About Bellinzona day trip
Available: all year round.
Swiss Travel Pass: FREE travel to Bellinzona
Ticino Ticket: FREE travel plus 30% discount on the Bellinzona Pass, covering entry to the castles
Half Fare Card: 11 Sfr from Lugano or Locarno
Historic Bellinzona is dominated by three fantastically preserved medieval castles which are recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Apart from the castles, the town is worth exploring in its own right, with plenty of shops, restaurants and a famous market on Saturday mornings.
UNESCO World Heritage castles
The town boasts
three beautifully preserved castles which are recognised as a UNESCO World
Heritage Site - a fabulous day out.
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.
castle, Montebello, offers medieval drawbridges and views to Lake Maggiore. The
first mentions of the fortress date back to the 14th century, when the road
opened through the Schöllenen Gorge and made the Gotthard Pass the most
important route across the Alps.
castle, Sasso Corbaro, towers above Old Town on a wooded hillside. Built in the
15th century, today the castle hosts an art museum and offers a fabulous view
over the town and the wider region.
The Bellinzona market is a popular event, held in the town's historic district. Set amongst the ancient inns and floral displays, the colourful stalls offer quality products including regional fruit and vegetables, homemade bread prepared with traditional recipes and delicious cheeses from the local valleys. Homewares are also available, with some handicrafts being created on site by the stallholders.
The market takes place every Saturday morning and Wednesdays during May-June and September-October.
Relax in the town
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. At the Villa dei Cedri art museum there are paintings from the late 19th-early 20th century and peaceful gardens.
Bellinzona is easily reached by rail from Lugano and Locarno; trains depart frequently to the town.