Testing the New Signed Bike Route Round Lac Léman
After 5 years of the Swiss and French authorities combining their efforts, the signposted cycle route around the Lac Leman has finally been opened. This route covers almost 200 kilometres of peaceful roads that boast stunning views of the panoramic landscapes and Lake Geneva. On the northern side of the lake, which is under the regulation of the Swiss authorities, the route has red markings which display the number 46, whereas the southern side, under French regulation, has green and white signage with the title “Tour du Leman” displayed clearly. This route is not only well marked, it is also well designed, making it simpler than ever before for cyclists to find a quiet and scenic, yet relatively short route around the lake. The circuit can be completed in around two days, and gives cyclists the opportunity to enjoy the region’s beautiful scenery such as the Lavaux vineyard terraces, the Grangettes nature reserve’s forest paths and the lake’s stunning blue waters. The Swiss part of the route spends very little time covering the lake road, instead taking cyclists on quieter and more traffic-free tracks and dedicated cycle paths. The French side, meanwhile, does spend longer on the busier lakeside road, however there are also many peaceful country lanes on the route.
Tips and Tricks to Bear in Mind
Probably the best starting point for this route is the Cornavin train station as the signposts begin just outside, taking you straight onto the Rue de Lausanne. One of the best places for an overnight stop is Montreux which is just over half way around the lake as it has an impressive array of accommodation options, from the local Youth Hostel right up to luxury hotels. By leaving Cornavin at around 8am, you can be in Montreux by tea time and still enjoy a couple of stops en-route. There is no need to add weight by carrying water with you as there are plenty of drinking fountains on the route and public toilets that offer drinkable tap water. Although Rolle is slightly off the route, it is an excellent place for a rest stop, with the Boccard tea room having a gorgeous garden terrace where you can sit and keep an eye on your bike while enjoying some food and drink. Another good place for a rest stop is Morges, with its many eatery options on its Grand Rue. If you need a rest in Lutry, try turning off the bike route towards the lakeside promenade so that you can take a break on a lakeside bench or in a promenade cafe. On your second morning, take a coffee break in Evian where there are pleasant lakeside cafes, and then stop for lunch in either Yvoire or Anthy sur Leman. Spending the night in Montreux means that your second day will involve a shorter ride than on your first day, meaning that if you leave at around 8:30 am you will be back in Geneva by tea time.
The Most Difficult Part of the Cycle Route
The trickiest part of the entire cycle route crops up just after passing Lutry as there is a long climb upwards through the Lavaux vineyards. It is possible to avoid this difficult section by staying on the lakeside road, however if you take this option, you miss out on the spectacular views and the thrill of speeding down the hill again at the end!
See the Chateau de Chillon
The bike route sticks to the Vevey to Montreux lakeside road for some reason, however you do not have to do this if you would prefer to take a more scenic detour. Turn right off the lakeside road in Clarens and this will take you through Montreux and Veytaux, passing the famous Chateau de Chillon on the way. As there is limited signage on the French side of the route, it makes more sense to stay on the lake road to Evian as, although the traffic is busier, the bike lane is well marked and you can enjoy close up views of the lake. The signage at the Amphion les Bains roundabout are also wrong, so take the exit before the flyover and follow the Route desdes Vignes Rouges, parallel to the lakeside road and you will rejoin the bike route just after crossing the bridge over the Dranse.