The Monte San Giorgio, also known as the «Fossil Mountain», is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage, tackled after a short boat trip. Dinosaur fossils dating back 230-240 million years can be marvelled at in a small museum in Meride.
The last stage of the Trans Swiss Trail starts with a boat trip: from the former fishing village of Morcote, you cross over to the starting point of the hike in Terniciolo opposite. Now it is up to you to decide whether to climb the almost 400 metres in altitude by cable car or on foot along the pretty but steep forest trail. Either way, the paths meet again shortly before the grotto on the Alpe di Brusino. The ascent continues: a good 400 metres further up, you reach Forello after a little over an hour. Those who want to climb to the summit of Monte San Giorgio can do so with a 10-minute deviation. The 360-degree view far surpasses that of Forello. Later you descend to Meride on stony paths. The area has been listed as a UNESCO world heritage site since 2003. The southern foothills of lake Lugano are known for their spectacular fossil finds. 240 million years ago, there was a 100-metre-deep sea basin here. Thousands and thousands of very well preserved skeletons of fish, invertebrates and reptiles (marine dinosaurs) have been found here. You arrive at Meride after a good hour and can admire some of the finds in the local museum. Now follows the final hour of hiking on the Trans Swiss Trail. Having started in Porrentruy, 500 kilometres and 35,000 metres of difference in altitude (up and down) separate the starting point from the finish in Mendrisio. After a final descent through the forest and a short stretch through an industrial area, you reach the train station in Mendrisio. The somewhat lesser known town pleases with its charming historic centre, narrow streets, old palazzi, ancient churches and the medieval tower on the Piazza del Ponte.