We visited a UNESCO World Heritage site consisting of three magnificent castles in Bellinzona. Their connecting walls are the only examples of defensive military architecture dating back to the Middle Ages that still exist in the Alpine region.
We were up early and set off to Bellinzona where the first item on our itinerary was to explore Castelgrande.
We found the parking Plaza Sole really easily and discovered that it’s right at the foot of the castle. There is a lift to take you up to the main structure and, although you can’t access the main towers with pushchairs, there are just a few steps to navigate once you are up there.
It’s a lovely space and the children loved running around and exploring, Jude was imagining knights and princes and Alba was happy to run around arms wide and singing in the open space. It was a bit windy up there (apparently this is often the case in Bellinzona) but we were really lucky to have a wonderful sunny day.
The towers are impressive and well worth a look for the views alone. Jude found the steps a bit scary and I had to carry Alba which was a bit tight up the spiral staircase in the right tower. There are often events at the castle including festivals and there is an Escape Room game located in one of the towers which I imagine would be pretty cool.
After about an hour and a half we met with Laura from Ticino tourism to have lunch in the terrace restaurant at the castle. This was a lovely spot with excellent food and a fantastic spot to enjoy the views of the town and Montebello castle opposite. Laura was lovely and gave us lots of information about the area which was really helpful.
After lunch, we drove the short distance to Montebello which was beautiful and more medieval in style than Castelgrande which has recently undergone extensive renovation. The children loved it there as there was a drawbridge - these things are important :-).
This is a really great place to kick-off your weekend in Ticino and to absorb some of the history of this beautiful area!
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Parking : Yes (100 meters from the entrance)
Toilets : We didn't see any public toilets
Baby Change Facilities : Not that we saw
Accessibility : Baby carrier recommended, partially accessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs
Free to visit the outside.