Raid Alpine (Nice to Geneva)

Road Cycling Holidays in the Alps

  • 6 day cycling challenge from Nice to Lake Geneva
  • 763km route from south to north encompassing about 18,450m of ascent
  • Infamous climbs such as the Col de l’Iseran and Cime de la Bonette
  • Official route including registration, certificate & medal for successful finishers
  • Comfortable 2 and 3* hotels with local cuisine geared to cyclists
  • All evening meals, water & wine included
  • 2 customised support vans with attentive, proactive and fun guides
  • Experienced and passionate service from Marmot Tours to enable you to achieve your goals

Days on the bike

6 days

You organised a wonderful, exceptional and memorable tour with definitely the best guides we've ever had.  The perfect combination of support, cheer leaders, nurses, mechanics, organisers, nutritionists - and you did it in a relaxed way that made it all look so easy, well all except the Iseran that is! I rate the week as the best holiday I've ever had.

M Wosoba


The official (and original) Raid Alpine (Nice to Geneva) is a classic road cycling challenge from the Côte d’Azur to the shores of Lake Geneva over some of the most legendary Alpine climbs, including the two highest: the Col de l’Iseran and the Cime de la Bonette.

Originally devised by the Paris Audax club to run in this direction, the Nice-Geneva served as a ‘pre-amble’ to the Raid Dolomites. ‘Amble’ does no justice at all to this route which is anything but! As with the Raid from Geneva to Nice, the joy of this 6 day route is getting to know the hidden corners of the Alps and to appreciate their variety. Typical views of Alpine meadows are included but there are a host of other dramatic, beautiful and interesting things to see before you reach the Savoie-Alps just south of Lake Geneva.

The jury is still out as to whether this is the tougher direction to take on the Raid Alpine, though it probably is a little harder at the start of the week. Of course, we have had a few people go one way and then the other, just for fun!

For over 15 years now we have been supporting cyclists in achieving their Raid goals. We are passionate about our product being the best it can be and we enable around 100 cyclists every year to do the official Raid Alpine route. We provide two highly customised support vans per group, our guides are attentive and energetic and we know that this is not just a cycling challenge – it is also a holiday, so we keep it fun.

If you want to visit the Alps but do not want to do a Raid challenge, then the Classic Cols of the Alps or the Classic Cols of the Southern Alps with their flexible itineraries may be the perfect cycling holiday for you.

Read more about the area and our adventures supporting Cyclist Magazine’s Big Ride feature by clicking this link.

To find out more about the history and format of a Raid, please check out our blog (21/03/19) here.

It is important to us that you book a holiday that’s right for you, so do read the Trip Notes for all you need to know about how this holiday works, food, accommodation & travel…

For the latest travel advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, check

To give you a flavour of this trip, head over to our You Tube channel and watch our Classic Cols of the Alps video, where you’ll see plenty of climbs and cols that you’ll be tacking on the Raid Alpine.


Departure Dates & Prices

We are not planning on running this itinerary in 2024, but will be offering a number of Geneva to Nice Raid Alpine tours. To register your interest for a future Raid Alpine Nice to Geneva departure, please get in touch on [email protected].



Day 0: Arrival day

We offer included transfers from Nice Airport to the hotel in Nice at specified times.

Full travel advice (essential reading before booking your flights) can be found in our Trip Notes.

Meet your guides, assemble bikes, have a welcome briefing and great dinner.

Day 1: Nice to Valberg

You leave the urban sprawl of the coastal plain and go past luxury apartments to the perfume capital of Grasse. After 45km you reach St-Vallier-de-Thiey to take some quieter roads towards the glorious Alpine foothills. This is shrubby, Mediterranean landscape and undulates pleasingly with a few small peaks to climb, the Col de Bleine (1439m) being the most noticeable. The fortified town of Entrevaux is worth a quick coffee stop before you take on the stunning, cliff hugging road through the Gorges de Daluis. Your first taste of the big climbs comes with the Col de Valberg (1672m) up to your hotel.

147km with 3450m ascent [ride profile]

Day 2: Valberg to Vars

A gentle start through the lush meadows takes you to the Col de la Couillole (1678m). What goes up must come down (cautiously please!) and after a great descent you end up back down at 500m.

Next up is the highest road pass in Europe, the Cime de la Bonette (2802m) – a whopping 2200m of climbing over 54km! There is no need to mention the amazing views, and the sense of achievement in bagging this climb is overwhelming. The long descent will hopefully recharge the legs as it is far from over! Up next is a fairly gentle climb up a beautiful limestone gorge, before turning abruptly ‘up’ the Col de Vars (2109m). After a quick stop at the great cafe to get your carnet stamped you descend to your hotel in the ski resort of Vars.

134km and 3440m ascent [ride profile]

Day 3: Vars to Cesana Torinese

You start the day with a descent to Guillestre and head up the gorge into the Queyras National Park and up the infamous Col d’Izoard (2361m) with its monuments to Fausto Coppi and Louison Bobet. Yet another great descent to Briançon – a town well worth visiting despite the gradient of the high street! The final climb of the day is the Col de Montgenèvre (1854m), which takes you over the border into Italy. It is then downhill all the way to the small town of Cesana Torinese, where you cycle straight past the hotel (how much do you want that medal?) and take on the Colle de Sestriere (2035m) for a ‘tampon’ before returning to Cesana Torinese.

110km and 2700m ascent [ride profile]

Day 4: Cesana Torinese to Séez

Plenty of breakfast digestion time on the long descent into Susa this morning. The Col du Mont-Cenis (2081m) will take you back into France and it’s a tough climb from this side! Refuel in the café at the top before facing another classic – the 2nd highest col in Europe: the Col de l’Iseran (2764m). This is the most picturesque side to climb and the views are stunning. All there is then left to do is roll down the hill (for almost 50km!) through Val-d’Isère and on to our secluded 3* hotel on the outskirts of Bourg-St-Maurice.

149km with 3100m ascent [ride profile]

Day 5: Séez to La Clusaz

You start off the day with the Cormet de Roselend (1968m). This is the heart of the Alps and very beautiful. You will hardly notice the Col du Pré (1740m) and will enjoy the technical descent to Beaufort. More climbing still to come, namely the Col de Saisies (1633m) and Col des Aravis (1487m). The Aravis is followed by a nice descent down to the thriving ski town of La Clusaz, where we stay the night.

100km with 3090m ascent [ride profile]

Day 6: La Clusaz to Thonon-les-Bains

You start descending out of La Clusaz and down to the base of the mighty Col de la Colombière (1618m), the ‘main event’ of the day. Drop down the other side and ‘undulate with an uphill bias’ along to Taninges. Next up, the Col de Ramaz (1557m) is not particularly high, but extremely steep from the southeast, making it the most challenging climb of our trip. To get here we must first ascend the gorge and pass through Les Gets, and finally over the Col de l’Encrenaz (1437m) to avoid a road closure at the base of the Ramaz. Enjoy the Alpine meadow scenery around the Col de Jambaz (1027m) and Col de Terramont (1080m) before the last col of the day (and holiday!): the Col de Moises (1118m). The shores of Lake Geneva are in sight and it’s downhill all the way!

119km with 2500m ascent [ride profile]

Day 7: Departure day

We offer included transfers to Geneva airport.

Full travel advice (essential reading before booking your flights) can be found in our Trip Notes.