A Winter Postcard From Beautiful Lugano
Lugano in Ticino
Lugano is one of my favourite cities in Switzerland and is definitely worth a visit any time of year. Even when it’s grey and cloudy in Zurich you can often find a few rays of sunshine to brighten your day in this beautiful lakeside location. Lugano is situated in the south of Switzerland, and is the biggest town in Ticino. With all the palm trees and its Italianate architecture it very much has a Mediterranean feel to it. The ninth largest Swiss town, it is the has the highest number of Italian speakers outside of Italy.
The Bell Tower of the St. Lawrence Cathedral
Arriving by train you are greeted by this stunning view of the bell tower of the St Lawrence Cathedral and Lake Lugano and the mountains beyond.
The railway station is at the top of a hill, above the town and the lake. It’s a lovely scenic walk down to the centre.
The culture is closely related to Italy’s northern Lombardy region and you can see it in the architecture.
The city is surrounded by mountains and when all the funiculars are operating (do check each one online) it’s definitely worth going up to the top of one to take in the great views at Monte Brè or San Salvatore for example.
There are some eye catching building like this one as you make your way down.
Piazza della Riforma, is the main square in Lugano and a pedestrianised area from where you can take a stroll and discover some wonderful shops, little boutiques and great delicatessens, as you admire the surrounding pastel-colored, neoclassical palazzi.
Even in Winter the lake looks beautiful and although you can’t go out on a pedallo, you can watch the swans and take in the views.
Cafés, Restaurants and Gelato
In the main piazza and along the strip facing the lake, there are some great restaurants as well as places for coffee and gelato. The food is delicious and one of our favourites is La Cuisine di Alice at Riva Vela 4, 6900 Lugano, which we have visited on many occasions. Because of Covid it was shut, but there were plenty of places along the promenade where you could get coffees, Glühwein and ice creams and snacks.
Parco Ciani Lugano
From the beautiful Parco Ciani you can enjoy fabulous views of Monte Bré, Monte San Salvatore and Campione d’italia and of the lake.
The Gates in Parco Ciani Lugano
The famous gates in the park are a favourite spot for photographers and Instagrammers alike.
Villa Ciani Lugano
The peach coloured building in the park is the Villa Ciani and is surrounded by the lush gardens. When we visited there was an outdoor art exhibition taking place in the grounds.
Villa Ciani in Parco Ciani
We visited for a day trip and before we had managed to see everything we wanted it was time to head back to the station and back home. However, with the trip from Zurich taking just around 2 hours (thanks to the new Ceneri base tunnel).
Lugano – A Perfect Weekend Getaway
Lugano makes an ideal destination for a weekend break. If you don’t have much time it’s also worth visiting for a day trip – and there is so much to see and do you will surely want to return.
How to get there: It takes just around 2 hours from Zurich, and around 3 hours from Bern and from Basel.
When to go: It’s a beautiful city to visit anytime of year.
Top Things to Do there: (Please note that at the time of writing most things are shut due to Covid). However, in normal times you can walk along the lakeside, enjoy a meal at one of the local pavement cafes or restaurants, go to the summit of one of the nearby mountains, explore the old town around the Piazza della Riforma, visit the LAC Arts and Culture Centre, take a walk in the beautiful Parco Ciani and admire the famous ornate gate. In summer it’s the perfect time to hire a pedallo or go for a swim or a boat ride around the lake.
For more information on Lugano please visit the Ticino Turismo website here.
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