VALLE VERZASCA is a long, narrow valley in Ticino—the Italian speaking region of Switzerland. Cut by the Verzasca River, the valley is remote and touched little by time.

The river is rich with swimming spots and rocks to laze about on, but the most famous and popular swimming area is at Lavertezzo—a tiny valley village. You’ll know the spot by the double arched stone bridge—Ponte dei Salti—and the enthusiasts jumping from it. The waters are a crystal-clear emerald green and run cold year-round.

How to get there:

Lavertezzo is a two and a half hour drive from Zurich and 30 minutes from Locarno. There’s a 3-hour parking lot near the bridge, or an all-day parking lot a few hundred meters up the road from the bridge. If you’re on public transit, take a train to Tenero, and then a bus to Lavertezzo.

What to consider

  • There’s lots of room to spread out along the river; if it feels crowded, just wander downstream a bit.
  • If you feel like exploring, the rest of the valley is full of beautiful hikes and tiny towns.
  • This is a wild river, not a public pool, so be aware of the rapids and where it’s safe to swim.
  • Some of the rocks form natural waterslides; seek them out.
  • The shallow pools around the river are much warmer than the river itself—which is icy year round.
  • Up the road, you can do the 220m bungee jump off the Verzasca dam like James Bond did in Goldfinger.