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Val Bavona, one of the magic valleys in Vallemaggia region (+Foroglio Waterfalls)

Updated: Jun 12, 2023

(****) This trip is our (Brissago4u Ticino Travel Guide) favourite trip in the canton Ticino area in southern Switzerland.


Brissago4u -  Ticino Travel Guide
Brissago4u.ch Ticino Travel Guide

List of main spots:

  • Brissago

  • Ronco Sopra Ascona

  • PonteBrolla

  • Cevio

  • Bignasco Waterfall

  • Val Bavona

  • Foroglio waterfalls-

  • Sonlerto

  • San Carlo and lago Zott (via cable car Robiei)

We at Brissago4u Ticino Travel Guide have a great fondness for authentic villages, untouched nature, pure air, and the escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.


On Val Bavona the time takes on a new meaning!


Being disconnected from technology provides a fresh perspective on life. What's even more incredible is that all of this is just a "stone's throw" away from Brissago!


Hint:

From Brissago to San Carlo the distance is under 50 km.


Advice: Start early at about ~8 AM from Brissago. If the weather is good, we suggest you extend your trip with a visit to the Basodino glacier, directly accessible from San Carlo via direct Robiei cablecar.


A separate blog entry Brissago4u Ticino Travel guide is available here: Hiking at Lake Robiei and glacier Basodino in Ticino, at the end of Vallemaggia


Some quick highlights are presented below.


Village Ritorto:

This old house in the village of Ritorto is one of my favourite photo-shooting spots in the Bavona valley. Google Maps direction: https://goo.gl/maps/SNRNDdbmUFcF6SrR6

Ritorto village - on Val Bavona Valley, an affluent of Maggia Valley (Vallemagia)
Ritorto village - on Val Bavona Valley, an affluent of Maggia Valley (Vallemagia)



Foroglio village and waterfall - on Val Bavona Valley
Foroglio village and waterfall - on Val Bavona Valley

Driving from Brissago to San Carlo:

Driving map from Brissago to San Carlo
Driving map from Brissago to San Carlo


Driving Info:

Drive from Brissago toward Losone near Locarno, via Ronco sopra Ascona, then drive to the north towards Vallemagia.  



Stop 1: Ponte Brolla


More details about Ponte Brolla in our article:





To witness the breathtaking beauty of Maggia keys (Orrido di Ponte Brolla), you have the opportunity to pause your journey precisely at Ponte Brolla, shortly after the intersection leading to Maggia Valley. A mere 200 meters beyond the intersection, you will encounter an unmarked and unofficial pathway that descends towards the valley. Following this trail will reward you with an awe-inspiring view that is sure to leave a lasting impression.


Parking: One parking option is on the side of the road. Alternatively, you can opt for the restaurant parking near Ponte Brolla, which is in close proximity.

Entrance to the keys: The entrance is not an official well-groomed one. Access to the water is not well maintained, it is not an official trail, so use good shoes and be careful on a rainy day. As you pass the bus station, continue for approximately 3-400 meters. Once you spot a metal bridge on your left, keep an eye out for the entrance to the canyon, which will lead you to it.

Ponte Brolla canyon - entrance to Valle Maggia
Ponte Brolla canyon - entrance to Valle Maggia

Ponte Brolla canyon
Ponte Brolla canyon

Cliff jumping and scuba diving in Ponte Brolla





Important Note: Vallemaggia can be very dangerous. Water is cold and the strong current can create a strong twist. Do not go alone! Be aware you are in a fast-flowing water river.

 

Keep driving along Vallemaggia.


Stop 2: Cevio

Make a stop in the center of the municipality of Cevio.


Cevio Center
Cevio Center
Cevio Center - fantastic looking builings
Cevio Center - fantastic looking builings

Head upstream along the Maggia River towards Bignasco and San Carlo.


Stop 3: Bignasco Waterfall


When in Bignasco, don't miss the opportunity to visit the stunning waterfall situated on the right side of the road. To reach this natural wonder, a pleasant walk of just a few hundred meters is required. The captivating beauty of the waterfall makes it a must-see attraction in Bignasco.




Hint: Brunch Place: a great spot for brunch is Casa Martinetti Website: casa-martinelli.ch

Tel. 091 760 9051

You can make a reservation. Be sure to check for any upcoming events happening there.



Bignasco Waterfall on Vallemaggia
Bignasco Waterfall on Vallemaggia


Bignasco Waterfall


In Bignasco, immediately after crossing the bridge, take a left turn onto Val Bavona, heading towards San Carlo. Val Bavona is renowned as the steepest and most rugged valley in this Alpine region. Prepare to be amazed by the majestic and rocky landscapes it has to offer.


Val Bavona boasts charming villages that are definitely worth a visit. Val Bavona is home to villages built entirely of stone, showcasing their unique architectural charm. These stone-made villages in Val Bavona are a sight to behold and are definitely worth exploring. Take the opportunity to make stops along the way and explore these picturesque villages.


Stone-made villages in Val Bavona
Stone-made villages in Val Bavona

Continue driving until you reach the village of Ritorto. Just before Foroglio, you will find the charming village of Ritorto, adorned with magnificent old houses intricately carved into enormous stones.


Stop 4: Ritorto

Nestled in the picturesque Valle Maggia, the village of Ritorto exudes a timeless charm. Surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, Ritorto is known for its quaint streets and traditional stone houses, showcasing the rich architectural heritage of the region. As you explore the area, you'll also discover neighbouring villages like Foroglio and its enchanting waterfall, each offering its own unique character and captivating allure. Immerse yourself in the tranquillity of these charming villages and embrace the idyllic atmosphere of Valle Maggia.

To capture a photo of the house below, simply park on the right side and walk into the garden. If the owner is present, kindly ask for permission before proceeding. Googe Map spot: https://goo.gl/maps/SNRNDdbmUFcF6SrR6



Village of Ritorto, adorned with magnificent old houses intricately carved into enormous stones.
Village of Ritorto, adorned with magnificent old houses intricately carved into enormous stones.

After your visit to Ritorto, hop back into your car and embark on a short two-minute drive to the neighbouring village of Foroglio. Once you arrive, you can park either at the entrance of the village or in the vicinity above it. From there, cross the bridge over the Bavona River and make your way into the charming village of Foroglio.



Stop 5: Foroglio Village and the Waterfalls


Welcome to Foroglio Village and the breathtaking Foroglio Waterfalls hike!


Nestled in the beautiful Val Bavona in Switzerland, this charming village and its stunning natural surroundings offer an unforgettable experience for nature lovers and hikers. In this walking guide, we will explore the village itself and then embark on a memorable hike to the Foroglio Waterfalls.


Welcome to the picturesque village of Foroglio, nestled in the scenic surroundings of Valle Maggia. Foroglio is renowned for its captivating waterfall, a natural wonder that will leave you in awe. As you explore the village, be sure to visit the charming local eatery - "Grotto Osteria La Froda", where you can indulge in delicious regional cuisine and savour the flavours of the area.


Don't miss the opportunity to embark on a hike above the waterfalls, where you can witness stunning panoramic views and immerse yourself in the beauty of the surrounding landscape. The trails offer a perfect balance of adventure and tranquillity, allowing you to connect with nature and experience the allure of the region.


Foroglio is a true gem of Valle Maggia, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, culinary delights, and outdoor exploration. Prepare to be enchanted by this idyllic village and create unforgettable memories in the heart of nature.



Hint: You can eat at Restaurant La Froda - Foroglio - un osteria alpina"

https://www.lafroda.ch/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/froda_foroglio/ Phone: 091 754 11 81 - Book in advance your table in high season.



"Cascata di Foroglio" - Foroglio Waterfalls
"Cascata di Foroglio" - Foroglio Waterfalls

"Cascata di Foroglio" - Foroglio Waterfalls
"Cascata di Foroglio" - Foroglio Waterfalls
"Cascata di Foroglio" - Foroglio Waterfalls
"Cascata di Foroglio" - Foroglio Waterfalls
Picknick area near "Cascata di Foroglio" - Foroglio Waterfalls
Picknick area near "Cascata di Foroglio" - Foroglio Waterfalls



Visit Guide of Foroglio Village:

  1. Start your journey in the heart of Foroglio Village, which is located in the Ticino canton of Switzerland. Take a moment to explore the narrow streets, adorned with traditional stone houses and flower-filled balconies.

  2. Visit the Church of San Bernardo, a beautiful 17th-century church that stands proudly at the center of the village. Admire its unique architectural features and step inside to experience its serene atmosphere.

  3. After exploring the village, head towards the starting point of the hike, which is conveniently located nearby.


Foroglio Village
Foroglio Village

Foroglio Village view near the waterfalls
Foroglio Village view from the waterfalls

Foroglio Village
Foroglio Village

Beautifully restored houses that retain their original charm in Foroglio
Beautifully restored houses that retain their original charm in Foroglio
Beautifully restored houses that retain their original charm in Foroglio
Beautifully restored houses that retain their original charm in Foroglio

The "Percorso de la Transumanza" in Foroglio refers to a trail or route that follows the historical path of transhumance. Transhumance is the seasonal movement of livestock, such as sheep, between different grazing areas to ensure access to fresh pastures and optimal conditions for the animals.


In Foroglio, the Percorso de la Transumanza offers an opportunity to explore the traditional routes taken by shepherds and their herds as they migrated through the region. This trail allows visitors to immerse themselves in the cultural and historical significance of transhumance in the area.


By walking along the Percorso de la Transumanza in Foroglio, you can experience the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape, appreciate the harmonious relationship between humans and animals, and gain insights into the traditional practices of the local community.


This trail provides a unique and educational experience, allowing you to connect with the historical heritage of transhumance and understand its importance in the livelihoods and traditions of the region.

historical path of transhumance
Historical path of transhumance




Note: Since the summer of 2020, many visitors have been coming to the waterfalls and capturing beautiful pictures while enjoying the wooden swing nearby.


#SwingTheWorld is a social media movement that encourages people from all around the globe to share their experiences of swinging in scenic locations. This viral trend has gained popularity as individuals seek out picturesque spots, such as by waterfalls or in breathtaking natural settings, to capture stunning photographs or videos while enjoying the thrill of swinging.


Participants use the hashtag #SwingTheWorld when sharing their swinging adventures on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. The movement has become a source of inspiration for travel enthusiasts, outdoor lovers, and photography enthusiasts alike. It promotes the exploration of unique locations and encourages people to connect with nature in a fun and adventurous way.



"Swing The World" Swing in Foroglio
"Swing The World" Swing in Foroglio
Foroglio swing in use
Foroglio swing in use

Foroglio Waterfalls Hike


Above Foroglio Waterfals
Above Foroglio Waterfals

Hint: Embark on an exciting adventure by exploring the trail that ascends above the Foroglio waterfalls. On the right side of the waterfall, a 30-40 minute climb awaits, leading you to a vantage point above the magnificent Foroglio waterfalls.



This hike offers not only a thrilling experience but also rewards you with breathtaking panoramas of the surrounding landscape. Prepare to be enchanted by the beauty of the hike and immerse yourself in the captivating scenery that unfolds before your eyes.




  1. The full hike to the Foroglio Waterfalls is approximately 4 kilometres long, with a moderate difficulty level. Make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes and carry plenty of water and snacks.

  2. Begin the hike by following the signposted trail that leads you along a gently ascending path. As you walk, enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding valley and the sound of the Bavona River flowing beside you.

  3. After about 1.5 kilometres, you will reach a wooden bridge that offers a fantastic viewpoint of the Foroglio Waterfalls from a distance. Take a moment to soak in the beauty of the cascading waters before continuing on.

  4. Cross the bridge and follow the path that leads you closer to the waterfalls. The trail becomes steeper as you ascend, so take your time and enjoy the natural beauty surrounding you.

  5. As you near the waterfalls, you will be greeted by the thundering sound of water crashing against the rocks. Take in the awe-inspiring sight of the 108-meter-high Foroglio Waterfalls, one of the highest waterfalls in Switzerland.

  6. If you're feeling adventurous, continue the hike to the top of the waterfalls for an even more breathtaking view. The path becomes narrower and more challenging, so ensure you have proper footwear and are comfortable with heights.

  7. Once you reach the top, find a comfortable spot to rest and admire the panoramic vistas of the valley below. Capture some memorable photos to commemorate your achievement.

  8. When you're ready to descend, retrace your steps back to Foroglio Village, taking extra care on the steeper sections of the trail. Enjoy the peacefulness of nature as you make your way back.



Above waterfalls Foroglio
Above waterfalls Foroglio


Stop 6: Sonlerto

Sonlerto is a charming village that has been beautifully preserved and is definitely worth exploring on foot. Nestled in a picturesque setting, Sonlerto offers a glimpse into the past with its well-preserved architecture, traditional stone houses, and narrow cobblestone streets.


Take a leisurely stroll through the village, immerse yourself in its tranquil atmosphere, and admire the unique character and beauty that Sonlerto has to offer. Whether it's the quaint houses, the peaceful ambiance, or the scenic surroundings, you're sure to be captivated by the charm of this delightful village.


Sonlernto village
Sonlernto village
Inside Sonlernto village
Inside Sonlernto village
Sonlernto village
Sonlernto village
Sonlernto village
Sonlernto village
Sonlernto village
Sonlernto village

Sonlerto house
Sonlerto house

Flower in June in Sonlernto village
Flower in June in Sonlernto village


Stop 7. Basadino glaciar


Make sure to visit San Carlo and head towards the end of the village, where you'll find the cable car station.


From there, you can take a scenic cable car ride up to Robiei. This breathtaking journey will transport you to the stunning alpine landscapes of Robiei, offering panoramic views and a chance to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area.


Don't miss the opportunity to experience this unforgettable adventure and explore the wonders of Robiei.

Cable car Robiei
Cable car Robiei

View from Cable car while ascending to Robiei from San Carlo
View from Cable car while ascending to Robiei from San Carlo
Walk from Robiei top station to Lago Zott via a tunnel
Walk from Robiei top station to Lago Zott via a tunnel

Lago Zott is a stunning alpine lake located in the Robiei region. Nestled amidst picturesque mountainous landscapes, Lago Zott offers a tranquil oasis for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The crystal-clear waters of the lake reflect the surrounding peaks, creating a mesmerizing sight.

Visiting Lago Zott provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in the pristine natural beauty of the area. Whether you choose to hike along the scenic trails that lead to the lake or simply relax by its shores, you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views and a sense of serenity.

Lago Zott
Lago Zott
Lago Zott damm
Lago Zott damm


To reach Lago Zott from the top cable car station in Robiei, follow these directions:

  1. After exiting the cable car station, you'll find yourself in a picturesque mountainous setting. Take a moment to appreciate the stunning views surrounding you.

  2. Start walking towards the southeast, following the marked trail that leads towards Lago Zott. The trail will guide you through the alpine landscape, offering glimpses of the breathtaking scenery along the way.

  3. As you continue along the trail, you'll encounter signs indicating the direction to Lago Zott. Follow these signs to stay on the right path.

  4. The hike to Lago Zott is relatively moderate, but it's always a good idea to wear comfortable hiking shoes and bring some water and snacks with you.

  5. Enjoy the journey as you traverse the mountain trails, passing through lush meadows and rocky terrain. Take breaks when needed and soak in the tranquility of the surroundings.

  6. After a pleasant hike, you'll arrive at Lago Zott. The serene alpine lake will unfold before you, inviting you to relax and enjoy its beauty. Find a comfortable spot along the shore to rest, have a picnic, or simply take in the breathtaking views.





Hike around Lago Zott
Hike around Lago Zott



The tranquil ambiance of Lago Zott makes it an ideal spot for nature photography, capturing the captivating scenery and reflecting the tranquillity of the surroundings. Whether you're seeking a peaceful escape, a place to unwind, or a chance to connect with nature, Lago Zott in Robiei is a destination that promises unforgettable experiences and memories.



Lago Zott
Lago Zott


Lago Zott
Lago Zott


Water flow from Basadino Glaciar into lago Zott
Water flow from Basadino Glaciar into lago Zott





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