Explore the beautiful city of Locarno
Locarno, Switzerland, is a virtual treasure. A beautiful old town filled with character and colorful people, it has a strangely subtropical look as palm trees, camellias and bougainvillea frame beautiful old buildings. Situated around a broad bay on Lake Maggiore, Locarno is just another part of Switzerland which makes for a perfect destination. It is often over-run by wannabe-famous people yet it never seems to loose the calm atmosphere which pervades the city.
At the center of the town you will find the Piazza Grande. It is situated at just off the lake front and is a great place to spend warm summer nights. Gently rising behind the Piazza is the sixteenth and seventeenth century Old Town - a great place to explore at your own leisurely pace. The Madonna del Sasso, consecrated in 1487, hovers above the town on a heavily wooded hill. A walk up the hill will take you past decaying shrines and through beautiful wooded forests - a definite must if you are healthy enough to attempt it. A cable car will take you to Cardada which is set amongst fragrant pine trees near the top of a hill. Not only can you enjoy numerous walks from here, but there is a chair lift which will take you to the restaurant at Cimetta for a truly unforgettable view and a great photo opportunity. If you enjoy taking risks, there is a bungee jumping opportunity just east of Locarno in the form of the Verzasca Dam which offers a world-record 220m bungee-jumping plummet.
Also worth seeing is the Centovalli railway, of which the eastern terminus is located in Locarno. It is from here that Ferrovie Autolinee Regionali Ticinesi operate little trains which run from platforms below the station to the thickly wooded Centovalli. You should sit on the Left side of the train for the best views. The train then continues to the border at Camedo (passport needed), after which you will be treated to the sights of rustic villages and spectacular scenery before heading to the Italian town of Domodossola. From here Swiss trains return to Geneva and Bern.
Lacarno is also the sight of the annual Locarno International Film Festival which is held every August. It is starting to compete with Cannes for the limelight and is set up in the Piazza Grande. Lacarno is definitely a destination with a difference - a true treat for anyone wishing to discover its hidden treasures.