Indemini is a remote village in Ticino canton in Switzerland just a kilometer away from Italian border.
I have visited Indemini village in winter, in January, but nevertheless, weather was great, even 10 degrees by Celsius. The village will definitely catch your imagination as I am pretty sure this is how this exact village looked in that location 200 years ago, it seems that not much has really changed since then.
Let us explore Indemini village, what to do there, where to hike, how to reach the location. If you are travelling near Lugano, Locarno or overall in Ticino canton, this is a must place to visit for you fellow adventure seeker.
How to get to Indemini
Indemini is a remote village, but you can reach it by car or with public transport. Trains are not going there, but buses will take you comfortably to the little local bus station/stop.
If you are coming from Zürich, you will have to do a few train and bus changes, the whole trip can take you 3-4 hours depending on connection.
Even though Lugano is just 46 kilometers from Indemini, you will need up to 2 hours or more to reach it by public transport.
The most easy way to reach Indemini is for sure by your own car. I have driven there from Basel, it took me 3 h 30 minutes. The last leg of the trip is most exciting as you get to climb the mountain and there is a nice serpentine road with many many turns (I don’t really remember where I took so many turns before:) ) until you reach Alpe di Neggia settlement. After Alpe di Neggia is just a few kilometers down the road and you will reach your destination.
You should park in a few parking spots in front of the village (the main road goes above the village) next to the post building. It is possible to park below the village, there are few parking spots there. To reach that parking you will have to pass the post building and make the first turn left, it will take you down to the parking spot.
Facts about Indemini
The village is pretty small and situated on a mountain slope, when you walk there, you go down or up.
The population is very small, only 43 people, although, looking to all the buildings it seems that it could house more, but I guess such a remote location is not very comfortable to live. The population of course increase considerably in summer as many people gather there to enjoy the nature, fresh air and local activities.
The village is in Ticino canton, Locarno district, Gambarogno municipality – it is an italian side of Switzerland, so the spoken language is italian.
The village was very isolated before 1918 before the first road from Swiss side was built to it, so it really helped for village to keep its rural appearance. The road from Italy side was built much later in 1964.
Indemini sits at 930 meters above sea level and has mountains more than 1500m high around it.
One more fact: Indemini was first mentioned back in 1260, so it is a very old settlement.
What to do in Indemini
Well, I think it is pretty straightforward: the whole village is one big spectacle. You should do an Indemini walking tour.
Once you come to Indemini, you should simply walk into the narrow streets of the village and wander around. It is one big maze. When I was there, I just walked as through many streets as possible. All buildings look very old, I am not sure if there was any recent construction and I love it. The village is very peaceful and calm, when I visited it at 8am in the morning, it was completely silent, I saw maybe just two people running their small errands. There are couple of small bridges in the village over a small stream, so you can rest there and enjoy the village views.
The whole wandering around shouldn’t take you longer than 1 hour. It is just a bit physical, all the walk is down or up. Once you reach the bottom of village, you will have to climb it all again.
The houses of the village are built on seven serpentine roads (streets) one above the other and connected by an irregular network of alleys and streets. There are around 30 old buildings in the oldest part of this village.
The typical village houses, with a south-facing facade and long wooden balconies, have a height of three or four floors and are built with dry stone walls which for me personally look amazing, it really reminds me of old lonely houses in the mountains, and here are plenty of them. The roofs are covered with small, uniform stone slabs. So basically all the village was built from stone.
As I walked around through narrow streets, I had a glimpse into some houses windows and saw that many apartments are very nicely renovated and looks fabulous. The outside is old and rusty, but inside people are having a modern comfortable life – amazing.
San Bartolomeo Church
This is probably the most famous building in the village. This mountain church dates back to 1213, but it is believed to be even older.
As bishops were visiting this church from time to time it is even possible to have a look how this church looked through the centuries, you can find more pictures right here: Indemini church.
During centuries it was fixed, restored, had some additional parts added and took the last shape back in 1859. This is a building of huge historical value.
The church faces Veddasca valley and has great views to it.
That is a pretty unique festival in the remote Swiss location where people from all around the world gather together to learn how to sing and help them in their professional careers.
People sing opera, solo, chamber music and other.
The festival is very much supported by the local government as it brings back life to this remote village. I personally love such initiatives which help to revitalize such beautiful locations. We must preserve and keep such places alive as long as it is possible.
And this special music festival really helps to do it.
During this festival few concerts happen in different location in the region, not only in Indemini.
Please have a look for more information about this festival here: Indemini Festival.
Hiking to Monte Gambarogno
Hiking in Ticino canton is a pleasure and Indemini with surrounding mountains is not an exception.
Some information about the hike:
Time needed: back and forth up to 4 hours
Distance: back and forth 8 kilometers
Best time to do it: Late Spring to late autumn. In winter you may need snowshoes.
Path: well maintained, the directions are easy to follow.
Altitude gain: 750 meters
What to take on a hike: plenty of water, at least 2-3 liters for each, In summer temperatures are pretty high in Ticino canton. Take some snacks which would be enough for 3-4 hours. Just in case take a rain jacket, you never know if rain comes. Good hiking shoes are preferable.
Let us have a look at the map of hiking to Monte Gambarogno.
As you see in the map, the hike itself is not very long, just 4 kilometers to one side, 8 kilometers both side.
You are going to gain around 750 meters in altitude, so that is a decent hike up.
Just after couple of kilometers you are going to reach Rifugio St. Anna, that is an old chapel and I guess in the old times it gave shelter to piligrims and travelers. Even today in this place some times events happen. Rifugio is open all the times and you probably can get a shelter there as well, but I am not sure, I haven’t done it and in the official website the information is not very clear. BUT if you wish to stay in this place on your hike or trip in Ticino, you can call the warden of this place and ask about the situation. There are 12 places in this Rifugio and actually the owner of it is Indemini’s municipality 🙂 All the official information is right here: Rifugio St. Anna.
After the Rifugio you have two more kilometers to hike.
Monte Gambarogno sits at 1734 meters altitude and offers completely amazing views to surroundings, you will see the huge lake Lago Maggiore, Locarno city and the mountains in front of you. It is a perfect place to rest and have your snacks.
As well, near the peak you are going to see the Gambarögn hut. It was built by army and is not used at the moment, although the officials would like to renovate it and promote tourism of the surrounding areas.
IF when you reached monte Gambarogno peak you think you want more hiking to do, you can go 4 more kilometers to Monte Tamaro.
You will have to hike down to Alpe di Neggia which has public toilets, bus stop and a restaurant (and very small skiing lift). Afterwards you will have to hike up to 1962 meters altitude as it is the highest peak near Lake Maggiore.
Monte Tamaro is much more famous and offers wide variety of activities on the mountain, you can check all the information right here: Monte Tamaro.
Hiking down from Monte Gambarogno should be easier and you should reach Indemini in 1h 30 minutes. So the total time of the hike should be around 3-4 hours.
After a hike you can visit the only restaurant in Indemini which is very close to the post 🙂 The address is this one:
Sleeping in Indemini
If you are a person who loves small beautiful remote places, you must visit Indemini in Switzerland in Ticino canton. You are going to love the overall vibe of this old rural village with narrow streets and its mazes.
I personally look for such places myself and investigate the map of Switzerland weekly. Where can I go next :)? I have been in a very nice medieval village of Saint Ursanne in Jura canton and was not disappointed. As well I visited Soglio which was considered to be the most beautiful village by painter Giovanni Segantini. Soglio is not at all bigger that Indemini. So there are many great places in Switzerland to discover and Indemin is one of them.
If you want to travel on a budget, you can take a beed in Ostello La Genziana, get a free public ticket, get up in the mountains and hike around. Afterwards wander in Indemini itself and have a nice meal in the local restaurant. Here is your perfect weekend.
I hope you liked my article about this remote village, I really really recommend visiting it and if you have any more questions about it, please let me know, I will do my best to help you.
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