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Picture-postcard views in the Swiss alpine foothills – the Lakes Route

Marcus Fihlon

Picture-postcard views in the Swiss alpine foothills – the Lakes Route

Bike Touring Collection by Tobias

6-11

days

3-5 h

/ day

326 mi

16,975 ft

16,900 ft

Why not experience postcard-perfect views in real life instead of just sending them? The Lakes Route takes you on a wonderful journey across Switzerland, revealing fantastic mountain and lake scenery that looks just like postcards. However, with mountain passes to climb to get to the panoramas, this route is a challenge. Pack enough ambition, muscle power, and a camera, and you have found yourself the perfect route.

You will discover 13 of Switzerland’s stunning lakes on this journey. From Lake Geneva in the west, you ride to the magnificent lakes of Thun, Brienz, and Lucerne, with countless small lakes, ponds, and pools in between. Your journey begins in Montreux, a pretty town on the edge of Lake Geneva. You will explore many other wonderful towns nestled amongst the foothills of the Alps such as Interlaken, Lucerne, and Sargans. After riding 325 miles (524 km) and climbing almost 17,000 feet (5,200 m) across 10 stages, you will reach the town of Rorschach on Lake Constance, marking the end of your journey.

You’ll find plenty of opportunities to enjoy delicious regional dishes and a refreshing break en route. There are also plenty of kiosks and fountains to keep you hydrated, especially during summer. It is still a good idea to carry some snacks and water with you though. You’ll also find comfortable accommodation in or close to the stage destinations. I’ve provided information in the stage descriptions, including where to find budget-friendly campsites.

If you find the distances too long or if the mountains are too high, there are options to shorten some of the stages by taking a cable car, train, bus, or boat. Swiss public transport is well-adapted to bikes, so you will be able to bring your bike with you. Bear in mind that if you are riding as a bigger group, you may need to book transport in advance. You may want to consider the Swiss Travel Pass, depending on how often you plan to use transport.

The Lakes Route is waymarked throughout with the number 9. The route also meets other great bike tours if you want to explore different rides. For example, the Rhon Route crosses your path between Montreux and Vevey on Lake Geneva before heading into France and towards the Mediterranean (komoot.de/collection/919849 and komoot.de/collection/453). You will also find the Rhine Cycle Path on the shores of Lake Constance (komoot.de/collection/210).

On The Map

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Seen-Route

315 mi

16,450 ft

16,350 ft

Last updated: December 17, 2021

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    02:58
    25.8 mi
    8.7 mph
    2,125 ft
    825 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The starting point of the lakes route is in Montreux on Lake Geneva - the famous city, whose historic casino brand in 1971 inspired the band Deep Purple to the song "Smoke on the Water". You can easily travel by train, which runs to Montreux regularly via Lausanne from Geneva or Zurich.

    

    Before you go

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  • Difficult
    03:18
    29.0 mi
    8.8 mph
    2,375 ft
    1,450 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    In Bulle you can think about whether you would like to add two more lakes to your cycle tour: Lake Gruyère and Lac de Montsalvens, both in the west of Bulle. For this you leave the lakes route in Bulle and drive to Morlon north of the "Forêt de Bouleyres". Morlon is just before the shore of Lake Geyerzersee

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  • Difficult
    04:07
    38.9 mi
    9.5 mph
    2,200 ft
    3,800 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Shortly after Gstaad you can expect a moderate but demanding climb up to Saanenmöser on today's stage. Then the time has come and you can finally benefit a little from the mountain rides of the past few days. Until the end of the day you first follow the Little Simme at the edge of its valley and a little

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  • Difficult
    03:19
    30.1 mi
    9.1 mph
    2,075 ft
    1,975 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today is all about the Aare, which first flows through Lake Thun, then Lake Brienz and also accompanies you to Meiringen, your destination. It is no coincidence that the lake route shares the cycle path with the Aare route today.

    

    As soon as you let your gaze wander from the beautiful view over the clear

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  • Difficult
    02:33
    20.4 mi
    8.0 mph
    2,250 ft
    2,650 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    From Meiringen, the alleged inventor city of the famous confectionery "Meringes" it goes a good way up to the Hasliberg. Perhaps you have stocked up with enough of these sugared pieces of egg snow in Meiringen, so the breaks on the way up can be made a little sweeter.

    

    Once on the mountain, the ascent

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  • Intermediate
    04:11
    37.9 mi
    9.1 mph
    1,000 ft
    1,175 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today's stage is a little more gracious and no longer sends you up to mountains as high as the average over the past few days. From Sarnen you follow the Sarner Aaa to the Alpnachersee, on the north bank of which you circle the Lopper, a foothill of the 2,128 meter high Pilatus, to which the steepest

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  • Difficult
    03:34
    29.0 mi
    8.1 mph
    2,325 ft
    800 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today it is uphill again, which is not surprising, because between the many lakes that you visit on this route, there must be a few mountains somewhere. Around 600 meters of altitude await you in the first 30 kilometers, before things get a little more leisurely on the Rothenthurm high moor.

    

    Shortly after

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  • Intermediate
    03:35
    32.9 mi
    9.2 mph
    925 ft
    2,450 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Just a short dangle to the imposing baroque monastery Einsiedeln at the end of the town and you are at Sihlsee, which you cross on the 1,000-meter-long Willerzeller Viaduct. Too bad that there are no stopping options here, so you have to pay more attention to traffic during the crossing than to the beautiful

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  • Intermediate
    03:39
    36.3 mi
    9.9 mph
    1,325 ft
    1,250 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    From Weesen you drive to the southern bank of the Walensee, where a beautiful bike path awaits you. To your right, the mighty foothills of the Mürtschenstock tower above you in the form of huge rock faces, almost as if they were about to fall into the water at any moment. On the left, on the other hand

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  • Intermediate
    04:34
    45.5 mi
    10.0 mph
    400 ft
    550 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    You have been in the Rhine Valley since Sargans and will not leave it quickly until you reach your destination on Lake Constance. You start leisurely in Buchs and while you are still looking in vain for the city limits, you suddenly find yourself in a completely different one, namely Werdenberg. Although

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    10
  • Distance
    326 mi
  • Duration
    35:47 h
  • Elevation
    16,975 ft16,900 ft

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Picture-postcard views in the Swiss alpine foothills – the Lakes Route

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