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World Heritage Site Monte San Giorgio

Brusino - Serpiano - Meride - Tremona - Mendrisio

Route Infos | Tour Ratings (0) | Tours in the Vicinity

World Heritage Site Monte San Giorgio

Brusino - Serpiano - Meride - Tremona - Mendrisio

Published/updated on 25.04.2017 by GabrielleMerk | 15524 points
 | Date of Tour: 25.04.2017 | Favourite Entries (1) 

Monte San Giorgio, a small wooded mountain in the very South of Switzerland on the border to Italy, is nicknamed "Fossil Mountain" because of the fossils dating back 230-245 million years that have been found here. The area is one of Switzerland's 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and is considered to be "the single best known record of marine life in the Triassic period". (See also this link: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1090 )

The trails from the West side on Lake Lugano across the mountain to Mendrisio on the East side are stages of various national and local routes. This description is for Stage 19 of the Via Gottardo Trail, which starts in Brusino across from Morcote, and ascends a steep and rough 400m (approx. 1 hour) to Serpiano, where one has a magnificent view of Morcote and the San Salvatore Peninsula.

There is also a cable car (Brusino-Serpiano Cable Car) that one can take to avoid the steep ascent.

The trail continues through a shale area where the first fossils were found in the 1920's, and then along a rather rough and rocky trail mostly through forests to a large clearing at Fontana, where there are a couple of farms and the remains of the old bitumen factory.

Continuing eastward just North of the Italian border you reach Meride, a quaint town with a climate ideal for growing grapes for wine. In Meride is the Fossil Museum exhibiting a selection of fossilized plants and animals found on the mountain (12 SFr. admission). At the East end of Meride you can see the convoluted hills of the Monte Generosa Massif.

There are several options to descend to Mendrisio, but Trail No.7 heads through some mysterious moss-covered woods to the Grotto Grassi (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays) from where you have another splendid view North to Riva San Vitale and Capolago at the foot of Monte Generoso.

After passing through Tremona, the trail continues down the South-East side of Monte San Giorgio through forests and vineyards to the Mendrisio train station.

Published/updated on 25.04.2017 by GabrielleMerk | 15524 points
 | Date of Tour: 25.04.2017 | Favourite Entries (1)

Route Infos

Time Required
4 hours 15 minutes
14 km
607 m
551 m
Max. Altitude
686 m
Min. Altitude
272 m
Season Start / Season End
March - November
Level of Difficulty (Hiking)
Starting Point
Starting Point with Public Transport
Return with Public Transport
Places to Eat
Serpiano, Meride, Grotto Fossati Meride (closed Mondays), Grotto Grassi Tremona (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays)
Things to Note
The climb up from Brusino to Serpiano is steep and rough, and can be avoided by taking the Cable car which runs April to October, Wed-Sun from 09.00 - 19.00. Does not run if the wind is too strong. Phone number to call is: +41 91 996 11 30

Details about the route 

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