Bolle di Magadino: what to see and how to get there

Bolle di Magadino: everything you need to know for a visit to the cantonal nature reserve on the Magadino Plain.

The Bolle di Magadino is a cantonal nature reserve and one of Switzerland’s nine water meadow landscapes of international importance. They are located on the Magadino Plain, between the mouths of the Ticino and Verzasca rivers, and overlook Lake Maggiore. Developed from the constant exchange between land and water, they are the preferred habitat of animals and plants typical of wetlands and a very important resting place for numerous migratory bird species.

Bolle di Magadino

How to get there: The Bolle di Magadino are accessible from Magadino and Gordola. Magadino is 20 minutes by boat and Gordola 10 minutes by train from Locarno. From the Magadino pier it is a 5-minute walk to the Bolle Meridionali nature trail. From Gordola train station it is about 15 minutes to the entrance of the Bolle Settentrionali.
The visit: The Bolle di Magadino can be visited on your own thanks to the didactic itineraries and the information boards in Italian, German and English that can be found along the trails.  Alternatively, you can book a guided tour in Italian, German or French. The Bolle di Magadino can be visited throughout the year.

The Bolle di Magadino can be reached also by bicycle but can only be visited on foot. Waterproof footwear is recommended after heavy rainfall. Most of the trails are accessible with an all-terrain pushchair. There is no set circuit, but it is important not to leave the official paths so as not to disturb the fauna and damage the flora of the area: The reserve is the habitat of numerous animal species, including rare insects and amphibians. There are several birdwatching towers and observation points along the trails. If you are an avid birdwatcher, the best time to observe the birdlife is from April to May. Access to the reserve by lake is not allowed, but in July and August you can book a boat trip to enjoy the scenery of the Bolle from the lake.
The Bolle di Magadino covers an area of 660 hectares, divided into three protected areas with different levels of protection (an absolute protected area not accessible to the public, an enhancement and promotion area and a protection and promotion area). The Bolle is one of the last examples of a delta area where at least part of the natural environment has been preserved. They were declared a cantonal protected area in 1979, and since 1982 they have been part of the Ramsar Convention. Ponds, reed belts, floodplain forests: The diversity of environments and animal and plant species found in the Bolle di Magadino is marvellous and certainly worth a visit. They also play a very important role as a resting place for migratory birds, which is why a bird observatory has been participating in the European research project on bird migration ("Bird observatory") since 1994.

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