Foroglio, Switzerland | A Village Frozen in Time

| Updated on February 19, 2024

One of my favorite places in Switzerland is the little village of Foroglio. I first visited in May 2023 on a drive down from the Interlaken area to Lake Como in Italy. It was well worth the multiple hour detour to drive up the winding road into Val Bavona (Bavona Valley). Rock cliffs drop sharply off from above as waterfalls cascade down. Stone bridges, homes and churches dot the landscape as Foroglio is only one of 13 ancient villages in a 10km stretch of the valley.

Foroglio, Switzerland History

Foroglio’s history stretches back millenia. Influences from Roman times are evident, including the ruins of the Roman bridge, Chial Fontana. Many of the stone houses, churches and other structures of Foroglio and the other nearby villages were built in the 15th century out of local stone. This way of life existed for hundreds of years, as the soil wasn’t conductive to much farming. Winters were harsh, so inhabitants would stay only in the warmer months and retreat to lower elevation in the winter. In the 1900s, Foroglio and the Bavona Valley had a chance to step into modern life, as nearby San Carlo adopted electricity. The residents in the valley voted against electricity, leaving this region to a more fairy-tale setting without the modern conveniences of things like electricity. Visiting Foroglio is like stepping back in time to a much simplier way of life. It really is a refreshing places to visit, devoid of powerlines and feeling like you are walking through a real life Hobbit town or something.

Where to Eat and Stay in Foroglio

As Foroglio is a very small and rustic town, there are no hotels to stay at. Your best bet is to stay in a hotel, vacation rental or bed and breakfast in the Cevino or San Carlo area. Alternatively, many options are available further south in the Lugano area for day trips up to Foroglio and the Bavona Valley. Food-wise, Foroglio has one restaurant: La Froda. Providing local Ticino dishes and drinks, it’s definitely worth stopping in for a meal after exploring the village and surrounding areas! Just know that it is closed in the off-season, so if you arrive in late autumn or winter, don’t expect it to be open.

How to Get to Foroglio

The easiest way to get to Foroglio is to drive up. If you don’t have access to a vehicle, however, there is a bus that runs up to the area. Starting in Locarno, take bus number 315 towards Cavergno, Paese. Get off at Bignasco, Posta and take bus 333 towards San Carlo, getting off at Foroglio.

Panoramic Foroglio
Panoramic Foroglio - Prints AvailablePanoramic Foroglio | Limited Edition Print Run of 100

Cascata di Foroglio (The Foroglio Waterfall)

One of the defining features of Foroglio is the imposing waterfall that is included in many backdrops of photographs of this beautiful village. The Cascata di Foroglio (or the Foroglio waterfall) drops over 350 feet from the sheer cliff face. Access is fairly easy, with a quick stroll from the village taking you near the base of the falls. In the summer, this is a very popular spot for swimming in the water below the falls. Make sure to come early or late if you want to avoid the largest rush of tourists.

Ticino, Switzerland

As Foroglio is located in the canton of Ticino, it’s worth mentioning Switzerland’s beautiful Italian side. Located near the border of Italy, heading towards Milan, this region is the sunniest region in Switzerland. As Ticino borders the lakes region of Italy, the lakes here provide some of the spectacular scenery of the region. Ticino’s most famous landmark is Lake Lugano, of which the city of Lugano resides on the shoreline. Bellinzona, the capital of Ticino is also known for stunning medieval castles. From palm trees lining the shorelines to vineyards and luxurious gardens contrasting the sharp peaks of the southern Alps, this region is certainly worth working into your Switzerland plans. But if you do, make sure you visit Val Bavona and the fairytale town of Foroglio, Switzerland!

Photos of Foroglio and Switzerland

The photo further up the page is available as a fine art print in a number of mediums. I have many more Switzerland photos available as prints, as well as collections from all over Europe! Below are some of my best sellers from Europe: