Close-to-Home Adventures in Germany and Switzerland
By Manuel Dietrich, KEEN Europe Ambassador
It feels so long ago that we could hop on a plane and travel anywhere we wanted, doesn't it?
Slowly suffering from the monotony of the COVID-19 lockdown, I simply had to leave my home and hit the road again. Although travel has changed completely, I realized that I could still rediscover the places easily reached by car, including right where I live.
So, after kicking off a weekend roadtrip in my my own home city of Speyer, Germany, I decided to venture out a little farther to the beautiful mountain villages, waterfalls, and Italian flair of Ticino, Switzerland.
Stop #1: Breakfast at home in Speyer, Germany
I started this little adventure early in the morning, and having the streets entirely to myself was simply perfect. I totally forgot how beautiful my city was during the morning hours. After a quick walk through the former industrial area, passing by the famous Speyer Cathedral, I made my way over to the inner city for a hot chocolate and breakfast at Café am Museum. As the streets slowly filled up with people, I took a detour through the Cathedral Garden toward the Rhine river and headed back to the car to get on the road.
Manuel hit the road in his town-to-trail hiker sneakers, KEEN Highland.
Stop #2: River views in Lavertezzo, Switzerland
A 5-hour drive later I made it to my very first spot, Lavertezzo with plenty of time left to really enjoy this picture-perfect place! Hard to believe that there are really people living in this little village that rather looks like a movie set. With a beautiful view over these stone houses and the Riale Carecchio River, I had a late lunch at Osteria Vittoria.
The most popular highlight in Lavertezzo is probably Ponte dei Salti, a double-arched bridge that spans the crystal clear Verzasca River. On warmer summer days this place it pretty much packed with people sunbathing on the stones and cooling off in the super cold water. Fortunately there weren’t too many people around so it was the perfect spot to chill and listen to the rushing water. But you better be careful when you’re walking over the rocks. They can be extremely slippery, and you certainly don’t want to end up falling into that freezing water.
Stop #3: Charming old town of Locarno, Switzerland
Later that evening I left the valley behind and drove to Locarno on the north shore of Lago Maggiore to spend the night. This little city, which dates back to the 12th Century, welcomed me with a beautiful old town, a historical museum, and the pilgrimage church Madonna del Sasso — which offers an awesome view over Locarno and Lago Maggiore. On top of that it has some really cool cafés and restaurants. I started the second day of my little trip with a nice breakfast at Café Al Porto, which is right on the Lake. With some delicious pastries in my stomach, it was time to head into nature again.
Stop #4: Waterfalls near Foroglio, Switzerland
My next stop is Foroglio in the Bavona valley: a beautiful village with old stone houses surrounded by mountains. Whenever you make it to Ticino this place is definitely a must-see! Walking through these cozy alleys feels like you travelled back in time. On top of that there’s even a massive 110m high waterfall right outside that village. You can either directly follow the path from the parking area to the river or take the trail from the village towards the bottom of the waterfall. Both are perfect spots for a picnic or to simply enjoy the view.
Stop #5: Calnègia, Switzerland
For everyone who likes it a bit more adventurous, there’s also a beautiful hike up over the waterfall to another tiny hidden village called Calnègia. It takes about one hour to reach the top but being up here is totally worth it. The hike itself is pretty easy and also doable for kids.
Coming back down after this hike, and ordering lunch in the La Froda restaurant, I knew that it was for sure the right decision to head out for this short trip. Even if it was only 48 hours, it felt awesome to be outside exploring again and to free my mind after the tough last months.
Road trip ready: The Highland hybrid hiker sneaker brings together athletic comfort and trail style.