The Via Rhôna is one of France’s most exciting and varied cycling routes, following the Rhône River from Lake Geneva in Switzerland to France’s Mediterranean coast, covering over 815km. This section cycling Geneva to Lyon is over seven days, with highlights including Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps, Chanaz on the Savières Canal and the medieval village of Pérouges. As well as to the lively and artistic city of Lyon. Stay in a mix of small, locally-owned hotels with luggage transfers. E-bikes are also available.
- Geneva and Lake Geneva
- La Balme-les-Grottes
- Glandieu waterfall
- Champagneux region
- Lyon, France’s foodie capital
- Swiss Alps
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Day 1: Arrival in Geneva
Arrival in Geneva and check in to your hotel. Take the time to discover this beautiful Swiss city on the shores of Lake Geneva.
- Accommodation: Hotel Jade Monotel or similar in Geneva
Day 2: Geneva – Seyssel (or train option) | 60km
Today’s cycle takes you from Switzerland to France along the Rhône, first stopping at Défilé de l’Écluse gorge, before journeying past vineyards and foothills of the Alps. This part of the trip will be on some busier roads, but the rest of the week it will be much quieter. Overnight in the town of Seyssel, on the banks of the river.
If you wish to avoid the busy roads of this first section there is the option to take a train to Seyssel.
- Cycling for the day: 60km ↑654m ↓780m
- Accommodation: Hôtel Au Fil de l’Eau or similar in Seyssel
Day 3: Seyssel – Champagneux | 55km
Start the day with a cycle between ridges and a plateau on the banks of the Rhône. We recommend a break in one of the restaurants in Chanaz along the Savières Canal, before continuing on towards the towns of Culoz and Belley. Today’s cycle ends in the Champagneux region.
- Cycling for the day: 55km ↑280m ↓275m
- Accommodation: Les Vieilles Portes or similar in Champagneux
Day 4: Champagneux – Villebois | 67km
Today the route continues through Saint-Genix-sur-Guiers, a great stop to sample its famous gâteau de Saint-Genix. Continue on towards the village of Glandieu and admire the waterfall, before heading to Morestel, with its handsome old town. The final part of today’s cycle continues on the greenway linking La Vallée Bleue with Villebois for your overnight stay.
- Cycling for the day: 67km ↑385m ↓410m
- Accommodation: A deux pas du Rhéby or similar in Villebois
Day 5: Villebois – Pérouges | 56km
This Via Rhôna stage takes you through the unspoilt countryside of Burgey above the Rhône. Cycle through the villages of Saint-Sorlin-en-Bugey, Sault-Brénaz, and La Balme-les-Grottes, famous for the caves after which it is named. The route finally reaches the hilltop village of Pérouges, which has the title of one of the most beautiful villages in France.
- Cycling for the day: 56km ↑315m ↓290m
- Accommodation: Hotel la Bérangère or similar in Pérouges
Day 6: Pérouges – Lyon | 46km
Today’s cycle day links the parks and lakes of Greater Lyon, including Le Grand Large and Miribel-Jonage. The central Lyon cycle route, along the banks of the Rhône, passes the Rhône’s confluence with the Saône. There is a contemporary new quarter here now, the most striking building being the Musée des Confluences. Take the rest of the day to explore the city and have a meal in a petit bouchon, the name for the city’s traditional restaurants.
- Cycling for the day: 46km ↑240m ↓340m
- Accommodation: Hotel le Simplon or similar in Lyon
Day 7: Departure
Departure or additional nights in Lyon.
What to expect
Accommodations on this tour include a mix of charming 2-star and 3-star small hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses. They have been carefully selected based on a variety of criteria including their location, warm hospitality, fine local food or commitment to responsible tourism. All rooms have en-suite or private bathrooms
Click to view default hotels
Hotels are subject to availability. In the event of a particular hotel being fully booked for your chosen dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Breakfast is included on each morning and one dinner on day four . When no restaurant location is available en route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or you can pre-order a packed lunch at your hotel. Dinner is available either from the restaurant in your accommodation or restaurants in the village near your hotel.
Difficulty and terrain
This holiday is appropriate for moderately experienced cyclists and requires a basic level of fitness. The daily distances vary between 50km and 70km and with occasional steep climbs. The route cycle path is overall well-constructed and a perfect example for signposting and routing, mostly tarmac surface everywhere (read more about difficulty grades). Please note that from Geneva to Seyssel is the most difficult stage and not recommended for beginner cyclists as the road is very busy and steep. The routes are easy to follow, and we provide detailed route notes and GPS tracks, which you can load on any device or application. The route notes that accompany each itinerary give a detailed account of your route to give you continual points of reference, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.
When to go
This trip is available from mid-April until mid-October. The best time for cycling is between May and September when the weather is generally good, and the average daily temperatures are 22-24C and up to 27C in July and August.
The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date within the season, except on Thursdays in April-June and September-October.
Click to view travel options
Our recommended airport for this holiday is Geneva (GVA).
By train or bus
Departure from Lyon:
- There are direct trains and buses to Paris from Lyon. Please check the SNCF-Connect website for more details on schedules and prices of trains, or rome2rio for buses. You can also get a train to Geneva from all over Europe. See SBB for details.
- Lyon has two international airports with flights to almost 200 destinations. For more information, please visit the Lyon airports website
- 6 nights in private rooms with en-suite facilities
- 6 breakfasts
- 1 dinner on day 4
- Luggage transport on cycling days (1 piece per person up to 20kg)
- Tourist city taxes
- Tour materials: detailed roadbook including maps (digital format), a navigation app for smartphones, and GPS tracks. Please note, that the information pack for this tour is digital only and will be emailed to you prior to departure.
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Additional travel-related changes in the programme due to bad weather
- All personal expenses
- Bike rental
- Any items not explicitly listed as included
Options, extras and supplements
- If you’re travelling in a group, a supplement applies to group members who would like to have a room of their own
- This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
- Extra nights before the tour, along the way and at the end of the tour can be booked on request
- Bike rental: hybrid bikes and e-bikes; extra days bike rental
- Printed tour information delivered to first hotel
Hybrid bike rental: SCOTT Sub Cross Men/Women Alloy Frame, 24 Speed. The bikes come with pannier, handlebar bag, spare tube, tools, pump, helmet and lock.
E-bike rental: SCOTT E-Sub. The bikes come with pannier, spare tube, tools, pump, helmet and lock.
Sample pictures above; note that the exact models might be different depending on the availability, but the standard will be the same.