It was my first time to Locarno, Switzerland. It wasn’t going to be an easy trip. This was only my second solo travel trip. It was no different from the butterflies I would get in my stomach before going out on a first date.
Locarno was different from the rest of Switzerland. How? Well, for starters the language spoken here was Italian. It was located in the Italian speaking region Ticono in Switzerland.
It is located on the shores of the Lake Maggiore. It is surrounded by lush green mountains and spectacular valleys.I was visiting Locarno in the month of March which was the beginning of the tourist season.
The second thing that made this place stand out from the rest of Switzerland was it’s micro climate. This was the reason behind Locarno having more sunny days and warmer climate than rest of Switzerland.
The best part about Locarno was that it was very close to Ascona and the Maggia and Verzasca valleys. Along with the valleys, these places had beautiful rivers.
Now coming back to Locarno, getting there wan’t very difficult as I travelled by car. From the Eastern side, I took highway A2 Basel to Chiasso, exited at Bellinzona South, direction Locarno.
But if given a chance again, I would love to take a train to Locarno as the view is much more amazing. Not to mention, you don’t have the stress of driving. Regular trains link Locarno directly with Zurich, Basel, Lucerne, Milan and Bellinzona. The Centovallina train line (which is integrated into the national train network, but is run by a private company that goes by the picturesque name of FART) connects Locarno and the Simplon line (from Geneva or Bern).
If you are the kind of person, who likes to get to the destination quickly and doesn’t like to spend time travelling to a place, then the best thing to do is to take a flight. Lugano airport. Then take the bus to Lugano and the train to Locarno. If you land at Milan Malpensa, take the Giosy Tour shuttle bus to Bellinzona. From there the train to Locarno. If you land at Milan Linate, take a shuttle to Milano Centrale train station. From there a train to Locarno.
The best part about the place was that it was easy to get around on a bicycle. I rented a bicycle from the train station as I decided to park the car and experience the fresh air.
There is also the option of using the bike sharing network VELOSPOT, which exists not only in Locarno, but also several other Swiss cities such as Geneva and Vevey.
VELOSPOT cards can be purchased online a few days in advance or directly in Locarno at following addresses: Cancelleria comunale, Piazza Grande 18 (Mo-Fr, 9am-11.45am and 2pm-4.15pm), Locarno tourist office at the train station (business hours, closed on Su and over lunch break, except in summer when it is open Mo-Su pretty much all day long). The card costs CHF 10.- for 24 hours plus CHF 2.-/hour if the bike is used for more than 30 minutes. There is also the option of paying CHF 20.- and have unlimited access for 24 hours.
My favorite destination was Piazza Grande. It was in the heart of the city center and also the major shopping area. In summer it hosts a few major events, such as the Moon&Starsopen air concerts, the world famous International Film Festival and, during the winter, Locarno On Ice.
My next favourite destination was Valle Verzasca, a spectacular valley with astoundingly turquoise water and amazing rock formations. The main points of interest are the James Bond Golden eye bungee jump from the dam at the entrance of the valley and the bathing area at the ancient Lavertezzo stone bridge.
My trip ended short as I didn’t have enough leave but I made up my mind to visit this place once again,someday.
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Author: The Brown Nomad
Also published on Medium.