Self-Guided Hiking Tours

Switzerland | Ticino: Swiss Lakes District

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

Transfer independently to Locarno (Citta Vecchia) and relax in your lovely boutique hotel

Start the day by using lifts to access alp Cardada. Climb to the summit of the Cima della Trosa. Descend into the beautiful upper Valle di Mergoscia and loop back around to Alp Cardada. Return back to Locarno via lifts and funicular.

Distance: 6 miles Elevation gain/loss: 800/1700 ft

Transfer via train to Rivera Bironico and continue on a small tram ride to Alpe Foppa, which sits at 5,019 feet. Continue to climb to the summit of Monte Tamaro and on to Monte Lema (5000 ft). After refreshments, utilize another cableway to eliminate two hours of
downhill hiking and arrive in Miglieglia. Transfer to Lugano via taxi or bus/train.

Distance: 8 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 2100 ft.

The morning will be spent climbing to Alpe Bolla, offering refreshments and hot meals depending on your time of arrival. A lovely wooded traverse and eventual descent down to the village of Bre and then another short climb allows you to finish on Monte Bre. Overnight in Lugano.

Distance: 7 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 2600/1200 ft.

Start the day with a quick transfer to Capolago and board the historic Monte Generoso cog-railway. Ascend to the summit of Monte Generoso. Scramble down the trail to the Sentiero Alto and wander into Italy for lunch. Return to the top of the cog-railway via the Sentiero Basso. Return to Lugano.

Distance: 6 miles Elevation gain/loss: 1500 ft.

A quick train ride to Lugano-Paradiso begins the day. Ascend to the summit of Monte San Salvatore via funicularand continue on the Sentiero Lago di Lugano to Morcote.

Distance: 6 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 700/2500 ft.

Travel by boat to the small lakeside resort Brusino-Arsizio. Ascend via lift to 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 descent towards Meride, a lovely hamlet surrounded by terracing vineyards follows a historic and skillfully laid stone trading trail dating back to the 12th century. From Meride traverse back to the top of the lift for descent to the lakeside and transfer back to Morcote.

Distance: 7 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 2000/1800 ft.

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

Ticino: Swiss Lakes District | Switzerland

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