Hike Through Switzerland’s Sunny South on the Trans Swiss Trail

Photos courtesy Switzerland Tourism

Switzerland is a hiking paradise, especially in fall, when the trees turn colors, the light is magical and the views most clear. With more than 37,300 miles of marked footpaths, 9,300 miles of cycle routes and mountain bike trails as well as charming canoe trips on lakes, outdoor activities are easily accessible to all.

Switzerland has integrated its outdoor trails into a single network: Switzerland Mobility. Thanks to high quality trails, all clearly marked, you can explore Alpine peaks, rolling hills, traditional villages and historic towns in delightful backdrops all by yourself.

Trans Swiss Trail

If you are looking for a hike through the sunny, southernmost canton of Switzerland, called the Ticino Canton, the section from Bellinzona to Mendrisio of the Trans Swiss Trail includes four scenic stages, passing through glades of ferns and forests of birch, by pretty lakes and over panoramic peaks.

Bellinzona’s three castles, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, make a fine backdrop for the start of this hike, which begins with a dramatic climb of 2,300 vertical feet until you are high above the Magadino plain. The trail then drops into the Val d’Isone and climbs the other side to the former lake of Gola di Lago, now just a marsh. You continue through glades of ferns and thin birch woods towards Monte Bigorio and then down to Tesserete, passing Switzerland’s oldest Capuchin monastery: Santa Maria, occupying a heavenly position high above the surrounding villages.

The trail continues along a thickly wooded ridge until the chapel of San Bernardo, where it reveals spectacular views over Lugano and its lake, draped between the surrounding hillsides. You experience Lugano’s Mediterranean charm down in the city center, especially on warm summer evenings, when people gather in the outdoor cafes and along the lakefront to chat, stroll, celebrate and relax in style.

Trans Swiss Trail

The funicular ride up San Salvatore, a climb of 2,000 vertical feet, starts your day. The walk onward to Vico Morcote is a classic, ideal for all the family. The spectacular trail falls gently as it passes in and out of woodland and through pretty villages. All along the way, you’re never far from the next “grotto” (traditional Ticino restaurant).

Trans Swiss Trail

The day starts gently with a romantic boat ride across the lake from Morcote to Terniciolo, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Monte San Giorgio. The mountain is famous around the world for its fossils: see some of the finest at the new museum in Meride.

Trans Swiss Trail
Photo credit ticino.ch

For more info, go to MySwitzerland.com

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