Holidays in Bellinzona - Switzerland
Holiday in a UNESCO World Heritage Site
NEW for Bellinzona 2017
The Ticino Ticket will be given to all hotel guests, offering FREE bus and rail travel around the region
Transfer times from Zurich airport are reduced, thanks to the opening of the new Gotthard BaseTunnel through the Alps
Bellinzona’s unique location is both beautiful and historically strategic, sitting at the meeting point of several alpine valleys. It boasts three beautifully preserved castles which combine to make the whole area an official UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Romans built the first fortifications at Castelgrande, which were then extended in the Middle Ages by the Dukes of Lombardy. Castelgrande offers a lovely view over the Old Town and visitors can meander along the 'Murata' ramparts and enjoy the the surrounding mountains. The second castle, Montebello, offers medieval drawbridges and views to Lake Maggiore, while the third, Sasso Corbaro, towers above the wooded hillside.
The town of Bellinzona itself is italianate in style and features many picturesque squares and courtyards. Visitors can wander among the Old Town’s atmospheric alleyways with their restored merchants’ houses, theatres and churches. As with all the Ticino towns, there are plenty of cafés and delicatessans to enjoy and a particular highlight is the Saturday market on the Piazza Nosetto. At the Villa dei Cedri art museum there are paintings from the late 19th-early 20th century and peaceful gardens. Bellinzona is also ideally located for day trips to the nearby holiday resorts of Locarno, Ascona and Lugano, along with with all their opportunities to explore the neighbouring lakes and mountains.
Visits from BELLINZONA
There are many opportunities to visit some of the most beautiful sights in the Ticino region. Starting points are generally from Locarno or Lugano, both of which are within easy reach of Bellinzona. These are just a selection of the excursions on offer; please visit the Locarno and Lugano excursion pages for more details and further ideas.
Centovalli excursion to Domodossola: An enjoyable two hour journey that takes you on one of the region's most scenic rail trips to Domodossola (in Italy) via tiny villages, clear waterfalls and vineyards. You can head straight for an Italian lunch, or take the time to hop off at one of the charming villages en route for a drink or a scenic walk. FREE as far as the border with your Ticino Ticket, payable for the Italian section.
Brissago Islands: The gardens were started in the 19th century by Baroness Antoinette de la St Léger, as an artistic haven. From 1927, the gardens were further developed along with the Villa, Orangerie and Roman bathhouse by Max Emden until the local towns purchased these beautiful islands in 1949. Today over 1,500 species of plants grow in this mild climate, most of which are subtropical with their origins from around the world. open April-October. FREE as far as the mainland boat station with your Ticino Ticket, boats payable locally. Entrance to the Islands 8Sfrs.
Madonna del Sasso (Orselina): A short funicular journey from Locarno brings you to this wooded rock with views of Lake Maggiore, which has been a site of pilgrimage since the 15th century. The Church complex includes a small museum. From Orselina, you can also take the cable car to Cardada in the mountains, then ever upwards by chair lift to Cimetta for great views and alpine walking trails. FREE as far as the funicular valley station with your Ticino Ticket, payable locally for the journey up.
Cruises on Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano: Both these stunning lakes offer a number of cruises to picturesque villages such as the Italian market town of Cannobio and beautiful Stresa, picturesque Gandria and charming Morcote. FREE as far as the boat stations with your Ticino Ticket, payable locally for the cruises. Half Fare Card is valid on Lake Lugano but not Lake Maggiore.
Monte Brè: A 20 minute funicular journey has been climbing to the top of Monte Brè since 1912 and will reward you with a magnificent view of the bay of Lugano and its surroundings, with the Bernese and Valais Alps in the distance. There are plenty of walking and cycling trails at the summit, or restaurants and a sun terrace if you just want to relax and enjoy the views. FREE as far as the funicular valley station with your Ticino Ticket, payable locally for the journey up.
Rivera-Monte Tamaro: Situated in the wooded mountainous area between Lugano – Bellinzona – Locarno. Travel by train to Rivera and catch the cable car to the top of Monte Tamaro at Alpe Foppa for some of the most beautiful views of Swiss and Italian mountains and lakes. Alpe Foppa is also the starting point of several panoramic hikes and alpine coaster bob and has a restaurant serving Swiss-Italian specialities. Available April-November. FREE as far as the cable car valley station with your Ticino Ticket, payable locally for the journey up.
TWO AND MULTI CENTRE HOLIDAYS
Why not consider a multi centre holiday, combining one of the balmy Ticino resorts with a stay in picturesque Weggis or Lucerne. The journey itself will be a highlight of your holiday, including rail carriages with panoramic windows and the nostalgic Gotthard Panorama Express on Lake Lucerne. Or travel on the dramatic Bernina Express to compare the lakeside delights of the Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano resorts with a decidedly alpine destination such as St. Moritz and Davos.
Please call us on 0800 619 1200 to arrange an itinerary that is tailor made precisely to your requirements.