The Riviera del Gambarogno with its characteristic Ticino villages on the left shore of Lake Locarno (or Lago Maggiore) extends along the lakeside for a stretch of 10 kilometres, from the tip of the lake all the way to the Italian border. But the Gambarogno begins before that, in Contone, at the foot of the Monte Ceneri, and includes parts of the Magadino Plain. Vira with the Church of San Pietro which rises impressively above Lake Locarno is the historic centre of the Gambarogno. An authentic village centre with old houses huddled close together, narrow streets and arcades is a typical feature of Vira. Magadino is the largest place in the Gambarogno.
From Vira there is a road up to the mountain villages of the Alto Gambarogno which offer stunning views of Upper Lake Locarno and the Alps. The bendy mountain road continues over the Neggia Pass - starting point for hikes to the Tamaro (1961 metres above sea level) and Gambarogno (1734 metres above sea level) peaks - to the remote mountain village of Indemini in the immediate vicinity of the Italian border. The Gambarogno with its endless chestnut groves is a popular hiking and biking region boasting a trail network of almost 200 kilometres.
Gambarogno Botanical Gardens are located on the hill road between Piazzogna and Vairano. In the region of 950 types of camellias, 350 types of magnolias, azaleas, peonies and rhododendrons, interspersed with ivy, pine trees, junipers and other, occasionally rare, European and exotic pine trees grow in this 17'000-square-metre area. The flowering magnolias in spring are a particularly colourful sight.
Regular boat services provide transport from the lakeside towns and villages to Locarno, Ascona, the Brissago Islands and other excursion destination on Lake Locarno. The Ticino city triumvirate of Lugano, Locarno and Bellinzona is as quickly accessible from the Gambarogno as the nearby Italian market town of Luino.
- Gambarogno Botanical Gardens - magnificent park with camellias, magnolias and azaleas, designed in 1955 by Otto Eisenhut
- Bolle di Magadino - nature preserve with a unique flora and fauna including an oxbow lake, reed belt and alluvial forest by Lake Locarno
- Brissago Islands - classical excursion to three idyllic islands in Lake Locarno with botanical gardens
- Locarno - famous Ticino location on the opposite side of the lake to the Gambarogno with the Piazza Grande where the Film Festival takes place
- Ascona - former fishing village in a wonderful location by the lake and boasting a popular lakeside promenade.
- Magadino International Organ Festival - marvellous organ music focussing on Johann Sebastian Bach (July)
- International open-air art exhibition - sculptures, music, paintings etc. out in the open since the sixties. (irregular)
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