The Foroglio waterfall is located in one of Ticino's most remote valleys, and it is truly something else.
We have long wanted to see this natural spectacle with our own eyes, so we decided to staying in Ascona for a weekend. This is a great vantage point for day hikes in some of Ticino's most scenic valleys. At the nearby Solduno Stazione bus stop, we are perched onto an articulated bus already packed with many other hikers. (Note to self: 9 AM is not early enough for a Saturday morning.)
In Bignasco, the crowd has thinned and the transfer onto a yellow postal bus is much smoother.
The Bavona Valley branches off to the northwest and our ride takes only another fifteen minutes. That last stretch is especially memorable, as the valley slopes are untamed and the River Bavona gushes relentlessly. We spot more than a handful of waterfalls while passing a couple of villages with town signs that read *Fontana" or "Ritorto".
Foroglio is a destination for nature lovers.
The famous waterfall of Foroglio is a mesmerizing 100 meters tall as seen from the valley floor. Quite literally, it is awesome to witness the masses of water in free fall, which explode into a cloud of mist upon impact on the cliff.
At the foot of the Cascade de Foroglio sits a tiny village entirely constructed of stone houses. It is a type of Swiss Machu Picchu and we would not even be surprised if Fred Flintstones would appear out of thin air...
Due to its spatial distance from the nearest proper town, Foroglio is tucked away from modern society. It is off the electric grid, too, and looks as if it were stuck in time. But these types of stone houses are actually very much typical for the canton of Ticino, and remoteness is a given around here.
Nonetheless, as we crisscross the picturesque village, we feel strongly that Foroglio deserves to be protected from any future development.
UNESCO, are you reading this?
The only shop in Foroglio sells woolen socks, furs and honey. You get the point...
First, we want to get up close and personal with this most beautiful waterfall. A hiking path exits the village at its highest spot, climbing up through a lofty forest and across little creeks.
At one point about 30 minutes in, this view unfolds itself:
In some parts of the world, they would call this a National Park. But here in Switzerland, they just call it a valley.
Around a few more bends, Mamiko stops in her tracks. In front of her is the beautiful Foroglio waterfall in its entirety:
Our destination is this morning is Puntid in the Calnègia Valley. Along this age old herding route at the top of the falls is a cluster of stone houses. Mamiko can't help but cross the (very steep) stone bridge to see what's on the other side:
We would recommend to tick this 90-minute round trip hike off your lists first. Speaking of which: Make sure to wear a hat and protective clothing because the ticks around here seem to be eager to piggyback their way out...
It is noontime and we are getting hungry. On our hike back to Foroglio, we can spot the fragile village through the tree branches. It is nestled among the rubble of former rock slides and lush trees:
Our lunch reservation is at Foroglio's only restaurant, a typical Ticino grotto called La Froda which has been in operation since 1928.
On the menu at La Froda is local cheese from the Maggia Valley (fresh and aged varieties), polenta (a type of boiled cornmeal), codighe pork sausages, salami, pasta and a mixed salad.
We fill our bellies, embrace the rustic setting of the restaurant and look at the waterfall one more time. Then, we hike back towards Bignasco.
May and June is the perfect time of the year for this hike. Expect some sprinkles of rain, but this is what it is like being part of nature. And with all this moisture in the air, the moss covered rocks have turned as soft as a cushion. Also, we walk part of the way on sand banks, an interesting tactile experience considering that we are in Switzerland. Ferns are thriving in the shaded areas, while meadows are strewn with wild herbs and blooming flowers.
The path winds around some particularly gigantic trees:</3>
Are these living quarters for gnomes?
Before we catch the 4:07 PM postal bus headed for Bignasco, we check out one final highlight in Fontana: a zig-zag bridge with a mesmerizing view, you will have to go and see for yourself!
One final piece of advice: Don't forget to greet fellow hikers with a smile and a "buongiorno!"
How to get to the Foroglio Waterfall
1. Day trip from Locarno to Foroglio
Located in the same region, Locarno is the perfect base for a day trip to Foroglio.
First, catch bus 315 from Locarno to Bignasco, Posta, then switch to bus 333 heading to S. Carlo (Bavona). Disembark at the Foroglio bus stop; you will already see the waterfall.
2. By car from Zurich, Bern, and Geneva to Foroglio
Opting for a road trip from Zurich, Bern, or Geneva can be a memorable but long journey. The trip's duration will roughly take between 3.5 to 5 hours, contingent on the point of departure.
Coming from the north, you must drive through the traffic-prone Gotthard or San Bernardino tunnels to reach Ticino. Once in Locarno, remember that the Foroglio waterfall is located deep in the remote Bavona valley - another 45-minute drive away.
- Foroglio is a village in the southern Swiss region of Ticino, in the Val Bavona.
- It is approximately a 3.5 to 5-hour drive from Zurich, Bern, or Geneva.
- Public transportation is available but takes a bit longer. Plan at least 4.5 hours, but remember that this duration is a given - compared to driving.
- Foroglio can easily be visited as a day trip from Locarno.
No matter your preferred mode of transport, the journey to Foroglio guarantees an unforgettable experience filled with picturesque landscapes and breathtaking scenarios. Enjoy your trip!