My aim to blog about in ‘real time’ about our road trip as it unfolded last year has well and truly fallen by the wayside, but I’m going to keep coming with the posts. The next stage of our trip was spent in Ticino, the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland (close to the border with Italy). We had an amazing drive over the Gotthard Pass through the mountains and were really struck by how the scenery and general vibe changed so quickly from quintessentially Swiss to much more Italian.
FRUTIGEN, SWITZERLAND – LOCARNO, SWITZERLAND:
132 miles by road and motorway – take the Gotthard pass for spectacular views – it was one of the highlights of our whole trip.
We stayed: At Camping Riarena, Locarno, Switzerland. A decent campsite with a fantastic swimming pool, plenty of green space and a small playground. There was also an onsite restaurant which looked lovely, although we didn’t eat there. We found a pitch next to the playing field and in the evenings we could watch fireflies dancing in the bushes opposite, which was totally magical.
We visited: We were lucky enough to meet up with friends who were based in the area for the summer and they gave us some great tips of where to visit. We drove up the Verzasca valley, to wander along the Verzasca Dam, where we watched some crazy people bungee-jumping (the jump immortalised in James Bond Goldeneye). Further up the valley we parked up just after the bridge between Lavertezzo and Brione and climbed down to the river below for a cold but refreshing dip in the crystal-clear water. The steep drive up to the village of Corippo on the other side of the valley was well-worth it.
On the drive from Switzerland to Italy, we stopped off at a village called Gandria on the edge of Lake Lugano to eat our lunch. I’d seen this place on Pinterest and it totally lived up to expectations – it was stunning and very quiet – we hardly saw another soul.
We ate: We were on a tight budget, so we didn’t eat out while we were in Ticino, apart from an ice-cream stop in Corippo (the only cafe in the village had an amazing vintage till, and the most incredible view down the valley).