“Wedged neatly between Germany, Austria, France, and Italy, Switzerland melds the best of all worlds — and adds a healthy dose of chocolate, cowbells, and cable cars.“Rick Steves
Only one room remaining on this trip.
Huge mountains! Epic hill climbs!
Well, yes, Switzerland has that too. But we have chosen a more moderate location for our new Switzerland Biking Tour. We cycle down the Rhein River Valley and along the shores of the Bodensee (Lake Constance). So while we do have hills available for those who want them, our main routes from one hotel to the next are mostly on flat, paved, car-free bike paths or rural country roads.
In fact, it is the bike paths that make Switzerland so appealing for cyclists. The country has a series of national and regional biking routes and on this tour we use one national route and three regional ones, picking and choosing the best options. Because these routes were designed with inline skaters in mind (we also have a Switzerland Inline Skating & Relaxed Biking Tour), the short routes each day are … pretty easy for cyclists. For you more serious cyclists, we have optional forays each day into the hills on either side of the Rhein River Valley or for longer destinations along the shores of the Bodensee.
We also don’t forgo the beautiful Swiss scenery. The Alpine Rhine Valley, known locally as the Alpenrhein, is the lush farming land that runs alongside the Rhine River on its way down from its source in the Alps. The area is mostly flat, slightly downhill in the direction we are biking, and scenic with granite mountains on both sides of the valley. Lake Constance, or the Bodensee, sits in the middle of three countries, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, with Liechtenstein right across the Rhine River. We can practically throw a stone to the other three countries and even venture over the border into Lichenstein on one ride and into Germany on another.
In fact, one of the great things about Switzerland is that it is so international. The country has four official languages (German, French, Italian, and Romansch) and this is reflected in the Swiss attitudes and cuisine. The food is upscale, the hotels are clean and well run, and the people are extremely hospitable. This is a fantastic tour for cyclists of all levels.
Main photo courtesy of Switzerland Tourism.
Private Tour Info
Want to make this trip even more memorable? Grab your friends and pick a date.Start planning your private tour
- Dates: July 6 - 12, 2022
- Cost Per Person: $3,700
- Optional Single Supplement: $900
- Private Tour Minimum: 12
- Activities: Bicycling
- Difficulty: For All Ability Levels
- Guides: Aaron Rothfolk, Giovanni Ramaccioni
Other Info: -> The single supplement provides you with a double room for single occupancy.
-> Bike rental is an extra 35 € per day or €245 for the tour.
- Bike along the Walensee Lake with thousand foot high cliffs peering at you from across the water
- Walk the ancient streets of Bad Ragaz, Werdenberg, and Altstätten, three of the lovely towns in which we stay
- Bike along the Bodensee (Lake Constance) with hundreds of other cyclists, as the round-the-lake tour is the second most popular bicycle route in Europe
- Experience the fascinating Swiss culture in this region not known as much to North American travelers
We meet at 1:00 PM in Bad Ragaz, swanky spa town located in the upper Rhine River Valley and at the foot of the Alps. After introductions, we will bicycle from our centrally-located hotel using a series of town bicycle paths, a paved trail on the Rhine River dike, and small farming roads. Our destination is the wine village of Malans, population 2,341. With five wineries located in town, you'll have the option to do a little tasting before biking back. Those seeking a longer ride have the option of several small roads switchbacking uphill into the nearby mountains. Routes: 22 or 35 Kilometers
Today we bicycle on Switzerland's Regional Route 53 from Bad Ragaz out to the Walensee, a large lake with towering cliffs looming straight up from the water. Our path first takes us through an idyllic (and flat) agricultural valley before reaching the lake and nestling between the waters and the railroad tracks with fast-moving trains whizzing past us. You'll have the option to take that local train back to Bad Ragaz or do it via bike. For a longer route, climb the narrow one-lane paved road from the shores of the Walensee up into the hills. Distances: 31, 62, or 78 Kilometers
This morning we start with an optional three-mile hike in Bad Ragaz, getting us into the hills with a view of the valley and town below. We'll then bicycle down the Rhein valley paralleling the Rhein River, utilizing mostly small farming and country roads without traffic. Our hotel in the small town of Buchs is situated right next to a lake and a short stroll to the village of Werdenberg with its almost 800-year-old castle and amazing old wooden buildings. A longer option takes you into Lichtenstein and uphill to the ski resort and vacation town of Madun. Distance: 22 or 52 kilometers
We keep moving down the Rhine Valley today, which means even while we meander left and right with the small roads and paths we are imperceptibly but distinctly biking downhill. The interesting thing about the route we are on today is that it reveals much about real life in Switzerland: farmers in their fields, school kids shouting in their playground, families barbecuing in a local park, and old ladies shuffling home from the store with a bag of groceries. All this on paved, mostly flat, and mostly smooth roads and paths. Our destination today is Altstätten, a historic walled village. For those whose legs are not tired, we have a beautiful loop ride to the town of Appenzell, a car-free Medieval village famous for its eponymous cheese and its classic Swiss setting in a verdant valley at the base of towering peaks. Distances: 15, 30, or 64 kilometers
Today we finish our time in the Rhine Valley by biking down to the town of St. Margrethen, where you have a choice. You can continue to the Bodensee bike path and on to Romanshorn on the shores of the lake, our destination for the night. Or you can take a side jaunt to Bregenz, a swanky Austrian town with a wonderful downtown. Tonight we sleep in an 800-year-old palace and can enjoy a drink while looking at sea birds gliding over the water. Distances: 48 or 72 Kilometers
We bicycle on the famous Bodensee bicycle route, a four-day tour around Lake Constance (the Bodensee in German) which is now the second most popular bicycle tour in Europe. You will never be on your own as we will be passed by and pass hundreds of cyclists. Today's route is an out (and back if you wish) route that parallels the lake the whole way but takes us through cute towns and past seaside cafes on our way to the city of Kreuzlingen. The long route option of the day is to cross another border, this time into Germany and the town of Konstanz, with a loop around the Untersee lake. Distances: 22, 44, or 95 Kilometers
On our final morning, we bicycle the other direction along Lake Constance. We have saved one of the best stretches for last, as our path is smooth, straight, and totally free of cars. Our destination is the small town of Arbon, situated on the water, where you can enjoy a morning coffee with the sea breezes. After returning to the hotel, we'll shower, check out, and take the train back to Zurich or wherever your travels take you. Distances: 17 Kilometers
NIGHTS 1 & 2 >> HOTEL SCHLOSS RAGAZ / BAD RAGAZ
Bad Ragaz is a swanky resort town at the foot of the mountains and the Hotel Schloss (castle in English) Ragaz is a spa hotel just outside the center. We have rooms in the actual palace and you can choose to walk to one of the mineral bath spas for which the town is named if you wish.
NIGHT 3 >> HOTEL TAUCHER / BUCHS
This small, 14-bedroom, family run hotel in the small town of Buchs is a classic Zephyr Adventures find. It is comfortable yet casual and ideally situated on the shore of a small lake and steps from the ancient village of Werdenberg with its 790-year-old castle.
NIGHT 4 >> SONNE HOTEL / ALTSTÄTTEN
The Sonne Hotel is located steps from the historic center of Altstätten, which you can enter through the old town gate still standing. After skating all day and wandering around the village streets, you will appreciate the recently-remodeled sleeping rooms of the hotel and the outdoor terrace where you can sip one of the local wines.
NIGHTS 5 & 6 >> HOTEL SCHLOSS / ROMANSHORN
The Hotel Schloss, translated as Palace Hotel, is exactly what it offers: a 600-year-old palace recently renovated into a three-star hotel. Situated just above the Bodensee (Lake Constance) and right next to a church founded in 779 (making it over 1200 years old), you will have plenty of history at your doorstep. You will also appreciate the balconies overlooking the town and the terrace with winds blowing off the lake.Book this Tour
Arrival & Departure
- Two Zephyr guides, with a third guide added if necessary.
- Double occupancy lodging is included. If you are traveling solo, we will match you with another traveler of the same gender. However, you may pay a single supplement to have your own room.
- All of your dinners and breakfasts are included. Gratuity for these meals is also included. In general, we leave lunches open so that you have time to explore and enjoy the local flavors en route.
- All your transportation is included once you meet your guides on the first day except for the occasional optional transport by local train.
- NOT INCLUDED Bicycle rental, beverages, desserts, lunches, gratuities to your guides, personal expenses, and travel to and from the destination.
The average high temperature in July is a pleasant 74 degrees. It does rain in the area all year long, with the summer months often seeing the wettest days, so be prepared!
This is a tour that can truly accommodate all biking ability levels. For casual bikers, since our short route selection was designed with skaters in mind you will find few hills, smooth riding, and low or no traffic. If you are a cyclist looking for more mileage, there is plenty to be had and we will provide suggestions for that each day.
Extending Your Stay
There is so much to do in Switzerland and you are so close to other countries it is hard to choose! One option would be to fly into Zurich and out of another airport; Munich, Milan, and Geneva are all relatively close by train. We can also highly suggest spending time in the Alps. You could easily arrive at Bad Ragaz early and spend a few days hiking from there.
Type of Person Who Will Enjoy This Tour
This is the perfect tour for any cyclist wishing to explore the Rhein Valley area of Switzerland. It is especially appropriate for couples and friends of varying ability levels, as you can easily choose your route length and difficulty each day.
Changes to Your Itinerary
While everything under “What is Included” will remain the same, the actual restaurants, hotels, and activities listed in our itineraries are subject to modifications. Changes that are out of our control are common – a restaurant closes or loses its awesome chef, a winery changes its visiting hours, a hotel gets remodeled, a road or trail undergoes construction. You are entrusting us to create an outstanding vacation for you and so it is possible we may take the liberty of making necessary changes (even at the last minute, during the guides’ scout trip) to the itinerary that will improve your overall trip experience. If there is any one experience that is going to make or break your trip, please discuss this with us in advance! We will attempt to keep our website itinerary as current as possible and communicate any major changes with you in the weeks prior to the tour.
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