route is 40km in length, compared to
    24.5km for the route described in the book. A map of the new route and
    information on points of interest and facilities can be found at under stage 7.

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Mike Wells

Mike Wells has been a keen long-distance walker and cyclist for over 20 years. He has walked all the major British trails, the GR5 through the Alps from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean and has explored the Italian Dolomites' Alta Via routes. He has also walked in Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Norway and Chilean Patagonia.
Mike has cycled the C2C route across northern England as well as the Camino and Ruta de la Plata to Santiago de la Compostela. He has completed an end to end traverse of Cuba, a circumnavigation of Iceland and a trip across Lapland to the North Cape.

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