My girlfriend and I started out our trip in Saint-Cergue, Switzerland. It’s a small town north of Geneva in the Jura mountain range. You have extremely easy access countless miles of hiking trails through jingling cow pastures. We hiked and ran the range almost every day. We worked in the mornings and evenings in our cozy AirBnB. We also spent some time exploring around the area via our bikes. Climbing up mountains on two wheels was new to me and really a struggle at first.
The town is small but very pretty. The only busy time during our stay was during the de-alping of the cows when they parade them through numerous towns down the mountain. It was lively and something I would definitely recommend attending. In the spring there is also a party where the cows parade back up the mountain.
This was our favorite activity since it’s right in the Jura range. The range itself is not as steep as the Alps so it can be a bit more accessible without climbing gear. It’s beautiful to walk through the cow pastures and hear all the jingling of the cow bells.
Recommended Hike: La Dôle
La Dôle is a small plateau on the Jura. There is a flight radar and weather station on the summit with a signature soccer ball radar antenna. It’s easy to pinpoint La Dole from all around the Jura because of this. The hike is generally pretty easy until you get to the base of La Dole where it gets a bit steeper. Expect to climb about 600 meters and spend about 2.5 hours getting there.
To get there from Saint-Cergue, you can easily follow signs out of town on one of the many yellow hiking signs.
The views from the summit are great. You can see the Salève, another peak on the other side of Geneva, with views of the Alps behind it. On nice days, the view can be dramatic.
Later in our travels we joined a local hiking group, Oxygène, for additional hikes in the Jura. If you are in the area, you can watch Glocalsfor hikes.
Other Things to Note
There is a little grocery store in town and numerous cafes and restaurants. The grocery store closes for lunch and early quite often so you need to plan accordingly. It’s a 30 minute train ride to Nyon where you can go to a larger store but it’s a long haul and will cost you about 15 CHF round-trip.
Randoburger was my favorite place. It has reasonably (for Switzerland) priced burgers and beer on tap. They close after the lunch service and reopen at 6 PM.
We stayed in a small AirBnB right near the start of some hiking trails. The nightly rate was reasonable. It was nothing fancy but had everything we needed. We were there in mid-September and the town was very quiet. We hardly ever saw anyone in our building.