Bellinzona is probably the most Italian city of Switzerland and an important hub along the north-south route. It is the gate to Italy in the north, and in the south Bellinzona is the key to the Alps. The Lombard charm of the city is best shown in the squares, courtyards and originally restored houses. The medieval Bellinzona boasts a vibrant social and cultural life with many shops, cafés and weekly markets. Ticino in summer features a great outdoor programme, including climbing, hiking mountain biking and swimming. Monte Tamaro is about 20 km from Bellinzona and boasts an Alpine slide, a bike park and a mountain biking trail. Racing cyclists love to explore the various mountain passes, such as San Bernardino Pass, Nufenen Pass and Lukmanier Pass. For a day trip visit the holiday resorts of Locarno and Ascona. Locarno sits between the north-western shore of Lago Maggiore and Monte Cardada. Cardada - Cimetta is known as the “Pearl of Lago Maggiore“ and the ideal region for extended hikes.