Piora – Ritom funicular railway

Piotta, Leventina

One of the steepest funicular railways runs from the Leventina to the Ritomsee lake. Built in 1917 by Swiss Federal Railways for the construction of the reservoir and power station, ever since 1921 the little red railway has carried 100 people per hour to the recreation area around the mountain lakes in the Val Piora.

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The single-cabin cableway with a maximum gradient of 87.8% is one of the world's steepest funicular railways accessible to the public. Its motor and large winch are located in the valley station in the upper Leventina, very close to Airolo (PostBus connection to Piotta Centrale), while the hauling rope is redirected at the top and guided over special supports to the valley station.

The Ritomsee lake is just 15 minutes from the mountain station along a narrow and largely flat road. Up here, the impressive Alpine scenery and beautiful lakeland are all thanks to the geological conditions with softer rocks. The three mountain restaurants are renowned for their Ticino specialities such as Polenta e Brasato (braised beef) or a piece of Piora cheese.

Visitors can take a mountain hike to the Cadlimo hut (accommodation available) and onwards to the Oberalp Pass, over the Passo dell'Uomo to the Lukmanier Pass or a classic tour over the Passo del Sole to Acquacalda.


Altitude: 1851m
Train to Airolo, Postbus to Piotta (Funicular), steep funicular rail climb to the Piora mountain station
View: Strongly contrasting views: From the mountain station, of the reservoir, from Föisch and the Passo Forca views over the upper Leventina; from the Alpe Piora and Alpe Tom views of the mountains surrounding the Piora Valley
Attractions: Cadagno research station for Alpine biology and the famous Piora cheese-making dairy, Ritom nature trail (available brochure),
Culinary aspects: Ticino specialities in the restaurants Rifugio Lago Ritom, Canvetto del Carletto and in the new Capanna Cadagno (old hut and new interior)
Overnight stays: In the aforementioned restaurants, Rifugio Föisc and Capanna Cadlimo SAC
Groups: On request in the mountain guesthouses
Winter: closed
Special comments: The Gotthard base tunnel runs just beneath Piora, and geological rock conditions were originally the cause of much concern.

SBB RailAway leisure shop

Combined offer: journey using public transport and leisure offer (also for existing tickets) to Piora – Ritom funicular railway

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