Bellinzona is the capital of the canton Ticino in Switzerland.
The city is famous for its three castles (Castelgrande, Montebello, Sasso Corbaro) that have been UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 2000. The town lies east of the Ticino river, at the foot of the Alps. It stretches along the river valley, surrounded by the southern ranges of the Lepontine Alps to the east and west, and by the Lugano Prealps to the south.
Access : Coordinates: 46.2, 9.016667 / By car : Motorways A2 and A13 are the main roads connecting the city. The A2 heads north through the Gotthard Pass to Lucerne, Basel and over the border with Germany, as well as south towards Lugano and on to Italy. The A13 heads north-east towards Austria, passing the San Bernardino pass and Chur.
By train : Bellinzona is also conveniently connected by the Gotthard railway, and is a standard stop for many intercity trains between Zurich, Lugano, Chiasso and Locarno. Regional services here are operated by TiLo and connect the town to the nearest airport (Milan-Malpensa (MXP IATA), and to Biasca and many other destinations.
By bus : Plenty of bus services can be found at the train station. They’re operated by PostBus Switzerland and offer alternative ways to travel to a range of destinations in the region.
Highlights : In 2000, the Castles of Bellinzona were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- Castello di Sasso Corbaro (Sasso Corbaro Castle) (postal bus #4 from the train station (Piazzale Stazione), direction Artore (schedules) . Jul-Aug dialy 10:00–19:00; Apr-Jun, Sep-Oct daily 10:00–18:00. The castle dominates the town 462 meters up the hill. It was built in only six months in 1479 as the highest fortification in Bellinzona.
- Castello di Montebello (Montebello Castle) (a few hundred metres SW from the train station via Piazza della Collegiata; alternatively descend by road from Sasso Corbaro). Jul-Aug dialy 10:00–19:00, museum 10:00–18:00; Apr-Jun, Sep-Oct daily 10:00–18:00. The most picturesque of the three. Probably built in the 13th century and restored in the 1970s, the Montebello Castle is a spectacular example of a medieval castle and houses a very interesting civic and archeological Museum. 5 Fr combined ticket for 3 castles: Fr. 15.
- Castelgrande (from Piazza della Collegiata; from here follow the San Michele path up). Museum: Jul-Aug daily 10:00–19:00; Apr-Jun, Sep-Oct daily 10:00–18:00; Nov-Mar daily 10:00–16:00. Inner court: Tu-Su 09:00–22:00, M 10:00–18:00 Murata sforzesca: Summer 10:00–19:00, Winter 10:00–17:00. Remodeled in the last years by Aurelio Galfetti with bold architectural solutions, among which the elevator in the rock and the helicoidal ramp to reach the summit directly from the Piazza Mario della Valle. There is a historical Museum in one wing of the castle, with an architectural section as well as an artistic-historical one. In the south building, there is an elegant restaurant with its annexed wine cellar where almost all of Ticino’s wine production can be tasted.
- Monastero di Santa Maria (Saint Mary’s Monastery) (postal bus #191 from the train station (Piazzale Stazione), direction Claro (or Airolo FFS). In the northern part of the city, the monastery is build in the top of an hill. From there there’s a view on the Riviera valley and the northern part of the city. You can reach the monastery by walking (on an ancient trail in the wood) from the neighbourhood of Claro (it takes 25-30 minutes) or by car (following the mountain road that lead to the monastery). Anyway, by car you should pay 10.- to reach the monastery, at the barrier situated at the beginning of the mountain road.
- Ponte della Torretta (Tower bridge) (Follow the ramparts from Castelgrande in direction west, until the Ticino river). An historic broken bridge, surrounded by a park long the river. There are some public grill-places around it, that can be used in the summer.
From Castelgrande follow the wall, also restored, which once went all the way to the Ticino River. A footbridge crosses the part, which was knocked down to allow transit on the Viale Portone. The view from the wall sweeps over the very modern buildings, the pride of Ticino’s architects (Casa del Portone, Casa Bianca, Casa Nera, Casa Fabrizia) with the green background of the Sports Center with its public pool and tennis courts on the river’s edge. From the walkway return to the station either through Citta Vecchia from via Orico, or following the Viale Portone or via Mirasole. Valle Verzasca – old feel villages and amazing nature and waterfalls. , Ponte Tibetano Valle di Sementina , Piazza Indipendenza , Santa Petronilla waterfalls , Museum of Dazio Grande ,
Activities : Parasailing & Paragliding , Bike Tours , Ticino is a paradise for adventures sports. Canyoning, mountain biking, river tours , Trekking