Biking along Lake Neuchâtel with Kids in the Jura & 3 Lakes Region ( Delley-Portalban to Cudrefin )
Biking along Lake Neuchâtel with kids in the 3 Lakes Region is our first step of our mission to get to know the Jura & 3 Lakes Region.
And I have to say, we could not have chosen a better place to start biking along Lake Neuchâtel with kids.
It is not that easy when living in the mountains to find easy bike routes for the kids. They are either up or down.
Therefore, it was super important for this route along Lake Neuchâtel in the Jura & 3 Lakes Region to be fun, easy and family friendly. Because our last bike tour at home was anything but easy. Chloe struggled and mentioned many times that biking is not fun. So, let’s change this and make biking fun again. 🙂
- Simple Facts about Lake Neuchâtel
- Where to start this bike tour along Lake Neuchâtel ?
- La Grande Cariçaie Nature Reserve
- Tips when Biking along Lake Neuchâtel with Kids
- Arriving at Cudrefin in the Jura & 3 Lakes Region
- Suggestion : Take a Boat Ride on Lake Neuchâtel
- Biking back to to your car
- Refreshment Possibilities whilst Biking along Lake Neuchâtel
- Our Thoughts on Biking along Lake Neuchâtel with Kids
- Biking Map along Lake Neuchâtel
Some Simple Facts about Lake Neuchâtel
Lake Neuchâtel is primarily in Romandy, in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. It lies mainly in the Canton of Neuchâtel, but is also shared by the Cantons of Vaud, Fribourg, and Bern.
Lake Neuchâtel has a length of 38km and a width of 5.1km, and it is the largest lake solely within Switzerland
You may also hear the names “Neuenburgersee & Lac de Neuchâtel” which are the Swiss-German and French names of the lake.
Whilst biking along Lake Neuchâtel with the kids in the 3 Lakes Region, you will be changing Cantons a few times 🙂
And you may ask what makes up the 3 Lakes Region (Jura les 3 lac)? Lake Neuchâtel is one of the 3 lakes. The other two are Murtensee and the Bielersee which are smaller lakes. See photo below.
Where to Start the Bike Tour along Lake Neuchâtel with Kids?
Our biking adventure along Lake Neuchâtel in the Jura & 3 Lakes Region started at Delley-Portalban which is in the Canton of Fribourg and finished at Cudrefin in Canton Vaud.
Make your way to the harbour and campsite in Portalban where you will find a large car park. Amongst the boats and campervans, you should find some space to park your car. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you how much it costs, as when we visited at the end of April the pay machine was still covered up.
We first went to marvel at all the boats that were just waiting to be taken out onto Lake Neuchâtel. I have to say, there were a lot of boats and I wondered how crowded the lake gets during peak summer time?
The velo & pedestrian path is at the righthand side of the harbour car park when facing the lake. Just follow it, make some photos and have fun.
La Grande Cariçaie Nature Reserve
The biking path is within the nature reserve La Grande Cariçaie and occupies the entire south shore of Lake Neuchâtel. It is home to around 800 plant species and 10,000 animal species, in other words a quarter of Switzerland's flora and fauna. That is impressive indeed.
With this obviously comes a few rules which need to be respected,
- No open fire for your lunch break, so bring your sandwich or have lunch at Cudrefin Beach where you will be able to find designated grill stations.
- Dogs need to be on a leash at all times. There are just too many animals calling this place their home.
Tips when Biking along Lake Neuchâtel with Kids
- Whist you are biking along Lake Neuchâtel and traversing la Grande Cariçaie Nature Reserve you will see some small paths leading away towards the water.
Take these paths and explore! It is like this we found this hidden beach on the photo below
It was the perfect stop for lunch and the kids had the best time wading in the cold water, finding shells and throwing stones. Whilst Dave and I enjoyed the sound of nature (a cuckoo was close by) and listening to the gentle waves that came ashore when a bigger boat passed out on Lake Neuchâtel.
Oh, life was good!
- On the path through the forest there were large dried up muddy puddles and left and right in the forest was a lot of water.
Therefore, it looks like the path gets muddy quickly after rain and may be difficult on bikes. Or you may have to push a bit.
I am only talking about a small section within the forest, the rest looked ok.
- If it is too wet, you can cycle on the outer road, but this takes away the fun of discovering the hidden beaches and riding over these wooden jetties. 🙂 Plus you are on a road with cars.
The outer road might be a good choice if you are on a longer bike ride and wish to pass this section.
To find the beach we had lunch on is quite simple. Shortly after leaving Portalban you will pass some small lake houses (would love to rent one of these), riding your bikes over a long wooden jetty before getting to the forest path. Once on that stretch look out for a picnic table and a sign for the la Grande Cariçaie. Right here is a small path leading to the left. Take it and follow until the beach.
Arriving at Cudrefin in the Jura & 3 Lakes Region
After 7 km you will arrive in the Commune of Cudrefin in Canton Vaud, a harbour village also. I guess every village along Lake Neuchâtel has a harbour village.
It is here where you find a large beach with BBQ facilities, playground, restaurant and you guessed it, boats.
As we had lunch on our hidden beach which we found whilst biking along Lake Neuchâtel with the kids, we enjoyed an ice cream, put our feet in the "still" cold water and did some people watching. Things you do, right!? 🙂
It was a warmish day at the end of April. For me not warm enough to pretend it is a summer day lying in your bikini or going for a swim. Others did not share my opinion and did exactly this.
Suggestions - Take a Boat
Take the Ferry Boat back or visit the City of Neuchâtel
You have the option to take the boat back to Portablan or even go and visit the town of Neuchâtel. The passenger ferry boat leaves 5 times a day from Cudrefin to Neuchâtel and takes 30 minutes. To get back to Portalban by boat it is 20 min and also leaves 5 times a day. Here is the timetable should this be of interest.
Biking back along Lake Neuchâtel with Kids. Jura & 3 Lakes Region
We cycled back to Portalban pretty much without stopping. We had made the photos and discovered the hidden places on our way to Cudrefin.
At Portalban we promised the kids to hit the beach again and so we did. This time the shoes socks and trousers were off and in they went. Ha ha, not for long though. Although there were people properly swimming in Lake Neuchâtel which I found crazy. No idea what the temperature was, but for me if it is not hitting 30 degrees it is cold. 🙂
Refreshment possibilities when Biking along Lake Neuchâtel with Kids
There are harbour/beach restaurants at Portalban and at Cudrefin. You will also find toilets at both places and play areas.
Furthermore, as mentioned before you have the possibility to use the BBQ facilities at the beach in Cudrefin.
Our Thoughts on Biking along Lake Neuchâtel with Kids
Needless to say, we ALL loved it and cannot wait to discover the Jura & 3 Lakes Region (les 3 Lac) further during the upcoming summer months.
We loved the diversity, pure nature and the possibility to cycle so close to Lake Neuchâtel.
As this is quite a popular stretch also for walkers it can probably get quite busy during peak season, therefore we suggest cycle it early or late in the day when I would imagine that you will meet less people.
Biking Map along Lake Neuchâtel in the 3 Lakes Region
How the map works: Click on “Learn More” to get to the full map layout with profile and interactive bike route indicator.
Location:: Delley-Portalban (Fribourg) to Cudrefin (Vaud)
Length:: 7 km one way to Cudrefin (Vaud) 14 km full tour
Level:: Easy flat along the lake shore - Kids were age 5.5
Highest point:: 435 m
Ascent 8m / Descent 8m
Good to know
- Refreshments can be found on both ends are restaurants and snack bars available
- Facilities, toilets and showers can be found in Portalban and Cudrefin harbour.
- This path is also possible for pedestrians and a good mountain push chairs may pass on the smaller pathes and over the roots.
- There is a possibility to enjoy one way on the Ferry Boat
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I hope that the information provided here will prove itself useful when planning Biking along Lake Neuchâtel with Kids in Jura & 3 Lakes Region.
If I have left anything out, please ask your questions in the comments below and share your experience, so that other readers can join in the conversation and benefit from your queries and stories as well.