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The Best Mountain Bike Trails in Ticino, Switzerland

Mountain biking in Ticino
Mountain biking in Ticino | © fgmsp / Pixabay
Ticino, thanks to its mild climate and its proximity to mountains, hills and lakes, is a region where it’s possible to explore by bicycle in every season, making it the ideal destination for a holiday on two wheels.

The bike route from Lugano to Capanna Pairolo

If you want to be surrounded by the beautiful nature around Ticino, and stay close to town at the same time, then this is the trail for you. Start by taking the aerial cableway from Suvigliana to Monte Brè for a first taste of the amazing views that will accompany you for the whole trip. The trail, a little over 20 kilometres one way, leads from Brè to Sonvico on single wooded trails, while the journey up to Capanna Pairolo is on unpaved roads, mostly in the open country. Enjoy uninterrupted views of the Lugano District and the neighbouring valleys: the entire tour is characterised by varied and interesting countryside with fairytale forests and lush Alpine meadows – exactly what you might picture when thinking about the perfect bike trail in Switzerland. On the summit of Mount Pairolo, Capanna Pairolo is the ideal place to stop and enjoy some food and drinks before speeding back down to the city.

From Rivera to Pairolo on two wheels

A different way of discovering Ticino is by biking the thrilling trail that stretches above Rivera on a mountain ridge alternating between single trails and unpaved roads with panoramic views. The area is home to stunning natural wonders, alpine meadows and cow pastures, as well as three mountain huts that offer both beautiful views and the chance to enjoy local food. This biking classic is scenic and lined with great places to stop and take in the surroundings. From its peaks, you are treated to impressive views of the city of Lugano, the lake, the imposing backdrop of the Bernese and Valais Alps, Lake Maggiore and neighbouring Italy.

Monte Tamaro, above Rivera © strecosa / Pixabay

Alta Verzasca by bike

Alta Verzasca is a paradise for those who want to go mountain biking on a less challenging route than some of the others around. The track is relatively easy and suitable for everyone, including families, and the arrival point, Sonogno, is certainly worth visiting, as it is one of the quaintest and most traditional villages in Ticino. This fairly flat track leads you through the upper part of the Verzasca Valley, starting in Brione Verzasca, and arrives in Sonogno, the typical mountain village that sits at the very end of the valley. The track winds alongside a large stretch of river that is famous for its emerald-coloured waters and which is surrounded by enchanting natural scenery. Furthermore, there are plenty of chances to stop for food and drinks – the valley is known for its delicious cheese and polenta dishes.

A rustico in Val Verzasca © Hans / Pixabay

Biking the Val di Blenio

An easier route for those who want to enjoy a pleasant day on their bicycles, the Val di Blenio path links Olivone with Biasca and can be travelled in either direction. It features many historical and cultural testaments to the valley’s past. From Olivone, heading towards Biasca, you will pass charming old villages and hamlets, such as Ponto Aquilesco and Aquila, and Cima Norma, the old chocolate factory that produced up to 1,500 tonnes of chocolate in the 1940s and 1950s. The route then takes you towards Lottigna, home of the Blenio Museum, and leads to the Acquarossa hot springs, once a renowned spa destination. The current building, which has been closed since 1971, was inaugurated in 1886. The path then climbs among caves and vineyards, all the way to Biasca, where you can stop and rest or admire the old church that dominates the town’s main square.

The Malcantone route

This relatively undemanding cycling tour is perfect for exploring the lush hills and mountains of the Malcantone, a green area not far from Lugano. From Ponte Tresa, the bike ride passes through the hillside woodlands of Malcantone. Here, you can stop at the Museo del Malcantone in Curio to learn about the region’s history. Carry on towards Miglieglia, after which the route continues to the picturesque village of Astano. The historic centre of this traditional settlement is full of character and well worth a visit. Not far away, you’ll find a lake by the same name – take a swim and enjoy the surrounding verdant landscape. The route then leads back from Astano via Banco and past Mount Mondini to Ponte Tresa.

Mountain biking in Ticino © fgmsp / Pixabay