Cari Gray of Gray & Co. specializes in “custom trips for active travelers,” and in Switzerland there’s no shortage of opportunities to explore by bike or on foot. For an introduction to Switzerland’s Francophone regions, she sends travelers to the cantons of Neuchâtel and Jura, roughly 45 minutes from Bern. She’ll provide you with a choice of biking and hiking options and stops where you can enjoy the region’s famous cuisine and wines. To see even more of Switzerland with Cari, this trip can be easily combined with her itinerary to Appenzell, “A Canton Off the Beaten Path.” Also check out this guide covering some of the highlights in more detail.
Begin in Bern
Switzerland’s larger cities, including Zurich and Geneva, sometimes steal the spotlight from Bern, but the Swiss capital fits a lot of charm and history into its city limits. The Old Town made its way on to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites with its remarkably well preserved medieval structure, and it’s convenient to explore its warren of streets from your hotel for the night, the Schweizerhof, before you head on to Neuchâtel in the morning.
Walk the Vineyard Trail along Lake Biel, taking in the views of this beautiful wine-growing district and St. Peter’s Island. This area is known for a number of different varieties, some unique to Switzerland, like Chasselas and Gamaret. Oenphiles will also want to include Boudry Castle on their itinerary. Set amid the Neuenburg vineyards, the castle has exhibits that cover the history of viticulture.
The 29-mile bicycle ride from Neuchâtel to Grenchen runs beside Lake Biel and Lake Neuchâtel. Other stunning options include Tramelan to Welschenrohr (28 miles) and Biel to Delemont (23 miles). We can lead you to the right ride for your level, but whichever you choose, leave time to eat at one of Neuchâtel’s best restaurants. Cari’s favorites include Chauffage Compris, Le Cardinal, and the Hotel DuPeyrou, with its magical setting in an 18th-century residence.