Book «Natural escapes – Ticino», sample pages: Riviera

Your guide to 120 magical places in Ticino off the beaten track: «Natural escapes – Ticino: Spectacular swimming spots on waterfalls, rivers and lakes» Salamander Verlag, 2021, ISBN 978-3-907267-02-8, available at www.salamanderverlag.ch, CHF 39.90 (free postage in Switzerland)

Your guide to 120 magical places in Ticino off the beaten track:
«Natural escapes – Ticino: Spectacular swimming spots on waterfalls, rivers and lakes»
Salamander Verlag, 2021, ISBN 978-3-907267-02-8, available at www.salamanderverlag.ch, CHF 39.90 (free postage in Switzerland)


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<strong>Riviera</strong><br />

The mountain streams here<br />

have carved out the most<br />

beautiful sheer gorges in Ticino.<br />

One waterfall pool flows into<br />

the next. However, the region<br />

also features a few peaceful<br />

beaches on riverbanks.<br />


i<br />

N<br />

0<br />

5 km<br />

Leventina,<br />

see p. 11<br />

Ticino<br />

<strong>Riviera</strong><br />

A2 44<br />

Biasca<br />

BIASCA<br />

10. Biasca: Cascate di Santa Petronilla<br />

11. Iragna: Pozz Borgh<br />

12. Osogna: Pozzon<br />

13. Osogna: Boggera<br />

14. Lodrino: Pozz Cavai<br />

15. Moleno<br />

16. Preonzo: Laghetto di Mezzodolmo<br />

17. Preonzo: on the Ticino<br />

18. Gnosca: Spiaggetta alla Passerella<br />

19. Castione: on the Moesa<br />

R i v<br />

Iragna<br />

Lodrino<br />

Prosito<br />

A2<br />

Moleno<br />

Osogna<br />

Cresciano<br />

Preonzo<br />

e<br />

Claro<br />

r<br />

A2<br />

a<br />

Gnosca<br />

A2<br />

45<br />

Bellinzona-Nord<br />

Castione<br />

Arbedo<br />

A13<br />

Moesa<br />

Ticino<br />

About the region<br />

Bellinzonese e Alto Ticino Turismo:<br />

www.bellinzonese-altoticino.ch > Biasca e <strong>Riviera</strong><br />

Tel. +41 (0)91 869 15 33<br />

I Biasca: at the village centre next to Bank BPS,<br />

K 46.36018 8.97116, b Biasca, Municipio<br />

Piano di Magadino,<br />

see p. 71<br />



10 11 12<br />

13 14<br />

<strong>Riviera</strong><br />

15 16<br />

17 18 19<br />



Combined Adventures<br />

Bellinzona _ Biasca (up the valley, level), 2 h 30 min (26 km):<br />

Here, for the most part, the Swiss national cycling route 3 (North-South Route,<br />

marked) runs along side roads and cycle paths. You can take short detours to reach<br />

these swimming spots: Bellinzona 31, 30 and 29, Castione 19, Preonzo 16 and 17,<br />

Moleno 15, Lodrino 14, Iragna 11 and Santa Petronilla (above Biasca) 10.<br />

Bicycle rental in Bellinzona at Rentabike (tel. +41 (0)91 243 09 78), and<br />

Velospot; see also p. 263. Rental in Biasca at Cicli Wittwer (www.cicliwittwer.ch,<br />

tel. +41 (0)91 862 15 16)<br />


In the <strong>Riviera</strong>, it’s really fun to hop, skip and jump from one swimming spot to<br />

another because the sites are all so different. Take the bus for the most relaxed<br />

experience.<br />

Western <strong>Riviera</strong>, Biasca _ Bellinzona (down the valley), 1 day:<br />

The first destination on the hop-on/hop-off bus tour are the pools at Santa Petronilla<br />

near Biasca 10. From back down in the village, take the Line 193 bus from<br />

b Biasca, Stazione towards “Bellinzona” (hourly, 46 min total travel time to the<br />

final destination b Bellinzona, Piazzale Stazione). On the way, you can hop off the<br />

bus at some of the following stops and jump into the water: b Iragna (see 11), b Lodrino,<br />

Paese (see 14), b Moleno (see 15), b Preonzo, Nord (see 16 and 17), b Gnosca,<br />

Centro (see 18), b Gorduno, Alla Rivetta (see 30, follow the right bank downstream<br />

400 m through the woods to a parking area, then a little further through the trees)<br />

and b Bellinzona, Bivio Galbisio (see 31, follow the road 150 m down the valley,<br />

then refer to the directions starting at P). In Bellinzona, a visit to the pretty old<br />

town with its three castles is well worthwhile (see also 31, Tip).<br />

Eastern <strong>Riviera</strong>, Bellinzona _ Biasca (up the valley), 1 to 2 days:<br />

Another great bus tour of swimming spots. First, head to Bellinzona (see also 31,<br />

Tip) and explore the city. Then take the Line 191 bus from b Bellinzona, Stazione<br />

towards “Airolo” (hourly, 33 min total travel time to final destination b Biasca,<br />

Stazione). You can interrupt your journey for a swim by hopping off at some of the<br />

following stops: b Arbedo, Molinazzo (see 29 and 30), b Castione, Stazione (see 19),<br />

b Cresciano, Stazione (see 13), b Osogna, Paese (see 12) and b Biasca, Stazione<br />

(see 10). Cresciano is a good place to spend the night (see 13, Tip).<br />

You can take the same bus line to continue the tour of swimming spots up into<br />

Valle Leventina, with stops at b Giornico, Parondino (see 6) and b Chiggiogna, Paese<br />

(see 4, Tip). For other stations see p. 14, second Combined Adventure.<br />


10. Biasca: Cascate di Santa Petronilla<br />

Spots to relax Space to swim Water temp. 10:30 _ 19:30<br />

The public baths of Biasca: the stream Ri della Froda has sculpted seven pools out of<br />

the cliff above the train station. During periods of hot summer weather, the water warms<br />

up to a comfortable 22 °C. An old stone bridge spans the waterfall that flows into the<br />

largest pool (main pool, B). Next to the bridge is a chapel devoted to St. Petronilla, an<br />

early Christian martyr.<br />

<strong>Riviera</strong><br />

Main pool of the Cascate di Santa Petronilla above Biasca<br />


Chapel pool<br />

Above the main pool, within an elevation<br />

change of 240 metres, you can access are<br />

six other pools of the Ri della Froda:<br />

Chapel pool<br />

(5 min above the main pool)<br />

At the same elevation as the chapel, this popular<br />

waterfall pool features rock ledges. The section<br />

of the stream below the pool is a good place for<br />

children to play. Go up to the stone bridge and<br />

then a little further upstream.<br />

Channel pool<br />

(10 min above the main pool)<br />

Waterfall pool with a historic wooden water<br />

channel between high cliffs. Follow the mountain<br />

path that starts at the chapel upstream on<br />

the left bank. As soon as you see a high, narrow<br />

waterfall, leave the path and turn onto a trail.<br />

Balcony pool<br />

(15 min above the main pool)<br />

Small pool at an exposed edge with a view across<br />

the <strong>Riviera</strong> valley. You can climb up to two<br />

other pools behind it to find a waterfall about<br />

6 metres high. At the fork in the mountain path<br />

on the left bank, keep going in the direction of<br />

the stream.<br />

Channel pool<br />

Balcony pool ><br />


Climbing pool<br />

(! 20 min above the main pool)<br />

Deep waterfall pool in the shade with rock<br />

ledges at the edge. At the turn in the mountain<br />

path where there is a stone slab about 1.5 metres<br />

high with a red-and-white trail sign, go straight.<br />

Then climb down to the cliff edge where there<br />

is a distinctive tree with two trunks. From there,<br />

continue to the pool.<br />

Green pool (25 min above the main pool)<br />

Small pool with a waterfall and smooth, rounded<br />

stone banks. Follow the mountain path uphill<br />

for about 20 minutes. At the foot of a rock formation<br />

that is about 5 metres high and 15 metres<br />

wide, take the trampled path that branches<br />

off to the left down to the stream.<br />

Grande Cascata<br />

(30 min above the main pool)<br />

The spray of a 100-metre waterfall rises as mist.<br />

The pool is thigh-deep and there are some spots<br />

to relax on the flat boulders. Follow the mountain<br />

path up to the right turn following the rock<br />

formation described above (see “Green pool”).<br />

From here you can already see the waterfall. To<br />

get there, follow the trampled path.<br />

Tips<br />

Colourful frescoes: A little way above the<br />

series of Stations of the Cross mentioned in<br />

the directions is the Romanesque Church of<br />

the Saints Peter and Paul (Chiesa dei Santi<br />

Pietro e Paolo) with its enormous, gorgeous<br />

wall and ceiling frescoes dating from the<br />

13th through 17th centuries.<br />

Grotto paradise: At the foot of the hill 2 kilometres<br />

north of the Biasca train station, beneath<br />

shady trees, is the town’s entertainment<br />

district: r Grotto Pini (www.igrot.ch > Search<br />

term: Pini, tel. +41 (0)91 862 12 21), r Grotto<br />

Lino (www.igrot.ch > Search term: Lino,<br />

tel. +41 (0)91 862 45 47), r Grotto del Mulo<br />

(tel. +41 (0)91 862 14 23) and r Grotto Petronilla<br />

(www.igrot.ch > Search term: Petronilla,<br />

tel. +41 (0)91 862 39 29). From the Biasca train<br />

station, follow the main road 1.6 kilometres<br />

north, then turn right towards the grottoes<br />

(signposted), P 46.36639 8.97488. On foot,<br />

follow the series of Stations of the Cross to<br />

the church described above, then follow the<br />

trail (25 min). From b Biasca, Grotti the bus<br />

takes you directly back to the train station.<br />

PT > z Biasca > f 30 min<br />

f Walk north to the Coop supermarket. Take<br />

the bridge over the railway tracks and follow<br />

the road to a trail with a stepped path (500 m).<br />

Walk uphill and before you get to the stone<br />

bridge, climb down to the pool (no trail).<br />

a > P 46.36132 8.97158 > f 20 min<br />

Take the A2 exit “44-Biasca”, then<br />

follow the signposts for “Biasca” to<br />

the roundabout at the large parking<br />

area (2 km). Exit the roundabout in the direction<br />

of the church (signposted). Turn left before<br />

the Bank BPS and drive 120 m to the town hall,<br />

which has a parking area behind it. f Follow the<br />

cycle route signposts for the Chiesa San Carlo<br />

di Borromeo church (150 m), then follow the<br />

series of Stations of the Cross.<br />

B 46.35288 8.97662<br />

Grande Cascata<br />


11. Iragna: Pozz Borgh<br />

Spots to relax Space to swim Water temp. 10:00 _ 18:00<br />

This village swimming spot on the Riale d’Iragna is usually quite busy. The rugged ravine<br />

that the stream flows through is also popular among canyoners. Groups of visitors wearing<br />

neoprene often show up in the chasm. There are two natural slides here and places to<br />

jump in. Stone blocks at the edge of the pool provide spots to relax. Dogs are not allowed.<br />

<strong>Riviera</strong><br />

Pozz Borgh in Iragna<br />


90 metres above the pool in the village,<br />

three other fine pools of the Riale d’Iragna<br />

are easy to access:<br />

Hidden waterfall<br />

(! 10 min above Pozz Borgh)<br />

A small, deep pool surrounded by cliffs. The<br />

channel of the waterfall looks like it was created<br />

by designers. Follow the trail on the right<br />

bank upstream for 80 metres. Then walk across<br />

a rocky area towards the stream and follow the<br />

rushing sound of the waterfall. Use the fixed<br />

rope to climb down to the edge of the pool.<br />

Hidden waterfall<br />

PT > b Iragna, Ponte dei ladri > f 5 min<br />

f d<br />

a > P 46.32779 8.96845 > f 3 min<br />

Take the A2 exit “44-Biasca”, then<br />

follow the signposts for “Bellinzona”<br />

on the west main valley road<br />

and drive to the bus stop described above. Park<br />

next to the stream. f d<br />

D Walk upstream to the pool (300 m) past the<br />

c Osteria al Pozz.<br />

B 46.32923 8.96559<br />

Pool by the stone bridge<br />

(10 min above Pozz Borgh)<br />

A swimming spot beneath a small, old stone<br />

bridge with large stones at the edge to relax<br />

on. You can swim a little way into the ravine.<br />

Take the trail on the right bank up to the small<br />

bridge, cross it, and climb down over the stones<br />

to the pool below.<br />

Pool by the stone bridge<br />


Large waterfall<br />

(! 20 min above Pozz Borgh)<br />

A waterfall 40 metres high with several small,<br />

deep pools and huge, rounded stone banks. At<br />

the stone bridge (see p. 38), continue a few<br />

steps straight ahead to the sealed road. Follow<br />

the road 80 metres further to the second narrow<br />

curve to the right where there is a kerb. Climb<br />

over the rock ledge into the woods and follow<br />

traces of disturbance that indicate the path taken<br />

by previous visitors. Finally, scramble down<br />

over the rocks.<br />

<strong>Riviera</strong><br />

Large waterfall<br />

Below the large waterfall<br />


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