The canton of Ticino is in southern Switzerland. It might be small, but it’s got enough charm to make you fall in love. Bordering Italy, this canton’s residents mostly speak Italian. Its climate, architecture, and landscape are also similar to Italy’s. There are pretty little towns, flower-lined promenades, medieval castles, and Alpine peaks nearby.
Ticino has awesome towns and cities like Lugano, Locarno, and Bellinzona. For now, let’s have a look at some valleys in this area. There are tons of beautiful valleys in Ticino, too. In this article, we’ve rounded up 5 of the most beautiful valleys in Ticino.
Most of these valleys are good for hiking in summer and skiing in winter. It’s a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Without further ado, here are 5 valleys worth visiting in Ticino.
1. Blenio Valley (Valle di Blenio)
Blenio Valley (Valle di Blenio) is a picturesque area north of Ticino, Switzerland. With dramatic mountain peaks flanking the valley and the river Brenno flowing through it, there are loads of outdoor activities and beautiful scenery to enjoy.
Starting at Lukmanier Pass (Passo del Lucomagno) and going all the way to Biasca where the Brenno River meets the Ticino River. A little bit further on the other side of Lukmanier Pass lies the Canton of Graubünden, in particular, the Disentis/Mustér area.
The Blenio Valley is a great destination for nature and hiking lovers. This valley is home to the Adula, the highest mountain in Ticino.
There are several small villages in the Blenio Valley, each with its own essence. There are also many charming Swiss villages there to explore. There are lots of small villages in the valley like Olivone, Acquarossa, Campo (Blenio), Leontica, Ludiano, and Malvaglia.
In winter, they have slopes for skiing and snowboarding in Campo Blenio and Leontica. In Campra, they have cross-country skiing trails. They also have 500 kilometers of bike trails and hiking trails in summer.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Blenio Valley|
|* Lukmanier Pass|
* San Carlo Church, Negrentino
* Luzzone Dam and Adula Alps
* 2-day tour from Campo Blenio to the high plateau of Greina
2. Verzasca Valley (Valle Verzasca)
Valle Verzasca is a popular vacation spot, especially in spring and summer. There’s something so refreshing and vibrant about the Verzasca River’s green color. This river runs between Leventina and Maggia. Lots of people swim in it in the summer. There aren’t too many green rivers and this one’s gorgeous.
Because of its secluded location, the Verzasca Valley managed to maintain its original character. Its inhabitants were free farmers before the Middle Ages. The valley wasn’t developed until 1870. In the past, this 30-kilometer valley was accessible only by foot.
Ticino’s Verzasca Valley is very similar to other valleys. Houses here (called Rustici) have grey stone walls and rough stone roofs. Rustici houses have been converted into holiday homes that can be rented easily. As a result, the valley keeps its unique look, and the local houses contribute to the region’s prosperity.
The Romanic Lavertezzo bridge Ponte dei salti is probably the most photographed place in the entire Verzasca Valley. There are beautiful villages like Corippo and Sonogno in the valley. Try bungee jumping in Verzasca Dam if you’re looking for some adrenaline rush. If you’re into hiking, you can also find plenty of trails in the area.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Val Verzasca|
|* Lavertezzo |
* Lago di Vognorno
* Verzasca Dam
If you would like to read more about Valle Verzasca, check out our article Discover Verzasca Valley in Ticino.
3. Maggia Valley (Valle Maggia)
The Maggia Valley covers one-fifth of Ticino. The highest point is 3,272 meters above sea level in Basodino and the lowest is 254 in Ponte Brolla. There are also numerous side valleys like Val Rovana, Val Bavona, Valle di Peccia, and Val Lavizzara. The Val Rovana is further divided into two: Valle di Campo and Valle di Bosco.
The Maggia Valley is a magical valley with wild mountains and nature. Many mountain streams flow into the Maggia River in the valley, giving it tall waterfalls. The Maggia River empties into Lake Maggiore.
Life has been hard here in the Maggia Valley and many people have moved away from the valley. Today, 80% of the Maggia Valley’s population lives in the lower villages from Avegno to Cavergno.
Maggia Valley has a lot to offer. Interesting is the Bosco Gurin village with its German-speaking Walser people at the very end of the valley. Don’t miss the church San Giovanni Battista, built with the help of Ticino architect Mario Botta.
The Rovana Valley (Val Rovana) is a hidden treasure trove in Ticino. Stone villages, terraced fields, and old buildings await those who make their way up through this Ticino valley, where the population has been declining for the past few years.
Ticino’s longest cable car runs between San Carlo and Robiei; it’s almost 1,000 meters long. Then you’ll be at the foot of the Basodino Glaciers. From the peak, you’ll get some great views of the mountains and can even go fishing in the crystal clear lakes. A learning path helps explain the Robiei Dam. Several of the paths are asphalted and accessible to people of all ages.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Valle Maggia|
|* Bosco Gurin |
* Museo di Vallemaggia, Cevio Vecchio
* San Giovanni Battista Church, Mogno
* Foroglio Village and Waterfall
* San Carlo and Robièi
* Open-air mill of Parco dei Mulini, Vergeletto
Get away from today’s stresses and enjoy the old-world charm of the Centovalli. Centovalli means a hundred valleys. Most of the big valleys in Ticino go north to south, but Centovalli goes east to west from Switzerland to Piedmont, Italy. It’s both an important transit area between Italy and Europe and a hiking paradise.
The Centovalli region is famous for its trains, which go up and down its hills. 83 bridges, 31 tunnels, and beautiful scenery line the 52-kilometer Centovalli train track. The journey from Locarno to Domodossola is considered one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world.
You can’t go wrong with Intragna if you’re looking for a place steeped in history. You can find the tallest bell tower here (65 meters high), and it serves as a great reminder to those who visit or live here about their heritage.
Other spots worth visiting are Verdasio, Palagnedra, and the car-free village of Rasa.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Centovalli|
|* Centovalli Train to Italy |
* Intragna and its tower
5. Leventina Valley (Valle Leventina)
In the southern Swiss Alps, there’s a valley called Leventina. This valley stretches from the Gotthard Pass in the north to Lake Maggiore in the south.
Leventina Valley has been inhabited since prehistoric times, and there are a lot of archeological sites around. The Ticino flows through the valley. The valley is wild and beautiful, with wooden houses and dark wood.
You don’t expect to find scenic beauty in the Leventina at certain points, where trains and roads meet highways, with a superhighway emerging from the narrow valley floor. It turns out that this assumption isn’t true, as there are a lot of things worth seeing in this part of Switzerland’s southernmost county. Even though it seems to be just a route connecting Inner Switzerland and Northern Italy, there is a lot to discover.
Don’t miss Parco Alpino Piora and its lakes Lago Ritom, Lago di Cadagno, and Lago di Tom. To get there, you will need to ride the Ritom-Piora Funicular with its maximum gradient of 87.8%.
Additional lakes within the Val Piora area encompass Lago della Miniera, reaching an elevation of 2,526 meters, making it one of the highest. This lake experiences the melting of its ice cover later in the year due to its high altitude. Another notable lake, Lago di Dentro, situated at 2,297 meters, is nestled within a glacial rock basin.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Leventina|
|* Chiesa dei SS. Nazario e Celso Church, Airolo|
* Parco Alpino Piora and its lakes – Lago Ritom, Lago di Cadagno, Lago di Tom
* Piottino Canyon
* Strada Alta – 4-day tour from Airolo to Biasca
* San Nicola Church, Giornico
- Valle Verzasca: How to Get There
- Val Bavona: 6 Things You Need to Know
- Discover Verzasca Valley in Ticino
- Our First Hike In The Wild Bavona Valley
- BoBosco Trail In Amazing Verzasca Valley
- Luzzone Dam and the World’s Highest Climbing Wall
- Lago Ritom in Val Piora, Ticino
Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.