Australian Geographic Outdoor - - Adventure -

Af­ter hurtling down from Grim­sep­ass, the trail skirts the Aareschlucht gorge and shad­ows the shores of Brien­z­ersee and Thunersee…


FOL­LOW­ING the flow of Switzer­land’s long­est River, the full Aare cy­cling route rolls for 305km, from the glacier-fed lake on the Grim­sep­ass to the river’s con­flu­ence with the re­gal Rhine at Koblenz, via Switzer­land’s out­door ad­ven­ture cap­i­tal In­ter­laken and the coun­try’s ac­tual cap­i­tal, Bern. Al­ter­na­tively, you can join it in In­ter­laken, by Lake Thun, or sim­ply bite it off bit by bit, cy­cling a sec­tion or two at a time.

The big bike ride is best done in seven stages. It’s a way­marked mixed ter­rain ad­ven­ture through ru­ral and ur­ban en­vi­ron­ments, with 64km of the route ven­tur­ing off road onto un­sealed ter­rain, so a sturdy tour­ing steed with rea­son­ably knob­bly tyres or a de­cent hard­tail moun­tain bike with re­li­able lock­out on the front forks and tyres that aren’t too ag­gres­sive are both good choices. Myr­iad ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions are avail­able en route, in­clud­ing camp­sites, so pack those pan­niers wisely.

Af­ter hurtling down from Grim­sep­ass (2164m), the trail skirts the Aareschlucht gorge and shad­ows the shores of Brien­z­ersee and Thunersee, with In­ter­laken split­ting the two lovely lakes. Go­ing beyond Bern and Biel­ersee, to­wards the See­land, the route takes a me­an­der­ing ri­par­ian course through Mit­tel­land forests, go­ing via me­di­ae­val Solothurn and Jura’s Baroque towns to the trail’s con­clu­sion at Koblenz on the Rhine, not far from the fa­mous falls.


For those who would pre­fer to stay away from sealed sur­faces al­to­gether, Switzer­land of­fers end­less moun­tain­bike trails to mooch around and bomb down, from the sin­gle­track-stacked re­sorts of Zer­matt and Ver­bier, to the pedal pow­ered play­ground that is Crans-Mon­tana in Valais, and the less-rid­den trails around Saint-Luc. If you fancy cy­cling on the shoul­ders of the Ogre, Grindel­wald’s an­nual Eiger Bike Chal­lenge (www.eiger­bike.ch) sees 1500 rough riders tak­ing on an 88km cir­cuit with 3900m of al­ti­tude gain ev­ery Au­gust.

Moun­tain bik­ers at Lake Stel­lisee in Zer­matt. In the back­ground is the mighty Mat­ter­horn (4478m). Pic: Switzer­land Tourism/Chris­tian Per­ret

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