Cycling tour to the Valle Maggia
I enjoy peace and quiet in the summer, which includes the seclusion of the Valle Maggia. The deeper you penetrate into the valley, the fewer tourists and the more locals you will see and hear. Traffic levels here are much lower than other valleys in the region.
From the hotel, head right down the Via Albarelle to the small roundabout by the public convenience. Turn left here, and follow the road to the end. Bearing right brings you to the motorway bridge over the Maggia dyke, which you follow against the flow. It is worth making a first stop at Parco Merisc in Losone. The mouth of the Melezza is an excellent place to swim in the river: do as the locals do and relax away from the tourist hotspots.
I then follow the Melezza around 500 metres upstream to the suspension bridge that crosses the river. This brings you to the village of Tegna, where you have to pedal a little harder to reach the main road – but the effort is worthwhile and the climb is not too long (keen cyclists won’t mind pushing anyway). Cross the main road and pass the famous grottos and restaurants of Ponte Brolla (Da Enzo, Grotto America, Centovalli, Tre Terre) before proceeding to the other side of the Maggia via an old railway bridge, pausing to enjoy impressive views of the somewhat wilder Maggia gorge.
The next stage reveals different faces of the Valle Maggia: meadows, small villages and a succession of typically welcoming grottos. The separate cycle path in this stage is superbly maintained, with very few road crossings necessary. If you still have energy to burn, you could carry on to Giumaglio, where a hazardous suspension bridge crosses the broad riverbed of the Maggia.
Much of the return journey is downhill.
Where: Valle Maggia
Getting there: By pushbike
Time needed: Day tour
Special info: A nature reserve and bird sanctuary has been established on the right side of the Giumaglio suspension bridge. Stay on the paths here as no bathing is allowed; swimming and sunbathing is permitted to the left of the bridge.
Tip: You can avoid the initial ascent to Ponte Brolla by driving to Ponte Brolla and starting your cycling tour from there. Be sure to take a towel, suncream and enough to drink. The main street of Maggia has supermarkets, an ATM and a chemist’s.
Christof Janik, Chef de Réception