Switzerland: North to South Cycling Holiday
Switzerland: North to South Cycling Holiday
7 Nights Self Guided - 193 Miles
15th April to 15th October 2013
£725 Per Person Based Upon 2 Sharing
This is a classic route traversing Switzerland from Basel in the north to Locarno in the south, passing through German, French and Italian speaking areas, making it a truly diverse and fascinating cycle tour.
Day 1 Arrive Basel or Zurich (in which case transfer to hotel in Zurich)
Day 2 (Free transfer from Zurich if appropriate) Basel to Aarau ~ 37 miles
Day 3 Aarau to Lucerne ~ 33 miles
Day 4 Lucerne to Fluelen ~ 30 miles
Day 5 Fluelen to Airolo ~ 39 miles
Day 6 Airolo to Biasca ~ 28 miles
Day 7 Biasca to Locarno ~ 26 miles
Day 8 Departure - transfer to Zurich or Basel if required.
• Meet and greet at Zurich Airport and transfer to first hotel
• Bed and breakfast accommodation in medium class hotels
• 21 gear hybrid/mountain bike with pannier bag, helmet, pump, tool kit and lock
• Guidebooks with maps (German text, but the route is well signed and easy to follow)
• Daily route information in English
• Luggage transfers
• Emergency support
•Transfer back to Zurich airport on Day 8
This classic route traverses Switzerland from Basel in the north to Locarno in the south. To make the journey you have to cross over the Alps by way of the St Gotthard Pass (usually closed until the end of May) but this can be done on the train through the St Gotthard tunnel for those who prefer. Otherwise, the route is straightforward for anyone who is fit.
The route takes you away from Basel, situated on the River Rhine on the French and German borders, to the foothills of the Jura and on to Lucerne. Beyond this very pretty town you ride alongside Lake Lucerne, the historical heart of the country, before starting the gradual climb up and over the St Gotthard Pass, descending to Airolo. Now you are in the Italian speaking part of the country as you descend the Leventina Valley, eventually reaching your destination, Locarno, a lovely lakeside town situated on Lake Maggiore, close to the Italian frontier.
Grade: Moderate or Demanding, depending on whether or not you take the train through the St Gotthard Tunnel (price not included).
Day 2 Basel to Aarau.
On leaving Basel your route takes you first to Liestal, a pretty town with an interesting old centre. The Jura mountains dominate the countryside to your left as you make your way up the valley. The cherry blossom is particularly stunning in May. A hilly second half of the day finishes with a descent to Aarau, an interesting old town on the banks of the River Aare. ~ 37 miles
Day 3 Aarau to Lucerne.
Easy cycling on a traffic-free route takes you south along the valley of the small River Suhre to reach Sursee, a historical town at the northern end of the Sempacher See. The route then follows the lakeshore to Sempach before the last section into Lucerne, a beautiful town with its famous wooden covered bridges and the interesting National Transport Museum. ~ 33 miles
Day 4 Lucerne to Fluelen.
Lake Lucerne is your companion all day today and this strangely shaped lake has a wide variety of beautiful scenery to offer as well as some very pretty lakeside villages. You cross the lake by ferry from Beckenried to Gersau then follow the shoreline of the fjord-like southern arm of the lake to your overnight accommodation in Fluelen. ~ 30 miles
Day 5 Fluelen to Airolo.
This is the day that the alpine crossing is made, either by bicycle or by putting your bike on the train through the St Gotthard tunnel. The day begins easily enough passing through Altdorf with its William Tell statue. From there you climb steadily up the narrowing valley of the River Reuss to the spectacular Schollenen Gorge and the village of Andermatt. You are now in a high alpine valley and have a flatter interlude to Hospental before the final climb up the St Gotthard Pass. The descent to Airolo using the old Tremola road is breathtaking. There are endless hairpins making the gradient just right for a memorable and pleasurable descent. ~ 39 miles
Day 6 Airolo to Biasca.
You are now in the Italian speaking south of the country and the route continues downhill following the Levantina Valley to Biasca. The rustic villages in this Ticino region give their own special character to the countryside. ~ 28 miles
Day 7 Biasca to Locarno.
Beyond Biasca your route continues to Bellinzona, where the castle and many old buildings deserve exploration. You then reach the end of your cycle ride in Locarno on the shores of Lago Maggiore. There will be plenty of time to look around Locarno and to soak up the atmosphere of this lakeside town. ~ 26 miles
Day 8 Departure.
View Across Switzerland from North to South in a larger map
Useful Rail Info