Bike / Bike Packing · September 19, 2022

Lausanne to Villeneuve

This post is part of the ‘Cycling Lake Geneva Series’ – a 5 day epic journey following Route 46 Cycle Route in Switzerland.

On this journey, we will be heading along Route De La Corniche – one of the most beautiful cycling routes in Europe and down through the cities of Vevey and along the subtropical promenade of Montreux and stopping just outside Villeneuve.

Distance: 40km

Elevation: 386m

Time: 2-5hours

Heading out of Lausanne

Leaving Lausanne in the early morning as the sun comes up is a beautiful time to hit the road, it also means you won’t be cycling up hills on this route in the middle of the day.

The route takes you alongside the lake shore until you reach Ouchy, where you return back to the main road for a few hundred meters before winding your way back to the lake path where you can see Montreux in the distance across the lake.

Soon you’ll see sign posts for Lutry railway station, which is the signal to turn left and begin our journey towards Ru De La Corniche. You can, if you are short on time, continue along the lakeside cycle path, but you will miss out on some of the most magnificent cycling views in all of Europe.

At first, you join Ru De La Petite Corniche, where you wind your way through vineyards growing endlessly up the hillside. Every turn presents a new view of the lake and all the way across to France on the other side.

Heading for Chexbres Village

Our first goal is to reach Chexbres – which is around 17.5km into our ride and at 577m in elevation. Chexbres has a supermarket on the way into the village, plus a delicious bakery as you exit the village. There are also clean public toilets at the train station if needed.

For amazing cakes, pastries and other delights, I suggest stopping at Bidlingmeyer which is just next to the Chexbres railway station.

Back down to the lake

After a quick pitstop, we head downhill from here and rejoin the main road. Some parts of this road going down (extremely beautiful) were a bit steep for a bike loaded with a lot of stuff so found myself walking my bike down hill for safety, but this allowed for further enjoyment of the views without having to worry about crashing into a rock wall.

We arrive in the quaint village of Saint-Saphorin which brings us back to the same elevation as the lake and a return to the main road. Well done, you’ve just cycled one of the most beautiful roads in Europe.

As we head back onto the cycle path, we are now about 4km away from our next town – Vevey and we’ve completed 20km.

Arriving in Vevey

Vevey, famous for being the home to chocolate giant Nestle, is a pretty town situated right on the lake and shadowed by beautiful mountains.

As you cycle the lake, you will also come across some of the beautiful paddle steamer style boards, with Vevey being a main boarding port on the way down to Montreux.

Cycle route 46 takes you directly along the promenade in Vevey, so you might be lucky to see one of these boards arriving or departing.

Onwards to Montreux

Montreux is a popular tourist spot on the lake, especially its beautiful promenade which stretches for kilometers along the shore and presents a beautiful way to arrive in this town.

As you arrive, you’ll notice the subtropical climate here, especially through the brightly coloured plants, flowers and even banana trees which grow in abundance – you could be confused that you’ve entered a worm-hole and have arrived in Singapore (ok maybe not that hot).

As you arrive in Montreux, along the promenade you’ll also find in summer time a number of gelato stands which offers a refreshing break along the side of the lake.

Out of Montreux and Chateau Chillon

As you leave the promenade you’ll come across a beautiful beach – in the distance you can see our next stop of Villeneuve, keep following the path and in 15 mins you’ll arrive at Chateau Chillon.

Watch out for tourists on the path here at the Chateau as they tend to step out from behind bushes directly onto the cycle path being slightly oblivious.

Into Villenueve and onto Camping les Grangettes

Villenueve is much quieter than Montreux, it does offer some camping sites, however many are more designed for families with children. Instead of staying here, I opted to stay at Camping Les Grangettes which is a few kilometers along route 46 and along some country lanes.

It is important to note that this camp site does not have a shop (like all of the others we have visited so far), so would suggest stopping in Villeneuve or Montreux if you are short on any supplies. They do have a lovely restaurant on site and very clean facilities.

The camp site offers a large space for tents which is right next to the restaurant. This was also quite handy as around 5pm a large storm formed over the French alps and dumped a huge amount of rain through till about 1am. (early September), but this was the only bad weather I had on my 5 day trip.

This part of the ride was one of the most beautiful, so if you are doing the entire journey around Lake Geneva, it’s definitely worth the up/down of the hills rather than just sticking to the shore line cycle path.

Next stop – Evian (France) and St Disdille

In our next post, we cover the journey leaving Switzerland, crossing the border into France and the luxury town of Evian and arriving at our overnight stop in St Disdille.