Southern Europe begins behind the Gotthard. The combination of sport and enjoyment is just as characteristic of Ticino as its unique landscape. The mountain bike tours advertised in the region are as varied as nature itself. The new "Carì Bike" trail, for example, is suitable for beginners. The Monte Tamaro Bike route is different, which has it all: After a rough climb, it's technically challenging down into the valley. The Bovarina Bike route in the Blenio Valley is less demanding in terms of driving technique but a real top experience in terms of landscape.
Carì Bike – beginner's tour with a stop for refreshments
The new mountain bike trail Carì Bike in the Leventina valley starts in the small Ticino village of Molare at 1494 meters. The town can be easily reached by post bus. The eleven kilometers of the leisurely tour (450 meters in altitude) can quickly be done in two hours. You start on a quiet cantonal road that leads gently uphill to the valley station of the Carì ski lifts. It goes on gravel paths about 300 meters to the highest point. The cozy Capanna Prodör invites you to linger and enjoy the regional cuisine, which can be reached quickly with a slight detour of just under ten minutes. The hut, which is open all year round, is located at 1740 meters in the middle of a Harz forest with a view of the snowy peaks around the Leventina valley. The way back follows a single trail; after a hairpin bend, the paved road leads first to Carì, then back to the starting point in Molare. The bike trail is suitable for beginners with some experience.
Alpi Bedretto Bike – spaceship
The medium-difficult Alpi Bedretto Bike tour takes you along a scenic panoramic path through the valley of the same name. The almost 24-kilometer round with a start and finish in Airolo is just the right thing for pleasure bikers. A high-altitude path leads slightly uphill, always with an unobstructed view of the impressive Gotthard Pass. If you are not afraid of another 400 meters of altitude difference, leave the designated Schweiz Mobil Route 390 halfway and follow the signs to Capanna Corno Gries. The extra effort is rewarded with one of the most impressive huts in the Ticino mountains. The hut offers a 360-degree panoramic view of the Bedretto Valley and resembles a spaceship that has made an emergency landing. If you want to spend the night, you can sleep in one of the 50 beds and treat yourself to the house specialty lasagne in the evening. From the hut, it then goes downhill. Over narrow bridges and along rushing streams, you roll past alpine pastures and larch forests to the village of Ronco and on to Airolo.
Bovarina Bike – culinary delights and a feast for the eyes
The Bovarina Bike Tour, around 24 kilometers long, starts in Olivone in the upper Blenio Valley. After a gentle start through the Val di Campo with its spruce forests and mountain lakes, it leads steeply uphill to 1742 meters to Alpe Predasca. If you have space in your backpack, you can buy cheeses and dairy products. After further kilometers on unpaved ground, bikers reach the Capanna Bovarina. The hut, open all year round, was completely renovated in 1997. The modern, wood-paneled cement building with a tin roof and expansive panoramic windows is at 1870 m, close to the highest point of the circular tour. It goes through pastures and forests from the hut on a rapid and winding trail, specially designed for mountain bikers, back down to Orsàira. The last section of the route leads back to Pianchera and, from there, via the old dirt road of the Sosto, finally back to Olivone. A total of 1200 meters in altitude have to be mastered on the mountain bike tour, which is classified as complex.
Monte Bar Bike - Modern architecture high above Lugano
The Monte Bar Bike mountain bike route is in the medium requirement profile of fitness and driving technique. It leads over 22 kilometers (almost 900 meters in altitude) above Lugano over the mountain slopes to the Capanna Monte Bar. On the large panoramic terrace of the architecturally appealing hut, the 180-degree view extends from Monte Gazzirola to the Denti della Vecchia and the Gulf of Lugano over the hills of the Malcantone to the Valais Alps. If you want to stay longer than just a break, you can stay in one of the modern rooms. The base, which was specially designed for bikers, offers a lockable bicycle cellar and charging stations for e-bikes, and a small workshop. The way back leads down a three-kilometer single trail to the paved road.
Monte Tamaro Bike – On single trails to the hut
The very demanding Monte Tamaro Bike Tour starts relaxed with a gondola ride to Alpe Foppa. But it doesn't go that easy: the first part of the tour, over 31 kilometers, leads steeply upwards on unpaved trails. The intermediate stage at the antenna is more than 330 meters higher. There the hosted Capanna Tamaro invites bikers to rest. The terrace delights with a magnificent 360-degree panoramic view of the valley floor towards the Ticino capital of Bellinzona in the north and Lugano with the lake in the south. Lake Maggiore can be seen to the west, dominated by Locarno and its delta. Here the batteries can be recharged for the following long and technically demanding single trail descent.
Cardada Bike - From palm trees to panorama to polenta
No less challenging is the Cardada Bike with the highest point of the Alpe of the same name and the Capanna Lo Stallone rest station at almost 1500 meters. The tour starts at the train station in Locarno-Muralto, not far from Lake Maggiore at 205 meters, and leads in the first part to Monte Brè. It gets steeper and technically tricky because the single trails up to Alpe Cardada require maximum concentration. After that, half of the 30-kilometer circular tour is done, and the stop-off is guaranteed. The rustic stone hut Lo Stallone in the middle of lush green alpine meadows welcomes mountain bikers and hikers with various polenta dishes, among other things. Refreshed and full of energy, we continue on narrow serpentines, dirt roads, and finally on asphalt back to Locarno. The medium to challenging tour is very demanding in terms of fitness and driving technique. An impressive 1,450 meters in altitude can be overcome over 30 kilometers, 7 kilometers on single trails alone.
Gottardo Bike – historic crossing of the main Alpine ridge
The classic Gottardo Bike mountain bike tour takes ambitious female mountaineers between Andermatt and Biasca over a distance of 116 kilometers and 3,443 meters in altitude. Especially the single trails over ten kilometers require safe driving techniques. Mountain bikers transit a landscape formed by glaciers between rugged high mountain ranges with almost 50 lakes and ponds, nearly 60 streams, 15 small moors, and a few idyllic alpine hamlets. The Capanna Cadagno is the ideal resting place on the extended tour. Located at 1987 meters directly on the "Gottardo Bike" route, it offers a break or overnight accommodation depending on the planned workload. After that, the bikers have to pedal hard again. The trail follows the old Lukmanierstraße. The last section leads through lush green plains, Larch groves, and dense fir forests. Fortunately, the untouched nature makes up for any burning muscles. @via ticino.