Hiking in Ticino | Mountain Travel Sobek

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Hiking in Ticino

Trip Length 8 days

From $4,795

  • Enjoy full days of hiking by emerald-green alpine lakes, through a huge diversity of flora and fauna, with spectacular views of the Alps
  • Cross the Carasc Bridge, the longest Tibetan-style suspension bridge in Switzerland!
  • Go back in time in beautiful Valle Bavona—an off-the-grid "living museum" with charming stone houses clustered on rocky mountainsides
  • Hike above the Appennini Liguri, the Italian Riviera, with the glittering waters of Lake Maggiore before us!

Ticino, the Italian-speaking region in the south of Switzerland, is one of the country’s most spectacular, least-explored territories! Hike from the snow-capped mountains of the Alps to the Mediterranean-like climate of Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano; passing by emerald-green rivers, crystal-clear alpine lakes, snowcapped mountains, impressive waterfalls, colorful carpets of wildflowers, and magnificent panoramas. Experience the region's rich history and century-old traditions in its charming stone hamlets, and explore amazing UNESCO-listed sites, including: the Castles of Bellinzona, a fine example of medieval defensive architecture; and the pyramid-shaped Monte San Giorgio, famous for its Triassic fossils. Ticino is also home to the longest Tibetan-style, suspension bridge in Switzerland! At the end of a long day's hiking, enjoy exquisite regional cuisine and locally produced Merlot wine from Ticino's mountainside vineyards. Join MTS on this amazing new adventure in 2016!

Day 1: Arrive in Zurich, Switzerland and take a scenic train ride to Airolo

Welcome to Zurich, Switzerland! Your guide will meet us at Zurich HB train station, in the city center, which is directly linked to the airport. We'll then take very scenic train ride to Airolo, along the shores of Lake Zurich and Lake Luzern, and through the heart of the Alps. Airolo is a hiking paradise in Leventina Valley at the northern end of Ticino—Switzerland's Italian-speaking and southernmost canton. The Leventina Valley itself is a long, scenic cleft in the Swiss Alps that starts in the rugged Gotthard Massif and ends near rich farmland by Lake Maggiore. Along with the historical Gotthard Pass, it has been a main thoroughfare connecting southern and northern Europe since ancient times. Today it is the gateway to many hiking trails in one of the most beautiful areas in the Alps. We'll take a short afternoon walk in the immediate surroundings to stretch our legs, and help recover from our long flights.

  • Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Forni

Day 2: Hike the wild landscapes of Valle Bedretto

The Valle Bedretto, located at the northwestern edge of Ticino, is one of the most remote and pristine alpine valleys of the region. The name of the valley comes from the local dialect “bedra," the birch tree which proliferates the area, and its from here that the Ticino River starts its 40-mile journey to Lake Maggiore. Our exploration of Valle Bedretto begins with a short ride to the aerial cableway, which takes us to our trailhead. We'll then hike into the beautiful valley, meandering through larch forests and colorful pastures dotted with blueberry bushes and rhododendrons, and enjoying splendid views of the grandiose landscape. After a picnic lunch in a spectacular panoramic mountain setting, we'll start our descent to the valley floor, where we'll have the option to stop for a refreshing drink or a coffee before we return to our vehicle by public transportation. (Hiking time: 4.5 – 5 hours; Distance: 9 to 10 miles; Elevation change: 580' ascent/ 1,460' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Forni

Day 3: Explore Piora's spectacular alpine lakes

After breakfast, we'll transfer by private vehicle to the funicular, a cable car that will take us to the start of today's hike in the Piora region—a spectacular alpine area and a national nature conservation area of considerable beauty and scientific interest. The cable car, built in the early 1920s, offers a thrilling start to the day as it's one of the steepest in Europe! Next we'll hike on a circular, panoramic trail, passing several emerald-green alpine lakes. We'll learn about the region's huge diversity of fauna and flora, including over three hundred species of wildflowers that bloom in perfect harmony from mid-June to the end of August. Excellent vantage points will yield great views of the Alps and after a delicious, light lunch at a capanna (Swiss mountain hut), we'll make our way through a beautiful larch tree forest, along the shores of Lake Ritom and return to our starting point. (Hiking time: 4.5 hours; Distance: 9 to 10 miles; Elevation change: 928' ascent/ 928' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Internazionale

Day 4: Journey through sacred mountains and cross the amazing Carasc Bridge

Our spectacular journey continues through a sacred landscape of ancient churches, nestled high in the mountains. A short transfer by public transportation will take us to our trail, which leads us uphill, amongst vineyards and stone houses to the beautiful church of San Bernardo. Built between the 11th and 12th centuries and perched at 1,980-feet of elevation in a splendid position overlooking the plains leading to Lake Maggiore, San Bernardo is a monument of national importance. Its interior houses precious frescoes dating as far back as the early 15th century. We'll continue through a serene forest to reach the canyon of the Sementina River where we'll cross the dumbfounding Carasc Bridge, the longest Tibetan-style suspension bridge in Switzerland! With a span of 891-feet and a height from the valley floor of 430-feet, the Carasc Bridge is a true feat of engineering—and the views are simply superb. Our hike continues through chestnut forests to San Defendente, an enchanting oratory surrounded by a handful of well-preserved stone houses, still standing in testimony of days when the area was inhabited year around. Hiking through vineyards and small hamlets, we'll descend to the valley floor and return by public transport to Bellinzona. (Hiking time: 5 to  5½ hours; Distance: 7 to 8 miles; Elevation change: 1,785' ascent/ 1,930' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Hotel Internazionale

Day 5: Follow a breathtaking ridge to Lake Maggiore

Today we'll hike at altitudes between 5,250 and 5,750 feet, following the ridge from Monte Tamaro to Monte Lema, a traverse framed by breathtaking and mesmerizing panoramas stretching across the Alps. From Bellinzona, we'll transfer by public transportation to our trailhead, where we'll stop to admire the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, designed in 1990 by local architect Mario Botta. We'll then start our hike, skirting several peaks and taking in 360-degree views stretching from the mountains above Lake Como to Monte Rosa (15,203') and the Appennini Liguri. We'll spot hamlets clinging to the sides of mountains as we go and enjoy a picnic lunch before hiking along the border with Italy. Once we reach our destination, we'll descend by tram to the village of Miglieglia and transfer by private vehicle to Locarno, perfectly located on the shores of glitterting Lake Maggiore. (Hiking time: 6 hours; Distance: 10 to 11 miles; Elevation change: 1,352' ascent/ 1,286' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Belvedere

Day 6: Experience the secret valleys and ancient cultures of Valle Bavona

Valle Bavona is an integral part of the history and culture of the difficult pastoral life of Ticino. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many young and able men emigrated from this severe valley to the rolling hills of Northern and Central California, as well as to Australia, in search for work and a better life. Today, due to the harshness of its natural environment, this "living museum" is inhabited only seven months out of the year, when the old-timers still bring their few animals to graze on the miniscule plots of land. The valley has no electricity, and the stone houses, clustered together for heat retaining purposes and for safety, throw us back into a different time and place. We'll transfer by private vehicle and start walking and hiking along the Bavona River, through the many beautiful stone villages and past impressive waterfalls. We'll walk amongst the stone houses to admire the typical, extraordinary architecture, and past clever, makeshift shelters for the animals under the side of the mountain. We'll then hike on one of the historical paths, built by the hearty local shepherds, into a glacial valley, tucked away amongst the dramatic topography of the region. We'll enjoy a picnic in a fairytale setting next to the cauldrons where the water picks up momentum before plunging to the valley floor in the form of the most beautiful waterfall. Here, caves and stone structures stand in testimony of the hardship of times past. We'll then return to Locarno. Dinner is on your own this evening, giving you the opportunity to explore a range of local options. (Hiking time: 3 to 4 hours; Distance: 5 to 6 miles; Elevation change: 938' ascent/ 938' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Hotel Belvedere

Day 7: Get a bird's-eye view above Locarno

Today a spectacular, pleasant, panoramic hike takes us to the mountains above Locarno and Lake Maggiore, and offers us an extraordinary opportunity to enjoy the unobstructed views of Lake Maggiore and the Alps. We'll start with a ride on the panoramic tram. With the lake at our feet, we'll make our way up to the mountain of Cardada. During generous winters, this area becomes a small ski resort for the local population. A stop here to take in the view is mandatory. In fact, spanning from the deltas of the Ticino and Maggia Rivers (the lowest point in Switzerland), and the Brissago Islands, to Italy and the Western Alps, the panorama is simply breath taking. We'll continue to Capanna Stallone, a mountain “rifugio” and a typical restaurant, where we can sit outside and enjoy a light lunch. Our hike then continues further up, to a higher peak, for even more astounding views of the Alps. Through a spectacular, pristine environment, dotted by stone structures, standing in testimony of summer grazing pastures, we'll make our way back to the aerial cableway and return to Locarno. (Hiking time: 5 hours; Distance: 8 miles)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Belvedere

Day 8: Depart from Locarno

Our trip comes to an end in Locarno. After breakfast, transfer on your own to your next destination.   

  • Breakfast

Jul 02 - 09, 2017

Aug 28, 2017 - Sep 04, 2017

pricing

2017 Prices
$4,795 (4-12 members)
$800 single supplement

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Hotel Belvedere — Locarno

Hotel Belvedere is located in a quiet area, on a hill overlooking the town of Locarno, with splendid views of the mountains and the Swiss side of Lake Maggiore. A few minutes walk takes one into the charming historical center and to the lake shore. Modern and sober, it offers great service and utmost comfort. All rooms are decorated in warm Mediterranean tones and furnished with an eye for detail, enjoy an open view over the lake, and have a private bathroom with all amenities. The hotel restaurant offers fine cuisine, with carefully selected ingredients, combined with a respect for both the local and the Mediterranean traditions. www.belvedere-locarno.com 

Hotel Forni — Airolo

Hotel Forni, is a very nice and simple, family-run mountain hotel, strategically located across the street from the village train station. Because of its location, we try to reserve rooms in the back of the building. These rooms do not offer a view of the mountains, but are much quieter. All rooms are spacious, have private bathrooms with bathtub and shower, television, safe, telephone and minibar. Because the hotel is at 1,100 m/3,600 ft of elevation, where nighttime temperatures are cool, the rooms do NOT have air-conditioning. There is a free Internet station in the conference room. Wi-Fi with one’s own laptop cost SFr. 5 every 30 minutes. The restaurant of the hotel is sought-after for its excellent cuisine. www.forni.ch

Hotel Internazionale — Bellinzona

In Bellinzona, accommodations are at Albergo Internazionale, conveniently situated across from the main railway station in Bellinzona, and only a few minutes walk from the exquisite historical centre. Built at the beginning of the 20th century, the hotel was recently completely renovated in a sober and modern style. All rooms enjoy a view, either of the three UNESCO castles or of the mountains, have private bathrooms with bathtub and/or shower, air conditioning, double-pane windows, free WiFi and flat screen television. The restaurant of the hotel, managed by the family, offers Mediterranean dishes and local specialities. Fresh pasta, bread and cakes are made daily by the chef and olives, olive oil and other delicacies come directly from the producers. www.hotel-internazionale.ch

"Ticino is a wonderful trip. Off the beaten track, stunning scenery, no crowds, great food and lovely people." Rebecca Archey   

  • Enjoy full days of hiking by emerald-green alpine lakes, through a huge diversity of flora and fauna, with spectacular views of the Alps
  • Cross the Carasc Bridge, the longest Tibetan-style suspension bridge in Switzerland!
  • Go back in time in beautiful Valle Bavona—an off-the-grid "living museum" with charming stone houses clustered on rocky mountainsides
  • Hike above the Appennini Liguri, the Italian Riviera, with the glittering waters of Lake Maggiore before us!

Ticino, the Italian-speaking region in the south of Switzerland, is one of the country’s most spectacular, least-explored territories! Hike from the snow-capped mountains of the Alps to the Mediterranean-like climate of Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano; passing by emerald-green rivers, crystal-clear alpine lakes, snowcapped mountains, impressive waterfalls, colorful carpets of wildflowers, and magnificent panoramas. Experience the region's rich history and century-old traditions in its charming stone hamlets, and explore amazing UNESCO-listed sites, including: the Castles of Bellinzona, a fine example of medieval defensive architecture; and the pyramid-shaped Monte San Giorgio, famous for its Triassic fossils. Ticino is also home to the longest Tibetan-style, suspension bridge in Switzerland! At the end of a long day's hiking, enjoy exquisite regional cuisine and locally produced Merlot wine from Ticino's mountainside vineyards. Join MTS on this amazing new adventure in 2016!

reviews

"Ticino is a wonderful trip. Off the beaten track, stunning scenery, no crowds, great food and lovely people." Rebecca Archey   

DAILY itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Zurich, Switzerland and take a scenic train ride to Airolo

Welcome to Zurich, Switzerland! Your guide will meet us at Zurich HB train station, in the city center, which is directly linked to the airport. We'll then take very scenic train ride to Airolo, along the shores of Lake Zurich and Lake Luzern, and through the heart of the Alps. Airolo is a hiking paradise in Leventina Valley at the northern end of Ticino—Switzerland's Italian-speaking and southernmost canton. The Leventina Valley itself is a long, scenic cleft in the Swiss Alps that starts in the rugged Gotthard Massif and ends near rich farmland by Lake Maggiore. Along with the historical Gotthard Pass, it has been a main thoroughfare connecting southern and northern Europe since ancient times. Today it is the gateway to many hiking trails in one of the most beautiful areas in the Alps. We'll take a short afternoon walk in the immediate surroundings to stretch our legs, and help recover from our long flights.

  • Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Forni

Day 2: Hike the wild landscapes of Valle Bedretto

The Valle Bedretto, located at the northwestern edge of Ticino, is one of the most remote and pristine alpine valleys of the region. The name of the valley comes from the local dialect “bedra," the birch tree which proliferates the area, and its from here that the Ticino River starts its 40-mile journey to Lake Maggiore. Our exploration of Valle Bedretto begins with a short ride to the aerial cableway, which takes us to our trailhead. We'll then hike into the beautiful valley, meandering through larch forests and colorful pastures dotted with blueberry bushes and rhododendrons, and enjoying splendid views of the grandiose landscape. After a picnic lunch in a spectacular panoramic mountain setting, we'll start our descent to the valley floor, where we'll have the option to stop for a refreshing drink or a coffee before we return to our vehicle by public transportation. (Hiking time: 4.5 – 5 hours; Distance: 9 to 10 miles; Elevation change: 580' ascent/ 1,460' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Forni

Day 3: Explore Piora's spectacular alpine lakes

After breakfast, we'll transfer by private vehicle to the funicular, a cable car that will take us to the start of today's hike in the Piora region—a spectacular alpine area and a national nature conservation area of considerable beauty and scientific interest. The cable car, built in the early 1920s, offers a thrilling start to the day as it's one of the steepest in Europe! Next we'll hike on a circular, panoramic trail, passing several emerald-green alpine lakes. We'll learn about the region's huge diversity of fauna and flora, including over three hundred species of wildflowers that bloom in perfect harmony from mid-June to the end of August. Excellent vantage points will yield great views of the Alps and after a delicious, light lunch at a capanna (Swiss mountain hut), we'll make our way through a beautiful larch tree forest, along the shores of Lake Ritom and return to our starting point. (Hiking time: 4.5 hours; Distance: 9 to 10 miles; Elevation change: 928' ascent/ 928' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Internazionale

Day 4: Journey through sacred mountains and cross the amazing Carasc Bridge

Our spectacular journey continues through a sacred landscape of ancient churches, nestled high in the mountains. A short transfer by public transportation will take us to our trail, which leads us uphill, amongst vineyards and stone houses to the beautiful church of San Bernardo. Built between the 11th and 12th centuries and perched at 1,980-feet of elevation in a splendid position overlooking the plains leading to Lake Maggiore, San Bernardo is a monument of national importance. Its interior houses precious frescoes dating as far back as the early 15th century. We'll continue through a serene forest to reach the canyon of the Sementina River where we'll cross the dumbfounding Carasc Bridge, the longest Tibetan-style suspension bridge in Switzerland! With a span of 891-feet and a height from the valley floor of 430-feet, the Carasc Bridge is a true feat of engineering—and the views are simply superb. Our hike continues through chestnut forests to San Defendente, an enchanting oratory surrounded by a handful of well-preserved stone houses, still standing in testimony of days when the area was inhabited year around. Hiking through vineyards and small hamlets, we'll descend to the valley floor and return by public transport to Bellinzona. (Hiking time: 5 to  5½ hours; Distance: 7 to 8 miles; Elevation change: 1,785' ascent/ 1,930' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Hotel Internazionale

Day 5: Follow a breathtaking ridge to Lake Maggiore

Today we'll hike at altitudes between 5,250 and 5,750 feet, following the ridge from Monte Tamaro to Monte Lema, a traverse framed by breathtaking and mesmerizing panoramas stretching across the Alps. From Bellinzona, we'll transfer by public transportation to our trailhead, where we'll stop to admire the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, designed in 1990 by local architect Mario Botta. We'll then start our hike, skirting several peaks and taking in 360-degree views stretching from the mountains above Lake Como to Monte Rosa (15,203') and the Appennini Liguri. We'll spot hamlets clinging to the sides of mountains as we go and enjoy a picnic lunch before hiking along the border with Italy. Once we reach our destination, we'll descend by tram to the village of Miglieglia and transfer by private vehicle to Locarno, perfectly located on the shores of glitterting Lake Maggiore. (Hiking time: 6 hours; Distance: 10 to 11 miles; Elevation change: 1,352' ascent/ 1,286' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Belvedere

Day 6: Experience the secret valleys and ancient cultures of Valle Bavona

Valle Bavona is an integral part of the history and culture of the difficult pastoral life of Ticino. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many young and able men emigrated from this severe valley to the rolling hills of Northern and Central California, as well as to Australia, in search for work and a better life. Today, due to the harshness of its natural environment, this "living museum" is inhabited only seven months out of the year, when the old-timers still bring their few animals to graze on the miniscule plots of land. The valley has no electricity, and the stone houses, clustered together for heat retaining purposes and for safety, throw us back into a different time and place. We'll transfer by private vehicle and start walking and hiking along the Bavona River, through the many beautiful stone villages and past impressive waterfalls. We'll walk amongst the stone houses to admire the typical, extraordinary architecture, and past clever, makeshift shelters for the animals under the side of the mountain. We'll then hike on one of the historical paths, built by the hearty local shepherds, into a glacial valley, tucked away amongst the dramatic topography of the region. We'll enjoy a picnic in a fairytale setting next to the cauldrons where the water picks up momentum before plunging to the valley floor in the form of the most beautiful waterfall. Here, caves and stone structures stand in testimony of the hardship of times past. We'll then return to Locarno. Dinner is on your own this evening, giving you the opportunity to explore a range of local options. (Hiking time: 3 to 4 hours; Distance: 5 to 6 miles; Elevation change: 938' ascent/ 938' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Hotel Belvedere

Day 7: Get a bird's-eye view above Locarno

Today a spectacular, pleasant, panoramic hike takes us to the mountains above Locarno and Lake Maggiore, and offers us an extraordinary opportunity to enjoy the unobstructed views of Lake Maggiore and the Alps. We'll start with a ride on the panoramic tram. With the lake at our feet, we'll make our way up to the mountain of Cardada. During generous winters, this area becomes a small ski resort for the local population. A stop here to take in the view is mandatory. In fact, spanning from the deltas of the Ticino and Maggia Rivers (the lowest point in Switzerland), and the Brissago Islands, to Italy and the Western Alps, the panorama is simply breath taking. We'll continue to Capanna Stallone, a mountain “rifugio” and a typical restaurant, where we can sit outside and enjoy a light lunch. Our hike then continues further up, to a higher peak, for even more astounding views of the Alps. Through a spectacular, pristine environment, dotted by stone structures, standing in testimony of summer grazing pastures, we'll make our way back to the aerial cableway and return to Locarno. (Hiking time: 5 hours; Distance: 8 miles)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Belvedere

Day 8: Depart from Locarno

Our trip comes to an end in Locarno. After breakfast, transfer on your own to your next destination.   

  • Breakfast
lodgings

Hotel Belvedere — Locarno

Hotel Belvedere is located in a quiet area, on a hill overlooking the town of Locarno, with splendid views of the mountains and the Swiss side of Lake Maggiore. A few minutes walk takes one into the charming historical center and to the lake shore. Modern and sober, it offers great service and utmost comfort. All rooms are decorated in warm Mediterranean tones and furnished with an eye for detail, enjoy an open view over the lake, and have a private bathroom with all amenities. The hotel restaurant offers fine cuisine, with carefully selected ingredients, combined with a respect for both the local and the Mediterranean traditions. www.belvedere-locarno.com 

Hotel Forni — Airolo

Hotel Forni, is a very nice and simple, family-run mountain hotel, strategically located across the street from the village train station. Because of its location, we try to reserve rooms in the back of the building. These rooms do not offer a view of the mountains, but are much quieter. All rooms are spacious, have private bathrooms with bathtub and shower, television, safe, telephone and minibar. Because the hotel is at 1,100 m/3,600 ft of elevation, where nighttime temperatures are cool, the rooms do NOT have air-conditioning. There is a free Internet station in the conference room. Wi-Fi with one’s own laptop cost SFr. 5 every 30 minutes. The restaurant of the hotel is sought-after for its excellent cuisine. www.forni.ch

Hotel Internazionale — Bellinzona

In Bellinzona, accommodations are at Albergo Internazionale, conveniently situated across from the main railway station in Bellinzona, and only a few minutes walk from the exquisite historical centre. Built at the beginning of the 20th century, the hotel was recently completely renovated in a sober and modern style. All rooms enjoy a view, either of the three UNESCO castles or of the mountains, have private bathrooms with bathtub and/or shower, air conditioning, double-pane windows, free WiFi and flat screen television. The restaurant of the hotel, managed by the family, offers Mediterranean dishes and local specialities. Fresh pasta, bread and cakes are made daily by the chef and olives, olive oil and other delicacies come directly from the producers. www.hotel-internazionale.ch

Dates and Pricing

Jul 02 - 09, 2017

Aug 28, 2017 - Sep 04, 2017

pricing

2017 Prices
$4,795 (4-12 members)
$800 single supplement

Activity Level Moderate
Trip Length 8 days

From $4,795

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