Railway adventures

Centovalli and Valle Vigezzo

A fascinating panoramic journey at any time of year

Enjoy a breath-taking scenic journey of discovery through 100 valleys and Valle Vigezzo. The train ride from Domodossola to Locarno is like something from the pages of a beautiful picture book: every moment is a new discovery. Nature offers a series of breath-taking views here – enjoy her fascinating creations, as well as the 83 bridges and viaducts.

It's worth stopping for. Visit the chimney sweep museum, the perfume shop and the Praudina adventure park in Santa Maria Maggiore, the pilgrimage church in Re or the museum with the highest bell tower in Ticino in Intragna.

Railway line

Nearly 100 years old, the Vigezzina-Centovalli Railway is a panoramic, narrow-gauge railway line connecting Domodossola and Locarno. The line is 52 km long and includes 83 bridges and 31 tunnels. Today, it is one of the major attractions of the Ossola Valley. Nestled amidst the pristine landscape, it offers passengers a leisurely and exciting journey between Valle Vigezzo and Centovalli, between Italy and Switzerland.

Route and journey time

Route Domodossola–Valle Ossola–Valle Vigezzo–Centovalli–Lago Maggiore–Locarno
Distance 52 km
Travel time 1 hour 54 minutes

Free audio guide

Follow your journey on the map. Discover all the details, curiosities and interesting information along the entire railway line.

What do you require for this? Your smartphone and earphones. With no additional data charges.

Highlights

Get off at any station of your choice along the way and visit one of the historical villages, enjoy a walk through the beautiful landscape or savour the authentic cuisine at a typical osteria.

Domodossola

Domodossola is the starting point for your journey and a town with medieval charm. It lies at the foot of the Ossola Valley, is bisected by the River Toce and enchants visitors with its romantic squares and narrow alleyways. Before you continue your journey with the Vigezzina-Centovalli Railway, you can enjoy a cappuccino on the piazza (square) or visit the vibrant weekly market in the historic centre on a Saturday.

Santa Maria Maggiore

A charming village with an enchanting centre, a piazza and streets with colourful house façades. This little settlement is home to three highly interesting museums dedicated to local history and ancient traditions. The Chimney Sweep Museum, the Casa del Profumo (House of Perfume) and the pinacoteca of the Scuola di Belle Arti Rossetti Valentini.

Re

The village of Re is famed for its impressive pilgrimage church of the Madonna del Sangue, which towers high above the plain. The legend goes that in 1494, a little fresco of the “Madonna del latte” was struck by a stone and began to bleed. This resulted in the veneration of the wounded Madonna, whose image is today located in the cathedral of Santa Croce.

Intragna

Intragna, the gateway to the Centovalli, is a small Ticino village with narrow alleyways, typical stone houses and historic palazzi. At 65 metres in height, the belfry – which is part of the San Gottardo church – is the tallest in the entire canton. If you climb the 165 steps to the top, you will be rewarded with a fantastic panoramic view of the Centovalli, the Terre di Pedemonte and the Onsernone Valley. 

Locarno

This is the end-point of your journey on the Vigezzina-Centovalli Railway. Locarno, the cinematic town by Lake Maggiore, offers experiences to suit every taste. Here you will find interesting museums and tranquil parks. Surrounded by mountains, this beautiful little town offers breath-taking views at any time of day..

Madonna del Sasso

The pilgrimage church of Madonna del Sasso was founded here in 1487 by the Franciscan friar Frá Bartolomeo, after, according to legend, the Virgin Mary appeared to him. Popular belief led to the construction of the first chapel. In the following centuries, the idea of erecting a place of pilgrimage started to form, a religious architectural form very common in the lake region: a complex of churches and chapels along a penitential trail, nestled in the beautiful and solitary nature. The architectural complex includes the Basilica and the Franciscan Monastery standing high on the rock, the Church of the Annunciation, the Way of the Cross and other chapels.

The cable car is closed in November for maintenance.

Museo Casa del Padre

The museum is located in the oldest part of the monastery and occupies the original rooms where the first four monks lived, including the refectory with its magnificent fresco of the Last Supper. The eight exhibition rooms tell of the monastic life of the Capuchin fathers, as well as the history of the monastery in connection with the pilgrimage sites in the foothills of the Alps. Also on display are paraments and cult objects, as well as drawings and paintings by the Ticino painter Antonio Ciseri (1821-1891).

Availability Today (Tuesday) open

The ride from Domodossola to Locarno takes about 2 hours.

Timetable recommendation

Domodossola dep. 10.26
Masera dep. 10.34
Trontano dep. 10.45
Druogno dep. 11.07
S. Maria Maggiore dep. 11.12
Maleso dep. 11.18
Re dep. 11.24
Camedo arr. (only for disembarking) 11.40
Intragna arr. (only for disembarking) 11.58
Ponte Brolla arr.(only for disembarking, stopping on demand) 12.08
Locarno S. Antonio arr. 12.14
Locarno FART arr. 12.20

Train from Domodossola 10.25

  • All stops from Masera to Re are on request
  • Camedo without restriction (for embarking and disembarking)

Important notice: Works to adapt the stations of the Vigezzina-Centovalli Railway to LDis (Law for the Disabled). The works will last until 2023. We recommend you to consult the online timetable before traveling (FSS app or Arcobaleno).

BLS suggestion

Take the opportunity to experience a journey in the atmosphere of times gone by on board the historic train consisting of an electric multiple unit ABDe 6/6 built in 1963 and two AB4 coaches built in 1923. A plunge into the past during the journey between Locarno and Camedo.

How to get there

With the RegioExpress Bern – Spiez – Kandersteg – Brig – Domodossola you travel comfortably from Bern direct to Domodossola. From Domodossola Railway Station, it’s an approximately 8-minute walk to the departure point of the Vigezzina-Centovalli Railway. For the return journey, we recommend the shorter route via the Gotthard line.

Notes

Seat reservations

Seat reservations are compulsory. You can make your reservation at your local BLS Travel Centre or online using the following link:

Luggage drop-off

You can drop off your luggage at your local BLS Travel Centre up until 19.00 hours and collect it from 09.00 hours two days later – please note the opening times.

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