Stone villages, glittering lakes and Southern charm: need we say more?
Ticino in the south of Switzerland ticks all the boxes for a diverse and intriguing destination. In Bellinzona at the foot of the Alps, the medieval castles offer a backdrop for striking portraits. Or take your wide-angle lens up to the hanging bridge for some adrenaline inducing photographs.
Further south in Ascona-Locarno, it is all about the valleys with their distinct characters. There are waterfalls, historic bridges or villages that appear stuck in time. Lugano with its bay area and characteristic mountains is perfect for landscape photographs during any time of the day.
We have put together this shortlist of the best Instagram spots in Ticino. But we invite you to go into exploration mode and walk off the beaten path. On a recent trip to Lugano, we discovered the most beautiful picture spot just by veering off a marked hiking path...
Here are some of our favorite Instagram spots in Ticino:
Ascona: Brissago Islands
The lush Brissago Islands are not only at Switzerland's lowest altitude point, they also offer fantastic spots for photographs. Isola Grande with its boat docks is the larger of the two. There, you will find 1700 plant species sectioned into the world's continents.
Our advice for the best photographs: hire a boat in Ascona and arrive at Isola Grande very early. During our shoot, we got there before 9 AM and had the island to ourselves. The first scheduled boat arrives at 9:10 AM, but most visitors opt for the next boat arriving at 10:40 AM.
Bellinzona: Montebello Castle
The three castles of Bellinzona are strategically placed in a bottleneck valley connecting the Alps with Italy. If you have enough time on your hands, definitely climb to the middle castle, Montebello. (The path starts next to the cathedral in the old town.) The meadow outside the castle walls offers a great selfie spot with Bellinzona in the background. Or you could find an angle similar to this which shows part of the historic structure:
Bellinzona: Carasc Tibetan bridge in Curzútt
Across the valley high above Bellinzona is a hanging bridge spanning 270 meters. Needless to say, a wide-angle lens or a GoPro camera will be helpful in capturing this impressive landmark. But we recommend to hike up there and be spontaneous! While many pictures are taken from the beginning of the bridge, maybe you will find an entirely new angle? That's without getting yourself into trouble, of course!
Corippo is one of Switzerland's least populated towns with only a dozen residents and six cats. In other words, it is a dream for photographers because nobody will walk into your frame! The small cobblestone alleys between the rustic houses offer a typical Ticino feeling. Wear a color that pops for some stunning pictures.
Getting to Corippo involves taking a postal bus into Valle Verzasca. You could also drive a car up the narrow winding road, but parking is very (!) limited and you need to be a skilled driver just to turn the car around... A visit to Corippo can easily be combined with Lavertezzo as they are next to one another.
A natural spectacle in its own right, the majestic waterfall of Foroglio should be on your shortlist of must-have Ticino photographs. The town itself is worth a visit, but keep it for later and mount the falls first. Hiking boots will help as you climb up the path towards Calnegia with its historic stone bridge - another Instagram subject.
From the top of the falls, the views are a landscape photographer's dream. Vibrant green in the summer or brushed in autumn hues, this most remote valley makes you believe that you are somewhere other than in Switzerland. Could it be the Amazon? Or Nicaragua, perhaps?
Fusio: Lago del Naret
To see this magnificent lakescape at the end of the Maggia Valley requires some prior planning. It is only possible to reach Lago del Naret by car during summer and early fall. (Parking is available at the dam.) Alternatively, you could take a postal bus to Fusio and hike up from there. And due to the high altitude of 2500 meters above sea, it can get chilly up there, so do not forget to bring a coat.
Since this photography spot is out in nowhere without any light pollution, Lago del Naret is an opportune location for nighttime shots. Equally popular are drone shots during sunrise and sunset.
Ticino's tallest clock tower is in Intragna, a charming town in the Centovalli district. Intragna is easily accessible by train from Locarno. We like this part of Ticino because of it is a perfect vantage point for hikes through lush chestnut forests. Nature and landscape photographers will appreciate the setting of this hamlet high above the confluence of two rivers.
Once touted as the Maldives of Milan because of its turquoise waters, the Verzasca River near Lavertezzo is at its best. Take a wide-angle shot of the quaint town from across the main access bridge. Or walk past the town along the river banks where you will see the iconic stone-arched bridge (Ponte Dei Salti).
Perspectives abound, but Lavertezzo can get very crowded on weekends or during high season. Our advice is to visit during in-between seasons such as May or October. And if you manage to sneak there on a weekday, even better...
Orselina: Madonna del Sasso
The mighty sanctuary of Madonna del Sasso is always worth a visit. A funicular (or a long fleet of winding steps) leads to the cathedral with views of Locarno below. Built on an outcrop of rock, Madonna del Sasso surely is a pilgrimage site for devotees, as well as for Instagramers!
Lugano: Scenic views from Monte Brè
Instinct tells you to go to the top of Monte Brè for beautiful photographs. Instinct is right, but one of the most panoramic places is actually near the bottom of the mountain. In order to get to Parco San Michele, take the funicular to Suvigliana and walk along the street for a few minutes. This public park is a popular yoga spot but the unobstructed views lend themselves for some epic shots.
There is also a really beautiful spot at the foot of Monte Brè. Look for the park of Villa Heleneum, located along the hiking trail towards Gandria. This lakeside park provides Mediterranean architecture, backdrops of bamboo, glittering waters and a fleet of stairs leading into the lake.
Lugano is dotted with interesting Instagram spots. Apart from the famous gate at Parco Ciani, try the marina or the LAC Museum for beautiful angles. As for sunset spots, Monte Brè faces the sun while Parco del Tassino gives you a panoramic view of the sun-drenched bay area.
Mediterranean vibes guaranteed, the town of Morcote on Lake Lugano offers lots of eye-candy for Instagramers. Be it the colorful buildings, the southern vegetation, the lake views or the iconic church tower: grab a lens and get shooting!
The best perspectives of the Church of Santa Maria del Sasso has to be earned by climbing several hundred steps. From up there, you can capture Italy across the lake, as well as the town of Morcote below. Another popular spot are these arches with the lake in the backdrop.