Route 1: Section 5 – cycling Martigny to Montreux, Switzerland

Highlights: Chillion (Castle), Saint-Maurice (Abbey).

Route 1-Section 5 (Martigny 471m-Montreux 390m)

Stats from SwitzerlandMobility.ch: 47 km (1 km unpaved). Height difference is Ma-Mo: 80m,  Mo-Ma: 160m. Their site has the full profile.

February 2017 (1-day trip)

I think this has to be the easiest section among all the biking routes in Switzerland. It is basically flat and I had no need to turn-on the engine.

I started from Montreux train station. Route-1 passes just in front of its exit and it is well marked. This is also the starting point of Route-9 (section 1) and the end point of Mountain-bike Route-2 (section 14).

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From the train station the route takes the busy main road until Villeneuve (for about 4km). To avoid this, from the station I went strait to lake and biked on the footpath at the water edge. Bikes are allowed here and the path is large and paved. It also brought me directly to the fabulous Chillon Castle, which appears magically after a bent on the road, like a castle rising from the lake.

If there is one castle one must see in Switzerland is  Chillon Castle (Chillon.ch). The castle is quite large and it takes easily a couple of hours to visit. It is a well preserved medieval fortress. It underwent many modification, passing from the hands of Savoy (12th-16th century), to Bern (16th-18th century), and finally Vaud.

 

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Chillon

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Villeneuve is the last town on the lake (opposite to Geneva) and from here the path winds for several kilometers through a natural reserve (Les Grangettes) before making a 90-degree turn and starting its course into the valley along the river Rhone.
This part is very peaceful. For about 20 km, until St-Maurice, the path goes on the river banks, surrounded by the Alps.
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The village of St-Maurice (414m) is full of history and dates back to the Roman period. In medieval times, a small castle was built overlooking the river, to control its access. The village is also a site of pilgrimage and is one of the stops along the Via Francigena. It has a beautiful Abbey (abbaye-stmaurice.ch), initially built in the 6th century to honor Saint Maurice. It may take an hour or so to visit the Abbey.

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After St Maurice, I found the road to Martigny a bit boring. I also got lost a few times because the trail was not well indicated.
In Martigny (471m) (martigny.com) there are a few tourist destinations but they are not too feasible while on a bike tour. One is the “Fondation Pierre Gianadda” (gianadda.ch), a cultural center with wonderful art exhibitions and concerts. Another is the medieval fortress of La Bâtiaz Castle (batiaz.ch)(closed in cold months) with several accessible areas and also a medieval tavern.

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Nearby, there is also the Trient Gorge (vernayaz.ch), a beautiful 30 min hike in the middle of eroded rocks and on wooden bridges.

Here are links to Introduction & some sections on Route 1:

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6 thoughts on “Route 1: Section 5 – cycling Martigny to Montreux, Switzerland

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