Highlights: Biasca, Bellinzona
Route 3: Section 6 (Airolo 1160m–Bellinzona 220m)
Stats from SwitzerlandMobility.ch (http://www.veloland.ch/en/routes/etappe/etappe-01648.html): 63km long, height difference Airolo–Bellinzona: 260m (1200m in the opposite direction). Their site has the full profile.
Shares its path with Eurovelo 5
This entire segment runs next to the Ticino river, from Airolo, where it is only a small stream, all the way to Bellinzona when it becomes a rumbling river, before flowing into Lago Maggiore in Locarno.
The upper part is particularly striking. It runs along a dramatic canyon (Gole del Piottino) in the area of Osco.
The whole route is downhill, with a 1,000m drop through the scenic Leventina valley. Most of the drop though is in the first part, while the second half is relatively flat.
The only important sightseeings along this segment are in Biasca: the waterfall of Santa Petronilla and the 11th century Romanesque church of Saints Peter and Paul. The church is situated above the village and contains an important collection of frescoes and sculptures (https://www.bellinzonese-altoticino.ch/it/commons/details/Chiesa-dei-SS-Pietro-e-Paolo/2844.html#).
BUT, because Route 3 bypasses the village, I completely missed them! Truth be told, it was already too late by the time I passed by Biasca and it would have been impossible to visit them. In any case, they are along another bike route (#36), which means that I will eventually go back……
The second part of the route was much flatter and reminded me a lot of the Mesocco valley (also in Ticino) with the large floor base squeezed between tall mountains, dotted by waterfalls.
Little villages with an Italian architectural flavor are also interspersed along the route, each one with its own old landmark church against the skyline.
And then, in Bellinzona (See 3:07), starved and tired, I squeezed my bike in an overbooked and crowed train, with bikes piled one on top of the others.
This was really a very long day, leaving at 7am and returning back home at 10pm….
Links to Introduction and other Sections:
- BIKING THROUGH SWITZERLAND (with an electric bike)
- Route 3 (North-South): Section 1 (Basel-Aarau)
- Route 3: Section 2 (Aarau–Lucerne)
- Route 3: Section 3 (Lucerne–Flüelen)
- Route 3: Section 4 (Flüelen–Andermatt)
- Route 3: Section 5 (Andermatt–Airolo)
- Route 3: Section 7 (Bellinzona–Agno)
- Route 3: Section 8-end (Agno–Chiasso)