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

Salamander

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)

Riviera

The mountain streams here

have carved out the most

beautiful sheer gorges in Ticino.

One waterfall pool flows into

the next. However, the region

also features a few peaceful

beaches on riverbanks.

29


i

N

0

5 km

Leventina,

see p. 11

Ticino

Riviera

A2 44

Biasca

BIASCA

10. Biasca: Cascate di Santa Petronilla

11. Iragna: Pozz Borgh

12. Osogna: Pozzon

13. Osogna: Boggera

14. Lodrino: Pozz Cavai

15. Moleno

16. Preonzo: Laghetto di Mezzodolmo

17. Preonzo: on the Ticino

18. Gnosca: Spiaggetta alla Passerella

19. Castione: on the Moesa

R i v

Iragna

Lodrino

Prosito

A2

Moleno

Osogna

Cresciano

Preonzo

e

Claro

r

A2

a

Gnosca

A2

45

Bellinzona-Nord

Castione

Arbedo

A13

Moesa

Ticino

About the region

Bellinzonese e Alto Ticino Turismo:

www.bellinzonese-altoticino.ch > Biasca e Riviera

Tel. +41 (0)91 869 15 33

I Biasca: at the village centre next to Bank BPS,

K 46.36018 8.97116, b Biasca, Municipio

Piano di Magadino,

see p. 71

BELLINZONA

30


10 11 12

13 14

Riviera

15 16

17 18 19

31


SWIMMING & CYCLING

Combined Adventures

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

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

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

these swimming spots: Bellinzona 31, 30 and 29, Castione 19, Preonzo 16 and 17,

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

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

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

tel. +41 (0)91 862 15 16)

SWIMMING & BUS TOUR

In the Riviera, it’s really fun to hop, skip and jump from one swimming spot to

another because the sites are all so different. Take the bus for the most relaxed

experience.

Western Riviera, Biasca _ Bellinzona (down the valley), 1 day:

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

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

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

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

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

Paese (see 14), b Moleno (see 15), b Preonzo, Nord (see 16 and 17), b Gnosca,

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

400 m through the woods to a parking area, then a little further through the trees)

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

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

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

Eastern Riviera, Bellinzona _ Biasca (up the valley), 1 to 2 days:

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

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

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

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

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

b Cresciano, Stazione (see 13), b Osogna, Paese (see 12) and b Biasca, Stazione

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

You can take the same bus line to continue the tour of swimming spots up into

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

(see 4, Tip). For other stations see p. 14, second Combined Adventure.

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10. Biasca: Cascate di Santa Petronilla

Spots to relax Space to swim Water temp. 10:30 _ 19:30

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

the cliff above the train station. During periods of hot summer weather, the water warms

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

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

early Christian martyr.

Riviera

Main pool of the Cascate di Santa Petronilla above Biasca

33


Chapel pool

Above the main pool, within an elevation

change of 240 metres, you can access are

six other pools of the Ri della Froda:

Chapel pool

(5 min above the main pool)

At the same elevation as the chapel, this popular

waterfall pool features rock ledges. The section

of the stream below the pool is a good place for

children to play. Go up to the stone bridge and

then a little further upstream.

Channel pool

(10 min above the main pool)

Waterfall pool with a historic wooden water

channel between high cliffs. Follow the mountain

path that starts at the chapel upstream on

the left bank. As soon as you see a high, narrow

waterfall, leave the path and turn onto a trail.

Balcony pool

(15 min above the main pool)

Small pool at an exposed edge with a view across

the Riviera valley. You can climb up to two

other pools behind it to find a waterfall about

6 metres high. At the fork in the mountain path

on the left bank, keep going in the direction of

the stream.

Channel pool

Balcony pool >

34


Climbing pool

(! 20 min above the main pool)

Deep waterfall pool in the shade with rock

ledges at the edge. At the turn in the mountain

path where there is a stone slab about 1.5 metres

high with a red-and-white trail sign, go straight.

Then climb down to the cliff edge where there

is a distinctive tree with two trunks. From there,

continue to the pool.

Green pool (25 min above the main pool)

Small pool with a waterfall and smooth, rounded

stone banks. Follow the mountain path uphill

for about 20 minutes. At the foot of a rock formation

that is about 5 metres high and 15 metres

wide, take the trampled path that branches

off to the left down to the stream.

Grande Cascata

(30 min above the main pool)

The spray of a 100-metre waterfall rises as mist.

The pool is thigh-deep and there are some spots

to relax on the flat boulders. Follow the mountain

path up to the right turn following the rock

formation described above (see “Green pool”).

From here you can already see the waterfall. To

get there, follow the trampled path.

Tips

Colourful frescoes: A little way above the

series of Stations of the Cross mentioned in

the directions is the Romanesque Church of

the Saints Peter and Paul (Chiesa dei Santi

Pietro e Paolo) with its enormous, gorgeous

wall and ceiling frescoes dating from the

13th through 17th centuries.

Grotto paradise: At the foot of the hill 2 kilometres

north of the Biasca train station, beneath

shady trees, is the town’s entertainment

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

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

Lino (www.igrot.ch > Search term: Lino,

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

(tel. +41 (0)91 862 14 23) and r Grotto Petronilla

(www.igrot.ch > Search term: Petronilla,

tel. +41 (0)91 862 39 29). From the Biasca train

station, follow the main road 1.6 kilometres

north, then turn right towards the grottoes

(signposted), P 46.36639 8.97488. On foot,

follow the series of Stations of the Cross to

the church described above, then follow the

trail (25 min). From b Biasca, Grotti the bus

takes you directly back to the train station.

PT > z Biasca > f 30 min

f Walk north to the Coop supermarket. Take

the bridge over the railway tracks and follow

the road to a trail with a stepped path (500 m).

Walk uphill and before you get to the stone

bridge, climb down to the pool (no trail).

a > P 46.36132 8.97158 > f 20 min

Take the A2 exit “44-Biasca”, then

follow the signposts for “Biasca” to

the roundabout at the large parking

area (2 km). Exit the roundabout in the direction

of the church (signposted). Turn left before

the Bank BPS and drive 120 m to the town hall,

which has a parking area behind it. f Follow the

cycle route signposts for the Chiesa San Carlo

di Borromeo church (150 m), then follow the

series of Stations of the Cross.

B 46.35288 8.97662

Grande Cascata

36


11. Iragna: Pozz Borgh

Spots to relax Space to swim Water temp. 10:00 _ 18:00

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

that the stream flows through is also popular among canyoners. Groups of visitors wearing

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

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

Riviera

Pozz Borgh in Iragna

37


90 metres above the pool in the village,

three other fine pools of the Riale d’Iragna

are easy to access:

Hidden waterfall

(! 10 min above Pozz Borgh)

A small, deep pool surrounded by cliffs. The

channel of the waterfall looks like it was created

by designers. Follow the trail on the right

bank upstream for 80 metres. Then walk across

a rocky area towards the stream and follow the

rushing sound of the waterfall. Use the fixed

rope to climb down to the edge of the pool.

Hidden waterfall

PT > b Iragna, Ponte dei ladri > f 5 min

f d

a > P 46.32779 8.96845 > f 3 min

Take the A2 exit “44-Biasca”, then

follow the signposts for “Bellinzona”

on the west main valley road

and drive to the bus stop described above. Park

next to the stream. f d

D Walk upstream to the pool (300 m) past the

c Osteria al Pozz.

B 46.32923 8.96559

Pool by the stone bridge

(10 min above Pozz Borgh)

A swimming spot beneath a small, old stone

bridge with large stones at the edge to relax

on. You can swim a little way into the ravine.

Take the trail on the right bank up to the small

bridge, cross it, and climb down over the stones

to the pool below.

Pool by the stone bridge

38


Large waterfall

(! 20 min above Pozz Borgh)

A waterfall 40 metres high with several small,

deep pools and huge, rounded stone banks. At

the stone bridge (see p. 38), continue a few

steps straight ahead to the sealed road. Follow

the road 80 metres further to the second narrow

curve to the right where there is a kerb. Climb

over the rock ledge into the woods and follow

traces of disturbance that indicate the path taken

by previous visitors. Finally, scramble down

over the rocks.

Riviera

Large waterfall

Below the large waterfall

39

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