Discover the valleys and their assets

A walk in the mountains: for many, this means freedom, adventure and escape. For others, it is a way to find yourself, regain inner peace and appreciate detail. In the past, the survival of mountain communities depended on local natural resources, and mountains are still important for our well-being today: there, we can be one with nature and benefit from its vital force.

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The Ascona-Locarno valleys are not just famed for the beauty of their vibrant, verdant natural landscape, but also for preserving centuries of history. Over the years, human activities have left their mark on the mountains. A story built on the timeless interaction between man and nature: one hard as nails and brave, yet generous; the other lush and vigorous, but not always magnanimous.

Today, the cultural heritage of these valleys needs to be protected, as it is vital for their sustainability, and this is one of the goals for these ten itineraries. It is crucial that visitors enjoy the area responsibly, in an eco-friendly manner, and to the advantage of all. These itineraries have been developed to allow visitors to explore the many riches and peculiarities of the rural territory around Lake Maggiore. On foot or, only in certain cases, using public transport. Each excursion takes two or more days to complete, to allow time not just to appreciate the beauties of each valley, but also to spend a night or two in the area and savour the local produce. Unique experiences for the visitor and important added value for the territory. Each of the proposed routes is designed with well-being and discovery in mind, as well as being an opportunity to appreciate and support far-flung communities, where even the simplest of things are sometimes a challenge.  

Our ten ways to discover the valleys let you immerse yourself as respectfully as possible in a territory where there is a story just waiting to be told behind every corner. Each itinerary sheds light on the wealth of local heritage and natural features that make these valleys so special. Some itineraries are themed, focusing on aspects such as art or architecture.

To travel on foot or by bicycle through the valleys is a great way to notice the many details telling the story of a place, all too often missed when travelling at speed. The distinctive local lifestyle can only be truly appreciated at a slower pace, and only a keen eye can pick up the signs of the ever-present dichotomy between human progress and nature. After all, it is no mystery, or even a coincidence, that our closeness to nature is directly proportionate to advances in modern global technology. The rhythm and solid physicality of nature lets us reconnect with our ancestral traits and instincts, despite our frenetic, highly demanding, competitive modern lifestyles. The valleys surrounding Lake Maggiore have so much to offer in this sense, and there are so many ways to enjoy them. The most intense, unbeatable way to appreciate their variety and unique nature is to immerse yourself fully, by travelling on foot. As it is only when we fully experience the mountains that we discover their strength.

The expert’s tip: how to convince someone to follow you as you set off on your next adventure.

An excellent trick, here, is to get them to taste some local produce. Salami, ham and cheese are always great, but there are also other, less obvious, products, such as honey, beer and cereal-based treats. Once tasted, no one can resist a tour of the areas where such delicacies are produced.

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