If you spend a lot of time looking at epic travel photos on Instagram, you know that filters and effects can make even the most basic natural landscape look otherworldly. If you throw a Hi-Fi filter and turn up the saturation on a puddle in a parking lot, you can make it look like a pool of glacial run-off. But some photos are really just as epic as they appear to be. Flexing from the humble and narrow valley of Ticino, is the Valle Verzasca River, aka the river in Switzerland that is naturally emerald green and looks epic AF in pictures. While this river might look like the most extra thing you’ve ever seen on Instagram, it’s actually one of the most natural things you’ll see.
The Verzasca River has been dubbed one of the cleanest rivers in the world, which is the real reason why it has a greenish appearance. It’s not food coloring, it’s not a chemical reaction, and it’s not algae, it’s just mother nature at her absolute finest. Minerals from the rocks dissolve into the water over time and give it a greenish appearance, and without any pollution, it really takes on a vibrant and luminescent glow.
Verzasca literally means "green water," which proves that not only is it incredibly clean, but it’s always been that way. People who visit the river say that it can range between blue, to turquoise and emerald green depending on the time of year and conditions. Though no matter what time you visit this river, it was always be completely transparent. One of the best parts about the river is what’s beneath it.
The 18.6 mile long mountain river runs through a variety of polished yet vibrant rocks that are easily visible due to that near perfect clarity of the water. This makes the river a big destination for divers, though something people might be surprised to learn is that the river has no flora or fauna.
It’s believed that the increasing acidity in the water makes it a not-so-great home for plants and animals, but people are welcome to swim in it.
During wet seasons, the river is known to have some pretty intense currents that can be dangerous. But during the summer, tourists flock to the river for calmer waters and great swimming opportunities. Though if you do plan on visiting this river to swim in it, be prepared for a chill. The water usually stays between 45 F and 50 F degrees.
If you’re into hiking, there’s a famous trail that goes along the green river, offering epic views of the green waters for miles and miles. There’s the Lavertezzo Bridge, known as Ponte dei salti, aka "the bridge of jumps" thanks to brave adventurists who jump down into the green waters below.
Ready to visit? You’ll want to book a flight to Zurich, Switzerland, then rent a car, and buckle up for a two-and-a-half hour road trip to the river. Worth every second.
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