Bellinzona, the capital of Ticino, is a delightful gem of a town. Of course, you could say the same for most places Swiss. But this one is special for its enchanting UNESCO castles, built within the town walls and cradled among lush mountains.
The three UNESCO castles and the city walls of Bellinzona were built in medieval times to block access to the Ticino valley to northern populations and control tolls and roads to S. Gotthard. After reconstruction over the centuries, the three castles – Castelgrande, Montebello and Sasso Corbaro – appear in all their splendour and are the main tourist attraction of the city. Each of the three castles has an old story to tell.
Bellinzona’s Colourful Saturday Market
Every Saturday of the year, the town comes alive with colourful traditional market stalls. It’s a great time to mingle with the locals, hunt for bargains and soak in the relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere.
On sale at the market are sun-ripened fruit grown in Ticino, cheese specialities, sausages made according to traditional recipes. Besides, there are Ticino breads, and a wide range of items for use in the home, in the garden and for leisure activities. Artisans and craft practitioners put their best products on display, with some even making them right in front of visitors.
Bonus: Saturday is a great day to be in Bellinzona, because you can also take a tour of the town. It includes the UNESCO-listed castles, the historic city centre and the famous Saturday market. You’ll learn interesting historical facts about Bellinzona and discover the capital of Ticino from a new side. The guided tour runs every Saturday morning from May to November.
Assuming you’re spending a couple of days in Basel, this makes for a perfect day trip. From Bellinzona, you’ll take a train to Olten and an onward bus back to Basel.
Travelling through this beautiful country on any mode of transport is pure sensory pleasure, but we particularly enjoyed the front seat ride aboard the bus, with fantastic open views of the mountains.
Additional inputs: Switzerland Tourism Board
Featured video courtesy : Virtual Switzerland