Self-Guided Hiking Tours

Switzerland | Ticino Swiss Lake District: Sun & Serenity

Discover the famous Swiss Lake District

  • Ascona, Switzerland in the region of Ticino

Trip Highlights:

  • Settle into a cozy trattoria. Sample delicious food, fine wines and the infinite charms of a sunny Italian inspired region of Switzerland.
  • Overnights in the famous resort towns of Locarno and Lugano.
  • Wide sweeping views of the region's prominent lakes, Maggiore and Lugano.
  • Tranquil villages and trails that time forgot.

A sweet, laid back Italian way of life blends with the beauty of the Swiss Alps in the sun-drenched Italian speaking part of Switzerland known as Ticino. With 2,500 average hours of sunlight per year, you’re sure to find blue skies and sparkling waters during this 8-day Ticino Swiss Lakes District hiking tour.

One of the great charms of the Ticino is the region’s culture, a mix of Italian passion with a hint of germanic influence. The food is delicious and everything runs on time, including the funicular that gives a leg up on your first day’s hike.

You’ll begin in the bustling, yet charming, lake resort of Locarno with its lakefront promenade, arcaded shops, Piazza Grande and its winding cobbled streets, home to many artisans shops and ateliers. Above the village, a funicular ascends to a cable car, giving you a boost to the start of your climb, the Cima della Trosa. Take in the amazing views of Lake Maggiore before hiking into a remote valley with numerous ruins, active herding hamlets and intriguing stone architecture. Drop into the Val Verzasca to visit the charming villages of Corippo and Lavertezzo. Lavertezzo is famous for its Roman-looking double arch bridge constructed in the 17th century. Click here to see 40 photos from the first day’s hike.

Leaving the Val Verzasca, you’ll travel south toward Italy, taking lots of photos as you cross Monte Tamaro (6,437 feet/1,962 meters) and Monte Lema (5,085 feet/1,550 meters), two scenic mountains linked by one of the most beautiful ridge hikes in the region. You’ll visit the famous city of Lugano, known for its art, delicious food, museums, and preferred hot spot of the popular author Hermann Hesse. You’ll climb Monte Boglia (4,974 feet/1,516 meters) and Monte Brè (3,035 feet/925 meters), taking in the sweeping views of Lake Lugano. You’ll finish the trip in the lakeside village of Morcote, surrounded by terraced vineyards and tucked beneath the San Monte Girogio peak, a pyramid-shaped mountain and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The real treasure of this trip is the chance to sample Italian delicacies woven into Swiss culture. You’ll enjoy hearty Ticinese cuisine with opportunities to sample local merlot wines that make Ticino one of Switzerland’s great wine producing regions.

Trip Itinerary

Arrive at your gateway, and transfer independently by rail to Locarno, an Italian-speaking town in the Swiss canton of Ticino. Your lovely boutique hotel nestled in the old town village above the northeastern shoreline of Lake Maggiore awaits you.

Today’s hike will surely lift the spirits with a funicular ride that meets a cable car and finally a lift ride to Alp Cardada. This above tree-line hike begins with a climb to Cima della Trosa and the first of many lake views throughout the week. A dreamy descent towards the lush forest below meanders through tiny alpine herding hamlets and finishes along the riverbanks of the emerald-colored waters of the Verzasca River in the ancient village of Lavertezzo (options to shorten this hike exist) with its spectacular double arched Romanesque bridge. Enjoy a picturesque ride down valley to the lakeside of Locarno.

Today begins with a (short) transfer via train to Rivera Bironico and a small tram ride to Alpe Foppa which sits at 5,019 feet. Once you’ve gained this elevation, you will continue to climb to the summit of Monte Tamaro and on to Monte Lema (1550 meters) if you heart desires more hiking. This is one of the most beautiful ridge hikes in the region. After refreshments at Monte Lema, you will utilize another cableway to eliminate two hours of downhill hiking to the quaint Ticino village, Miglieglia, and your charming inn for the night.

Transfer from Meglieglia to your Lugano hotel. Today you’ll follow the Olive Trail leading to Gandria with an additional climb to Monte Brè which you will revisit the following day. From Monte Brè a bus will deliver you back to Lugano.

A short bus ride delivers you to Cadro (3 hour walk to Alpe Bolla) and the start of today’s hike. The morning will be spent climbing to Alpe Bolla, offering refreshments and hot meals (and an option to end hiking for the day) and then on to Monte Boglia (4,974 feet/1,516 meters), which is your highpoint of the day. The hiking is sustained and challenging, but the views are unbelievable. A descent down to the ancient rural village of Brè (3,035 feet/925 meters) and then another short climb has the day finishing at the summit of Monte Brè, overlooking the town of Lugano. Overnight in Lugano.

A quick train ride to Lugano-Paradiso begins the day as you ascend to the summit of Monte San Salvatore (2,992 feet/912 meters). After taking in the 360 degree panoramic views of the Ticino region, the hike continues on the Sentiero Lago di Lugano, en route to Morcote, located on the shores of Lugano and within shouting distance of Italy. One thousand stone stairs take you to the fishing village of Morcote, where the pace of life here is shockingly mellow and a wonderful place to unwind.

We reach the trailhead via boat taxi from the shores of Lake Lugano to the small lakeside resort Brusino-Arsizio. Above this charming lakeside village sits San Monte Giorgio, a pyramid shaped mountain and UNESCO World Heritage Site designated for the fossils that remain from dinosaurs that roamed Ticino during the Triassic Period. The trail ascends the top of Monte Giorgio (3,599 feet/1,097 meters). We’ll also provide an easier option. The descent towards the small village of Meride, a lovely hamlet surrounded by terraced Meride Merlot vineyards and vegetable gardens, follows a historic and skillfully laid stone trading trail dating back to the twelfth century. Looping back around through mossy forests, a cable car awaits for your return to the boat back to Morcote.

Transfer to Lugano via bus or taxi, and then your gateway city.

Ticino Swiss Lake District: Sun & Serenity | Switzerland

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