There’s a lot the Swiss do well, like watches, cheese, and chocolate. But the world-class cycling routes often go under the radar. The country has spent more than a decade designing 100-plus long-distance biking routes for both road and dirt trips over its many mountains and alpine meadows. Even more appealing is the fact that drivers in Switzerland accommodate cyclists. “It’s extremely biker friendly,” says Grégory Grandet, who leads Swiss cycling trips for luxe bike tour company DuVine. “Just be careful when you cross a cow.”
The best time to plan your trip is in the summer, with temperatures hanging in the low to mid 70s F. You could spend years checking Switzerland’s alpine peaks off your bucket list, but if you only have one shot at a Swiss cycling vacation, head south. Geneva makes a perfect jumping-off spot. It’s close to a major airport and bike shops that can rent you all you need to start your ride. The route we detail is the classic Jura Route, which traverses Switzerland’s border with France along the Jura Mountains. From Geneva, it’s just a short pedal into the countryside where the cows soon outnumber the people. You’ll pass through the home of absinthe, a historic watchmaking center, Switzerland’s horse country, and then into Basel, a gorgeous city that’s home to many of the country’s best museums. The trip between the two towns is about 190 miles, which we suggest splitting into five days.