Valle Verzasca is the most famous valley in the whole of the Ticino, and not without reason. With its picture-postcard views and the clear emerald green water of the Verzasca river, this valley is a popular destination in summer. But there’s far more to it than the dam wall made famous by James Bond and the Ponte dei Salti bridge in Lavertezzo. Discover the Valle Verzasca you won’t find on social media.
And if it’s a more sustainable, car-free holiday you’re after, then all these places are perfect for exploring on foot or by bike. Plus, you can comfortably reach them by public transport from outside the train station in Locarno. There’s an ample choice of different tours away from the more touristy, often crowded places in the valley. So, if you want to see a different side to Valle Verzasca, unlike the classic images on social media, in viral videos and on TV, then here’s a couple of amazing alternative excursions. If you want to explore the valley on bike, remember you can catch the number 321 PostBus to Sonogno at Locarno train station and take your bike with you. Get off at the Brione Verzasca (Paese) bus stop, right in the heart of the village.
Jump on your bike, take the narrow road running next to the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli and venture into the woods. You’re about to discover the silence and charm of Val d’Osola. Almost entirely traffic free, this dirt track is perfect for mountain bikes. It soon runs parallel to the Osura river. The water here is an intense turquoise, just like that in the Verzasca river. There are plenty of beaches, ideal for sunbathing or even, on hot days, a dip in the pools formed by the boulders, provided you take the proper precautions.
If, on the other hand, you prefer hiking, why not admire the Verzasca Valley from on high and climb to Alpe Bardughè? If it’s a walking tour you want, then make your way to the train station in Locarno and take the postbus to Sonogno: a pretty village always worth a visit. Stop off in Brione on your way back, just before reaching Vogorno, to see the famous Verzasca dam.
This is the start of the ethnographic walking trail to Alpe Bardughè, a vast plateau on the slopes of Pizzo Vogorno with incredible views over Lake Maggiore. The 12 km circular route takes roughly 5 and a half hours, with an elevation gain of 1186 metres. There’s an “agriturismo” farmhouse in Odro where you can stop and rest, plus a small museum dedicated to the practice of wild haymaking, an activity of great importance in the Verzasca Valley. There’s also an unattended hut on Alpe Bardughè, open from May to October. Round off your day by visiting the dam in Vogorno before catching the PostBus back to Locarno.