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The Lake Maggiore region

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Ascona on Lake Maggiore

View of Ascona from Lake Maggiore.

About the Lake Maggiore region

The central part of the canton of Ticino includes Lake Maggiore, wonderful valleys, castles and the towns of Ascona, Locarno and Bellinzona.


Mountain tops, hiking trails, castles and more to explore.



Our selected hotels in the Lake Maggiore region.



Check out holiday homes and apartments.



Learn how to best travel in this region.



Feel free to post to the forum if you have any questions about this region.


What to expect around Lake Maggiore?

Central Ticino is home to the lowest point of Switzerland at Lake Maggiore (Lago Maggiore or Lago Verbàno in Italian). Combined with a lot of sunshine on average, the region enjoys a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm summers.

We think the best times to visit the Lake Maggiore region are late March to early June, and early September to late October. If you don't mind warm weather (27 °C average maximum), then June to August is fine too.

The northern part of Lake Maggiore is located in Switzerland around Locarno. The lake continues south for 60 km and most of it is in Italy.

Where to stay?

There are several options:

  • You can stay on Lake Maggiore, with Locarno and nearby Ascona being the most popular options. Ascona is a little harder to reach as it does not have a train station. We recommend Locarno as a base to easily explore the lake region.
  • Bellinzona is a nice little town, particularly famous for its three castles. It is a central base on the main train line and along the A2 motorway.
  • The Piano di Magadino is the plain between the lake and Bellinzona. It used to be a swamp, but now it's a combination of agricultural land, industrial zones and a small airport. This is not the most attractive area to stay.
  • If you prefer a more isolated place to relax and enjoy nature in the immediate area only, then there are countless small villages in the valleys. Examples are Lavertezzo and Brione in the Verzasca valley (Val Verzasca), and Maggia and Cavergno in the Maggia valley (Val Maggia).

The scenery

Apart from Lake Maggiore, you can expect green mountains, with snow on the peaks in early spring, late fall and winter. In general there are lots of colorful flowers and quite some palm trees.

Must do's in the Lake Maggiore region

For a good overview of both the Swiss and Italian part of the lake, a trip up to Cimetta is recommended. A walk in one of the towns allows you to see more of the Italian-influenced culture. If arrival or departure via the Centovalli Railway fits your itinerary then be sure to include that too.

Don't have much time? You can do a one-day Ticino trip to see some highlights.

Please find more suggestions here.



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The pretty lake front, the surrounding mountains and good train connections make the town of Locarno a pleasant base to explore the Lake Maggiore region.



The small town of Bellinzona is famous for its three castles and a good base for day trips all over the Ticino.

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