Welcome to Lugano, Switzerland!
With beautiful lakeside promenades lined with pavement cafes and posh designer boutiques, the lakeside city of Lugano is one of the most popular holiday resorts in Switzerland’s Ticino region. From the charming green spaces filled with stunning gardens, monuments and dozens of magnificent hiking trails to the Old Town’s pastel buildings, there is plenty to look forward to when visiting Lugano.
Many tourists come to Lugano to visit its main sites and enjoy incredible views, but a worldwide local knows how to experience Lugano’s picturesque landscapes from a different perspective. This insider’s guide allows you to discover some of the city’s finest sites, ensuring that your visit becomes a memorable experience.
Where to Begin in Lugano
Located in the heart of the Old Town, where you can also find some lovely Lugano hotels, Piazza della Riforma is a lovely square and a popular gathering spot for many tourists and locals. Surrounded by colorful buildings, the square is also home to Lugano’s City Hall and hosts a number of cultural events and festivals throughout the year.
The biggest draw in Lugano is the eponymous glacial lake which is located right on the border between Switzerland and Italy. Visitors can tour the lake on excursion boats or just sit back and enjoy magnificent views.
Situated on the shores of Lake Lugano, Parco Civico is one of the most beautiful parts in the Ticino region. Here, you will find a variety of beautiful flowers and plants, as well as many benches and tables where you can sit down and enjoy the peacefulness of this amazing place.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you wish to take a break from all the sightseeing but want to avoid large crowds of tourists, there is a nice café near Parco Civico called Café a Porter. They serve everything from coffee and freshly pressed juices to muffins and other small snacks.
Enjoy the Lugano Weather with Spectacular Hiking
Many locals recommend going on the Olive Grove Trail for hiking. The hike starts off in the small town of Gandria and takes visitors through an area where you can see the remains of the ancient olive trees. The hike offers captivating views of the lake and lasts for about two hours. A visit to the nearby mountain of Monte Bre is a great way to spend an afternoon. The mountain can be reached via a delightful old funicular and once you get to the observation point, you can enjoy panoramic views of the entire valley. Don’t forget to visit the small village of Bre and experience its traditional character. Here, you will find a couple of hiking trails and bike paths.
Worldwide Local Tip: Venture outside the city gates and visit the fabulous Museo Hermann Hesse, where the famous writer lived for most of his life. Expect to find plenty of interesting memorabilia including photos, books, and typewriters. If you are a fan of his work, you can also take an audio-guide tour and visit the small village where the writer spent the last 40 years of his life.
Have a Sweet Time at Alprose Chocolate Museum
For a local experience and to learn about the history of chocolate, visit the Alprose Chocolate Museum. Besides observing how this sweet treat is actually made and packaged, you will also have an opportunity to taste chocolates and purchase souvenirs in the gift shop to take back home. Visitors interested in architecture can head out to the amazing cathedral of San Lorenzo which dates back to the 15th century and is famed for its rose window and white Carrara marble.
Worldwide Local Tip: When it comes to local foods, the Lugano restaurants offer a fusion of Swiss and Italian cuisine. Santabbondio offers traditional Ticinese cuisine with innovative twists and has an extensive wine list, while Ristorante Al Portone is an intimate restaurant where delicious Franco-Italian dishes can be found on the menu. To try tasty seafood specialties, book a table at the Michelin-starred Arté al Lago restaurant.
Enjoy Your Stay!
Lugano is one of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland and an ideal place to enjoy long walks and breathtaking views. Exploring the city as a worldwide local will give you easy access to some of its best sites.