Hiking the Trans Swiss Trail – Stage 32 Morcote to Mendriso

Stage 32 of the Trans Swiss trail is 12 km long with 860 m ascent and 800 m descent and goes from Morcote to Mendriso (including a ferry ride from Morcote to Brusino Arsizio, Funivia). This is the last section of the entire Trans Swiss Trail and it packed a lot in for one hike – a steep climb to a traditional restaurant, an even steeper climb to outrageously gorgeous panoramic views from the top of Monte San Giorgio, a steep descent to a small quaint town with a charming little museum about the geological history of the area featuring some fabulous fossil finds, and then finally a walk through an industrial area/outlet shopping center to a train station. Admittedly, that last part was a bit of a let down after having hiked across the entirety of Switzerland, but we still found a place to have a celebratory Aperlo Spritz! What an adventure!

Detail Summary
Where:Morcote to Mendriso
Canton Ticino, Switzerland
Train/Bus:Zürich HB -> Morcote – 2 hr 30 min
Morcote -> Brusino Arsizio, Funivia – 13 min

Zürich HB -> Brusino Arsizio, Funivia – 2 hr 35 min

Mendriso -> Zürich HB – 2 hr 13 min
What:Trans Swiss Trail – Stage 32 – Morcote to Mendriso
Yellow trail markers/ Red and white trail – Trans Swiss Trail Route 2
Skill: Medium – About 4 hrs 30 min
Length 12 km, Ascent 840 m, Descent 880 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 – Morcote to Brusino Arsizio, Funivia

Stage 31 ended at the ferry dock in Morcote and when we finished that stage, we took a leisurely ferry back to Lugano before heading home. This ferry stops at Brusino Arsizio, Funivia where stage 32 starts, so we decided to save time in the morning by skipping the ferry ride, and taking a bus to the start of the hike, instead.

After getting off the bus by the ferry dock, we quickly found our trail and were on our way.

The Trail

The trail begins with a steep ascent through the forest. For some reason, I never expect to see so many palm trees in Switzerland, but there they are. If we had wanted to skip this first steep climb, we could have taken the cable car across the street from the ferry. If I were to do this hike again, I might do that as this wasn’t a particularly exciting bit.

After about an hour or so of hiking, we reached the restaurant at Alpe di Brusino. Perfect timing for lunch. Alpe di Brusino offered traditional rustic dishes that tasted much better than they photographed. I got the polenta with gorgonzola, simple but perfect. My husband had the polenta with beans and mortadella which was also good. And, can’t forget the view!

After leaving the restaurant, we were only about halfway to the top of Monte San Giorgio. Reminder: helium filled mylar balloons are terrible. They are nothing but litter. (I was able scramble up a bit and retrieve this one, but that isn’t always possible.)

When we reached the building in the third picture, we were very near the top of the mountain. If you continue on trail 2 here, you skip the summit, which after all the effort it takes to hike up here would be real shame.

It is only a 10 minute or so deviation, and after turning the corner around the building at the top, it is breathtaking! So very worth it.

After admiring the views, we headed back down and rejoined trail 2. From there it is a steep descent through fields and forest to the town of Meride.

In Meride, we took a brief break from the hike to visit the Fossil Museum of Santa Giorgio (german and italian). This was a great little stop, and it was nice to learn more about the geological history of the area. Today, Monte San Giorgio is a Unesco World Heritage site. 240 million years ago, it was an underwater sea bed. The museum houses some of the more fascinating fossils found here.

From Merida, there was a bit more descent through fields and forest before we got to Mendriso.

The trail through Mendriso, is a very commercial/industrial area. Lots of corporate offices and outlet shopping, not much interesting here, but we were almost done.

Getting Back

When we reached the train station in Mendriso, we stopped to take a picture with the last trail 2 sign. I was expecting the hike to end on something a bit more dramatic or typically Swiss, so it was a bit of let down. Still, it was an amazing hike and I am proud of us for getting through all the stages. Of course, we had to stop at the pizzeria/bar across the street to celebrate.

I absolutely loved hiking trail 2. It was as good as I had hoped it would be and it really was a wonderful way to see Switzerland. What next? Hike the opposite direction on trail 3? I think that might be the way to go…

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