Valle Verzasca hiking trails are situated in a very picturesque part of Ticino canton. But do you want to guess where is maybe the most popular stone bridge in Switzerland? Yes, in Valle Verzasca. Just check out on Instagram: #ValleVerzasca and you are going to find thousands of pictures.

Just have a look at this beautiful small bridge above the river.

Valle Verzasca bridge
Valle Verzasca bridge

Where is Valle Verzasca

The Valle Verzasca is located in the Locarno district of the Ticino canton in Switzerland. The Valley is mainly formed by the Verzasca river which is located between Maggia and Leventina villages. The area extends over 16 miles to the southern direction. The altitude of the Valley varies from 500 to 900 meters above sea level. The mountains surrounding the Valley creates a very unique looking view. There is a popular hiking location in this area and many hikers come to the area annually seeking to find the thrill of walking in nature and the beautiful mountains and terrains.

Some information about distances to Valle Verzasca from the bigger cities:

From Zürich 204 kilometers.

From Lugano only 50 kilometers;

From Geneva 338 kilometers.

How to get to Valle Verzasca 

The old muleteer’s track connects Lavertezzo and Sonogno and it stretches from the right side of the river and in some areas, it runs on the left side. The clear waters are surrounded by large rocks. The hiking trail in this area is filled with interesting cultural phenomena such as holy markers, chapels, and bridges. The area is so inspiring that many artists have decided to focus on the art of this Valley. There are over 29 sculptures on the trail between Lavertezzo and Brionne. The art reflects the rich ancient history and it is highly influential to people who visit the area. 

Valle Verzasca
Valle Verzasca

Different modes of transport will help you reach the area with ease. You can drive or use public transportation from Lugano, Bellinzona or Locarno to Brionne through Gordola to Verzascatal. But Valle Verzasca is really reachable from all around Switzerland. Now, to check out all the latest prices and timetables, allways check out the official Swiss website: Swiss trains and buses. In the second gap put LAVERTEZZO, MONDA. You won’t be able to reach it all by train, but the last stretch you will be able to cover by bus.

If you plan to drive – then it is very easy: simply put Valle Verzasca OR Lavertezzo on your GPS and hit the road. Depending on the season some routes may be interrupted, but mostly it should be all good. Swiss people clean their roads really good 🙂

Moving from Lugano to Verzasca 

Verzasca river can be a cool environment when you are feeling hot, you can enjoy a swim in the river. The Ticino area is an Italian speaking region in southern Switzerland and getting here by car is the easiest and most convenient way. For me it’s always fascinating how you go by car and suddenly the spoken language changes from German to Italian or from French to Italian, the first signs come on your radio 🙂 However, you can choose public transport as well. Lugano is 50 kilometers from Valle Verzasca and it will take you around 1 hour to arrive at your destination. If you are in other locations such as Zürich it will take you 3 hours for a distance of 300 kilometers. There is a small parking lot next to the bridge in Lavertezzo town or in Brione village. If you are coming by car, you can park there. Parking is not free.

The magical Valle Verzasca bridge

The Valle Verzasca bridge is one of the oldest bridges which spans the Verzasca river and it is widely popular. It was originally built in the 16th century and partially demolished and rebuilt in the 1960s. This bridge is located near the town of Lavertezzo (where you should park your car). If you are looking for a place to take photos then you have come to the right place. The stone wall buildings and the 18th-century bridge is ideal for your photo sessions. 

Valle Verzasca bridge
Valle Verzasca bridge

The water in the Verzasca river is from snow which melts from the nearby Swiss Alps mountains. Essentially, the water is so cold and there are multiple warnings posted about hypothermia, so if you are thinking about swimming there, be aware of possible health problems. Take just a short dip 🙂

Safety is important and you should first know the temperature of the water before you begin taking long swims in the melting ice water. Besides, there are sections of the river that are safe for swimming some areas under the bridge have very fast currents and this can be dangerous. Guides from the region recommend that you pay attention to the warning posters and tells you where it is the best and safe to have a short swim.

Valle Verzasca camping

If you happen to come there with your camper, then no problem. Campervans are welcomed and there are two powered campervan sites that you can utilize during your trip. The Sonogno and Brionne Verzasca provides most camping locations for tourists. You should buy a camper card if you want to camp in the area. The cards are usually available on-site and they have a validity period of 24 hours. It is important to note that camper vans are not allowed to park overnight outside these locations. Switzerland is very strict regarding parking in not controlled places: by the road or somewhere close to some houses. People get suspicious. For the best experience I really recommend to use the camping sites.

Trekking along Valle Verzasca dam

For the utmost beauty of the landscape and awesome trails that unravel through the woods and emerald colored waters, the Verzasca Valleys offers one of the best walks in the Ticino canton. The dam is a host to a wide array of animals and you can view birds and other creatures. The walk around the dam is appreciated by families and most groups because it is easy and you can interrupt your trek whenever you want. It is easily accessible via public transport and you can recharge yourself by swimming in the dam, but SAFETY FIRST 🙂 In the village of Lavertezzo, you can see the double arched bridge and wonderful pools of green water. You can see a few sculptures by contemporary artists incorporated into the natural habitat. The material, style, and technique used have preserved the original aspect of the art.

Valle Verzasca River

the Verzasca river is on the peaks above Sonogno where it follows the Valley down to Corripo fork where it forms an artificial lake. The clear emerald waters and the pristine natural surrounding makes it one of the most popular summer destinations. During summer it transforms outdoor pools and shores around the Lavertezzo area and you can enjoy a swim during this period. This is a true jewel for underwater diving lovers. Whoever visits the Verzasca Valley and passes through Gordola will appreciate the great artificial lake created by the river. The Valle Verzasca river is widely known and many people flock the area during summer to enjoy water sports.

Valle Verzasca river
Valle Verzasca river

For adrenaline seekers, you can enjoy bungy jumping as seen in James bond movies from the dam. The Verzasca Valley with its clear and refreshing waters surrounded by pristine wilderness is not only a paradise for laid back holidays but one of the popular locations for an adrenaline filled water sports. You can splash and swim in a lot of places along the river.

Valle Verzasca hiking trails

Ok, so I hope the information above gave you a first good impression about the place and now let’s talk hiking 🙂

I would like to present now 3 possibilities to hike in that beautiful valley, but there’s definitely much more: you can always take a detour, take another turn and make your own hike, but there’s a a pretty nice hikes.

  1. Lavertezzo – Motta loop. Very easy hike to enjoy the river.
  2. Lavertezzo to Rifugio Alpe Masnee. A long and hard hike, but it leads to this mountain refugee where you can spend a night. I suggest come back to Lavertezzo the next day.
  3. Lavertezzo to Poncione d’Alnasca. It’s a hard hike, if you want to make it shorter, you can start in Brione, but the views from the mountain are worthwile.

Ok, let’s talk about each of this hike in more detail.

Valle Verzasca loop hike

This is the easiest hike which I recommend to you and you can actually do variations of it: you can take a turn, you can walk even to Brione village, you can hike up more to the mountains, but this map below gives you a good indication what you can expect hiking right next to the river.

Valle Verzasca loop hike
Valle Verzasca loop hike

You would have to start your hike right in Lavertezzo and hike till the next location: Motta. Till Motta you will be walking all the time right next to the river, and it is slightly upwards all the time, but nothing to worry about.

Motta is a small village, but it has couple of hotels and a restaurant, so it’s a perfect place to have a lunch. If you are feeling good and want to continue and prolong your hike, you can head to Brione – it’s a bigger village, but if you go there, your hike is going to be double the time.

From Motta the hike will get a bit steeper, you will get to 940 meters of elevation. Nothing too hard, but if you are in summer there, and summers are very hot in Valle Verzasca, take sufficient amount of water with you. Especially if you had a big lunch in Motta 🙂

So overall hike is around 3 hours and a little longer than 7 kilometers. Very easy breezy hike in Valle Verzasca 🙂

Ok, now let’s get into the harder ones.

Valle Verzasca hike to Rifugio Alpe Masnee

This hike leads you to one of the mountain refugees and it can be a great place to spend a night. What can be better than that after a long hike?

Let’s have a look at the map of this long hike:

Hike in Valle Verzasca, from Lavertezzo to Refugee
Hike in Valle Verzasca, from Lavertezzo to Refugee

This hike is pretty long, more than 5 hours, but you will cross couple of very nice peaks: Pizzo D’Orgnana and Cima di Nimi and at last you will get to Refugee.

Almost right from the beginning the hike gets steep and just after 6 kilometers it will get easier and you will walk at almost the same altitude for the next 6 kilometers. In the first 6 kilometers you are going to gain a whopping 1500 meters in elevation, so that’s the hard part. Be slow. Walk not faster than 2-3 kilometers per hour.

Now, about the final destination: Rifugio Alpe Masnee. It is actually a very cool little place with more than building: so it’s like a small village up there. You can spend a night there just for 25 CHF (have a sleeping bag with you) or just take a shower if you wish for 5 CHF. As well they have some drinks to sell if you feel thirsty. You can make bookings online and ask about the food if they will be able to provide it once you come there, otherwise you will have to take it yourself: Rifugio Alpe Masnee information.

One note: if you think that more than 5 hours hike from Lavertezzo is too much, you can start in Brione. Then the hike to this place will be just 3 hours and you can even hike there and go back the same day.

If you wish to do a loop hike from Lavertezzo, you can go to this refugee, spend a night and next day head to Brione and walk from Brione back to Lavertezzo.

Valle Verzasca hike: Lavertezzo to Poncione d’Alnasca

Poncione d’Alnasca is a very beautiful mountain in Valle Verzasca. The hike is a bit hard, similar to the one to Refugee, but it’s definitely worth your sweat.

Let’s have a look at the map below:

Valle Verzasca hike to Poncione d'Alnasca
Valle Verzasca hike to Poncione d’Alnasca

As you can see in the map, you can actually do a big loop, but it’s 10 hours of hiking. It’s a long hike, I am not going to lie, it’s hard. Again: if you want to make it shorter, you can start in Brione, then it is going to be a bit more than 3 hours to one side.

In this hike, the first 8-9 kilometers will be pushing up all the time. Afterwards it gets flat at 2100 meters elevation and after 12 kilometers you just go down.

It’s a hike with amazing views to the valley, other peaks and places beyond.

Be aware to take lots of water. LOTS OF. And food. Sunscreen. And whatever else you think you may need. 10 hours in the mountains is a long hike, so pace yourself and be clever.

I have found a very nice detailed description of this hike with some pictures, I think you are going to love it: Poncione d’Alnasce hike.

Conclusion

If you ever happen to be in Italian side of Switzerland, in Ticino or even in North Italy, Valle Verzasca is a place to visit. It’s very beautiful, rusty, medieval, picturesque.

If you are going to hike up there, you don’t really need to do the whole longs hikes I offer you, if you feel tired, or if you have limited amount of time, you can always go back after an hour or 2. These routes just give you a good indication where you can go and what is possible to reach.

If you just come there to visit the valley and the bridge, I still recommend to walk around a bit, maybe go towards Motta, you will enjoy the valley much more if you spend time there. Be aware of where you can swim and take a dip 🙂

If you have any questions about Valle Verzasca – please let me know, I will do my best to help.

If you are looking for more places to hike, you can check out these options:

Grindelwald hiking trails

Lauterbrunnen hiking trails

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