Riding the Centovalli Railway

March 2, 2012 by

Day Trips, Sightseeing, Things To Do



Situated on the Swiss-Italian border, the so-called “hundred valleys” train line known as the Centovalli Railway is an excellent bet for a day trip or weekend excursion. The trip to Locarno on Lake Maggiore from Domodossola in Italy is among the most memorable and picturesque means of entering Switzerland. During the trip (a minimum of two hours each way), you’ll see beautiful chestnut forests, jagged cliffs and gorges, rushing waterfalls, vineyards, monasteries and quaint villages. What you won’t see are the spectacular bridges that make passage along the vertiginous route possible, but then, you can’t have everything.

The 30-mile line was completed in 1923 and passes a total of 22 stations. While many passengers make the journey on this historic route as part of their regular commute to the capital of Bern and points beyond, numerous tourists and vacationers take advantage of the scheduled stops to indulge in an array and hiking and sightseeing opportunities.

If you have the time, one noteworthy excursion is a combined hike and cable car ride to the lovely car-free hamlet of Rasa. Disembarking at Verdasio, it’s possible to board an aerial cable car that will deposit you in Rasa, where you can take refreshments and explore the stone houses used by vacationers. Stay a night or two or continue on by hiking down through shady forest, across the Melezza River (literally over the river and through the woods) to Corcapolo, where you can rejoin the train and continue on your way.

- John Reality

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