Following the valley from Locarno and Ascona, the Vallemaggia District is truly beautiful all year round. We personally enjoyed a drive through here many times and have always enjoyed it. Following the road, you can end up all the way at Lago del Narèt!
The district is also home to many beautiful villages along the way, following the river and past many waterfalls. It’s an idyllic location that many locals visit during good weather for hiking and swimming, as well as tourists flocking to the district for exploring.
The Vallemaggia, the largest valley in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland, derives its name from the crystal-clear river that has gracefully traversed the valley for centuries. This vibrant yet traditionally rooted valley exudes charm throughout the year, presenting a lush green landscape with dense forests offering refreshing shade in the lower regions during the Summer, making strolls enjoyable even on hot days.
In the Autumn, the valley transforms into a breathtaking display of vibrant colours and a popular destination among photographers, with the Valle di Lodano, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, emerging as a captivating natural spectacle.
Known as the Maggia Valley in English, the Vallemaggia spans from Ponte Brolla to Cavergno, encompassing three distinct side valleys:
- the Rovana Valley featuring the renowned Walser village of Bosco Gurin,
- the historically rich Bavona Valley
- the Val Lavizzara, culminating in the Narèt reservoir at the valley’s end.
Each side valley boasts unique characteristics, contributing to the diverse tapestry of the entire region.
Villages And Facts About Vallemaggia District
The district is home to many villages that all are very pictureque. Some of these include:
Here are some interesting facts about the Vallemaggia District too:
- The district has last recorded a population of 5,952 people
- The capital of the district is Cevio with 1,142 people
- The area is part of the Ticino canton of Switzerland, where they speak Italian as the main language
- It has a Mediterranean climate, with palm trees growing all year round
- The valley at the end splits into two, Val Bavona to the West and Val Lavizzara to the East
Vallemaggia Grottos In Ticino
The Vallemaggia District and valley has many local grotto’s and places to stop at for hiking and exploring. Some of them to highlight (in random order) include:
- Grotto Cà Rossa
- Grotto Al Corte
- Grotto Pozzasc
- Grotto America
- Osteria Grotto Alzasca
- Grotto Lafranchi
- Grotto Balöi
- Grotto Valmaggese
- Grotto Mai Morire
- Grotto Pedemonte
We have so far only enjoyed visiting two of them, both during our Autumn drive, which were:
We stopped at Grotto Pozzasc right by the water. By the time we got there, the grotto was in the shade with the sun behind the mountain. However it’s still idellyc and pretty. We only had a warm drink at this time, but they do have lots of traditional grotto meals that you can enjoy too.
Osteria Grotto Alzasca
We personally stopped along the way at Osteria Grotto Alzasca, which we did so during lunch time on one warm Autumn day. You must stop here if your hungry, as we can highly recommended their lasagne!
They have indoor and outdoor seating, which is perfect when the weather is still warm. Their terrace is under the greenery of the vines and with typical stone grotto chairs and tables. Outside we were surrounded by little birds and the sound of village life.
Locals were sat here during our lunch time visit, but also many hikers and explorers like us.
We have a fully-loaded, high content Ticino Guide listing local things to see, do and explore with each season: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.CLICK HERE
Things To See In The Vallemaggia Distrcit
Valle di Lodano
This area is with unique beech forests. This has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2021 and is home to rare plants and animals. It’s a stunning location for hiking and relaxing in nature!
The Valmaggia Museum actively engages in preserving and showcasing the ethnographic heritage of Valmaggio. Nestled in the charming Cevio Vecchio neighbourhood, the museum spans two 17th-century buildings, serving as an ideal gateway to explore the region.
The primary building hosts a permanent exhibition covering diverse themes like history, religiosity, women, the life cycle, animal and pastoral farming, and soapstone. Additionally, the second building features rotating exhibitions, currently highlighting a Valmaggiore’s 19th-century global journey.
Vallemaggia Magic Blues
This compact yet expansive open-air festival showcases a lineup of blues music concerts, featuring both national and international bands, set against the backdrop of the most enchanting squares in Vallemaggia.
The festival has secured its position among the region’s foremost music events by seamlessly blending top-notch music with breathtaking locations, thanks to its innovative concept of combining quality performances with stunning settings.
For 2024 the Vallemaggia Magic Blues is from 12.07.2024 to 08.08.2024!
With over 700 km of hiking trails extending from the riverbanks, popular among numerous bathers in the warm months, to the highest glacier in Ticino, the Basòdino, Vallemaggia beckons nature enthusiasts, families, and adventure seekers alike.
Whether it’s leisurely strolls through the picturesque Ticino villages, challenging ascents up steep rock faces, or multi-day expeditions through high alpine terrain, Vallemaggia stands as an expansive hiking paradise, inviting exploration and discovery.
Church of San Giovanni Battista
Built between 1994 and 1996 on the site of an older church (which was levelled by an avalanche in 1986), the Church of San Giovanni Battista is a stunning church to visit in the valley. The church is named after St John the Baptist.
It was designed by the Swiss architect Mario Botta, who used marble and granite from the valleys of the area. The church has a structure with an elliptical plan, with an inclined circular glass surface that serves as a roof. It is enjoined by two outdoor spaces, a recessed seating area on its west side, and a small plaza on its north.
Waterfalls In The Vallemaggia District
There are many unique waterfalls in the Vallemaggia district, which we have personally also enjoyed during our explorations. To share a few that we have already visited include:
Cascata Di Foroglio
The Cascata di Foroglio waterfall is in the picturesque village of Foroglio and its waterfall is one of the most stunning in the Swiss area of Ticino. It’s an amazing waterfall that you can visit in Spring, Summer and Autumn, which can be a photographers paradise.
Cascata del Salto
Located in Maggia, this beautiful 60 meter high waterfall is the perfect place for a dip in a deep pool. The Cascata del Salto also has a shallow area for dipping your toes in and to relax in the sunshine. So either way, bring your swimming costume!
Ponte Brolla waterfall is located on the edge of the village Tegna. It’s a beautiful waterfall and swimming area with both rocks and a sandy beach area for those who want to sunbath.
If interested in swimming and exploring local waterfalls in Ticino during summer – check our full collection of posts!
Lakes In The Vallemaggia District
Here are also some of the lakes you can hike and visit in the Vallemaggia District. We have a few specific blogposts for each one too, so make sure to click the links for more information!
Lago del Narèt
Located at the very end of the Vallemaggia District is Lago del Narèt. It’s the reservoir that opened in 1970 for hydropower. It’s a great spot for starting a hike, or the end point for those who love cycling. The reservoir is at 2316 meters above sea level and so if visiting, make sure to dress appropriately for the weather higher up!
When we visited the Lago del Narèt, we were glad to have a warm coat with us as it was only 3.5°c at the top!
Lago di Sassilo
As one of the most scenic lakes that we have discovered in the district, Lago di Sassilo was well worth a stop at along the drive. With the sun shining, the lake was a stunning turquoise colour. Surrounded by the mountains and Autumn grass, we stopped here taking it all in.
The lake is located just with elevation of 2,069 metres, just 247 meters lower than Lago del Narèt. When there, we were also the only ones! so it was like we had the lake all to ourselves to enjoy.
We loved discovering Lago di Sassilo lake for the beauty, and even flew our drone here while also taking lots of photos.
When you reach the end of the valley, you wont be disappointed. The lakes and mountainous scenery is stunning in Autumn. You can leave your car and complete a long hike or to simply admire the beauty with short pitstops!
Why Should I Visit The ValleMaggia District In Ticino?
So if the photos above didn’t inspire you enough, we have a few more reasons why you should visit the ValleMaggia District In Ticino. It’s great to combine and make a day trip from Locarno or Ascona when in Ticino.
Firstly, Ticino is one of the sunniest cantons in Switzerland, so if you’re currently under the clouds and rain from the North, head on down to us in the South. We’re sure you’ll see the sunshine with us in Ticino!
Secondly Ticino has a great mix of cities and scenery. Visiting the Vallemaggia district of Ticino is the perfect area for the local scenery, with many hikes as well as the waterfalls shared above. You can easily spend a whole week exploring this valley and it would still not be enough!
Thirdly, local and traditional Swiss food in Ticino is perfect to try for the foodies among us. There’s lots of local delicacies to choose from, which many of the grotto’s mentioned above make!