The breathtaking view which can be enjoyed from Cardada is without a doubt the most striking aspect of this splendid mountain, which has earned it the name of "The Pearl of Lake Maggiore". Whether you are just walking along the numerous pathways or relaxing at one of the tables of Cardada's enticing restaurants at a height of 1,340 metres, it offers a stupendous view of the whole of the magnificent Locarno region; from the Magadino plain, continuing along the delta of the Maggia river to the point where Lake Maggiore meets nearby Italy, just after the Brissago islands. Climbing right up to Cimetta at 1,670 metres above sea level, the view widens out even more, offering a 360 degree panorama which stretches out to the whole of the Lake Maggiore basin and the surrounding Alps. The lovely view from Cimetta is absolutely unique, as it allows two extremes of our country to be seen: Switzerland's lowest spot, the delta of the Maggia river between Ascona and Locarno, and the highest spot, Dufourspitze, situated on the Monte Rosa massif and which carves its way through the imposing Alpine chain to the west of the horizon.
In winter, when weather conditions are just right, from both Cardada and Cimetta, you can admire the fascinating sea of fog that covers the whole of the Lake Maggiore basin, a spectacle of nature that allows us to imagine how the region would have looked during the last Ice Age.
Cardada is a fascinating place, as is the journey in the ultra modern cable car which takes you from Orselina at 395 metres above sea level to Cardada at 1,340 metres above sea level in just 5 minutes. The cable system was designed by architect Mario Botta and inaugurated in June 2000. He created the departure and arrival stations and took care of the cabin design and its characteristic rain-drop shape. Thanks to its light steel and glass structure, wonderful views can be enjoyed throughout the journey. Getting to Cardada is thus enjoyable and very comfortable: The Locarno-Orselina cableway is just 5 minutes away from Locarno and its two departure/arrival stations have been designed so that they are easily accessible to elderly people, disabled and families with push chairs. For those who wish to carry on up to Cimetta, there are more views to be experienced thanks to a practical chair lift.
Cardada is not only admired for its breathtaking views but also because of its magnificent scenery and particularly agreeable climate. Due to its south facing position the mountain is continuously embraced by the sun's rays, from dawn to dusk, and is an ideal place for long activities throughout the day. During the summer its high altitude helps to keep temperatures cool. It provides a very refreshing average temperature of about 20°C during those muggy hot days when Locarno registers 30°C.
Cardada is especially rich in flora and fauna: thanks to its sunny climate even camelias grow there and in the shade of the beech, larch, chestnut and birch woods, it is not unusual to find numerous species of birds and other unusual animals.
Fall / Winter
Cardada is not only an extraordinary place on account of its breathtaking views but also because it offers a magnificent setting coupled with a particularly pleasant climate in both autumn and winter. The mountain owes its climate to its privileged south facing location, constantly enjoying long sunny days and mild temperatures, even during the coldest winter months.
In autumn, Cardada is tinged with reds and yellows: beech, larch, chestnut and birch trees offer a spectacle of multicoloured leaves where you can lose yourself in unforgettable outings or a spot of revitalizing relaxation. During the winter months, the mountain is covered in a thick white cloak which transforms Cardada into an idyllic landscape, where snow covered fields contrast with the exceptionally mild climate.
Before the 1950s, Cardada and Cimetta were mainly destinations for winter sports enthusiasts, who would ascend the mountain paths on foot, with their skis on their shoulders, stopping off at the Cimetta cabin which had been built in 1936 by the Solduno Ski Club. Lack of any transport limited access to this lovely mountain to a handful of tourists and skiers, who were the only ones to enjoy the breathtaking view of the Lake Maggiore basin.
At the beginning of the 1950s, a special team, headed by its President, Luigi Pedrazzini, launched an important project to build a cableway connecting Orselina and Cardada. The building of the first cable car system began in 1952 and ended the same year on 26 December, finally giving everyone access to this beautiful place. Due to the enthusiasm of tourists and local residents, over 68,589 people were transported during its first year of opening, much to the delight of the company sponsoring the project. The Cardada tourist resort expanded considerably in subsequent years due to a large increase in tourists all year round. The Cardada-Cimetta chairlift was built in 1956. Between 1951 and 1965 ski-lifts were built by Ulisse del Grande, turning Cimetta into a very attractive destination for skiers. The opening of restaurants and cabins allowed visitors to enjoy gastronomic specialities and sleep at high altitudes, thus making Cardada a real and proper terrace on which to relax and enjoy the splendid climate and views that the Lake Maggiore region offers.
The cable car system has been renovated and modernised several times over the years. The most significant changes took place in 1984 when the cabin was replaced with a more modern and spacious one and then again in 2000, when the whole system was completely renovated. As well as the building of the new cable car, landscape architect Paolo Bürgi carried out several projects in Cardada and Cimetta in the year 2000. He made these places even more attractive and better equipped to satisfy its guests in the new millennium. Cardada is always open to innovation: several projects are currently being assessed so that future visits can be an even more interesting and enjoyable experience.