Enjoying the natural beauty within and surrounding large cities is not a trait only found in the Pacific Northwest; it can be experienced on Bike Switzerland’s Jura Tour.
Day One begins in a hip, sleek Basel hotel and ends in a quaint room in Saint Hippolyte, a seemingly ancient French town of less than a thousand people buried in a valley amidst huge tree-riddled mountains. The Jura mountain range, extending along Switzerland’s western border with France, features small towns that have been largely forgotten by outsiders. Their beauty and hospitality are beginning to be recognized, however: many of the roads on the French side of the trip have been used in recent editions of the Tour de France.
Bike Switzerland’s Jura Tour takes bicyclists from Geneva north to Basel along the Swiss side of the border and back to Geneva through the French countryside. Other than the two nights spent in a four-star Basel hotel, each evening is spent on a hotel patio surrounded by more mountains than buildings. Most nights feature a 3+ course meal but include a local specialty: a wheel of 12 local cheeses in Les Molunes, a taste of authentic absinthe made in the building next door in Couvet, or three courses of frog in Le Luisans. The showcasing of local goods and regional pride are what made the Jura Tour so unique.
The best part of the trip is Bike Switzerland’s attention to detail in the planning of the tour. Yes, there are quicker ways from point A to point B. Yes, the itinerary could follow the Swiss National Bicycle Routes exactly. Yes, there probably are more famous hotels. But every scenic turn, every deviation from the guide book, and every lodging choice has been scouted beforehand and is reassessed after every tour to make sure bicyclists are experiencing Switzerland’s (and, when applicable, France’s) best. That the Bike Switzerland team was able to find views, roads, and small towns that stand out amongst all of Swizterland’s beauty is quite the feat.
The Jura Tour includes 9 days of cycling and 7,000 meters of climbing over 700 kilometers. The hesitant should be comforted by the fact all Bike Switzerland bicycles have a triple chainring, almost 1,000 of those meters are gentle climbing on the first day, and every rider is provided with a GPS and guidebook. These additions allow individuals the opportunity to travel at their own pace and regroup throughout the day. Nearly all of the 700 kilometers are on Swiss National Bicycle routes, weaving through pastures, or on roads that see more bicyclists than cars, so there is little pressure to hurry.