Jump right into the green heart of Ticino
The film GoldenEye opens with an unforgettable shot of James Bond launching himself into an amazing 200 metre jump. The year was 1995 and the scene would be remembered as the best stunt in the history of cinema, and for good reason: the stuntman Wayne Michaels set a new world record that day for the highest jump from a fixed structure. Even now, the film still holds the Guinness World Record for the highest bungee jump from a structure in a film.
And it all happened right here, in the Ascona-Locarno region. The jump was in fact shot in the Verzasca Valley, on the Contra Dam. It was built between 1960 and 1965 to a design by the engineer Giovanni Lombardi and opened on 27 October 1966, although its first real test took place well before that, on 10 September 1965, when the dam was exceptionally full. The basin it creates is 6 km long and can produce on average 227 million KWh of energy per year. Despite being “only” the fourth highest water barrier in Switzerland, it is home to the second highest fixed bungee jumping installation in the world.
At 220 metres, it offers breath-taking views, an impressive overhang and a freefall of seven and a half seconds for a record adrenaline rush: these are the ingredients of the 007 Jump or GoldenEye Bungee Jump, a jump that, thanks to the film, has become a real tourist attraction, a destination for all true fans of adrenaline jumping. Enjoy this unique and unforgettable experience right in the green heart of Ticino, just a few kilometres from Locarno. Find out how.
But the Verzasca Valley is so much more than just a place for risk-takers and extreme sports enthusiasts. For all those who are passionate about unspoilt nature and the age-old charm of water running through rocky canyons, the Verzasca, with its crystalline green pools just perfect for a dip, is a little corner of paradise. The Sentierone boasts landscapes of incredible beauty, a feast for photographers and enthusiasts of a kind of natural splendour that can regenerate your mind. The Ponte dei Salti (romanic bridge) in Lavertezzo is another unmissable destination, where you can experience the thrill of diving into the cold waters of the river.
The lush beauty of the Verzasca, like all mountain rivers, can also conceal great dangers, however. Enjoy your day in the Verzasca Valley without any nasty surprises by reading our recommendations on safer rivers.