In Switzerland we are privileged to have a great public transport system that can bring us pretty much all over Switzerland. Even the smaller Swiss alpine villages are accessible on our public transport system.
And even better our bicycles can travel with us on most trains, busses and even on boats within the Swiss public transport system. This makes it super easy and convenient when planning a bike route through Switzerland. Not only are the trains and other public transport options regular, we also have the option to hop on and off at thousands of stops.
This gives many great possibilities to alter and change the routes as needed.
“If you need some more family friendly activities in Switzerland Check out our Swiss Activity and Hiking map “
In this Article you will find
- Why travel with the SBB and public transport?
- Good to know when travelling with your bicycles on the SBB trains
- What to do around Lake Murten, Morat?
- Where to stay in Murten?
- Our thoughts on travelling with the Swiss public transport system
Why have we chosen to Travel with the SBB to Lake Murten, Jura & Three Lakes?
Flexible Travel Arrangments
The question is easily answered, travelling with the SBB train network with our bicycles is easy and comfortable. It also allows different possibilities to leave the train, cycle a bit, and if needed to jump back on before reaching our final destination of Murten on the shores of Lake Murten. (The French name is Morat, on Lac de Morat.)
To have this flexibility when planning our bike tour within the Jura & Three Lakes, is essential especially when travelling with young bikers :). You just never know how such a family bike tour will be and knowing that we can always change the route and take the SBB train to our destination put my mind at ease.
Go Green & Relax
Another reason to opt to travel with the SBB train system in Switzerland is the Co2 level concern. Every little helps and as we have chosen to spend some days on our bikes in Murten, Jura & Three Lakes why not go completely green and leave the car at home? This way every one of the family can relax and admire the beautiful landscapes Switzerland has to offer and nobody needs to drive. It also gives us the time to play some family card games on the journey.
Jura & Three Lakes
And why have we chosen the Jura & Three Lakes? Well, the whole region is perfectly adapted for family bicycle tours. The route options are great and not too strenuous for our young biking team. If you need another cycling route check out our bike tour along lake Neuchâtel.
Good to know when Travelling with your Bicycles on the SBB Trains.
With the points below you will find it easy to travel with your bikes on the SBB trains in Switzerland.
Go onto the SBB Timetable (or download the app) and enter your departure and destination train stations within Switzerland. Add your times if already known.
Check the icons which apply to your journey and if you see the bicycle in a box (check photo below, green arrows), this indicates you NEED to have a bike reservation. Therefore, make sure you plan your trip early enough if you need to take this specific train. If you are taking multiple trains be sure to check all segments of your journey.
Better is, if you can be flexible and choose a train connection without the bicycle reservation icon.
I have written a general article “How Best to Travel in Switzerland with Bikes” You may find this article useful when planning your bike vacation in Switzerland to Lake Murten in the Jura & Three Lakes.
On the SBB Train Station Platform
Now, that you have chosen your SBB train and are waiting for it to arrive check out the information board. It normally states in which section A, B or C, (sometimes even D) the BIKE wagons are situated. The SBB train conductors prefer that you use the wagons which are designated for bikes. Some of the standard carriages just don’t have sufficient space to store bikes and allow passengers to get on and off easily.
When the train arrives try to spot the picture below ( bicycle sticker on window) They are sometimes difficult to spot especially if the platform is busy.
It is here where you must enter the train.
The best carriage is the kids play carriage. Plenty of space for about 10 bikes downstairs and a kids play area upstairs. This wagon is easily recognisable from the outside with the large cartoon motifs. These carriages are only found on double-deck trains.
Bike Tickets on the SBB Train System
Bikes do NOT travel free of charge and if you will be using the train several times a day, it is better to purchase a day bike ticket which is Chf 14.-
For shorter journeys the bike ticket costs 50% of the normal SBB train fare.
Children under the age of 6 do not pay for the train nor for their bikes. Bikes also travel for free for children over the age of 6 with a junior travel card and one paying parent.
For more information check the SBB website
What to do in & around Murten / Morat, Jura & Three Lakes, Switzerland
As previously mentioned, our cycling short break destination was Murten or its French name Morat, which is within the Jura & Three Lakes Region in the Swiss Canton of Fribourg. Murten is perfect as a base to travel with the Swiss public transport system around the Jura & three Lakes. The area is so versatile offering lots of different cultural and fauna education and on top of it all, it is stunningly beautiful.
When I planned the trip with the SBB train, I wanted to be able to cycle to our final destination, Murten / Morat rather than arrive directly with the train. The kids loved the idea to cycle to their hotel.
So, we jumped of the train in Kerzers which seemed the perfect distance for our 1st half day on our family biking weekend in Murten.
It was just over 8km direct to Murten along some of the cycling routes of the largest vegetable garden in Switzerland, the Vegetable Path. We only covered a small part of this cycling route but goodness me, I understand why it is called the Largest Vegetable Garden in Switzerland. This area supplies some of the larger supermarkets in Switzerland.
We enjoyed this short ride after our SBB train journey and could not wait to explore more of Murten and Jura & Three Lakes on our bikes the next day.
Visit Murten / Morat Old Town
The little medieval town of Murten located on the south-east shore of Lake Murten has kept its original appearance to the delight of many tourists and locals.
Slightly elevated, the old town of Murten gives you magnificent views over Lake Murten ( Lac de Morat) and beyond. We cycled along the cobblestones, climbed medieval towers and enjoyed the sunset over the Jura hills.
Definitely do the walking tour around the “Ringmauer” it brings alive the dragons and princesses. Or at least it did for our kids. 🙂
Within the old town are some interesting artisanal shops and great restaurants.
Stroll along the Murten Lake shore
During our visit ( July 2021) the whole of Jura & Three Lakes experienced big floods. It was because of this that the whole lake was fenced off for swimming. No boats were allowed to operate either.
But we could still see how beautiful it would be when one could use the lake area, swim, paddle board and go on a cruise on Lake Murten. All great activities which can be accessed by using the public transport system. Well, we just have to come back when nature allows.
Cycle Around Lake Murten with Kids
Our main goal during this trip was to cycle with the kids around Lake Murten. It is a 35km circular route with an altitude change of 282m. most of which is at Mont Vully.
Make it a whole day activity, especially when cycling Lake Murten with younger kids. Remember their legs and wheels are smaller than yours and it is a great achievement to do the whole tour.
Our kids were just 6 years old and apart from helping them to cycle up to Mont Vully and on the last stretch back to Murten, they cycled unaided around the whole of Lake Murten on their 1st proper 20” gear bikes.
Later, I will write and link to here, a full cycling route guide, but in the meantime check out our route on the map below.
What is great, there is the possibility to shorten the cycling tour if needed by taking the SBB train and the Swiss public transport system back to Murten, for example from Avenches. Or you could take the SBB train from Murten to Sugiez and skip that part. If needed I would suggest to shorten the end by taking the train from Avenches, as the 1st part of the Lake Murten biking route is off the road and through the forest.
Cycling route around Lake Murten
Playing Hide and Seek in the Mont Vully Caves, Les Grottes du Vully
Just the best place for learning a little about history and playing in the underground sandstone caves. This place also offers magnificent views of Lake Murten and its surrounding vineyards.
The Mont Vully caves were dug during the First World War as a fortification for the infantry and they formed part of the system of defence for the Swiss central plateau. The sandstone caves were carved and dug by hand between 1915 and 1917 in order to defend Lake Murten.
Now it is a children’s paradise for hide-and-seek games. Bring a torch and explore these beautiful caves. Oh, and bring some lunch to put on the grill. There are great BBQ facilities on site and even toilets.
Even if you are not cycling around Lake Murten with your kids, you can visit the Mont Fully Caves from Murten by the Swiss Public transport system. On the SBB timetable search Murten to Praz Vully. You will be going 1st on a train ride and then change to the bus.
Alternatively, you could take the boat from Murten to Môtier and visit the Grottes de Vully on foot from there. There is also a Celtic Oppidum on Mont Vully to visit. Check for more info here
Step back in time and sit in the Roman Amphitheatre in Avenches
On our bicycle tour around Lake Murten we added a detour to Avenches to see the Roman Amphitheatre which dates from the early 2nd century A.D. Wow, what a great place. Definitely a must visit whether it is by bike or with the Swiss public transport system from Murten.
Apparently, Avenches was the capital of Roman Helvetica. An impressive testament to its history is undoubtedly the Roman amphitheater. Still beautifully preserved one can feel the history that took place within this beautiful structure.
Today used for concerts due to its splendid acoustics within. I would LOVE to be sitting here and listen to a concert. We explained to the kids about the Roman times and for what it was used. The disbelief in their eyes was impressive. So, add it on to your things to do in Murten itinerary list.
Where to stay in Murten ?
The choice is big and all types of accommodation including camping can be found in and around Murten.
This time we stayed in the Best Western Seepark Hotel. It is conveniently located only 300m from the lake, had an amazing roof top terrace and best of all I could charge my e-bike in the garage. Yes, I am the only family member with an e-bike. But to my defence I am the one that pulls the kids up the hills 🙂
If you would like to stay within the old town we liked the look of the Adler Boutique Hotel
Our thoughts on Travelling with the SBB & Public Transport to Lake Murten
Our journey went pretty smoothly, apart from the 1st train where the entry to the bike section was a bit tight. But for the rest of the journey all went well and we also felt we always had enough time when changing trains.
It also helped that we did not have too much luggage with us. Each family member had their own backpack.
If you are travelling with more luggage and maybe even with a bike trailer, I would suggest to use the SBB service whereby they transport your luggage and bicycles for you to your final destination. You can find more information on this here.
During this trip to Lake Murten with our bicycles we did not need to use any busses. I have seen though that to transport your bike with the bus system, reservations are sometimes required.
Check out the local site for other ideas and more informations on the beautiful Jura & Trois-Lacs.
You may also Like these following Articles
- Biking Along Lake Neuchâtel
- Epic Summer Road Trip Through Switzerland 2020
- How to Travel Switzerland on a Budget
- Switzerland Itinerary , 7, 10 & 14 Days
- 33 of the Best Viewpoints in Switzerland – NO HIKING required
Voilà, I hope you enjoyed reading With our Bicycles & The SBB Train System to Lake Murten – Jura & Three Lakes
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
Note: This trip was in collaboration with the SBB-CFF-FFS, but as always trips like these are to test it for you and our full honest review is presented here.
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