Best area for road cycling in Switzerland?

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RoadDonk82
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2023 2:43 pm

by RoadDonk82

Hello all,

We would like to spend some time (2-3 months) in Switzerland and looking for a nice area for road cycling, everyday life and maybe settling down in the future.

Here is what we like:

-access to mountains (not every route needs to be in the mountains but it's nice if there are some)
-clean air and safe (but that's why we are thinking about Switzerland in the first place)
-reasonable route choice so we don't need to ride the same one all the time
-it would be nice if it was possible to get by knowing only English, at least for a while
-we like calm, queiet towns rather than bigger ones

Long term it would be nice if it didn't have high taxes but that's for long term, for now we just want to spend some time there and see if we like the country.

I've heard the lake region around Lousanne is great. Lucerne region seems tempting as well. Any suggestions or experiences?

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jdecraene85
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Joined: Wed Dec 02, 2015 1:44 pm
Location: Kluisbergen, Belgium

by jdecraene85

I think a very big part of Switzerland qualifies those criteria :-)
Lausanne and Lucerne are not particularly the quietest towns in Switzerland though.
Purely based on best access to most epic mountain passes, I'd say Andermatt (Grosse Scheidegg, Grimsel, Susten, Furka, Nufenen, Gotthard, Lukmanier, Oberalp, Klausen,... all very close). Together with Sella Ronda region in Italy my favourite cycling 'base camp' in the world...
But I've never stayed there in winter... maybe it's a little locked-in.
Which one of your criteria is the MOST important?

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RoadDonk82
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2023 2:43 pm

by RoadDonk82

Lausanne and Lucerne are not particularly the quietest towns in Switzerland though.
Yeah, I mean the regions. We would definitely choose smaller towns.
Purely based on best access to most epic mountain passes, I'd say Andermatt (Grosse Scheidegg, Grimsel, Susten, Furka, Nufenen, Gotthard, Lukmanier, Oberalp, Klausen,... all very close). Together with Sella Ronda region in Italy my favourite cycling 'base camp' in the world...
But I've never stayed there in winter... maybe it's a little locked-in.
Which one of your criteria is the MOST important?
We loved Dolomites as well! I guess other than mentioned criteria it's important than it's liveable/rideable for at least half a year, preferably longer. If it's high in the mountains (like Sella Ronda region you mentioned) then the cycling season would be quite short there.

basilic
Posts: 1055
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:05 am
Location: Geneva, Switzerland

by basilic

I'd suggest you do a 1-2 week road trip to see what you like. Consider the language regions (Swiss-German, French, Italian, Romanche in Grisons, although they all speak several languages).
As a long-term base the Swiss plateau (roughly between lake Léman and lake Konstanz where the bigges cities are) would be better suited than the high mountains, which are snow-covered a good part of the year. The high passes open from mid-June to about October, with few exceptions like the Julier, open year-round. The term "plateau" is a misnomer, nothing is really flat. The high mountains are always accessible with a train ride, and medium mountains out of the door.
You might like the area of lake Léman (Geneva, Lausanne). Geneva is thick with English-speakers, many expats, Lausanne a bit less so, but most locals have some English. The cities are not esp. quiet and do have crime, but the smaller towns like Nyon, Morges, Vevey quite sleepy, and there are lots of small villages that you might call dead. Due to strict zoning there is little urban sprawl, which is great for riding, you get to the countryside quickly. Like in France there is a dense network of small roads and farming roads that see little or no traffic. Look at Strava heat maps to see the variety. Cycling is essentially year-round, with some bad weather weeks likely between mid-December and mid-March when you'd rather stay put.

RoadDonk82
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2023 2:43 pm

by RoadDonk82

You might like the area of lake Léman (Geneva, Lausanne). Geneva is thick with English-speakers, many expats, Lausanne a bit less so, but most locals have some English. The cities are not esp. quiet and do have crime, but the smaller towns like Nyon, Morges, Vevey quite sleepy, and there are lots of small villages that you might call dead
Thank you for your suggestions! It seems the last one (Vevey) is very close to where Vingegaard moved (Montreux) so I imagine the route choice must be great there. I was thinking about the part of the lake between Geneva and Montreux but have just noticed it's in France not Switzerland :)

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Konsi
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by Konsi

I live in Geneva, which is great for cycling (as it is also close to the French alps, as well as the Jura). Nyon has a proper cycling cafe :)

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Miller
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Location: Reading, UK

by Miller

I used to live in France near Geneva. It was excellent for cycling, really excellent. Geneva is very easy for English speakers as there are so many UN organisations there. To the north the Jura mountains are in easy reach, to the South the Alps.

RoadDonk82
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2023 2:43 pm

by RoadDonk82

Thanks guys, I think we will try Geneva lake region first, probably later this year.
I am not so happy about the tax situation there and a bit vary that French driving culture could penetrate the border but if it's great in other areas it can still be a great semi-retirement place.

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Konsi
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by Konsi

French drivers are nicer than Swiss ones :) Let me know when you come here, I can put a few routes etc. together for you.

ff119
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Joined: Sat May 08, 2021 9:49 pm

by ff119

I assume you. have an EU passport and a lot of money? it's hard to just move there, also if you're staying 2 months, the choices of apartment hotel may help you pick an area.

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