The Verzasca Valley is a long narrow valley located in Ticino, the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. This valley offers a wild and fascinating landscape, with the Alps on one side and a lake on the other. The river has an emerald green color, and thanks to its good visibility, it is famous as a river diving destination.
Villages around the valley
- Mergoscia - Altitude = 731m
- Corippo - Altitude = 563m
- Vogorno - Located at an altitude of 490m, Vorgono is the main village of the Verzasca Valley. It is where the famous dam is located. The dam belongs to the hydroelectric power station and is 380 metres long and 220 metres high.
- S.Bartolomeo - Altitude = 490m
- Lavertezzo - At the altitude of 536m, this village is the preferred spot for sunbathers, swimmers and divers.
- Aquino - Altitude = 592m
- Motta - Altitude = 615m
- Brione (Verzasca) - Altitude = 756m
- Gerra (Verzasca) - Altitude = 826m
- Frasco - Altitude = 885m
- Sonogno - At the altitude of 919m, this is the last village situated at the end of the valley.
By public transport
The postal bus leaves approx. every 2 hours from Locarno 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.
An exception to this is the village of Mergoscia which is reachable by a bus from Locarno operated by FART. There are around 10 trips a day.
Coming from both north or south, take A2 (or A13) and exit at Bellinzona south, from there drive to Tenero and follow the signs to Valle Verzasca.
There are several hiking paths along the valley. Hiking from Tenero to Sonogno takes 10-11h, from Sonogno to Mergoscia 4:45h. The path is suitable for practised walkers.
Postal bus passes the villages approx. every 2 hours. Swiss Pass is valid.
To go all the way to Sonogno, one should take the road on the east side of the valley. The road on the west side only goes up to Mergoscia. There are possibilities to park in some areas along the road.
- 1 Verzasca Dam (Access to the dam is possible by postal bus (stop: "Diga Verzasca") and by car). This dam is spectacular as one of the highest dam in Europe (220m). The construction of the dam was started in 1960 and completed in 1965. The water blocked by the dam forms the Lake Vogorno. It is possible to walk along the dam wall (380m) and enjoy the view of the valley from there.
- 2 Church San Bartolomeo, San Bartolomeo. The oldest church in the valley (built in 13th century), decorated in Byzantine style.
- 3 Ponte dei Salti. This old double-arched bridge is mistakenly known as "Roman Bridge".
- 4 Castello Marcacci. This manor used to be former summer residence of the Mercacci family from Locarno.
- The bell tower
- The Efra waterfall
- 1 Sentiero per l'Arte (Art trail). A permanent collection from 21 Swiss and international artist blend with nature. Located in a path from Lavertezzo to an area called Ganne (approx. 4 km).
- Bungy Jump...James Bond style!, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. A jump from the Verzasca Dam was the opening scene of James Bond's "Golden Eye". The jump lasts 7.5 seconds, as the height of the dam is 220m -- it is supposed to be the highest bungy jump place in the world. Only do it with a reputable operator. Fr. 255.
- Diving, ☎ . In River Verzasca. Best to do late spring to early autumn. There are several diving sites. The hotel Pizzo Vogorno offers reasonable accommodation for divers.
- Hiking is suitable for practised walker. No mountaineering skills required. The postal bus stops at several places along the valley, making it possible to hop in and continue your trip whenever you feel tired. Ask for a hiking map at the Tourist Information in Tenero, Locarno, or Bellinzona.
Souvenir shops can be found in Sonogno or nearby the dam.
Restaurants can be found adjacent to hotels. Sandwiches are offered in the shop next to the dam.
- 1 Grotto Efra, Via Redorta, Sonogno, ☎ . A small restaurant out in the green outside the village of Sonogno.
- 1 Al Lago, Berzona, ☎ , fax: . Rates: Single Fr. 60-85, Double Fr. 100-140.
- 2 Pizzo Vogorno, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Single Fr. 75-85, Double Fr. 100-140; With private shower/toilet: Single Fr. 60-80, Double Fr. 90-120.
- 3 Holiday Village Rustici della Verzasca, Berzona, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. A number of holiday apartments at different prices. Weekly rentals from Fr. 400.
- 4 Posse, Via Cantonale 1, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Single Fr. 60-90, Double Fr. 100.
- 5 Vittoria, Via Cantonale, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Double Fr. 120-140.
In Brione (Verzasca)
In Gerra (Verzasca)
- 7 Froda, ☎ , fax: . Rates: Single Fr. 55-70, Double Fr. 110.
The river may be very inviting, but it is known that the current can be dangerous. The rocks are sometimes slippery. Make sure to look for any warning sign and ask locals for information on safe areas for swimming.