Photo credit (banner): XC / SNCF

Travel the Route des Grandes Alpes by bike and rail

Many cyclists dream of pedalling the Route des Grandes Alpes, an iconic 720-km route from Thonon-les-Bains to Nice. With our trains and your bike, the most beautiful mountain passes in the Alps are within reach.

3-minute read

Ready for a cycling challenge? Bike the Route des Grandes Alpes this summer. You’ll travel from Lake Léman to the Mediterranean, with 26 cols, or mountain passes, along the way. Some soar above 2,000 m, including Col Galibier, Col Izoard, and Col Iseran, Europe’s highest paved pass. From Haute-Savoie to Alpes-Maritimes, the stunning landscapes will take your breath away—and put your legs to the test! Prefer an e-bike? No problem: the choice is yours.

  • 720 km

    of marked road from Thonon-les-Bains to Nice

  • 15

    SNCF stations on or near the Route des Grandes Alpes

  • 18,000 m ascent

  • 26

    passes to climb, with 7 above 2,000 m

SNCF stations serving the Route des Grandes Alpes

Want to limit your adventure to “just” a handful of passes? Or perhaps you’d rather choose which parts of the route you bike? Easy. There are no fewer than 15 SNCF stations on or near the Route des Grandes Alpes, so you can select your own itinerary from north to south:

  • Thonon-les-Bains
  • Cluses
  • Annecy
  • Albertville
  • Bourg-Saint-Maurice
  • Modane
  • Saint-Michel-Valloire
  • Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne
  • Grenoble
  • Oulx, Italy
  • Briançon
  • Montdauphin-Guillestre
  • Embrun
  • Menton
  • Nice

Customize your route

Want to create your own route or ride at your own pace? Visit routedesgrandesalpes.com. It divides the Route des Grandes Alpes into 26 segments, with 14 stages on the main route, and 12 off the beaten path.

Whether you’re travelling from Thonon to Nice or vice versa, routedesgrandesalpes.com has everything you need to plan your adventure—pass topography, accommodations, things to see and more.

Visit the Route des Grandes Alpes website

How to get your bike to the Route des Grandes Alpes

Whether you’re travelling with TGV INOUI or TER, find out whether you can take your bike aboard your chosen train and any connections you may have.

TGV INOUI

You can reserve a space for your bike aboard select TGV INOUI trains for just €10. Search for “ticket + non-disassembled bike”. If you don’t get any results, the train you’re trying to book has no dedicated storage area or has no more available space.

You can search for another train, or simply disassemble your bike and take it aboard in a bike bag. There’s no extra charge, and you don’t need to book space for it. The only requirement is that the folded bike cannot exceed 130 cm x 90 cm.

Book space for your bike on a TGV INOUI

TER Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

Your bike travels for free. Simply hang it up or place it in the designated area aboard any TER train in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. IMPORTANT: you cannot book space in advance. The bike area is available on a first-come first-served basis. We recommend avoiding peak periods and arriving around 20 minutes before departure to be ready to load your bike.

Book your TER Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes ticket now

TER Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

IMPORTANT: for reasons of safety and capacity, you cannot take a fully assembled bike aboard a TER Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur train at peak periods, Monday to Friday 07.00-09.00 and 16.30-18.30. Outside these periods, your bike travels for free. Simply hang it up or place it in the designated area. No advance bookings are accepted, and the bike area is available on a first-come first-served basis.

A TER SUD coach can carry up to 3 bikes in its hold, if space is available.

Book your TER Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur ticket now

Best times to bike the Route des Grandes Alpes

Portions of the Route des Grandes Alpes may close for a variety of reasons--snow, landslides, engineering works and more. Before your plan your journey, check with infotrafic.com or the tourist offices on your route to be sure that roads are in good condition and high passes are accessible.

If possible, schedule your journey between mid-June and early July or between the end of August and the end of September to avoid the school holidays. In August, road traffic is very heavy on the Route des Grandes Alpes. This can be hazardous for cyclists.

Visit infotrafic.com