Beautiful two-day hike at Walensee in Switzerland

Weekend tours are our favorite tours – and it is the best time to start on a Friday. Then, the trip always feels like a short vacation and the weekend is particularly long. After the hike in Flumserberg, we chose a two-day hike at Walensee in Switzerland. From Walenstadtberg we hiked to Alp Tschingla and from there, we continued the next day via Lüsis back to Walenstadt.

Always a lake view: from Walenstadtberg to Alp Tschingla

The public transport network in Switzerland is excellent – we notice that again and again. During this hike, it is also practical to take the yellow “Postbus”, ie the bus. From the train station in Walenstadt, it only takes 15 minutes to Walenstadtberg. We get off at the end station (Reha Klinik) and from there, our hike continues uphill on a paved road. We hike about 800 vertical meters up to Alp Tschingla.

On the way, there is also the Paxmal, a peace monument, where we take a short break.

Although it is cloudy, the colors of the flowers and the Walensee glow wonderfully. The view of the valley and the snow-covered Swiss mountains is beautiful.

After about 4 hours, we finally reach Alp Tschingla (1528 m). We had to cross a few snow fields on the way, but that made the tour a bit more varied. On Alp Tschingla, we drink an icecold beer and then we hop into the hot water tub of Alp Tschingla. This is a real highlight – you can take a bath in the fire-heated hot pot with a fantastic view of Walensee and the mighty Churfirsten mountains. We stay in the water until our skin becomes wrinkled and then we have dinner and eat a huge portion of maccheroni with lots and lots of mountain cheese. The meal tastes twice as good after a strenuous hike and the bath.

In the evening, a thunderstorm comes up. Mountain thunderstorms are always impressive and the crack of thunder makes the hut vibrate. We play card games in the cozy living room, drink a schnapps with the hut owner and then we fall dead tired into bed.

Crossing some snow fields
Finally arrived at Alp Tschingla
Enjoying the hot bath at Alp Tschingla
Rain is on its way
Alp Tschingla

From Alp Tschingla via Lüsis to Walenstadt

The alarm clock rings early the next morning. When we are in the mountains, we always want to be outside on time for sunrise, because then, the mountains are always bathed in a beautiful light. We are lucky: the rain from the previous evening has cleared and mystical clouds lie over Walensee and the rest of the valley. The silence around us and in the mountains is particularly beautiful and we simply enjoy the breathtaking view.

After a hearty breakfast and a hot cup of coffee, it’s time to go. We hike through sparse forests and on a broad paths from Alp Tschingla towards Lüsis. When we look back, we can see that the Alp Tschingla and the Churfirsten mountains are in the sun now.

After a short hike, we arrive in Lüsis, where we stop for a hot chocolate at the Lüsis Gasthaus. From there we start with the descent: through forests and past rushing streams, we return to the valley to Walenstadt.

The tour around Alp Tschingla is a great two-day hike for late spring. Thanks to the good public transport connections, the tour can be shortened or extended as desired.

Do you have a recommendation for us which tour we shouldn’t miss in Switzerland? Then we look forward to your suggestions.

From the Flumserberg to the Spitzmeilenhütte and the Weisstannental

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Fortunately for us, the weather forecast has not come true! In bright sunshine we start our two-day hike on the Flumserberg. The mountain railway takes you from Tannenheim up to Prodalp, where our hike begins.

Day 1: From the Flumserberg to the Spitmeilenhütte

From the Pordalp you first go along a forest path, which you can leave after a while and then hike on narrow, very beautiful hiking trails. On the way to the Spitzmeilenhütte you pass the Alpine restaurant Panüöl and the Alpe Fursch. So sufficient possibilities are provided along the way to get a bite to eat. Unfortunately, the weather forecast should be right at some point and it started to rain slightly. After the Alpe Fursch, the only short climb on the way is the one just before the Spitzmeilenhütte, but it is not too long and steep.

Shortly after we arrived at the Spitzmeilenhütte, the predicted weather actually started and hit rained cats and dogs. Now that we had arrived and were sitting in the dry, we could calmly look at the natural spectacle. We enjoyed a delicious dinner and spend the rest of the evening playing board games

Day 2: From the Spitzmeilen hut to the Weisstannental

The next day the mountains were covered in clouds and it was raining lightly when we left. But despite the bad weather, the mood was excellent and so we made our way towards Weißtannen. It didn’t rain all the time, but every now and then it starts to rain. The low-hanging clouds gave the landscape a very mystical atmosphere. At Fransfurggla, we decided to leave the Sardona-Welterbeweg No. 73 because the mountains were still hanging in the clouds and therefore block the view. However, when the weather is nice, the route over the Madchopf is certainly the more attractive route, as you have a great view from up there.

You can find a detailed report on our tour here. Unfortunately, only in German.

Ascona – Mediterranean flair at Lago Maggiore

Ascona is a little city at the northern part of Lago Maggiore. Asconas main highlights are its very beautiful promenade right at the lake with traditionally painted houses as well as the historical city center. The lake side promenade simply invites you to stroll around and to relax in one of the plenty cafés and enjoy the sunset over the lake.

 

Wine & Dine at Romantic Hotel – Castello Seeschloss

The Romantic Hotel Castello Seeschloss is located at the end of the beautiful promenade. The hotel is located in a little castle from the 13th century, which was built by the de’Ghiriglino family, a rich family from Milano. Next to the little castle two more buildings belong to the hotel, which all together surround a Mediterranean garden with swimming pool. The restaurant ‘Ristorante di Lago’, which is located on the other side of the castle right next to the lake, also belongs to the hotel.

The romantic hotel ‘Castello Seeschloss’ is regularly hosting Wine & Dines, where vineyards present their wines and the houses top chef serves culinary delights. In May the theme of the Wine & Dine was ‘Africa meets Ticino’. In the beginning we were served an apperativ on the terrace in amazing weather. Afterwards, we moved to the Mediterranean courtyard of the old castle for the Wine & Dine. A really suitable surrounding for such an event. Today, Bernhard Hess from Mimosa served different red and white wines from South Africa to an super delicious South African inspired 5 course menu. 

 

Day trips from Ascona

Ascona is located perfectly for day trips in whole Ticino. Especially the Maggia Valley and the Verzasca Valley with its traditional villages, waterfalls and roaring rivers in the north of Ascona are easily reachable. But also trips to Lugano and its surroundings are easily possible.

 

Small but gorgeous – The Bavona Valley in Ticino

When searching for the most beautiful places in Ticino, we came across the relatively small Bavona Valley. The Bavona Valley is a side valley of the famous Maggia Valley with the Maggia River but for unknown reasons the Bavona Valley is less known. We stopped over and over again at beautiful bridges to look at the river, which again had an amazing colour. The huge rocks at the river simply invited to climb on them.

 

Waterfall Foroglio

One of the most beautiful places of the Bavona Valley is definitely the waterfall Foroglio with its 110 meters. Beneath the waterfall, the water runs through massive stones, which make it possible to climb up closer to the waterfall, but very soon it got rather windy and you will be soaked by the spray of the waterfall. The closer you get to the waterfall, the wetter and more slippery the rocks will get. So we rather watched the waterfall from a distance. After our trip, we saw pictures that during different times of the year, it is possible to easily climb up all the way to the waterfall, when it does not have so much water. 

Afterwards, we strolled through the narrow streets of Frogolio and were once again amazed by the  old stone houses. How must life have been here back in the days?

From Foroglio, we continued further up the Bavona Valley towards S. Carlo. During summer time you can take a cable car from there to the Robièi glacier. Just below the cable car station, we found a perfect lunch spot next to a little river. 

 

Hiking up Monte Gambarogno for the sunset

In the afternoon we decided to hike up to Monte Gambarogno from where you have a beautiful view on Lago Maggiore. After a nice and quiet dinner, we drove through what felt like a thousand serpentines up to Alpe Neggia from where one of the hiking trails to the top of Monte Gambarogno starts. When we left the Alpe Neggia by foot, we could already hear the beginning of an thunderstorm behind us but we really wanted to make it to the top. First, it also seemed that the thunderstorm got stuck behind a mountain range but then as we got further the thunderstorm grew stronger and stronger und it started to get rather windy. And then, suddenly we saw an animal sitting on the trail. Our first thought was “that has to be a wolf” as it looked very similar to one. We cannot imagine that it was a big dog because there were no other cars in the car park down at Alpe Neggia. But of course, it could have been a dog on the run or another animal. For a while we hesitated if we should continue our hike or turn around. In the end, we decided to turn around – not only because of the (possible) wolf but also because the thunderstorm came closer and closer. 

When we came home we did some research whether wolves have been seen at Monte Gambarogno before but one has only found wolf marks but no proof of a wolf at Monte Gambarogno was ever found. So it most likely wasn’t a wolf!

 

That is why you should visit the Verzasca Valley

The Verzasca Valley is well-known for its crystal clear and emerald green water of the Verzasca River. 

There is a hiking trail along the river, which shows you the complete beauty of the Verzasca Valley and River. The hike can be adjusted for each level because on the way you will pass several villages where you can stopp and take the bus.

 

First stop: Cascata La Froda in Sonogno

We took the bus from our hotel in Vogorno to Sonogno. As a hotel or camping guest in Ticino, you can ask for the Ticino ticket, which allows you to use the public transport in Ticino for free, as well as it grants you a discount for many different tourist attractions. Really convenient!

From Vogorno it took around 45 minutes to Sonogno, the final destination of bus line 321. We left Sonogno, towards the waterfall La Froda. We immediately liked Sonogno. It is a very small and quiet village with many old historical houses and an absolutely astonishing church. It feels like you arrived in a different time when strolling through this little village.

From Sonogno, it takes about 10 minutes to the waterfall La Froda. Already from a distance, you can hear the roaring of the waterfall. Wow! The waterfall is really impressive – one reason for this is probably the snowmelt. We spent about an hour at the waterfall and took pictures from every possible angle. The amazing thing about the waterfall La Froda is not just its size, but also that there is a little bridge in front of the waterfalls, which allows an incredible view on the waterfall. If you walk over the bridge you can climb up a little hill from where you also have an extraordinary view on the waterfall. If you continue the same same way, you will get to hiking trail 74, which follows the Verzasca River.

 

Following the Verzasca River through the Verzasca Valley.

Verzasca means ‘green water’ and that is a perfect fitting. The colour of the river is simply amazing! We had to stop over and over again to look at the colour of the river. Sometimes, it was emerald green and then again dark blue! Absolutely fascinating. Shortly before Gerra we made a short lunch break on some big rock in the shades. Lunch breaks are definitely one of the best things when you hike.

Our destination for today is Lavertezzo, the walking time is about 3:45 hours. On the way from Sonogno to Lavertezzo the river is changing over and over. Sometimes it is a wide and slow running river, then again it is a narrow and wild river which runs through some huge rocks. Again, we made too many photo stops and started to run out of time to catch the last bus in Lavertezzo.

On the way, we passed beautiful little, historical villages, hiked over old stone bridges, hiked through old ruins and beautiful forests. At one point, we even had to take of our shoes to cross a river because the water level had risen due to the snowmelt.

All these little things, made this relatively easy and short hike absolutely incredible.

 

Postcard motive in Lavertezzo

After a couple of hours, we finally arrived in Lavertezzo. If you want, you can also follow the trail further on towards Locarno at the Lago Maggiore. But for us the hike ended in Lavertezzo because we heard that after Laverezzo the hike shouldn’t be as beautiful as before.

Lavertezzo is very famous for its old double arch bridge. Furthermore, this village is famous for the deep pools of the Verzasca river. This is a really special place! Sadly the weather had turn bad, so we weren’t in the mood to take a swim. But I can just imagine how amazing it has to be during summer to swim in the cold crystal clear water. 

 

Why should you visit the Verzasca Valley?

To be honest, there are plenty of reasons to visit the Verzasca Valley.

  • The waterfall La Froda alone is already worth a visit.
  • The plenty little villages which make you feel like you are travelling back in time.
  • The hiking trail 74 is a very easy and diversified hike.
  • The Verzasca River with it emerald green water itself is absolutely worth visiting.

You can find more details about the hike here.

 

Ticino – Landscape, tours and how to get there

Why did it take us so long to finally go to Ticino in the very south of Switzerland? Well, that really is a question, we cannot answer. We already have heard a lot about Ticino – about beautiful hiking trails, emerald green rivers and raging waterfalls. Now, it was time to see it for ourselves!

 

Ticino – A short introduction

We stayed for one week in Ticino, the only canton of Switzerland, which is completely on the south side of the alps. The official language in Ticino is Italian and also the cities have a very Mediterranean and Italian flair. Ticino has about 2100 hours of sunshine each year, which you can also notice due to the palm trees you see often. 

The diversity is one of Ticino specialities. In the north you can find the high mountains of the alps (in May many are still covered with snow) and in the south you can find a very Mediterranean landscape. In between there are also countless valleys with beautiful rivers and lakes. The most popular lakes are Lago Maggiore and Lago di Lugano. But not only the variety of landscapes show the beauty of Ticino, but also the beautiful cities are worth a visit. We were especially thrilled by Ascona with its beautiful promenade at the lake and Lugano with its narrow and winding streets. In short: The beautiful landscape paired with beautiful cities make Ticino worth a visit for everyone.

 

How to get there

There are plenty of ways how to get to Ticino. If you travel from far away, the most convenient way is to take a plain to Lugano-Agno airport. A little bigger is the airport in Milano, which is only an hour drive away from Ticino. Another option would be to take the train. There are many daily direct connections to Basel, Zurich and Milano.

We decided to take the car, because for us it is only a three hours drive and it allows us to be very flexible about where we go. From the north you can either take the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the San Bernardino Tunnel or the Lukmanier pass. From the south you can take both the A9 motorway from Milano and the A8 motorway to Ticino. We took the San Bernardino Tunnel and it was obvious why there are always traffic jams during summer time, as the roads have mostly only a single lane. But luckily, we didn’t had any problems as it was first May and early in the morning.

 

Our tours

During our week in Ticino, we hiked along the Verzasca river, explored the Bavona Valley (a side valley of the Maggia Valley), hiked on top of Monte Gambarogno, strolled in the cities of Ascano and Lugano, enjoyed the view from Monte Bré and discovered amazing waterfalls.

After one week in Ticino, we can surely say: Ticino you are beautiful!

 

Finally the hiking season starts again: Spring tour to the Seealpsee

The ski season is over, it is getting warmer in the valley and we cannot wait to go hiking again. But where? Unfortunately, there is still too much snow in the mountains. After some research for hikes that are not so high up in the mountains, we have found a small tour to Seealpsee in eastern Switzerland.

 

Hiking around the Seealpsee

The hike starts in Wasserauen, where we have parked in the free parking lot. The tour can be done very easily and without much condition – however, on the steep climb to Seealpsee we really started sweating.

After about 300 meters altitude we arrived at the lake. We are surprised how little water there was in the lake, but the view of the surrounding mountains, especially the Säntis, was simply wonderful. And the clear water was just awesome!

We went to the end of the lake and a bit further to get a better view of the Seealpsee. Unfortunately, the trail was relatively quickly inaccessible because there was too much snow, but the view was still wonderful.

Then, we explored a small waterfall, before we decided to go back. This time on the other side of the lake. We took a short rest and then we started the steep descent and went back to the parking lot.

The hike was very nice and with some great views. But because the walk is so easy and the lake so popular, it was pretty crowded on all ways.

But no matter, we are glad that the hiking season is finally starting again. Were you already hiking this year? If yes, where?

 

Hiking at Murgsee in Switzerland

The tours around the Murgseen (Murglakes) in Switzerland are popular destinations. The hikes offer a lot of variety and are easy accessible. We were curious whether this region is really so attractive, therefore, we decided to hike around Murgsee and to the summit of the Schwarzstöckli.

First stop: Merlen

Rarely, we were looking forward to a hike like this one in Heidiland in Switzerland. Best weather was announced for the whole weekend – perfect conditions for a sunrise hike.

We went on Friday after work. We drove to Murg at Walensee by car and from there, on a narrow road with a lot of serpentines uphill to the car park Merlen. There are several parking lots, which all cost 10 CHF (October 2017) and have to be paid at the ticket machine before the driveway to the parking lot – there is no possibility to buy a ticket at the parking lots.

We parked at parking lot number 2 (1099 m), as the shortest access to the Berggasthaus Murgsee, our destination for Friday, starts there. However, for those who want to hike the Murgsee circular route, it is better to park at number 1.

Hiking to Berggasthaus Murgsee

In the late afternoon we started our tour. The hike starts on a path that is accessible for cars, but it leads very quickly into a broad and well-developed hiking trail. First, we hiked through a forest area, later we passed the tree line. The route is partly very steep and exhausting.

After approximately one hour, we arrived at the lower Murgsee, which has alpine protection status. The lake is idyllically below the path and the view at the lake, the valley behind us and the high waterfall is really beautiful. After a final climb (about 600 meters in total), we arrived at the cozy Berggasthaus Murgsee after about 1 3/4 hours. The sun had just set and the evening mood at the lake was just wonderful.

At the guest house we had a delicious dinner, before we played cards. Around 10 pm we went outside to have a look at the sky with countless stars. Because of the fact that the lake is located in a kettle, you have almost no light pollution and the starry sky is simply fantastic – we even could easily see the Milky Way. Then, we went to bed, because the next morning we wanted to get up early. Since only two other hikers stayed in the guest house, the night was nice and quiet.

Hiking to Schwarzstöckli

We started our hike around half past six – the sunrise was announced for 7:53 clock. The first destination was the Murgseefurgel (1985 m), which we reached in about 35 minutes. The first meters we had to go with a torch, but quickly, it began to dawn. We had to stop again and again and admire the beauty of the lake and the snow-capped mountains  around. It was an incredibly beautiful feeling.

From the Murgseefurgel we turned left, to hike to the summit of Schwarzstöckli (2385 m). The views were amazing and because of the many photo stops, we were not at the summit, when the sun was rising.

The hiking trail to the Schwarzstöckli was partly covered with snow and steep, but still relatively easy to hike. On the way we even saw a chamois. We arrived at the summit and we were the first ones there. The wonderful tranquility and the view of the surrounding snowy mountains was indescribably beautiful.

Hiking the Murgsee circle trail

We went down the Rotärd ridge into the valley to the Murgseerundwanderweg (Murgsee circle trail). A hike that is (rightly) very popular. The descent was partly very difficult as the road was so icy, difficult to find and steep. But at the bottom, we passed through splendid plains, always along the water and along some waterfalls. Unfortunately, the last part of the route was particularly exhausting. The trail was very steep and slippery. It felt like an eternity, until we finally arrived at parking lot 1. From there, it took us around 20 minutes, until we arrived at parking lot 2, the starting point of our hike.

All in all, we liked the hike very much. It is absolutely recommendable! The route is extremely diverse, goes through forests, along lakes, over steep passages and on a summit – so everything we like for a hike. You can also make it in one day, if you like it sportier. However, we found the overnight stay at the Berggasthaus Murgsee charming and practical.

We were definitely very excited and want to return! Have you ever been to the area? Which tours do you recommend? We are looking forward to your suggestions!