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16 best things to do when visiting Festival del film Locarno

Discover some of Locarno's top things to do, with traditional drinks, hottest party spots and adventurous nature trails to explore

Make the best out of your 2016 Festival del film Locarno experience with our in-depth guide to Lake Maggiore and its activity rich valleys. Wine, dine, dance and shop, our list will have you discovering the region’s most stunning vistas, restaurants and bars.

Swim in the emerald waters of Valle Verzasca
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Swim in the emerald waters of Valle Verzasca

The iconic valley known for its luscious landscape and idyllic river. Head up to relax by one of the naturally-formed pool or hike up one of the six available trails to make your day even more memorable.

Ride the Centovalli railway
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Ride the Centovalli railway

Also known as the Centovallina (“the train of a hundred valleys”) and take-in the incredible views along the way. The journey begins in Locarno and ends in Domodossola (Italy), covering 60 kilometres in just under two hours.

Enjoy an evening of immersive outdoor theatre
©Greber Christian / gerberfoto.ch
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Enjoy an evening of immersive outdoor theatre

On Monte Verità, a hill above Ascona known for its long-standing creative tradition. This year, author Hanspeter Gschwend and his company present Sogni Di Un’Altra Vita (‘Dreams of another life’), an experience of theatre, dance and live-music. Taking place 21 times over the summer, these evenings also include a visit of the Monte Verità park and a vegetarian feast for the audience.

Take a cruise to the Brissago islands
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Take a cruise to the Brissago islands

Home to Canton Ticino’s Botanical Gardens where subtropical plants from Asia, South Africa, Australia and the Pacific Islands flourish over 2.5 hectares, fostered by the mild climate and warmth stored by the lake’s waters. Ferries depart regularly from Locarno, Ascona, Porto Ronco and Brissago.

Jump from the same dam as 007
©Switzerland Tourism
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Jump from the same dam as 007

Those who have seen GoldenEye will remember Pierce Brosnan’s epic 220-metre fall down the Contra dam, located at the top of Valle Verzasca. This incredible location is open to the public, making the immense adrenaline kick of bungee jumping like Bond available to all those who dare.

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Tenero-Contra
Drink a capiler, Locarno’s oldest beverage
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Drink a capiler, Locarno’s oldest beverage

Made from venus hair fern, a local plant that nests itself between stones, lemon zest, coffee and sugar, this non-alcoholic drink was once enjoyed by Locarnesi on a daily basis. While a lot less common, it can still be found at Pardo Bar.

Stroll through the Ascona markets
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Stroll through the Ascona markets

Taking place every Tuesday along the lake, vendors will entice you with local delicacies and produce, arts & crafts, antiques, accessories and other regional specialties.

Walk across a 130m-high suspended bridge

Inaugurated just last year, this vertiginous tibetan bridge is guaranteed to make adventure fantasies come true for adults and children alike. It's located in Carasc, part of the neighbouring Sementina-Monte Carasso region.

Sip a lake-side aperitivo while watching the sunset
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Sip a lake-side aperitivo while watching the sunset

The coast features a range of great addresses (Beach Lounge Ascona, Seven Sea Lounge, Sunset Bar at Lido Ascona, Blu Restaurant Locarno and many more) to ensure you can repeat this experience every day of your stay.

Enjoy a veggie meal in the old town
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Enjoy a veggie meal in the old town

At his recently opened restaurant Il Guardiano del Farro, chef Nicola Rizzo surprised his guests with vegan and vegetarian cuisine. This quirky venue, overlooking Locarno’s Piazza Sant’Antonio, is great for lunch and dinner as well as Saturday brunch.

Dance until the sun rises
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Dance until the sun rises

If you are looking for a fun night out, the region has plenty to offer. Ascona's Beach Lounge and Club Seventy7, as well as Vanilla Club in Riazzino welcome renowned deejays and artists every weekend and consistently have their guests dancing until the early morning.

Taste Pasticceria Marnin’s renowned pastries
©Roberto Barra
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Taste Pasticceria Marnin’s renowned pastries

Their famous panettone or mouthwatering Camelia-Locarno Praliné is highly recomended.

Explore the relationship between film and the visual arts

At the “Rotella and Film” exhibition, organised in partnership with the Locarno Film Festival, a retrospective exhibition celebrates the works Mimmo Rotella, one of the most prominent Italian artists of the last century. Through a chronological journey, the audience is made aware of links between the two mediums and parallels in techniques and contents in Rotella’s work. This exhibition is taking place at the Casa Rusca museum until August 14th.

Test you balance on a paddle boarding
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Test you balance on a paddle boarding

This trendy activity offers an unusual manner to discover Ascona from its waters while providing your body with healthy work-out (especially in its yoga version.)

Pioneer the brand-new Alta Verzasca Bike trail
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Pioneer the brand-new Alta Verzasca Bike trail

This newly inaugurated mountain-bike route allows its users to explore the Valle Verzasca from an unprecedented viewpoint. Technically simple and rideable in both directions, it can be enjoyed by the whole family regardless of skills and experience. Its arrival point is the village of Sonogno, worth visiting for both its House of Wool and the Val Verzasca Museum in hosts.

Let the panorama take your breath away
©Christof Sonderegger
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Let the panorama take your breath away

The Sacred Mount of the Madonna del Sasso is one of the region’s top viewpoint for its panoramic scenery. This peak, home to a picturesque Sanctuary and its annex convent, is the destination of countless pilgrims every year and a candidate to UNESCO World Heritage recognition.

Discover more great things to do this summer

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50 ways to have the best summer in Switzerland

From secret lakeside beaches to riveting river frolics; rooftop bars to pool parties; the Swiss summer offers as much revelry for the warmer seasons as it does for its snowy ones.  Time Out Switzerland has put together the definitive list for the things to do in the Swiss heat.

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