Ticino, hiking to the top of Mount Tamaro

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Ticino, hiking to the top of Mount Tamaro

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Monte Tamaro, not far from Bellinzona, is a popular destination for both individuals and families. Easily reached by public transport and a steep ascent by cable car, the hiking resort offers numerous well-maintained paths of various degrees of difficulty, restaurants, mountain huts and a recreational area for adults and children where you can spend a pleasant day outdoors without any effort. We chose to reach Mount Tamaro on a Saturday in late August and in this article we tell you about our itinerary and give you some useful tips.

We love... Monte Tamaro!

Monte Tamaro, not far from Bellinzona, is a popular destination for both individuals and families because of its easy access and wide recreational offer. Easily reached by public transport and then by a steep cable car ascent, here you will find not only numerous well-maintained hiking trails of various degrees of difficulty, but also excellent restaurants, mountain huts where you can enjoy traditional dishes and a recreational area for adults and children where you can spend a pleasant day outdoors without any effort. We chose to reach Mount Tamaro on a pleasant late-summer’s day for a hike to its peak, followed by a few minutes of relaxation and adrenalin rushing down the Alpe Foppa toboggan run. And so in this article, we tell you about our itinerary and give you some useful tips.

Hike overview & map

The hike we propose is a round trip that starts from Alpe Foppa and reaches the top of Mount Tamaro and then returns along the same path. Indeed, at Tamaro, the cable car that departs downstream from the small town of Rivera will not take you directly to the top, but about halfway up. From here, you will have to continue on foot along an approximately 8.5 kilometre route that offers magnificent views of the mountains in the area as far as Lake Ceresio and Lake Maggiore.
The entire route takes about three and a half hours round trip. It is a route of medium difficulty due to some more exposed and uneven sections. In addition, the last section towards the top of Mount Tamaro requires a certain level of caution because it runs along slippery and rather steep rocks. For this reason, our advice is to wear good hiking shoes with a good grip on the ground and to bring trekking sticks with you. At the end of the trail or at the beginning of it, we suggest a visit to the unusual Chapel of Santa Maria degli Angeli, designed by the well-known architect Mario Botta from Ticino, which also offers a magnificent view of the valley below.
For a gastronomic break, we recommend the Alpe Foppa restaurant or, as in our case, a stop at the hut Capanna Tamaro.

Mount-Tamaro-Elevation

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For a safe hike, it is important to have the support of maps and GPS. That’s why we plan and track all our hiking routes using Outdooractive, a platform for tracking outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling and more. By subscribing for free to the website you can browse the entire route database, copy our routes, edit them and create your own and of course share them with friends.
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Would you like to use our hiking map?

For a safe hike, it is important to have the support of maps and GPS. That’s why we plan and track all our hiking routes using Outdooractive, a platform for tracking outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling and more. By subscribing for free to the website you can browse the entire route database, copy our routes, edit them and create your own and of course share them with friends. If instead you want to know why you should sign up for a PRO or PRO+ subscription and why we have already done it, we have told you about it here along with 5 other essential apps for hiking in Switzerland.

Arrival at the Alpe Foppa

The starting point of this hike – Alpe Foppa – is easily accessible both by car and by public transport. For those arriving here by car, there is a large pay car park right next to the cable car station. For those who instead choose public transport, simply take the train to the Rivera-Bironico station and from there walk about 10 minutes to the valley station of the Rivera-Alpe Foppa cable car. At this link you will find all the information and operating times of the cable car. However, it must be said that the current closure of the Gotthard railway tunnel makes access by public transport less easy and quick, which is why we chose to reach Bellinzona the evening before and spend a night there. This is definitely a solution that we recommend, both to fully enjoy the hike without too many time constraints and to savour a bit of good Ticino life. Bellinzona is a beautiful town and worth a visit if only for the 3 imposing Unesco World Heritage castles (we have described a hiking route to discover them here).
We chose to stay at the Hotel Gamper, a simple two-star hotel without too many frills, but clean and with a good breakfast. We recommend it for one night.
For dinner, on the other hand, we would definitely recommend the restaurant Casa del Popolo, just a short walk from the hotel and the train station. It offers tasty, freshly prepared dishes and has a very friendly and helpful staff. It is also run by the social company ‘Sostare’, which helps people in difficult situations and guides them towards training and employment, helping them to find their way. Definitely worth a visit and everyone’s support!

Booking.com

Hiking route

From Alpe Foppa to the top of Tamaro

From the mountain station of the cable car, just a few steps separate us from the Alpe Foppa restaurant and the starting point of our route. However, a peculiar construction attracts our attention. It is the Chapel of Santa Maria degli Angeli, designed by the well-known architect Mario Botta from Ticino. We decide to visit it and walk through its unusual structure, made up of tunnels, bridges and staircases up and down until we reach a small panoramic terrace offering a magnificent view of the valley below. Having completed the visit, we are ready to start our walk.
From the Alpe Foppa restaurant, a winding, steadily ascending path of about 2.7 km starts up to the Capanna Tamaro mountain hut. This first part of the trail is on a dirt and gravel path that is easy to walk, but we suggest that you pay attention, about 2 km from the start of the route, to a short diversions that avoids a short tunnel that is closed to pedestrians due to the risk of falling rocks.
From the Tamaro Hut, the path becomes narrower and more uneven but not particularly dangerous. However, we advise caution: the rock is rather smooth and, especially after heavy rain, can become slippery. Another kilometer separates you from the start of the steep ascent to the top of the Tamaro.

Tamaro summit and return to Alpe Foppa

The steep ascent to Cima Tamaro is only 400 metres long, but, as already mentioned, it is rather steep and runs along very smooth rocks. We advise you to be careful on the ascent, but especially when it is time to come back down. However, the effort will be largely rewarded by a magnificent view spanning from the Po River valley in Italy to the Swiss Alps and the lakes in the area. Truly unmissable! Take time for a break, to admire the view and to rest before tackling the route in the opposite direction to Alpe Foppa.
On the way back, we suggest you stop at the Capanna Tamaro for a traditional dish of polenta and mountain cheese or a thirst-quenching home-made elderberry drink. And just before the end of the route, you will find a small diversions, just above Alpe Foppa, which will allow you to walk a section of the Sentiero Culturale (Artistic Walk), along which you can admire statues and works of art by various artists such as Luca Marcionelli and Jaya Schürch.

Alternative routes

Mount Tamaro really does offer many alternative hiking options to the one proposed in this article.
We suggest two of them:

Mount Tamaro – Mount Lema hike: this is quite popular but requires good planning due to the limited transport connections at the return point. It is an approximately 13 km hike that requires at least 5 hours. Once you reach the top of Mount Tamaro, rather than turning back towards Alpe Foppa, you continue along the path down the mountain along the opposite side of the ascent and then along ridge paths to Mount Lema. From here, you return to the valley with the Lema-Miglieglia cable car. You can find the route and more information here.

Mount Tamaro tour: this is a good alternative to returning to Alpe Foppa via the same route as the outward journey. In this case, the total route is 9.7 km and takes about 3.5 hours. Once you have reached the top of Mount Tamaro, head back to the Capanna Tamaro and from there turn off towards Alpe Duragno and then return to Alpe Foppa following a path along the mountain. Here you will find the route and more information.

Booking.com
Booking.com
How to get there

See the location in Google Maps. The starting point of this excursion – the valley station of the Rivera-Alpe Foppa cable car – can be easily reached by public transportation. To find the best travel option for you, as always we recommend using the SBB website or the SBB App, that you can also use to check the timetables and operating status of the lines and purchase tickets.

See the location in Google Maps. The starting point of this excursion – the valley station of the Rivera-Alpe Foppa cable car – can also be reached by car. To find the best travel option for you, as always we suggest you use Google Maps. There is a pay car park in front of the station.

Tips

1

Many other hiking trails start at the top of Monte Tamaro. You will find some information and ideas at this link.

2

Everyone who chooses to stay in one of Ticino’s hotels, hostels or guesthouses receives the Ticino Ticket for free, a card that allows free travel by public transport throughout the Canton for the entire day of check-in and check-out. Simply ask for it when you check in at your hotel. You can find more information at this link.

3

Are you planning an excursion here and have doubts or concerns? Leave us a comment below and we will give you a feedback as soon as possible!

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