MTB Lugano Region, Monte Tamaro, Ticino
Marco Toniolo

Outdoor activities to try in Ticino

Step into the great outdoors and leave the city behind

Written by Time Out. Paid for in partnership with Switzerland Tourism and Ticino Tourism.

There’s no finer place to escape urban living for a few days than Ticino. Thanks to open spaces, lakes and mountains at every turn, it’s the perfect place to reconnect with nature. And for those who really want to soak up Ticino’s natural beauty in style, there are tons of opportunities for getting active while you’re out and about.

We’ve chosen five outdoor experiences to try your hand at while you’re visiting the area, which should not only keep you active but also allow you to see Ticino in a new light. 

Switzerland is full of fantastic outdoor experiences, so for more alfresco inspiration across the whole of the country, visit for information on great experiences to suit any trip, from a short weekend break away from the city to a family holiday with the kids.

Outdoor activities in Ticino

There’s a lot to see in the beautiful Maggia Valley and the best way to see it all is on two wheels. A highlight of this wonderfully sunny area is a well-known route that’s become a paradise for cyclists of all abilities, whatever your level of experience. Pedal your way through rustic villages and past stunning Alpine landscape and gorgeous Mediterranean scenery, enjoying the large stretches of quiet cycle path and marvelling at the endless awe-inspiring views. Just remember to keep at a leisurely pace – you’re here to enjoy the ride.

Ticino is blessed with two incredible lakes, Lake Lugano and Lake Maggiore, but rather than admiring them from the shores, why not get to the heart of things and head onto the water? Stand-up paddling (known as SUP) is the perfect way to do just that and allows you to embark on a solid workout or a peaceful, calm journey, entirely depending on how you’re feeling. Grab a board and a paddle from a lakeside hire spot and paddle out for a fresh new way to see these stunning lakes.

Ticino has its share of mountain huts, but few are as magical as Corno Gries. Known locally as ‘the Alpine Spaceship’ due to its futuristic shape, the hut enjoys spellbinding views across Val Corno, including the Gries Glacier during summer months. It’s the perfect trip for hikers and mountain bikers and offers overnight accommodation, meaning you can spend a day or two really getting to grips with the area. But don’t think you have to be a pro to enjoy the charms of Corno Gries – it’s also fully suited to families and children, thanks to its ease of access and the nearby boulders, which kids will love clambering over. The site is also the start of a beautiful hiking trail, Via Alta Idra. This new and popular route – which leads from Nüfenen Pass to Tenero – measures a mighty 100km in total, but can easily be divided into stages, some of which are suitable for families, while others are perfect for experienced hikers looking for a challenge.

Some great wine is produced around the Ticino region, but rather than just sipping it when you visit, why not get involved with making it, too? In Mendrisiotto and Lower Ceresio, guests can take part in harvesting the grapes during the initial stages of the process. You’ll spend a day in the vineyards, picking the best grapes and learning more about the art of wine-making from the experts, before enjoying a communal meal at lunchtime, complete with a glass or two of the vineyard’s finest, of course. Salute!

Keen mountain bikers or just anyone wanting to explore Ticino from the saddle should venture out to Lugano, an area known for its superb, rugged biking trails – over 370km of well-marked paths, in fact. There are routes to suit all abilities, from veteran mountain bikers to absolute beginners, taking you through dirt roads, forests and meadows, as you pass mountains, lakes, Alpine huts and much more.

See more of the great outdoors

Ticino has tons more activities to keep all ages active and engaged, so start booking your outdoor itinerary at

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