Gotthard Route 2: A Scenic Journey Through the Alps
Gotthard Route 2 is a railway route that connects the north and south of Switzerland, crossing the majestic Alps and offering stunning views of lakes, mountains and valleys. It is part of the famous Gotthard railway, which dates back to the 19th century and is a masterpiece of engineering and technology. In this article, we will explore the highlights of Gotthard Route 2, from Airolo to Chiasso and Luino, and give you some tips on how to enjoy this scenic journey.
Airolo to Biasca: Descending the Leventina Valley
The journey begins in Airolo, a small town at an altitude of 1141 meters above sea level, where the train exits the Gotthard tunnel, which is one of the longest railway tunnels in the world. The train then descends along the Leventina Valley, following the course of the river Ticino. Along the way, you can admire the contrast between the rugged peaks and the green meadows, as well as some charming villages and historical monuments. Some of the attractions you can see from the train are:
The Devil's Bridge: a stone bridge that spans the SchÃllenen Gorge, where according to legend, a goatherd made a deal with the devil to build a bridge across the river Reuss.
The Wassen Church: a white church that appears three times from different angles as the train loops around the mountain to gain altitude.
The Biaschina Gorge: a deep gorge where the river Ticino flows through narrow rock walls.
The train reaches Biasca, a town at 293 meters above sea level, after about an hour and a half of travel.
Biasca to Bellinzona: Entering the Italian-speaking Region
From Biasca, the train continues southward, entering the Italian-speaking region of Ticino. The landscape changes gradually, becoming more Mediterranean and sunny. The train passes through several tunnels and bridges, crossing rivers and valleys. Some of the sights you can enjoy from the train are:
The Castles of Bellinzona: three medieval castles that dominate the town of Bellinzona, which is the capital of Ticino and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Monte Ceneri Pass: a pass that separates the Alps from the Lugano Prealps, offering panoramic views of both mountain ranges.
The Magadino Plain: a fertile plain where many fruits and vegetables are grown, such as cherries, apples and chestnuts.
The train arrives in Bellinzona after about 45 minutes of travel from Biasca.
Bellinzona to Lugano: Along the Lake of Lugano
From Bellinzona, the train heads eastward, following the shore of Lake Lugano, which is a glacial lake shared by Switzerland and Italy. The lake is surrounded by hills and mountains, creating a picturesque scenery. The train passes through several towns and villages along the lake, such as Melide, Morcote and Paradiso. Some of the attractions you can see from the train are:
The Swissminiatur: a miniature park that displays models of famous Swiss landmarks and buildings.
The Monte San Salvatore: a mountain that offers a spectacular view of Lake Lugano and its surroundings.
The Monte BrÃ: another mountain that overlooks Lugano and is known for its artistic and cultural heritage.
The train reaches Lugano, which is the largest city in Ticino and a popular tourist destination, after about 30 minutes of travel from Bellinzona.
Lugano to Chiasso/Luino: Crossing the Border
From Lugano, you have two options to continue your journey on Gotthard Route 2. You can either go southward to Chiasso, which is on the border with Italy, or eastward to Luino, which is on Lake Maggiore. Both routes offer scenic views of lakes aa16f39245