Walking and Cycling in the Rhône-Alpes
Walking in the Rhône Alpes
Stretching from the banks of the River Rhône to the peaks of the Alps that border northern Italy, the Rhône-Alpes offers a host of contrasting and unforgettable vistas. Whether heading into the nation’s second city, Lyon or hiking beneath breathtaking mountains, a walking holiday in the Rhône-Alpes presents the perfect opportunity to uncover quintessential French charm and stunning natural beauty.
Over 40,000km of walking trails cross the region, with an abundance of mountain hikes available to those with a penchant for discovery and dramatic panoramas. The Savoie region in the east is blessed with some of the most mesmeric views in Europe; those seen from the Aiguille du Midi across to Mont Blanc are among the best. Some peaks are snow-capped even in summer, but during the winter months, the pure, elegant wonder of the Savoie becomes truly awe-inspiring.
Charm and culture
For something more sedate, a journey south across the high plateau of the Ardèche reveals towns and villages that epitomise French charm. Villages such as Lamastre, St Ciege sous le Cheylard, and Tournon are surrounded by landscapes that are typically Mediterranean in appearance, with huge expanses of open countryside inviting keen hikers to explore further. Lyon, meanwhile, reaches out to a host of surrounding towns to form a metropolitan area that cements its status as the capital of the Rhône-Alpes. With a rich and fascinating history, this UNESCO World Heritage Site has no shortage of architectural landmarks.
Such is its diversity, both in terms of landscapes and cultural influences, that only a walking holiday in the Rhône-Alpes can unveil some of the many secrets of this remarkable land.
Cycling in the Rhône Alpes
Heading out on a bike in the Rhône-Alpes provides the ultimate opportunity to discover the diversity and natural wonder of this captivating region. From charming villages to mountain peaks, sedate countryside to the bustling city of Lyon, the Rhône-Alpes presents an unparalleled experience when explored on two wheels.
Like so many other regions in southern France, the Rhône-Alpes is far from short on dramatic landscapes of serene beauty. Thick forest and verdant, undulating hills reward those heading deep into the Rhône Valley, while the awe-inspiring peaks of the Alps command the skyline of the Savoie. With countless cycle trails available – many flat and even, others with steep ascents and more advanced terrain – there is a route through the region for riders of any ability.
Across the high plateau of the south, one of the most enchanting areas of the Rhône Valley lies waiting to be discovered. Here, the alluring Ardèche provides cyclists with a host of charming sights, towns, and magnificent scenery to enjoy. From the imposing castle of Tournon to captivating orchards at the heart of the countryside, tracing the winding River Rhône and following former railway lines gives riders insight into the area like no other.