Spring is stirring

The whisper of the wind, the buds on the branches, blue skies and crystal-clear waters: spring in Ascona-Locarno is an explosion of colours, fragrances and emotions. Nowhere more so than in the region’s parks and gardens. The Ascona-Locarno region boasts an impressive number of parks and gardens that, thanks to the special climate of Lake Maggiore, put on a high-quality botanical spectacle. In spring, the region is tinged with a thousand colours brought even more to life by the reflection of the sun on the water, and the towns are set off by a floral frame that gets them ready for summer. The lakeside gardens and other parks become a spectacle that can’t help but catch the eye. On foot or by bike, it’s time to take the opportunity to get out in the sun along the region’s wonderful hiking and biking trails, in sun-drenched flower-filled parks or on the terrace, with a good coffee and the first delicious ice creams of the year.

  • The Dolce Vita returns

  • While the rest of Switzerland is still slumbering under a blanket of fog and snow, in the Ascona-Locarno region colourful spring is already awakening. With the birds singing, the days getting longer and the sun’s rays becoming more intense, nature is waking up bringing with it our need to be outdoors, to breathe in the scent of spring and feel the breeze by the lake.

The Lake Maggiore climate – where the absence of long periods of frost and the acidity of the ground favour the flourishing of the region’s unique flora – also nurtures one of the richest camellia parks in the world, opened on the occasion of the World Camellia Congress in 2005. Back then, Locarno’s Camellia Park boasted around 500 varieties of camellia, which have now risen to almost 1,000 thanks to the exchange of unusual varieties with growers from Italy, Germany, Belgium, the USA and China.

  • Camelie Locarno at the Camellia Park

  • Combining botanical jewels with water features, romantic corners and tiny reminders of the region as a whole (such as the flower beds bordered with Vallemaggia stones), this setting plays host to Europe’s most important exhibition of this beautiful flower.

On the right bank of Lake Maggiore, kissed by the sun in summer, winter is characterised by a sky that is often clear and temperatures that do not drop below -4°C. Here, between Piazzogna and Vairano, a hillside with incredible views of Lake Maggiore is home to the Gambarogno Botanical Park: around 20,000 m2 of magnolias, camellias, azaleas, rhododendrons, rare conifers, peonies and junipers that extend as far as the eye can see. A dream come true for Otto Eisenhut, pursued with love and dedication over the years with the aim of ensuring the survival of rare plants. Now the park is home to more than 450 varieties of magnolia, one of the largest collections in existence. Visitors can also admire 950 varieties of the camellia, 400 azaleas and rhododendrons, as well as many other plants.

  • Tea from Monte Verità

  • The climate is also perfect for another type of camellia, the Camellia Sinensis, better known as the tea plant. Monte Verità, the hill overlooking Ascona, is home to one of the most northerly tea plantations, the first in Switzerland. The Loreley tea house and garden – with around 1,000 tea plants – are nestled in the heart of the Monte Verità park, where revolutionaries, visionaries and outsiders once experimented with alternative lifestyles. Every spring, the leaves of these plants are collected and turned into green tea.

The Brissago Islands are two gems of lush green vegetation just off the Ascona shore that are home to the only botanical park in Switzerland on an island. Over 2,000 plant species from the Mediterranean and subtropical regions from all five continents grow there. The islands are a popular destination for boat trips, an oasis for families and a sought-after wedding venue. From Ascona, the trip takes only 15 minutes. Kids can have fun with the treasure hunt that will take them through the most beautiful sections of the park, such as the magic forest, eucalyptus trees and the lookout point.

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