Valle Verzasca is one of the most famous valleys in the whole of the Ticino, and not without reason. With its picture-postcard views and the clear emerald green water of the Verzasca river, this valley is a popular destination in summer. But there’s far more to it than the dam wall made famous by James Bond and the Ponte dei Salti bridge in Lavertezzo. Discover the Valle Verzasca you won’t find on social media.
And if it’s a more sustainable, car-free holiday you’re after, then all these places are perfect for exploring on foot. Plus, you can comfortably reach them by public transport from outside the train station in Locarno. There’s an ample choice of different tours away from the more touristy, often crowded places in the valley. So, if you want to see a different side to Valle Verzasca, unlike the classic images on social media, then here’s a couple of amazing alternative excursions.
If you feel like exploring the valley with a nice hike, you can take the PostBus 321 from Locarno station in the direction of Sonogno. Get off at the Brione Verzasca, Paese, bus stop and you will find yourself in the heart of the village. A leisurely hike takes you from Brione Verzasca to the enchanting Val d'Osola. The road leading into Val d'Osola is only used by residents, so there is not much traffic. It soon runs parallel to the Osura river. The water here is an intense turquoise, just like that in the Verzasca river. There are plenty of big rocks, ideal for sunbathing or even, on hot days, a dip in the pools formed by the boulders, provided you take the proper precautions. If you follow the path to the end you reach in a tree hour hike the Osola mountain hut. A beautiful hike also with children.
Another hiking tip is the hike up to Alpe Bardughè, where you can admire the Verzasca valley from above. In this case, after visiting Sonogno, you can make a stop in Brione before reaching Vogorno, where the Verzasca dam is located.
This is the start of the ethnographic walking trail to Alpe Bardughè, a vast plateau on the slopes of Pizzo Vogorno with incredible views over Lake Maggiore. The 12 km circular route takes roughly 5 and a half hours, with an elevation gain of 1186 metres. There’s an “agriturismo” farmhouse in Odro where you can stop and rest, plus a small museum dedicated to the practice of wild haymaking, once an activity of great importance in the Verzasca Valley. There’s also an unattended hut on Alpe Bardughè, open from May to October. Round off your day by visiting the dam in Vogorno before catching the PostBus back to Locarno.