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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Place of the Day: Bellinzona

I have a short list of favorite places in the world to travel and visit - those that know me the best know that Zurich is one of my top cities (along with Prague and Salzburg).  But beyond the larger cities I have several places that are more remote and special for me just to get away.  Bellinzona is at the top of that list (along with Gimmelwald).

My first visit to Bellinzona was some years ago and I was able to add it on as part of a larger trip.  I knew that I wanted to visit someplace unique and also discover the countryside where Swiss wine is notable.  After doing some research, the area around Bellinzona was highlighted for the Delea wines and so I set out on my adventure.

Getting there

The SBB is my preferred way to travel in Switzerland, and was easy to use to visit Bellinzona.  It's about a 2:30 hr journey to get there from Zurich, and you have a large selection of departure times and train options.  A one-way ticket is about 30CHF.  If I recall I was able to take a EuroCity train direct which is an excellent ride.

Where to stay

Rather than a normal hotel, I chose to enjoy a vineyard up close and stayed at Fattoria Amorosa. Quite honestly, it's amazing.  Quiet, out of the way, and with little to disturb you as you take in the countryside.  The rooms are small, rustic, and comfortable (unless the suite is available).  You can walk up to the vineyard on foot, or the 311 Bus from Piazzale Stazione gets you close the driveway.

What to do

Besides enjoy peace and quiet on the vineyard?  Castelgrande was a fun place to visit.  I decided to save the other castles for a future trip, so I'm looking forward to hiking those and seeing more of the history of the region.  I also went into town and soaked in the bustle in the main piazza and square.  The Italian architecture is a notable feature for many buildings. 

I can't recommend Bellinzona enough - especially if you're looking to get out of the cities.  You won't be disappointed!

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