After seeing numerous Instagram posts of this magical valley I knew I had to go visit and see the jade green waters of the Verzasca river myself. The Verzasca Valley is a long, narrow valley located in Ticino, the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. Exploring Lavertezzo and the Verzasca Valley for a day, despite the rainy weather, was pretty amazing!
On our way into Valle Verzasca, we passed the famous Contra Dam, more commonly know as the Verzasca Dam. This is possibly the most impressive dam I’ve ever seen! The 220m high dam became a popuar bungee jumping venue after a James Bond stuntman jumped off it in the opening scene of the 1995 film Golden Eye.
The tiny town of Lavertezzo is the main attraction of the narrow Verzasca Valley. We walked across Ponte dei Salti, the double-arched stone bridge which dates back to the 17th century. On hot summer days, people will jump off the bridge into the clear, deep waters of the Verzasca river below. Ponte dei Salti actually translates to “jumping bridge”.
Lavertezzo is a great place to start a hike, picnic by the river or take a dip in the beautiful water. It’s also a popular diving spot and we even saw a couple people in their wetsuits and snorkel gear! Due to the colder weather we decided to enjoy the emeral blue-green water from the safety of the rocks!
The river may look very inviting, but it is known that the current can be dangerous. The rocks are sometimes slippery. Make sure to look for any warning signs and be careful with where you decide to jump in.
Continuing up the valley by car, we were rewarded with stunning views of waterfalls and lush green meadows. At the end of the valley we reached Sonogno, a tranquil mountain hamlet where only residents are allowed to enter by car. We strolled through the tiny streets of Sonogno and admired the Ticinese stone houses which are so popular here. Some of them are centuries old and seem straight out of a storybook from the Middle Ages.
Everything in Sonogno seems to be made out of stone. Stairs, tables, benches… you name it! I’ve never seen a village so beautiful and peaceful as Sonogno. This is the perfect place to visit when you want to breathe in fresh mountain air and enjoy some delicious local Ticinise cuisine at a „grotto“, a rustic little restaurant.
The secluded lifestyle in the Ticinese mountains is completely different than that of the bustling cities along Lago di Lugano and Lago Maggiore. The Verzasca Valley is well worth a visit and shows you a different side of Ticino which is equally as breathaking as the rest of the Canton.
Just when I thought Switzerland couldn’t get any more beautiful I discovered this place! The Verzasca Valley offers a wild and fascinating landscape that will leave you dreaming of fairytale stone houses and crystal clear waters to jump in!
How To Get There
The nearest train station is Tenero. Other train stations are Locarno and Bellinzona. From all those stations, there are buses going to the valley.
Take highway A2 and exit at Bellinzona South. The nearest big city is Locarno and the closest town just at the end of the valley is Tenero. To go all the way to Sonogno, you should take the road on the east side of the valley. This will take you past the dam and Lavertezzo.
The postal bus leaves approx. every 2 hours from Locarno, Bellinzona, or Tenero. Having 18 stops around the valley, the bus passes all villages and the surrounding area, making it easy for travellers to hop in and out at any point. In Lavertezzo, the bus stops near the church tower.