Biking Locarno to Maggia

On a quick weekend trip to Ticino, we rented bikes and biked a portion of stage 2 of the Percorsa Valle Maggia (bike route 31). The full route goes from Locarno to Cavergno, but we only did about half of it going from Locarno to Maggia before we turned around. The Maggia valley is quite lovely and feels a world away with its beautiful rivers, palm trees, and quaint stone houses. Even though we did not do the entire path, we enjoyed what we did very much.

Detail Summary
Where:The Maggia valley – Locarno to Maggia
Canton Ticino, Switzerland
Train/Bus:Zürich HB -> Locarno – 2 hrs 11 mins
Car:Zürich -> Locarno – 2 hrs 50 mins
Parking available at the train station.
What:Percorsa Valle Maggia (bike route 31) – Stage 2

Trail Map
Brown bike trail markers, route 31
Skill:Medium – Roads and Trails. Some areas with significant traffic.
Length 35 km, Ascent 460 m, Descent 200 m (one way)

Additional Info

Renting the Bikes

After arriving at the Locarno train station, we stashed our luggage in one of the lockers located at the station, and then headed across the street to the Rent-a-Bike location. Using their website, I had reserved e-bikes for my husband and myself, and regular bikes for my teenage boys, as well as helmets for all of us. After showing the attendant my reservation number, she helped us get the right-size bikes and helmets, and took our payment. The website said cash only, so I was prepared to pay in cash, but the attendant said payment by card was possible after all. (Price list – slight discount for SBB GA/Half-Price/Junior Card holders. Discounts can also sometimes be found with SBB railaway deals.)

With helmets on and bike seats adjusted, we headed out for the trail.

The Trail – Locarno to Maggia and Back

We, perhaps, should have studied the map a bit better before heading out as it took us a bit to find the trail, and it was stressful as we were riding with traffic. But, once we were down to the bike path by the lake, it was much more relaxing. I didn’t take a lot of pictures as I am not that used to riding a bike. Also, even with an e-bike I had trouble keeping up with my teenagers, so stopping to take pictures wasn’t easy. We did tend to stop when we were crossing bridges, so most of my pictures include the river in some way.

One of the more exceptional views was at the Ponte Brolla bridge where we could see the striking rock formations carved by the river.

As we rode along, we also passed through small towns with traditional stone houses. They were so interesting to see.

Never far from the river the entire ride, we often we passed small tributaries and we even passed one fairly impressive waterfall.

When we got to Maggia, we decided to leave the trail and explore the town a bit and to find a nice spot for a picnic lunch. We all agreed that these vineyards and stone houses provided the perfect view.

After our picnic, we turned around and went back the way we came. The ride back was all downhill, so it was much faster (and much more fun) than the ride up. When we got back to the Locarno train station, we returned our bikes. As the rental worked out so well, I am sure I will plan more bike trips in the future.

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