Trans Swiss Trail

A hike through the sunny south

488 kilometres, 32 stages, 1 adventure: this long-distance hike culminates in four scenic stages passing through glades of ferns and forests of birch, by pretty lakes and over panoramic peaks.

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1st day:
Bellinzona–Tesserete (20 km): 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 700 vertical metres 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.

2nd day:
Tesserete–Lugano (9 km): 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 centre – especially on warm summer evenings, when people gather in the outdoor cafes and along the lakefront to chat, stroll, celebrate and relax in style.

3rd day:
Lugano–Morcote (14 km): You can happily cheat a little at the start – especially as the funicular ride up San Salvatore, a climb of 600 ver­tical metres, is so delightful. 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).

4th day:
Morcote–Mendrisio (13 km): 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.

Information

  • The castles of Bellinzona became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000; guided tours on Saturdays
  • Bellinzona›s TCS campsite is an ideal base for exploring the town – and relaxing
  • «Splash & Spa»; in Rivera offers a whole world of water-based treats (opens early summer 2013)
  • The Scherrer Park in Morcote charms visitors with its art, architecture and wealth of plants
  • Explore Ticino’s cuisine at one of the traditional “grotto” inns, such as Grotto Fossati in Meride
  • Mendrisio's fossil museum reveals the secrets of Monte San Giorgio (UNESCO World Heritage)



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