Hiking the Trans Swiss Trail – Stage 29 Bellinzona to Tesserete

Stage 29 of the Trans Swiss trail is 24 km long with 1400 m ascent and 1100 m descent and goes from Bellinzona to Tessereste. This is a tough hike and it was certainly more than I wanted to do as a single day hike. Fortunately, at the halfway point is the small town of Isone which has several hotels and restaurants making it very easy to do this stage as a two day hike.

Detail Summary
Where:Bellinzona to Tesserete
Canton Ticino, Switzerland
Train/Bus: Zürich HB -> Bellinzona – 1 hr 40 min

Tesserete, Paese -> Zürich HB – 2 hr 32 min
What:Trans Swiss Trail – Stage 29 – Bellinzona to Tesserete
Yellow trail markers/ Red and white trail – Trans Swiss Trail Route 2
Skill: Difficult – About 8 hrs 15 min
Length 24 km, Ascent 1400 m, Descent 1100 m

Additional Information

Photo Stories for All Stages
Stage 1 – Porrentruy to St-Ursanne
Stage 2 – St-Ursanne to Soubey
Stage 3 – Soubey to Saignelégier
Stage 4 – Saignelégier to St-Imier
Stage 5 – St-Imier to Chézard-St-Martin
Stage 6 – Chézard-St-Martin to Neuchâtel
Stage 7 – Neuchâtel to Murten
Stage 8 – Murten to Laupen
Stage 9 – Laupen to Bern
Stage 10 – Bern to Worb
Stage 11 – Worb to Lützelflüh
Stage 12 – Lützelflüh to Langnau i.E.
Stage 13 – Langnau i.E. to Eggiwil
Stage 14 – Eggiwil to Schangnau
Stage 15 – Schangnau to Sörenberg
Stage 16 – Sörenberg to Giswil
Stage 17 – Giswil to Flüeli-Ranft
Stage18 – Flüeli-Ranft to Stans
Stage 19 – Stans to Seelisberg
Stage 20 – Seelisberg to Erstfeld
Stage 21 – Erstfeld to Wassen
Stage 22 – Wassen to Andermatt
Stage 23 – Andermatt to Passo del San Gottardo
Stage 24 – Passo del San Gottardo to Airolo
Stage 25 – Airolo to Osco
Stage 26 – Osco to Anzonico
Stage 27 – Anzonico to Biasca
Stage 28 – Biasca to Bellinzona
Stage 29 – Bellinzona to Tesserete
Stage 30 – Tesserete to Lugano (Comano)
Stage 31 – Lugano (Paradiso) to Morcote
Stage 32 – Morcote to Mendriso

Getting There

The Trans Swiss Trail is best done with public transportation as each stage starts and ends at different points. Stage 29 picks up right where stage 28 left off, at the Bellinzona train station.

After a short walk through town, we were back along the banks of the Ticino river.

The Trail – Day 1 Bellinzona to Isone

This stage is long and has a lot of elevation change, but the first five kilometers are rather flat as it first follows along the Ticino river and then turns for a stroll through town. Shortly after passing the bridge in the fourth picture below, the trail leaves the town behind and enters the forest.

The next five or so kilometers were a steep uphill hike through the forest and I regretted not bringing my hiking sticks for this one. While most of this section was in the forest, there were a few stops with open views to the valley.

When we finally crested the ridge, we saw a sign warning us that we were walking through a military training area. Not that we needed the reminder, but just in case, we were warned not to pick up any ammunition we saw.

The last kilometer or so of the trail was a steep hike down to the town of Isone. Again, I regretting not having the hiking sticks.

When we reached Isone, we headed for the Isone, Paese bus stop where we were meeting our younger son. He joined us for dinner and hiked with us the next day.

Overnight in Isone

In Isone, we stayed at the Restaurant Vedeggio hotel. This hotel is located right on the trail and has reasonable rates for basic family rooms. The restaurant is an odd mix of Italian Swiss Alpine cuisine (lasagna, gnocchi, fondue) and Texas-ish style BBQ. We decided to get the BBQ and it was better than I expected. The applewood smoked brisket and ribs were very well cooked (tender, fall-off-the-bone) and delicious. The sides and sauces were bland, but you could tell that everything was made with care. I would recommend this place, but as we looked around at the decor (American flags, Texas flags, and English language Route 66, Popcorn, Coffee, and cheerful “I’m a bitch in the morning” signs), we noticed a few confederate flags in the mix. Do they know? Or do they just think that’s Texas? We didn’t have a language in common with our waitress, so I don’t know, but I’m going to hold back on recommending the place just in case.

In the morning, I took a picture from the room’s balcony before we headed out for the second part of the hike.

The Trail – Day 2 Isone to Tesserete

We got an early start the next day (or at least early for my husband and son) and we had gorgeous weather. The hike started with a downhill walk though Isone and into a ravine. After we crossed the stream, the trail went into the forest and we started another steep climb. Fortunately, not nearly as long as the climb on day one. Also, some fabulous views!

After we reached almost the highpoint of the hike, we passed some old farm buildings and then trail became very scenic.

In fact, at this point the trail signs were now labeled scenic trail. And it was no lie. Gorgeous views all around.

When we came to the small hill in picture one below, we left the trail briefly to get the views from the top and to pause for a snack break.

After our snack break, there was bit more of a climb but no matter. The views continued to be incredible both behind and ahead of us. The stone houses and ruins we saw along the way were also interesting and I had to snap a few pictures of those too.

When it was time to begin the descent, I again regretted my lack of hiking sticks.

After all the wide open space and vast views, it was a surprising to be routed through this tiny alley as we passed through the town of Bigorio.

Lovely views as we made our way into Tesserete.

Getting Back

After a short walk through Tesserete, we got to the bus station about a minute before our bus was to leave. We considered going out for lunch and catching the next bus, but we were ready to go home and instead hopped on the bus and just grabbed some sandwiches in Lugano to eat on the train back.

This was a tough hike, and I’m really glad we decided to break it into two days instead of trying to do it all as one massive day hike. If you don’t want to do this entire hike, I would recommend just doing the section from Isone to Tesserete. It was definitely the better half – much easier and much more scenic. Looking forward to the next section. I can’t believe I only have 3 more stages to go!

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