15 Best hikes in Ticino

The most beautiful hikes in Ticino visiting mountains, rivers, waterfalls, lakes and valleys.

Ticino is the sunniest part of Switzerland, in the south on the border of Italy. Hiking season is longer in Ticino because of the lower elevations and warmer weather. So it’s a good choice for spring and fall when other Swiss trails are covered in snow.

Below are the best areas to explore in Ticino and links to suggested hikes. All hikes are easy to reach by car or public transportation. If you stay overnight in the area, you get a free Ticino Ticket, which include free public transportation and discounts on mountain railways and other attractions.

Near Ascona Locarno

Ascona Locarno is a good base for exploring Valle Maggia and Valle Verzasca, which have many waterfalls, beautiful rivers and big mountains.  

1. Valle Verzasca

Valle Verzasca might be the most famous place in Ticino, with its popular swimming area next at the arched stone bridge. This trail starts at the far end of the valley and follows the river down to the swimming area. You can easily shorten this trail by simply starting at a closer bus stop. 

Hike along Verzasca river: 14k – 3.5 h – 10m up, 390m down (can shorten to 4 k)
From Locarno: 30 mins by car, 1hr15 by bus

See details for Verzasca river hike 

2. Cardada

This mountain is directly above Locarno, making it a convenient choice since the funicular is just a short walk from the Locarno train station. At the top, there is a panorama terrace with views of Lago Maggiore. For children, there is a barefoot path and treasure hunt trail.

Hike: 3.2km – 1h – 310m down
Children’s theme trail: 1.2 km loop
From Locarno: funicular is a short walk from Locarno train station

3. Lago di Robiei

At the end of Valle Maggia, a cable car takes you up to Robiei, a mountain area with lots of charm. There are several mountain lakes to visit here. We did a short hike around the main reservoir near the cable car, shown in the picture here.

For a longer hike, we suggest the Basodino Glacier Trail that hikes higher into the mountains near the glacier. For a multi-day hike, follow the Senterio Cristallina north to towards Airolo and the Gotthard tunnel, staying overnight in a hut along the way.  

Lago di Robiei Hike: 3.2 k loop – 1 h – 90m up/down
From Locarno: 1hr by car, 1hr30 by bus

See details for Robiei lake hike

4. Foroglio waterfall

You can drive to the base of these impressive 110m high falls, no hike required. But we suggest hiking up to the river that feeds the falls that cuts through a gorgeous high alpine valley. 

Hike: 5.3 k – 2h – 310m up/down
From Locarno: 45 mins by car, 1hr15 by bus

See details for Foroglio hike

5. Cascata del Salto waterfall and valley tour

Photo by PantaRhei, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You don’t need to do the whole hike to visit these waterfalls, which are just 1km from the road. Below the falls are beautiful clear pools, where you can cool off on hot days. The rest of the hike heads up the river valley through the forest. 

To the falls: 1 km to the falls
Full hike: 8.9 km • 4 h • 836m up/down
From Locarno: 25 mins by car, 35 mins by bus

See details for hike on SchweizMobil and AsconaLocarno.ch

Near Lugano & southern Ticino

Lugano has a Mediterranean feel, with lovely boardwalks along the lake, lined with palm trees. Many of the hikes in this area are on mountains overlooking the lake. You can often take a boat to reach the hike.

6. Peak to Peak – Monte Tamaro to Monte Lema

This popular hike hikes along the ridge between Monte Tamaro and Monte Lema, part of the long distance Sentiero Lago di Lugano trail. It’s a long one, but a great way to enjoy panorama views of the Ticino region for the whole day. For a shorter hike, you can hike up to Monte Tamaro and back, still great views. Plus you’ll have time to enjoy the mountain coaster and climbing park.

Hike: 13 km – 5 h – 996 up, 966 down (using cable cars on both ends of trail)
From Lugano: 25 mins by car, 15 mins by train

See details for Sentiero Lago di Lugano

7. Monte Generoso

Ride a cogwheel mountain train to Monte Generoso at 1704m, with views of Lake Lugano. From the mountain station, you can do a short hike to a higher viewpoint. Or do a longer hike to enjoy the foothills around this mountain, which we definitely recommend.

Hike: 8 k – 3 h – 390 up/down
From Lugano: 25 mins by car, 15 mins by train

See details for Monte Generoso hike

8. San Salvatore: panorama trail to Morcote

Ride a funicular to the San Salvatore peak near Lugano. Then hike along the ridge to Morcote, which some consider the most beautiful village in Switzerland. If you don’t feel like hiking, it’s still nice to catch the views from San Salvatore, then take a boat to Morcote instead of hike. 

Hike: moderate • 9.3 k • 3 h • 290m up, 906m down
From Locarno: 10 mins by car or bus

See details for San Salvatore hike

9. Monte Bre

You can ride a funicular to the top of Monte Bre for panorama views over Lugano city and Lake Lugano. If you want to share your legs, you can hike down the mountain to the Gandria village and ride a boat back to Lugano. For a longer adventure, use Monte Bre as your starting point for Stage 6 of Sentiero Lago di Lugano, staying overnight at the mountain hut Capanna Pairolo.

Hike: moderate • 4.3 km • 1hr30 • 31 m up, 668 m down
From Lugano: 9 mins by bus, 30 mins by foot

See hiking map and Monte Bre hike blog by Gelato Travel

Northern Ticino

The northern part of Ticino is more mountainous, with higher elevation hikes and cooler weather. Many of the hikes in this area visit small alpine lakes hidden in the mountains. Here are our favorite areas to explore in this region.

10. Lago Ritom

Ride a super steep funicular (87.8% grade) to reach Lago Ritom, a large reservoir in mountains. The full hike goes around the lake and up to a mountain hut for lunch. Then back around the other side of the lake. If you want an easier day, just wander along the lakeshore until you find a shady picnic spot near the water.

Hike: moderate • 12 k • 4h • 390m up/down (shorter options in my post)
From Bellinzona: 40 mins by car, 1hr15 by train/bus

See details for Lago Ritom hike  

11. Tremorgio 4 Lake Hike

Tremorgio is a beautiful alpine lake that you can easily reach with a cable car. For an easy day, just wander around the lakeshore and have a picnic. For a long adventure, hike into the mountains above Tremorgio, visiting three more alpine lakes hidden between the peaks. The hike ends in the Dalpe village where you can catch the bus back home.  

Hike: difficult • 16k • 6.5h • 630m up, 1320m down
From Bellinzona: 35 mins by car, 1hr by train/bus

Details for Tremorio to Dalpe hike

12. Gotthard Pass 7 Lake Trail

This hike starts at the top of the Gotthard Pass, the border between Ticino and Lake Lucerne Region. The trail loops around the rocky landscape, visiting seven alpine lakes along the way. For a shorter day, you can hike along the first lake and find a nice place for a picnic.

Hike: moderate • 11.2 k • 4 h • 630m up/down
From Bellinzona: 53 mins by car, 1hr40 by train/bus
From Lucerne: 1hr10 by car, 2hr20 by train/bus

See details for Gotthard Pass 7 Lake Hike

13. Bellinzona castle hike

You can drive to each of the three Bellinzona castles. But hiking to the castles is more fun and atmospheric. The trail starts by hiking into the hills above the castles, then back down, visiting each castle along the way.

Hike: moderate • 8.4 k • 2.5 h • 420m up/down
From Bellinzona: trail starts in town
From Locarno: 30 mins by car or train

See details for Bellizona Castle Hike

14. Piumogna waterfalls

It’s a short walk to the beautiful Piumogna falls in the valley, shown here. For a longer hike, ride the cable car up the mountain, then hike along the river to the upper falls with a taller cascade.

Hike: moderate • 6 k • 2 h • 22om up/down
From Bellinzona: 30 mins by car, 46 mins by train/bus

See details for Piumogna falls hike

15. Tibetan bridge “Carasc”

Photo by Uwelino, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The main attraction of this hike is the 270m long suspension bridge, which is 130m off the ground. Start with riding a funicular to the small mountain village Curzett. Then a 2 km hike to the bridge. After bouncing over the bridge, you can hike back the way you came or hike all the way down the mountain through the forest. This hike doesn’t have as spectacular views as other hikes on this list, so suggested only if you really love suspension bridges.

Hike: moderate • 7.2k • 3hr15 • 270m up, 600m down
From Bellinzona: 10 mins by car, 15 mins by bus

See Tibetan Bridge hiking map and more details on Ticino.ch

Read also

Travel guides for popular destinations in Switzerland and ideas for weekend getaways.
Travel guides for popular destinations in Switzerland and ideas for weekend getaways.

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Hi! I’m Tanya and our family has been living & hiking in Switzerland since 2005, collecting dozens of fun hikes and activities for all ages and abilities. More about us…

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