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Lugano lies in a bay on the northern side of Lake Lugano, surrounded by numerous mountains offering splendid viewpoints. The traffic-free historic town centre, the numerous buildings in Italianate Lombardy style, the exclusive museums, the mountains, lake and a packed calendar of events all invite visitors to see the sights, soak up the atmosphere – and enjoy “dolce far niente”. Thanks to its mild climate, Lugano is a popular tourist destination in the spring when the camellias are in bloom.
The town centre with its Mediterranean-style squares and arcades, and numerous parks with sub-tropical plants such as the Parco Civico on the shores of the lake invite you to laze around, enjoying the atmosphere. By the lakeside promenade are the Belvedere Gardens, where the parkland boasts not only camellias and magnolias but also countless sub-tropical plants and modern works of art.
Activities and Tours
Nostalgic journey to the summit
A cog railway has been taking visitors up to the peak of Monte Generoso for 125 to enjoy these breathtaking views. It is about 9km long and runs along a magical stretch of mountain scenery in the Monte Generoso nature park. The new restaurant “Fiore di pietra” (stone flower) created by the famous architect Mario Botta stands majestically on a rugged plateau on the mountain. Its windows offer breathtaking 360° panoramic views, taking in the lakes, the city of Lugano as well as the Matterhorn and Jungfrau all the way to the Bernina Range.
Live the experience of making ravioli in Lugano. You will be provided with gloves and chef’s hat, you will be involved in every stage of the process, dough and filling. At the end you will enjoy your meal with a delicious local wine.
The castles of Bellinzona are one of Ticino’s main attractions and, with the old walls that are still standing, represent the sole medieval military complex in the Alpine region. They became part of the UNESCO World Heritage in 2000. A visit to the castles, also connected by a tourist train, is like diving into history: an excursion enjoyed by all ages thanks to the splendor of the fortifications with their high towers and crenulated walls.
Lugano’s local mountain: the striking “sugarloaf mountain” of Ticino offers breathtaking 360-degree views.
Visitors can gaze out over the lake, far into the southern horizon and up high to the Alps. Enjoy the view of this natural landmark from every conceivable perspective. The hike begins on the shores of the lake, where some places of art and culture are well worth a visit, such as the LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura and the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli. Once the peak has been reached by cable car, it is time to bask in the captivating views and landscapes.
Monte San Salvatore
Southern plants such as palm trees or lemon trees flourish in Locarno and give the city its special charm. The heart of the city is the Piazza Grande, well-known for its annual film festival. The narrow lanes of the Old Town all lead to the Piazza. Castello Visconteo, a castle dating back to the 12th century, lies at the edge of the Old Town. About a fifth of the castle has been preserved in its original state. Splendid upper-town palazzi house fine art collections and the lake promenade offers relaxed strolling.
2,300 hours of sunshine per year and a church established ater an appearance of the Virgin Mary – this is Locarno, the town with the warmest climate in Switzerland. It is located on the northern shore of Lago Maggiore.
Activities and Tours
Lake Maggiore extends from the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland far into the Italian regions of Piedmont and Lombardy. Thanks to its mild climate, there is lush, Mediterranean vegetation along its shores. In the hinterland is a wild and romantic mountain landscape with breathtaking views.
Cruise on Lake Maggiore
Sacred mount Madonna del Sasso
Most striking of all Locarno’s sights is the Franciscan Santuario della Madonna del Sasso church, an impressive ochre vision floating above the town on a wooded crag (sasso means rock) and consecrated in 1487 on the spot where, seven years earlier, the Virgin had appeared to Brother Bartholomeo da Ivrea from the San Francesco monastery in the town.
The twenty-minute walk up through the lush ravine of the Torrente Ramogno and past a handful of decaying shrines, is atmospheric enough in itself; or you could take the half-hourly funicular from just west of the station to Ticino’s greatest photo-op, looking down through the palms to the sunlit arcaded main front of the church and glittering blue lake behind.