How to move around the region

Over land, on water and in the air

Ascona-Locarno is popular with day-trippers heading out on the lake or inland – staying close to the water or making for the nearby mountains. To reach your destination, then, you need an appropriate means of transport. Who doesn't like the idea of a cruise on the lake? Sitting on deck, the breeze ruffling your hair, listening to the splashing of the water, feeling the sun on your skin and enjoying the feeling of freedom.

How to move around

Many tourist attractions can be reached by boat, such as the Brissago Islands, where you'll find Switzerland's only botanical park, which, thanks to Ascona-Locarno's unique climate, is unbelievably rich in flora and fauna. Open to the public since 1950, the Isola Grande botanical park is home to over 2000 plant species from major southern climate zones such as the Mediterranean, Chile, South Africa, Australia and California, and from humid subtropical climate zones, including Asia, America and Oceania.

Lake Maggiore and its boat services are hugely important for tourism. Summer activities without the lake are unthinkable. The lake, though, isn't only a welcome attraction, but also an important resource for the locals. Lake Verbano (to give it its official name) forms an important link between its right and left shores: because it's the most direct route, young people from Gambarogno take the boat to attend the vocational or higher secondary schools in Locarno. In short, the lake connects: Italy with Switzerland, the left shore with the right, this village with that.

Important means of getting about the region include boats, trains, buses and aerial cableways – both for tourists and the local population. The Centovalli Railway – known as the Centovallina by the locals – runs daily between Locarno and Domodossola and connects Switzerland with Italy.

As a fascinating journey into the past, travelling on the Centovallina from end to end takes two hours, but it feels much less. The Centovalli valley (Swiss side) and Val Vigezzo (Italian side) abound with little villages (some of which are struggling with outward migration), beautiful scenery, countless bridges and gorges. Some of the Centovallina trains benefit from a trolley service selling snacks and beverages. The trip is not for the faint-hearted: the views from the bridges into the gorges can be alarming, and the trains lurch about on the uneven track as they negotiate the bends. But the atmosphere and the views make up for all that! What's more, the Centovallina takes visitors to wonderful destinations in the Centovalli, with its delightful hiking tours and culturally interesting sights.

Speaking of wonderful destinations in the Centovalli, they can be reached by aerial cableway, among other things. From Verdasio, for instance, a yellow cable car provides access to Monte Comino with its wonderful hikes and llama trekking for children.

You can also get to Rasa from Verdasio: the tranquil little village at almost 900 m above sea level is, even today, only accessible on foot or by cableway. For the people who live here, the cableway is also an important part of their everyday lives. From Intragna, a blue four-person cabin climbs to Costa with an interim stop in Pila. Both are small villages, popular with hikers and nowadays mainly inhabited at weekends. But aerial cableways exist outside the Centovalli, too. The Ascona-Locarno region is home to the Robiei cableway, which runs between San Carlo in the Vallemaggia and the foot of the Basodino glacier, and the Cardada-Cimetta cableway providing access to Locarno's local mountain. One thing is for sure: Ascona-Locarno is a region to be discovered and enjoyed!

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