Geneva to Nice Cycling Tour; Route des Grandes Alpes by bike
The ultimate cycle tour challenge from Geneva through the French Alps to Nice and the Mediterranean Sea
From cycling the mountains surrounding Lake Geneva all the way to Nice and the Mediterranean Sea traversing some of the classic climbs of the French Alps. The Cycle tour from Geneva to Nice features on many bucket lists - broadly following the classic Route des Grandes Alpes with some flexibility depending on your group's abilities, goals, and number of days riding.
I can provide guidance and advice to help you plan your own Tour de French Alps with the further option to be available to support you and your group during your cycling adventure in the Alps.
The route to the sun from Geneva to Nice takes you through the majestic splendor of the Alps to the point they dip into the Mediterranean Sea. I can take care of the detail and logistics so you can concentrate on the riding and the views.
I would always recommend starting the Geneva to Nice Cycling Tour from the banks of Lake Geneva from Thonon les Bains or Evian to avoid the crazy traffic of Central Geneva. I usually recommend finishing adjacent to Nice in Cagnes su Mer where the purists can ride along the bike path to finish on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. Experience has taught us that few of you wish to battle with the central Geneva traffic immediately as you arrive in the Alps, possibly jet-lagged and exhausted from traveling.
Cycling Tour duration
The trip is very flexible and can start any day of the week from the end of June to the end of September.
Usually 6 days of challenging riding, however, for example, you can take 5 days with a fast-moving, extremely fit group or stretch the days riding to take in more Cols and more of your goals such as Alpe D'Huez, or Mont Ventoux.
The Cycling Cols of the French Alps
Taking in a good helping of Tour de France Cols such as the Col de la Colombiere, Col des Saisies, Cormet de Roselend, and Col de l'Iseran, to the Col de la Telegraphe, Col du Galibier, and the highest paved road in Europe, the Cime de la Bonnette. The ingredients provide an amazing tour through the French Alps to the Mediterranean you will never forget.
Suggested Itinerary for the Geneva to Nice cycle tour - There is flexibility which we can discuss in detail
Day 1 Arrive at Geneva International Airport and transfer to Lake Geneva Hotel.
Day 2 After dipping your wheels in Lake Geneva the cycling tour route takes a leisurely morning traverse of the Chablais region before we meet the first major challenge of the Tour, the Col de la Colombiere (Col de Romme optional). It's a fast descent once over the summit through the ski village of Les Grand Bornand to overnight in La Clusaz
Day 3 Refreshed and refueled, start climbing straight from the Hotel onto the gentle slopes of the 2nd category Col des Aravis. The views of Mt Blanc from the top of the Col des Aravis are stunning. Next up is the 1st category Col des Saisies. Through the home of Reblochon cheese, Beaufort, it's then the main event of the day, The Cormet de Roselend. A Tour de France regular, this HC climb does feature a rare flat km around the stunning Roselend Dam in the middle before the final climb to the summit. Descend to Bourg St Maurice overnight.
Day 4 A very short warm-up before the road starts to climb 47km of the Col de l'Iseran through the ritzy ski resort of Val D'Isere and past the Tignes dam. The Col de l'Iseran summit is 2764M. It's a massive 70km's descent to St Michel de Maurienne where you turn onto the Col du Telegraphe for the climb to 1566M and onto the gentle descent to overnight in Valloire.
Day 5 It's straight onto the king of the Alps, the Col du Galibier (2645M). With a brutal first km, it then flattens out briefly before the gradient steepens again. With 6km to go you pass the memorial to Marco Pantani. Towards the summit, it's likely there will still be snow patches as the Alpine meadows are replaced by rock and scree. The reward for your efforts is one of the best viewing points in the Alps. Mont Blanc in the East, glaciers in the West, and your route South towards the Med. The initial descent starts with 6km of steep, twisty roads however once we reach the Col du Lautaret the road widens for a steady descent to Briançon. As soon as the descent finishes you are climbing again on the Col d’Izoard (2360M), a Tour de France regular. Above the treeline at the summit and descending firstly through the rocky landscape, to treelined hairpins, alpine meadows, and river gorge to overnight in Guillestre
Day 6 Leaving Guillestre you commence the climb of the Col de Vars (2108M), riding through the ski resort of Vars. After the descent it's onto the highest paved road in Europe, the Cime de la Bonnette at 2802M. 23kms of ascent reach the summit and your reward is an amazing view and an epic descent through the Mercantour National Park. Overnight in the quaint ski village of Auron
Day 7 is nearly downhill all the way to the Mediterranean on your last day. Avoiding the Nice traffic you can ride the final climb over the gentle Col de Vence and negotiate down to Cagnes sur Mer an optional ride to Nice Promenade des Anglais. It's time to jump in the Med and enjoy a celebration for your achievement.
Day 8 flights home
Geneva to Nice cycle tour route options
The route has many options - adding in Alpe D'Huez, Col de la Madeleine, Mont Ventoux, Lacets de Montvernier, and many more