We've rounded up eight road bike rides, a map and info in an effort to make a guide and convince you to plan your cycling holiday on Lake Maggiore.
Take a look at the bike map of Northern Lake Maggiore around Cannobio, Cannero Riviera, Brissago, Ascona, Locarno, Maccagno, Colmegna.
Thanks to the vastness and diversity of territory Lake Maggiore is a perfect location for bike rides.The lake, the valleys and the surrounding mountains form a magnificent panorama.
- Monte Bre climb from Locarno
- Cycle lane for crossing Locarno and Ascona
- Ascona - Brissago - Ronco
- Centovalli and Val Cannobina from Ascona
- Valmaggia and Lake Naret climb from Locarno
- Alpe di Neggia climb from Vira
- Mergoscia climb from Tenero
- Val Verzasca climb from Gordola
Eight bike rides on Lake Maggiore: routes description
Saddle up and clip in with these nice bike rides. The Northern part of Lake Maggiore is less crowded and wilder. You can easily ride along the shores of Northern Lake Maggiore, or you can tackle the climbs along the valleys of region nestled on the Southern most end of the Alps the area, among Lombardy (Italy), Piedmont (Italy) and Canton of Ticino (Italian speaking part of Switzerland).
The area is a popular road cycling playground. Check out these brilliant bike rides.
1. Monte Bre climb from Locarno
(light blue route on the map) Length: 10.5 km - Climbing: 814 m. -The route climbs above Locarno to the small village of Bre , where you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view. You have to ride through Monti Trinità, then turn left and climb until Monte Bre. The village shows the typical Ticinese architectural style. The traditional communal washing fountain or "Lavatoio" is still preserved.
Monte Bre Climb on Strava.
2. Cycle lane for crossing Locarno and Ascona
(black route on the map) Length 27 km – Flat - The cycle lane starts on the lakefront promenade of Ascona. After riding along the shores of Lake Maggiore you will reach Locarno. After passing the Lido and riding along the cycle lane on the shores of the lake you will reach Tenero. After passing the national Sports Centre, you will enter the Magadino Plain. You can reachBellinzona by following the marked cycling routes segregated from traffic.
Bellinzona is nestled at the foot of the Alps. Its three famous castles are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
3. Ascona - Brissago - Ronco
(purple route on the map) Length: 20 km – Climbing Dislivello: 428 m. - From the lakefront promenade of Ascona ride in the direction of Brissago following the main road along the shore of Lake Maggiore until Brissago. Turn on the right and climb up to Madonna del Sacro Monte in Brissago. Continue on Ronco village until reaching Arcegno. In Arcegno turn right and climb down onto Losone. Come back to Ascona.
4. Centovalli and Val Cannobina from Ascona
(green route on the map) Length: 68 km – Climbing: 905 m. - From Locarno or from Ascona follow in the direction of Losone, Intragna and Centovalli riding along River Melezza. Reach Malesco via Lake Palagnedra and Re. You will climb up the wild and impressive Centovalli (“Hundred Valleys”). Centovalli is home to the the wild River Melezza. There are numerous side valleys that are densely forested and strewn with jagged rocks. Follow in the direction of Finero. A long descent leads you directly to Cannobio through the Val Canobbina.
You will come back along Lake Maggiore via Brissago and Ascona.
Centovalli climb on Strava and Finero climb on Strava.
5. Valmaggia and Lake Naret climb from Locarno
(magenta route on the map) Length: 63 km - Climbing: 2,100 m. - The route is divided in two parts. The first one easier from Locarno to Bignasco: length: 31.2 km - climbing: 351 m. The second one demanding from Bignasco to Lake Naret: length: 32 km - climbing: 1,850 m.
From Locarno follow in the direction of Valmaggia along River Maggia. Reach Bignasco village via Avegno, Gordevio, Maggia, Coglio, Cevio. There are cycling lanes on many parts of the route. From Bignasco village (460 m. a.s.l.) follow in the direction of Val Lavizzara and Val Sambuco. Reach the Lake Naret (2,310 m. a.s.l.) via Broglio, Prato, Peccia (840 m. a.s.l.), Fusio (1,289 m. a.s.l.), Sambuco Lake (1,461 m. a.s.l.). The route from Bignasco to the source of the River Maggia is exhausting; the views, however, are spectacular. The road leads through a dense forest of evergreens and past Lake Sambuco until it reaches Lake Naret (2,310 m. a.s.l.). After the Lake Sambuco the last 5 km are a 12 per cent in terms of gradient.
Lake Naret from Bignasco on Strava.
6. Alpe di Neggia climb from Vira
(dark blue route on the map) Length: 12.4 km - Climbing: 1,187 m. - From Vira Gambarogno climb in the direction of Fosano. Once there proceed to Alpe Neggia (1,395 m a.s.l.). The road climbs rapidly via numerous hairpins. The view from the summit is a breathtaking panorama over Lake Maggiore. On the way back you can follow the route through the Italian side via Indemini, Veddasca and Maccagno on the shores of Lake Maggiore.
Alpe di Neggia from Vira on Strava.
7. Mergoscia climb from Tenero
(gray route on the map) Length: 9 km - Climbing: 523 m. - From the roundabout of Tenero follow the road to Contra and Mergoscia . The road ends in Mergoscia, after about 8,5 Km. The last stretch is mostly wooded until you reach the village of Mergoscia , nestled above Lake Vogorno and known for its beautiful church. Mergoscia maintaines a characteristic rural aspect thanks to the stonework, the doors and white framed, and the roofs made of stone slabs. The village is surrounded by vineyards and dry stone walls.
Mergoscia climb on Strava.
8. Val Verzasca climb from Gordola
(brown route on the map) Length: 25 km - Climbing: 830 m. - You can bungee jump from the wall just like James Bond did in the film Goldeneye. This route takes you from Gordola all the way to Sonogno, a small and well preserved village at the end of the Verzasca Valley. The road climbs through the Gordola vineyards, past the impressive Verzasca dam (famous for bungee jumping from an altitude of 220 m.) and the Ponte dei Salti (jump bridge) at Lavertezzo, where you can admire the emerald-colored river. In addition to these places of interest, you will come across several picturesque villages: Brione, Gerra e Frasco with their historic stone houses. You can bungee jump from the wall of Verzasca dam just like James Bond did in the film Goldeneye.
Val Verzasca climb on Strava.
What's the Northern part of Lake Maggiore like
The Northern part of Lake Maggiore, surrounded by the towns of Locarno, Ascona, Brissago, Cannobio and further small villages, prides itself on its numerous and extraordinary nature beauty spots. Locarno, Ascona and Brissago are Swiss towns, while Cannobio is the last town on the Italian side.
Biking up into the valleys, you will note that the landscape changes radically. Mountains, rivers, waterfalls and wonderful forests make this territory very fascinating, wild and unique. Here you can find small and typical villages almost intact from the elapse of time, considered real architectural jewels and living evidence of their secular history.
This area is the ideal place for cyling.
You can explore by bike the Val Verzasca, the Val Maggia, The Centovalli, the Val Canobbina. The thickly wooded mountains make a more dramatic impression here than for instance the gentler hills of the southern side of the lake.
Val Verzasca is famous for the Ponte dei Salti (Jump Bridge) which crosses the River Verzasca in Lavertezzo and the GoldenEye Bungee Jump on the Verzasca Dam. Val Verzasca
The Ponte dei Salti is a typical medieval construction made of stone. It's one of the most spectacular places to dive in the crystal clear waters of the Verzasca Valley. The River Verzasca, with its emerald and crystal clear waters, however, can hide hazards. Therefore, pay attention to the warning notices posted locally.
You can visit the Verzasca Dam which features in the opening sequence of Golden eye.
According the global surveys it is the best stunt in film history: Bond's jump from the 220 meter high Verzasca dam in the movie "GoldenEye". And the ultimate adrenaline rush at Lago di Vogorno is also called 007 jump or GoldenEye Bungee Jump.
In the service of Her Majesty, 007 (played by Pierce Brosnan) plunged with a rubber rope into the depths 7.5 seconds free fall, 220 altitude meters, parallel to the impressive dam. The 380 meter long and 220 meter high dam wall, called the Contra, is the fourth highest in Switzerland. It is located 470 meters above sea level, at the exit to the Verzasca Valley, a rustic valley with an appealing landscape.
The Contra Dam can be reached from Gordola via a two kilometer long section of road. The jumping station is in the middle of the dam wall. It is the world's highest stationary bungee station.
Centovalli is named (“Hundred Valleys”) because of the countless side valleys leaving the main valley to the left and right. Centovalli is home to the the wild Melezza River. It is famous for the small train (the "Centovallina" or "Vigezzina") that travels up and down its hills and it's an important transit route between Switzerland and Italy. Take a look at Centovalli Railway. Its natural scenery, of outstanding beauty, offers nature and hiking friends a wide range of recreational activities. The many villages, which you pass by, while travelling through the Centovalli, allow you to discover many characteristic corners, where traditions of the past are still lived.
Valmaggia is a valley which has been modeled throughout the years by the clear waters of the River Maggia. The valley is dotted with small picturesque villages with traditional stone houses and vineyards. The side valleys Val Bavona, Val Lavizzara and Val Rovana increase the territory value with their spectacular mountains: an appealing attraction for excursionists and discovery. On the top you can see Lake Sambuco (1,458 m. a.s.l.) and Lake Naret (2,310 m. a.s.l.)
Valle Cannobina is a wild, spacious, very green and in large areas still unpopulated valley connecting the Vigezzo Valley with Lago Maggiore. The River Cannobino rivulet flows through the valley, its banks lined by steep walls of rock that occasionally form spectacular narrow passes.
How to get to Lake Maggiore
By car: from the North, four passes lead to Ticino: St Gotthard, Nufenen, St Bernhard and Lukmanier. During the winter, some of the passes are closed, but Ticino remains accessible by road, through its main gateway from the North, the St Gotthard tunnel.
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By train: the Swiss Federal Railway network FFS, links Ticino to the major European cities and can be reached directly from Basel, Zurich and Milan.
By plane: there are the international airports of Milano Linate, Milano Malpensa and Milano Orio al Serio which are all reachable from Ticino in about one hour.
Find out: How to get here.