How To Spend A Fun & Action Packed Couple of Days Exploring Ticino
The holidays are in full swing and its time to explore Switzerland! What better place to begin than a trip to the sunny southern corner of beautiful Ticino? We went there the other week for two nights and three days and had an amazing fun and action packed time. Here are some of our top recommendations!
1.Lido Vira Gambarogno at Shaka Beach
We drove early in the morning from Zurich and began by stopping at Lido Vira Gambarogno at Shaka Beach for a late breakfast and a paddle in the lake.
There is a lovely little beach area and it was great to get out of the car and explore.
The Lido at Shaka Beach is a wonderful place for families. As well as two cafes, there is a swimming area, a little park, a ping pong tableand you can also go Stand Up Paddling.
It’s a small very laid back and relaxed place with a sandy area and the beach area is just a few paces from the cafe. You could spend the day or afternoon there or just stop by and have a relaxed coffee, ice cream or a meal right on the beach.
There is also a “Swing the World” swing which was just being installed when we were there – so it is now attached to the frame in the water.
Lido Vira Gambarogno
Address: Shaka Beach, 6574 Vira.
Visit the website here.
2. Swing The World Ticino
Shaka Beach is one of the many destinations in Ticino taking part in the “Swing the world – Ticino” project . “Swing the World” is a project founded by Elisa Cappelletti and Fabio Balassi from Ticno during Lockdown. They wanted to show people the beauty of Ticino by placing handcrafted swings from local material in beauty spots all over the Canton. The idea was so that people can discover these picturesque locations and also have a little fun outdoors.
You can find out more about the Swing the World Ticino Project here and if you fancy you could try and visit as many as possible as they are all in beauty spots across Ticino.
We continued our journey from Vira Gambarogno to Ascona. Ascona is a wonderful little town situated directly on Lake Maggiore. It’s famous for its vibrant Mediterranean-style architecture and its beautiful promenade lined with cafes and restaurants.
The boat lined quayside is colourful and you can rent pedallos or go for a choice of boat trips on the lake.
In the old town, you can find the 16th-century Church of St. Peter and Paul and the Museum of Modern Art has a collection of art by Paul Klee and Alexej von Jawlensky.
It’s lovely to simply walk along the promenade, grab an ice cream and take in the beautiful views. On Tuesdays they have a weekly market along the front and there is also a “Swing The World” swing located on the water’s edge.
4. A Boat Trip To The Brissago Islands
However, we were heading to the Brissago Islands so we parked our car in the public car park at the Lungolago of Ascona then walked across to the pier to take the boat across Lake Maggiore to the Isole di Brissago – the Brissago Islands.
The Brissago Islands are one of my favourite places in the region and can only be accessed by boat. They are the home to thousands of wonderful plants and flowers from all corners of the world.
There is a treasure hunt you can follow, which is ideal for children and you can even use the services of a free guide. If you prefer just strolling around there is plenty to see and from the island you get the most wonderful views over Lake Maggiore.
Hotel Villa Emden
Perched high in the centre is the Hotel Villa Emden which also has a lovely restaurant.
We were lucky enough to find a table on the terrace and shared a lovely lunch of freshly fried local fish from the lake along with a couple of salads before meeting up with our guide for a short tour of the gardens.
Hotel Villa Emden
Address: Isole , 6614 Brissago, Tel: +41 91 780 54 25 www.villaemden.com
Our guide was excellent and during our short tour she pointed out lots of different species of exotic plants and we also visited the area with ornamental pool.
I would have loved to have stayed longer, but after exploring the island and learning all about the diverse flora and fauna it was time to catch the boat back to Ascona.
For more information you can read our blogpost all about the Brissago Islands here.
From Ascona we drove to Boutique Hotel La Rocca in Ronco where we were staying, and had a delicious dinner with lots of local specialities and views stretching right across to the Brissago Islands.
Dinner at Boutique Hotel La Rocca overlooking Lake Maggiore
Boutique Hotel La Rocca ****
Address: Via Ronco 61, 6613 Ronco sopra Ascona Tel: + 41 91 785 11 44 www.la-rocca.ch
5. A Trip To Morcote
The following morning we headed out to Morcote on Lake Lugano. Voted the prettiest village in Switzerland in 2016, this beautiful place hasn’t lost any of its charm. You can reach it by boat, by public transport (bus) or by car. This picturesque village is part of the Swiss federal inventory of sites worthy of protection and there is so much to see.
It’s full of interesting little nooks and crannies, cobbled alleyways, little arcades with shops and cafes underneath as well valuable architectural monuments. Its natural beauty, gave it its nickname “the Pearl of Ceresio”.
The church of Santa Maria del Sasso (above) and the terraced cemetery (below) are “must dos” when you’re in Morcote, as is a walk along the lake front and a stop at one of the restaurants or cafes for a meal or a coffee.
If you get the chance you should also go and visit the Scherrer Park. It is packed full of exquisite subtropical flora intertwined with sculptures and ornaments and entrance is free.
In Morcote you will see that many houses are typical of the region with porches and “loggias”. One such house is the Paleari House, decorated with beautiful “stucco” by the artist Abbondio Paleari. There are lots of cobbled alleyways and charming views as you ascend the steps above the lake front and the views are simply spectacular.
Just above the church of Santa Maria del Sasso you will also find one of the swings from the “Swing The World – Ticino” Project.
If you decide to go hiking from Lugano to Morcote you can read all about this in a previous blogpost here.
You can see a few views of Morcote on this short video:
5. Monte Tamaro
After spending the morning in Morcote we next drove to Rivera, (accessible by both car and public transport), and we took the gondola up to Alpe Foppa on Monte Tamaro which stands at 1,530 meters above sea-level. You can go on many walks with panoramic views here but there is a lot more you can do too!
The Coaster Bob track
We began by having lunch in the spacious Alpe Foppa restaurant close to the cable car station before proceeding to go for a real “adrenalin kick”! This really is a fabulous place with so many activities you can take part in and simply so much to do. There is a “Coaster Bob” Summer toboggan ride, a Zip Line, a Bike park and an Adventure Rope Park. The rope park has 3 different routes for different levels of ability and different heights and is located high up among some ancient beech trees. You can find out all about Monte Tamaro here.
Rope Adventure Park Monte Tamaro
We went on the Alpine Coaster, the Zip Wire and had a short go in the rope park too and had so much fun! It really is a blast!
Zip Line Monte Tamaro
The Coaster Bob toboggan run
We would definitely schedule a full day to spend at Monte Tamaro next time as there is so much to do. We ran out of time so sadly missed out on viewing the amazing Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli which is located not far from the Restaurant Alpe Foppa. It was designed by world famous architect Mario Botta and it features paintings by Enzo Cucchi and has been created in an amazing modern design.
Monte Tamaro SA
Address: Via Campagnole 6 , 6802 Rivera. Tel: +41 91 946 23 03 www.montetamaro.ch
By car: Motorway A2, Rivera exit (200 metres from the cableway base station) with a large car park
By rail: regional trains from Bellinzona and Lugano to the Rivera-Bironico station (a 300-metre walk from the railway station to the cableway base station).
6. BoBosco Trail in Lavertezzo
The next morning we headed to Lavertezzo where we went to go on the “Boccia al bosco” or BoBosco Trail as it is known. We went to the nearby kiosk in the front of the “Ponte dei salti” to pick up our wooden ball and then walked long the BoBosco trail using our ball on all the “games” along the way.
It’s a great way to make hiking fun for kids. There are 12 exciting spots where they can get their wooden ball to roll along various “wooden runs” such as pulleys or water locks that carry the ball forward. The trail runs from Brione Verzasca to Lavertezzo.
The wooden balls needed for the BoBosco trail can be purchased for CHF 7 at one of several sales points or at the vending machine at Brione Verzasca (in Ristorante Ai Piée) from either April or May until October. In Lavertezzo, where the trail ends you can see the famous low sided Roman bridge.
For more information on the BoBosco Trail visit the BoBosco website here.
Photos courtesy of the BoBosco Trail.
7. The Castles of Bellinzona
Our next stop was to visit the three Castles of Bellinzona, which were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. You can find out all about the 3 castles, Sasso Corbaro, Castello di Montebello and Castelgrande in our article here. It also includes information on the Bellinzona Pass you can buy which covers all three castles. If you have time, do visit the restaurant Osteria-Castello Sasso Corbaro at the Castel Sasso Corbaro for lunch – especially if you can eat outside in the courtyard. The food is delicious and beautifully presented. You can visit the website www.osteriasassocorbaro.ch here.
If you’re there on a Saturday morning don’t miss Bellinzona’s weekly market in the city’s historical centre where you can purchase delicious local products.
We hope this list of suggestions has inspired you. Whatever you do, have fun when you visit Ticino !
If you’re looking for a hotel to stay in whilst in Ticino visit this website where you can find hotels of different categories.
There is so much to see and do in Ticino. Here are some more ideas for things to you whilst you are in the region:
- A Visit to the UNESCO Wold Heritage Castles of Bellinzona
This is a Sponsored Article written in collaboration with Ticino Tourism but all views are 100% our own.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Ticino and can’t wait to go back!
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