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 is between Geneva and Orange over 13 days, cycling to the likes of Saint-Romain-en-Gal’s Roman archaeological site, the ancient hilltop town of Montélimar and through vineyards of the Ardèche. 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.
- Lake Geneva
- Défilé de l’Écluse waterfalls
- La Balme-les-Grottes
- Lyon – the French foodie capital
- L’île au Beurre Nature Reserve
- Théâtre Antique d’Orange
Click to view map
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 Manotel or similar
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
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: 55m ↑280m ↓275m
- Accommodation: Cdh Vieilles Portes or similar
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: Cdh A deux pas du Rhéby or similar
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: 56m ↑315m ↓290m
- Accommodation: Hôtel la Bérangère or similar
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: Hôtel Le Simplon or similar
Day 7: Lyon – Vienne (or train option) | 33.4km
After Lyon, the itinerary takes you through the towns of Grigny and Givors, on to St-Romain-en-Gal. Museums at St-Romain-en-Gal and Vienne give a good picture of the river’s rich history, from classical to contemporary times.
If you wish to avoid the busy roads of this section there is the option to take a train to Vienne.
- Cycling for the day: 33.4km ↑330m ↓344m
- Accommodation: Hôtel Grand de la Poste or similar
Day 8: Vienne – Serrières | 33.1km
This cycling day offers a great variety of landscapes. From Vienne, once an ancient capital of Roman Gaul, to L’île au Beurre Nature Reserve, via steeply-terraced vineyards, including the prestigious Côte-Rôtie, you also cycle past some of the first major orchards along the Rhône Valley.
- Cycling for the day: 33.1km ↑255m ↓270m
- Accommodation: Hôtel Schaeffer or similar
Day 9: Serrières – Valence | 61.3km
Heading south from Lyon, the route for today runs between steep vineyards and dense orchards, with the Via Rhôna now taking you into the more rugged Ardèche region on the Rhône’s west flank. Take a break in Tournon-sur-Rhône to enjoy its Gallo-Roman history, before continuing on to Valence for your overnight stay.
- Cycling for the day: 61.3km ↑438m ↓448m
- Accommodation: Hôtel Alpes Cevennes or similar
Day 10: Valence – Montélimar | 70.9km
Today’s route leads back onto the western, Ardèche bank of the Rhône. The Ardèche is known for its caves, archaeological sites, ancient villages, châteaux and nature reserves. Continue south along the Via Rhôna and cycle on the famous Rochemaure suspension bridge, built using the pillars of the Vieux Pont. You arrive into Montélimar, gateway to Provence and also famous for its nougat.
- Cycling for the day: 70.9km ↑460m ↓503m
- Accommodation: Hôtel le Printemps or similar
Day 11: Montélimar – Bourg-Saint-Andéol | 28.5km
Leaving Montélimar, cycle through historic towns such as Viviers and Bourg-Saint-Andéol. Today’s short itinerary is packed with heritage treasures including cathedrals, chapels and grand clerical residences.
- Cycling for the day: 28.5km ↑205m ↓236m
- Accommodation: Hôtel Domaine des Oliviers or similar
Day 12: Bourg-Saint-Andéol – Orange | 50.6km
Today is the last cycling day, as you continue on through Provence and the charming village of Pont-Saint-Esprit. The city of Orange, your final destination, can be reached by the afternoon. In the city you can see numerous Roman buildings and monuments, for example original sections of the City Wall, the city’s Arc de Triomphe and its UNESCO World Heritage Theatre.
- Cycling for the day: 50.6km ↑304m ↓308m
- Accommodation: Hôtel Le Clos d’Orange or similar
Day 13: Departure
Departure or extended you stay in Orange.
What to expect
Accommodation on this tour includes a mix of small, locally-owned hotels, B&Bs and traditional 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
- Hotel Jade Manotel (Geneva)
- Hôtel Au Fil de l’Eau (Seyssel)
- Cdh Vieilles Portes (Champagneux)
- Cdh A deux pas du Rhéby (Villebois)
- Hôtel la Bérangère (Pérouges)
- Hôtel Le Simplon (Lyon)
- Hôtel Grand de la Poste (Vienne)
- Hôtel Schaeffer (Serrière)
- Hôtel Alpes Cevennes (Guilheran Granges)
- Hôtel le Printemps (Montélimar)
- Hôtel Domaine des Oliviers (Pierrelatte)
- Hôtel Le Clos d’Orange (Orange)
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.
Accommodation is on a B&B basis. Items for picnics can be purchased in the villages where you’ll be staying, or you can have your lunch in a restaurant along the way. You can have dinner at your hotel or nearby restaurants.
Difficulty and terrain
The daily distances are 28-70km varying from flat to hilly terrain along the route. This holiday is appropriate for moderately experienced cyclists and requires a good level of fitness due to the extended distances and occasional steep climb (read more about difficulty grades). You can also rent an e-bike on this tour. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, 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 the beginning of April until the end of 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 23C in July and August. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that you there is more choice regarding the start date of a trip, you can start your trip any friday, saturday or sunday during the season.
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Our recommended airport for this tour is Geneva.
By train or bus
- Arrival: This trip can either be reached by Geneva or there are flights to Lyon, with a connection to Geneva by train. For time tables and further information look at the website of the SBB).
- Departure from Orange: At the end of your trip you can take a train from Orange to the airport. Recommended airports are Marseille (1h30mins) or Lyon (2h) For timetables and further information see SNCF Connect
- This tour is also reachable by train, with train connections all over France and beyond from both Geneva and Orange. For details of Swiss trains see SBB and for French trains see SNCF Connect.
- 12 overnights with breakfast as detailed in the itinerary
- 1 evening meal
- Luggage transfer on the cycling days (one piece per person, max 20kg)
- Detailed digital holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions, road notes and maps. 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
- Bike rental
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Personal expenses
- Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
- 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 available
- Printed tour information delivered to first hotel
If you would like to rent a bike from us, we can offer you good quality hybrid or e-bikes in excellent condition with appropriate gears and equipment for the trip. All bicycles (whatever the model) are equipped with a bike lock, a helmet, a puncture repair kit, and a pump. Sample pictures attached below, note that the exact models might be different depending on the availability, but the standard will be the same.