The incredible culture of the Maggia Valley

Sports gear, a backpack and a pair of sunglasses. That is all you need to enjoy a fantastic weekend in the Maggia Valley, immersed in nature and the local culture.

D1 - Off to the Bavona Valley: Enjoy a coffee at a lakeside bar and then on your bike! The best way to start the day! Head towards Bignasco following the beautiful Valle Maggia cycling track. This beautiful cycle path takes you along the valley, at times following the river, at others through dense woods and charming rural settlements. A quick break in Bignasco and then back in the saddle, following the signs to Valle Bavona

If you think the views so far have been fantastic, the next stretch will leave you speechless. The Valle Bavona is, perhaps, the most iconic of areas in the whole of the Maggia Valley region. In just a few kilometres it manages to contain some of the most important and best kept examples of rural life in the whole of the Swiss Alps. The route takes you past some magnificent villages, peat bogs, barns and “splüi” (caves under overhanging rocks), as well as many churches and chapels bearing witness to the strong faith the people bore to the Church in times past. Allow about one hour to reach Foroglio, a pretty village about halfway down the valley and sitting at the entrance to Val Calnègia, another charming valley just waiting to be explored. The fittest of you might wish to set off immediately, but there are some marvellous “grotto” restaurants here to tempt you to pause a while and enjoy the local fare. Gastronomy also plays an important role in the culture of a region, so why miss the opportunity to taste it? Those who have already done so will jump at the chance. If you have yet to experience it, prepare to be amazed! Rested and refuelled, continue on to San Carlo (about 1 hour biking) or, if your interest has been aroused, go as far as Cevio and stop at the ethnographic Valmaggia Museum. This is well worth a visit, allowing you to really understand and appreciate this great valley. Then continue on to your overnight accommodation.

D2 - Maggia & Valle del Salto: The next day, put on your walking boots and fill up your water bottle at the fountain in the main square in Maggia. A walk in the beautiful Valle del Salto awaits you.

There are many possible routes, but the one described here is great if you are new to the area. Expect to complete this relatively easy walk in 3.5 hours. Whatever route you choose, always check the weather forecast and local conditions first and ensure you have the right gear. Remember: the mountains are truly beautiful, but equally so unpredictable. And as everything only works well with the right balance, on your return make sure you rest properly after all that effort. There are plenty of river beaches in Vallemaggia, just take your pick. If you are still feeling energetic, why not have a go at stand-up paddleboarding on Lake Maggiore? Whether on your own or in company, Ascona-Locarno is ideal for sporty types!

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