A Hidden Travel Gem In Switzerland Packed With Adventures

Ticino also called Tessin (in German) is located in southern Switzerland near the Italian border and is one of the country’s 26 cantons (AKA areas within countries). It is on the southern slope of the Swiss Alps and has a total area is 2812 square kilometers and a population of 350,000 people.

Ticino is the only canton in Switzerland where Italian is the official language. Its warm climate and daily averages of 18 degrees centigrade, makes Ticino one of the top tourist destination in Switzerland. Ticino is a travel gem packed with plenty of adventures for visitors to indulge in.

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Explore Ticino’s Natural Attractions

Ticino has over 4000 kilometers of marked paths and trails that make it a dream destination and playground for outdoor lovers. Hiking, walking, biking, driving, and boating open up the picturesque, lush landscapes, vineyards, sparkling lakes, architecture, and culture to visitors.

Nestled in these landscapes, terrains, and lake shores are beautiful huts and camping sites where visitors can lounge. Ticino also has scenic parks and gardens with diverse trees and vegetation that seasonally, beautifully bloom such as:

  • Monte Verita Park
  • The Brissago Islands
  • Botanical Garden Of Gambarogno
  • Parco San Grato
  • Scherrer Park
  • Forcaridra-Forest-Reserve
  • Centro Pro Natura Lucomagno
  • Parco Ciani
  • Breggia Gorge Park

Visit The Three Castles Of Bellinzona

Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 2000, the site features three castles of Bellinzona: Castelgrande, Montebello, and Sasso Corbaro.

The fortresses built in the 15th century by the dukes of Milan are on 5 hectares of land. Touring visitors get a glimpse into when the dukes fought the confederates in shining armor.

The castles have towers, thick walls with tiny doors, battlements, and secret rooms. Castle tours take an hour and a half and are 5.44 kilometers long.

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Castelgrande has a museum that archives the history of Bellinzona, and hosts historical exhibitions, and a restaurant to cater to famished visitors.

Tour The Lakes In Piora Valley

The scenic and lush Piora Valley has scenic mountainous landscapes dotted with tiny lakes and high peaks. Hiking around this valley is worth experiencing due to its tranquil and pristine nature.

Visitors can also tour the lakes aboard the red Ritom Funicular, one of the world’s steepest funiculars. The ascent route is 1,369 meters long and has an 87.8% slope that keeps 100 passengers on edge for 12 minutes of the ride.

The funicular tour allows visitors to get great views of the entire valley, Upper Leventina, and the mountains above it. During these excursions, visitors can also try the piora cheese Ticino’s best known cheese, or take a refreshing dip in Tom Lake.

Ritom Funicular Ride Costs

Ritom Funicular rides can be booked in advance too.

  • Adult tickets: One trip is 14 Swiss Francs (about $14.07 USD), Round trip 24 Swiss Francs (about $24.12 USD)

Tour Switzerland’s Largest Open Air Museum

Occupying an area of 14,000 m2, Swissminiatur is Switzerland’s largest open-air, miniature museum and is surrounded by picturesque mountains that rival Austria’s, like Monte Generoso, San Salvatore, and San Giorgio.

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Opened in 1959 the museum has 129 miniature models of famous Swiss monuments, buildings, and various transport means of the bygone years. There is also a 3,560-meter miniature railway network winding its way around Swissminiatur.

This museum is ideal for family holidays and has plenty of fun and educational activities to keep children busy.

At Swissminiatur there is also a shop to buy Swiss souvenirs and a restaurant where famished visitors feed.

General Admission Fee

Tickets to Swissminiatur can be bought online.

  • Adults 17.55 Swiss Francs (just under $18 USD)
  • Children 11.25 Swiss Francs ($11.31 USD)

Indulge in Extreme Adventures At Ticino

Ticino has plenty of extreme adventures for full-blown and novice adrenaline junkies to try out and make memories, and even channel James Bond. These include:

Tandem Paragliding Flights

The scenic Ascona town by the shores of Lake Maggiore is where visitors go for the paragliding flights done in tandem with skilled pilots. The flights are done from March to October and each one lasts 2.5 hours.

Canyoning At Ticino

Ticino has mountain rivers and waterfalls with challenging obstacles like natural slides, shafts, and waterfalls where visitors can do canyoning.

At Ticino there are sporting clubs visitors can approach to get gear, like ropes for abseiling, jumping, sliding, or down climbing to navigate those obstacles.

Bungee Jump Like Bond, James Bond

At the Verzasca Valley is a high dam with a 220-meter drop and is one of the highest dams in Europe. It is famous for the opening bungee jump scene in the James Bond movie GoldenEye starring Pierce Brosnan.

According to global surveys, the Bond’s bungee jump is considered the best stunt in film history. Adrenaline junkies keen to follow in Bond’s adventure can bungee jump at the Verzasca dam.

Costs

Aptly named 007 Bungy, the dam offers different bungee jump packages open to those aged 20 years and over and can be booked online. Prices are in Swiss Francs, with 2022 exchange rates equaling a few cents more in USD.

  • Headfirst 007 Classic Jump (195-255 Swiss Francs)
  • 007 Backwards Jump (175-195 Swiss Francs)
  • 007 Night Jump (195-255 Swiss Francs)
  • 007 Ultimo Jump (175-195 Swiss Francs)
  • Extra 39 Swiss Francs Charged To Use A GoPro camera

Learn A Craft At Gordola’s Centre for Craftsmanship

At the Gordola’s Centre for Craftsmanship (Centro dell’Artigianato) is where Ticino artisans produce different handicrafts.

At Centro dell’Artigianato visitors learn a craft like pottery, from local ceramic artists and can make, take home souvenir artifacts.

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Other crafts visitors include stone and wood sculpting, metalwork, silicon casting, paper 3D, figure modeling and modeling, and plaster. These courses take at least six days and cost from 300 to 1600 Swiss Francs (about $301.47 to $1607.86).

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