Normandy’s a bit of an expert when it comes to repurposing disused railway tracks, having already turned several into popular rail biking routes. Explore our region in a new way by rail biking in a group through some of its most scenic natural landscapes. Suitable for all ages, this activity is great for the whole family!

Bagnoles-de-L’Orne

Vélorail à Bagnoles-de-l'Orne
© D. Commenchal

Rail biking company Vélorails des Andaines offers two routes in and around the Andaines Forest in southern Normandy. The first starts at the former railway station in the spa town of Bagnoles-de-l’Orne before heading out on a 7km circuit that takes you through the atmospheric Andaines Forest and past the Priory of Saint-Ortaire. The second circuit, also 7km in length, starts further south in the town of Couterne, and runs to Méhoudin, exploring Normandy’s traditional hedgerow landscape and skirting the Mayenne river as it goes.

Useful information on rail biking in Bagnoles-de-L’Orne

Vélorails des Andaines

Gare de Bagnoles-de-l’Orne, 61140 Bagnoles-de-l’Orne

en.normandie-tourisme.fr/sports-and-leisure-activities/andaines-rail-biking

Duration: One hour

Covid-19 regulations: Wearing of masks mandatory

Dates

March-November every day 10am-6pm (weather dependent)

December to February advance bookings only

Prices

Adults and children over 10: €6.50/person

Children under 10 (must be accompanied): €3/person

The Suisse Normande

Vélo Rail de la Suisse Normande
©D. Commenchal

Those feeling energetic might like to challenge themselves to a 13km rail biking round-trip in the hilly region of Normandy known as the Suisse Normande (Norman Switzerland). The Vélorail des Collines Normandes route begins at the former railway station at Pont-Erambourg, taking you along the Noireau valley until the Gouttes tunnel near Pont-d’Ouilly, showcasing all the charm of the Suisse Normande along the way. If you fancy learning more about the region’s railway history, head to Condé-sur-Noireau either before or after your ride, where train enthusiasts have transformed some former post carriages into a museum.

Useful information on rail biking in the Suisse Normande

Vélorail des Collines Normandes

Gare de Pont-Erambourg, 61790 Saint-Pierre-du-Regard

rails-collinesnormandes.fr

Duration: 1h45

Covid-19 regulations: Wearing of masks mandatory

Dates

April-October  (advance bookings only)

Prices

1 rail bike (4 people): €23 (€21 if booking 4+ rail bikes)

The Vire Valley

© Vélorail de Condé-sur-Vire

This rail biking route starts at the former Condé-sur-Vire railway station and heads along the Condé-sur-Vire to Gourfaleur railway line, out of service since 1989. After crossing a bridge and two level crossings, you enter the picturesque Vire Valley where there is no shortage of picturesque views, as well as two picnic areas along the route where you can stop off for refreshments. New to this route this year are electricity-assisted rail bikes, so everyone can enjoy the ride without working too hard!

Useful information on rail biking in the Vire Valley

Vélorail de Condé-sur-Vire

Ancienne gare, rue de la gare, 50890 Condé-sur-Vire

velorail-normandie.fr

Duration: 1h30

Covid-19 regulations: Wearing of masks mandatory

Dates

Reopening 29 May 2021

End of May and June (advance booking only)

July and August open every day (advance bookings advised, especially in the holidays)

September- December (advance bookings only)

Departure times are 10:30am, 2pm, 3:45pm and 5: 30pm

Prices

1 rail bike (4 people): €20 (€18 if booking 4+ rail bikes, €15 if booking 12+ rail bikes)

1 electricity-assisted rail bike (4 people): €30

etretat

© Vélo-rails d’Etretat

Etretat is a popular tourist attraction for anyone wishing to see its cliffs, so famously captured on canvas by the Impressionists. But what you may not know is just outside the town, there is a rail biking route that uses part of the old railway track that once linked Etretat to Rouen! A fun round-trip for all the family and easy enough for kids to cycle, this scenic route, operated by Vélo-rails d’Etretat, starts in the nearby town of Les Loges and runs 5.2km to the outskirts of Etretat. For the return trip, hop on the tourist train (included in the price), which will take you back to the starting point! There is also a train restaurant serving tasty local cuisine.

Useful information on rail biking in Etretat

Vélo-rails d’Etretat

Centre d’exploitation – La Gare, 56 place du 19 mars 1962, 76790 Les Loges

velo-rails-etretat.fr

Duration: 30 minutes (rail bike section)

Covid-19 regulations: Wearing of masks mandatory, especially on the tourist train

Dates

31 March-30 June open Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, 10am-4:30pm

1 July-31 August: Open every day, 10am-6pm

1 September-31 October : Open Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, 10am-4:30pm

Prices

1 rail bike (4 people) plus tourist train: €36

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