The Best Hiking Trails in Ticino, Switzerland

The Greina Plateau
The Greina Plateau | © Chiara Assi
Chiara Assi

There aren’t many regions in the world that can boast such a concentration of incredible hiking trails as the Canton Ticino. Blessed with lush woods, glaciers, alpine lakes and rich wildlife, this area of southern Switzerland is a dream come true for those who like to stay active and in touch with nature during their holidays. Here are some of the best hiking trails in Ticino, Switzerland.

A multi-day adventure with Lugano trekking

An incredible three-day adventure, Lugano trekking is a must-do for those who want to challenge themselves and get in touch with nature just outside the city. The route starts from Brè, in the outskirts of town, and takes you up to the summit of mounts Boglia, San Lucio and Bar. The path offers stunning views of the area and, of course, the chance to stop at mountain huts to rest, enjoy lunch, eat dinner and sleep. Once you get back from this multi-day trek, stop at the Lido di Lugano for a dip in the water – the lake will feel wonderful at sunset.

Discover the Alpine lakes of the Piora Alp

Reachable by taking what is said to be one of Europe’s steepest funiculars, Lake Ritom and its surrounding areas are a true delight for hiking and fishing enthusiasts. On one shore, you will find a scenic path with interesting explanations about the nature and wildlife of the region. At the end of it, you can take a steep but short climb through the woods and reach the Piora Alp, where you can stop and enjoy food and drinks at one of the two restaurants in Cadagno. After lunch, take your time and climb up to Lake Tom, a smaller Alpine lake that is definitely worth the hike. On the way back, buy some Piora cheese and make friends with the local cows – they are friendly and don’t mind visitors taking pictures with them.

Making friends at Lake Ritom

Hike from Mount Tamaro to Mount Lema

One of the best-loved hikes in the area, the route that links Mount Tamaro to Mount Lema is a day trip every nature lover should consider while visiting Lugano. The adventure begins by taking the Tamaro gondola in Rivera, which takes you up to the starting point of the hike. Take a minute to admire the modern church designed by local architect Botta before starting the ascent. From here, a path zigzags up and down the plateau and leads towards the summit of Mount Lema, crossing fields in bloom with alpine flowers, populated by cows and goats and with panorama points that provide breathtaking views. From the peak, you can take the gondola down and the bus back to Rivera, where you can reward yourself at the Tamaro Splash & Spa.

Monte Tamaro, the modern church of Santa Maria degli Angeli by Mario Botta

Feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere on the Greina Plateau

There is no other place in Ticino quite like the Greina Plateau, an incredible open space shared with the nearby Canton of Grisons. Hiking here is simply wonderful, as all you can see for miles around is grass, mountain flowers and rock formations. The path starts in Val di Blenio and it’s quite steep for the first hour, but once you reach the plateau you are rewarded with such beauty you will forget all about the uphill trek. The route continues towards an alpine hut, where you can stop to eat or even sleep, before plunging back down towards Lake Luzzone and on to Blenio. Although it’s possible to complete this hike in one day, waking up to the sounds of nature after spending the night at Motterascio hut is highly recommended.

The Greina Plateau

An easy walk around Lake Robiei

Not all hikes have to be challenging – there are plenty of easy ones you can take if you don’t feel ready for the steep ones. The panoramic loop around Lake Robiei, at the bottom of the beautiful Basodino Glacier, is a wonderful walk for all abilities, with views over the alpine lake and mountain peaks all around. While hiking, you will meet cows, goats and pigs, as well as a plethora of wild animals including marmots, ibex and chamois. The area is also famous for producing the delicious Vallemaggia cheese and you can taste and buy it in a couple of small huts around the lake to bring home a bit of Swiss goodness with you.

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