Outdoor activities on Lake Maggiore are rather plentiful! Lake Maggiore is a fantastic holiday destination for those who enjoy the outdoors and an active lifestyle. There are loads of superb opportunities to enjoy outdoor pursuits. These range from tamer options for children and teenagers to more heart-stopping activities for the thrill-seekers out there!
There are lots of opportunities to go canyoning, rafting and kayaking in the Swiss part of Lake Maggiore. A number of companies based in Valle Verzasca that specialise in these type of activities. We recommend both Pure Elements and In Depth Out There.
Alternatively, Ticino Adventures offer group canyoning excursions in the Ticino region. Operating from their base at Cresciano, they also offer rafting tours on the Ticino river. You’ll get to steer your own boat whilst your escorts accompany you in kayaks alongside. For that added excitement, you could even try heli-canyoning too. These excursions start with a spectacular helicopter flight. A number of abseils, slides through natural chutes and up to 16 metre high jumps into crystal clear pools follow!
Arguably the most famous bungee jump in the world is at Valle Verzasca. This is one of the valleys leading into Lake Maggiore. The Verzasca Dam featured in the opening sequence of James Bond film Goldeneye starring Pierce Brosnan. At 220 metres high, it takes 7.5 seconds to reach the bottom so it’s not a jump for the faint hearted!
If you’re not quite ready to take on bungee jumping, ‘swinging’ is also available here. You’re hooked up to two ropes instead of one, which could (in theory) make you feel safer! Perhaps that will spur you on make you want to do a real bungee jump afterwards!
It is open every afternoon from the Easter weekend until the end of October, however, opening times do vary and it is necessary to phone to book a slot beforehand. Classic jumps, such as a swan dive or a backwards jump, all the way to special jumps for trained jumpers, such as the ‘helicopter’ are all possible at the dam. Tandem jumps are not available at the dam. However, you can do tandem jumps at the Centovalli bridge jumping centre which is only 20 minutes away from the dam. Visit Trekking for more information. Incidentally, this company also offer tours of the Holloch Cave, Europe’s largest cave which is a two hour drive from Lake Maggiore.
If you’re looking to keep your feet firmly on the ground, then there is a triathlon on Lake Maggiore. It is held at the end of August or beginning of September each year in Locarno. There are different events for different abilities and even triathlons for children (3-4 year olds swim 20 metres, cycle 0.6 km and run 100 metres!). Registration opens on 1 January each year. If you want to take on the challenge, book early to secure your place.
The Cinzanino Climbers Studio near Maccagno on the Eastern side of the lake is a great place for climbing. The natural cliffs have been turned into a climbing wall. Fixed belays have been added and artificial walls have been added to produce a massive outdoor climbing arena. It’s a stunning spot and your efforts will be rewarded with the most phenomenal views. Climb up rocks, dry stone walls, bridge pillars and cliffs and enjoy the views from rocky ledges and artificial panels 50 metres up. There are areas suitable for all, including areas for families with children, complete beginners and advanced athletes. Should you need them, experts are on hand to teach you how to climb in complete safety.
Diving is becoming increasingly popular on Lake Maggiore. A number of companies offer diving tours for beginners along with equipment rental, guided excursions and courses. Expert divers are able to descend 300 metres down into the lake. For more information, go to the experts at Delta Divers Locarno and Apnea Ticino. Alternatively, SubAscona, Salvataggio Sub Minusio, Salvataggio Sub Locarno and Salvataggio Sub Muralto also offer scuba diving.
For the brave among you, you can do a solo or tandem skydive at Para Centro in Locarno.
You can go paragliding above Portovaltravaglia, on the Eastern side of the lake. Alternatively, there are opportunities to go paragliding in Locarno. Recommended companies Mountain Gliders and Parapendio both offer paragliding flights in Ticino. Their professional pilots will take you on a tandem paragliding flight. They’ll make the most of the updrafts and thermals and will perform acrobatics and fly over the beautiful Lake Maggiore. It’s an experience open to everyone (as long as you weight less than 120 kg), including children as long as they have parental agreement. Flights are also available all year round. Just wrap up warmly!
There is also a company offering paragliding in Baveno at the other end of the lake. Here, North West Paragliding offer lessons in both the theory and practice of paragliding. They can take you on a tandem flight, where expert instructors accompany clients who want to experience at first hand the exhilaration of flying. In addition, the centre provides facilities, advice and resources for expert fliers.
It’s possible to go hang gliding on the Mottarone at Stresa as well as in Laveno and around Locarno.
Cycling is a popular pastime amongst locals on Lake Maggiore. There are ample opportunities for both road and mountain biking. Find out more in our complete guide to cycling on Lake Maggiore.
As you would expect, Lake Maggiore has a whole host of water sports for visitors to enjoy. These include slower paced, non-motorised options such as kayaking, sailing or paddle boarding. They also include motorised water sports such as waterskiing, wakeboarding and tubing. Diving, canyoning and rafting are also on offer. Find out more in our complete guide to water sports on Lake Maggiore.
Outdoor activities on Lake Maggiore aren’t confined to the warmer months of the year. Check out our complete guide to skiing on Lake Maggiore to find out where to enjoy the best snow.