The four valley hike: from the Centovalli to Verzasca Valley at your own pace

The valleys in the Locarno area make for a great driving trip. However, you get a completely different experience if you take the time to explore them on foot, to soak up the culture, the colours, the smells and the sights.

D1 - Intragna & Loco: Your adventure starts in the Centovalli, in the village of Intragna. However, before setting off, it’s worth taking time to explore the narrow streets of this characterful village.

The beautiful Church of San Gottardo and its bell tower (the highest in the Canton Ticino) is well worth a visit, as is the Centovalli museum, which provides an insight into the history and culture of this area. Follow the signs to Loco to start upon the Via delle Vose, one of the most interesting and evocative old mule-tracks in the whole of this region. Calculate about 3 hours to reach Loco, once the ancient capital of the Onsernone Valley communities. Here you can visit the ethnographic museum and discover local traditions, explore the vineyards or just enjoy the peace and tranquillity typical of such high altitudes. Sort out your accommodation and then the rest of the day is yours to do what you want.

D2 - Loco & Maggia: Your destination the next day is Maggia, which you reach by following an easy mountain trail from Loco to Maggia Valley through the Garina Pass. Allow about 5 hours in total. The route is mostly through woods, affording occasional stupendous panoramic views across the two valleys, Onsernone and Maggia.

. A relatively easy hike. On reaching your destination, make sure you enjoy a good meal in a typical “grotto” restaurant. There are regular public transport connections, even late into the night, meaning you can easily hop from one village to the next. If you have the time, though, you should explore the local area to get an idea of the incredible cultural heritage of this valley. Many historical sites have been protected and enhanced with great passion generation after generation.

D3 - Maggia & the Alpe Masnée mountain hut: The third day of your adventure involves a somewhat harder excursion, but one that is truly worth the effort.

Follow the signs in the centre of the village to Valle del Salto. On reaching a fabulous chapel, follow the signs to Alpe Masnée, a typical mountain hut offering you spectacular panoramic views and the chance to relax and spend the night in the mountains. You can even buy some local produce and cook your own meal here.

Verzasca Valley

D4 - Alpe Masnée & Brione Verzasca: You may find it hard to say farewell to such an enchanting place, but you must continue and the Verzasca Valley awaits you. Tip: yoga enthusiasts might enjoy an early morning practice in these beautiful surroundings before leaving.

Follow the trail to Brione Verzasca (we recommend taking the Starlarèsc da Sgiòf detour). Whilst not particularly difficult, it is a long way to Brione Verzasca and so foresee regular short breaks along the way. Visit the village, the church and the castle on reaching your destination. Spend some time exploring the valley as there are many sights and beauty spots, such as the villages of Sonogno and Lavertezzo, both easily reached by postbus. There are plenty of places to stay and eat in the valley if you have more time.

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