Six water sports on Lake Maggiore

Lido, lake, river or pool: whether you fancy going for a sail or relaxing at the beach, make water the highlight of your holiday and dive into the captivating atmosphere of Ascona-Locarno. Just for you, we’ve come up with six experiences on or by the lake so you can enjoy the water in all its beauty. 


1. Skim over the water

In the morning, the sun pleasantly warms the air without becoming scorchingly hot and the lake is calm, a blue that may not quite be like the sea but doesn’t fall short by much. And when it comes down to it, lakes provide the best surface for sports on the crest of a wave, like wakeboarding and wakesurfing, which may well look similar but are not the same thing. Wakeboarding is a type of water skiing on a board on which, thanks to the traction of the boat and a special course, you can pull off spectacular tricks; this is what makes it one of the disciplines in the famous X Games and one of the most popular summer sports among snowboarders. Wakesurfing is closer to real surfing because you surf the continuous wave of the wake from a boat (not the one dragging you along). With the wind on your skin, the water spraying on your face and the calm expanse of the lake...how could you not feel free on this fresh, clear and crystalline water?

2. Feel the wind in your sails

If mornings are ideal for sports that involve artificial waves, afternoons, when the wind gets up on the lake, are the favourite time for those who love being pulled along by the wind. The lake comes alive with white sails on the horizon, sailors hoist the mainsail and windsurfers take their boards out onto the water to show that surfing can be fun far away from the sea and its waves. Here on Lake Maggiore we know what we’re doing: Mistral, who first developed the concept of a board with a sail, making windsurfing an international sport, is a Swiss brand.

3. Admire the Bolle di Magadino from a canoe

Rowing across the fresh and idyllic calm of the lake is an excellent way to shake off the stresses of everyday life. Even better if it’s in a stunning landscape like the shores of Lake Maggiore, in the peace and quiet of the Tenero area up to the Bolle di Magadino, the delta nature reserve at the mouths of the Ticino and Verzasca rivers, which is one of the nine Swiss floodplain rivers considered of national importance by the Swiss Academy of Sciences. And once you’ve banished all those pressing thoughts with sport, why not take a break and visit the Bolle, home to a range of incredibly beautiful flora and fauna?

4. Give SUP a try on the Maggia delta

The Maggia delta has its own brand of charm at every time of year, but during the summer is becomes the ideal place for enjoying sports such as Stand Up Paddle, immersed in a landscape that takes your breath away and distracts your mind. Sometimes relaxation doesn’t take much: a world of bright colours, a longboard and a paddle.

Did you know?
The Hawaiians are thought to have been the first to use this form of surfing as early as the 18th century, but SUP as we know it came about to meet a very different need: surfers used to use the technique to get much closer to the action to photograph their friends.

5. Venture out on a boat

The sun is shining high in the sky, the lake has become such an intense blue that it almost looks like the sea and the waves of the current lap gently against the hull. Music – it really doesn’t matter if it’s coming from your phone, built-in speakers or your friend who brought his guitar – fills the air with magic. The water is cool, the company perfect, the weather stunning and everything feels like summer. If this scene almost seems too idyllic, try renting a pedalo, always the craziest (in a positive sense!) way of getting around on summer afternoons.

6. Top up your tan on one of Switzerland’s largest beaches

The Ascona Lido stretches for 40,000 square metres in a park shaded beautifully by age-old trees. Bask in the sun on one of the largest beaches in all of Switzerland. Even without these accolades, Ascona-Locarno has plenty of lidos and beaches where you can have fun, sunbathe and enjoy the cool water. Why fly off to an exotic destination when you can sunbathe just around the corner, against the backdrop of a lake surrounded by mountains? Or sample the adrenaline of waterslides, such as the Looping (the first in Switzerland!) at the Locarno Lido? Or taste Mexican specialities between dips at the Lido San Nazzaro? The lido is also an ideal spot for enjoying an aperitif at sunset after an intense day of water sports with friends!

Still more taste for adventure? According to the experts, rafting, canoeing, kayaking and canyoning are a unique experience in the turquoise waters of our rivers. If you feel like taking a swim away from the city in the magical setting of the valleys, try our four river sports tips.

So, which activity will make you fall in love with our region this summer? Share your experience with us on social media by using the hashtags #myasconalocarno and #myasconalocarnoACTIVE, and remember, the summer in the Ascona-Locarno region is not just about swimming and sport. Get changed out of your costume and enjoy the full programme of major events this season: Moon&Stars, the Locarno Festival and plenty of other unmissable delights are waiting just for you!

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