Hello everyone! Today I’m gonna introduce to you the Monte Carlo of Switzerland – Lugano! It is a city in southern Switzerland in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino neighboring Italy. It’s the 9th largest city in Switzerland and largest city in canton Ticino. The city lies on Lake Lugano, surrounded by the mountains of the Lugano Prealps.
Its warm summers and reputation for attracting celebrities, entertainers, and successful athletes have earned it the nickname the “Monte Carlo of Switzerland”. – Wikipedia
If you ask me what to visit in Lugano, well, first of all, lake Lugano, then I would recommend Parco Civico and either Monte San Salvatore or Monte Brè (or both). I suggest you visit one mountain at one time otherwise you’ll really be in a hurry. For me I chose to go to Monte San Salvatore because I wanted to see the small part of Italy in Switzerland from above. I guess the view from both mountains are similar so I’d rather leave one mountain for another time and enjoy one at a time.
1. The city
In Lugano you don’t need to hurry because its beauty lies in its peace.
2. Parco Civico
First of all, I’d like to introduce to you the park on the shore of lake Lugano – Parco Civico. You can walk there from Lugano train station and it takes around 20 mins. It’s also quite close to the shopping area and restaurants. How much time you should spend there? Well, it totally depends on you. I went there once I arrived in Lugano and after lunch and third time after I came down from Monte San Salvatore. Lake Lugano looks different when the sun goes up and down. Find a bench, some stairs or even a stone path and just take a seat. Watch the swans swimming and playing, watch the green mountains across the lake and the white peaks further away. You feel you’re actually in Italy watching the Mediterranean Sea (The lake is really huge and it looks like the sea) but when you focus on the white peaks, you’ll realize it’s Switzerland. I suggest you go there during different time of the day and I believe you’ll never see the same scene.
3. Along the lake
The next destination is Monte San Salvatore. You can either take a bus (20 mins) or walk there (30 mins) along the lake. I suggest the latter because the view is so beautiful and you won’t even feel you have walked 30 mins already. If you decide to take a bus, you should get off at Paradiso, Stazione/Scuole and then walk another 7 mins.
4. Monte San Salvatore
The Monte San Salvatore (912 m) is a mountain in the Lepontine Alps above Lake Lugano and the city of Lugano in Switzerland. The Monte San Salvatore funicular links the city with the summit of the mountain.
- Basically the funicular train leaves every 30 mins and if you have GA or Half price card, it only costs 15 CHF round-way.
- For more info about train schedule and ticket prices please click here.
There are many things to do on the summit. First of all, the view is wonderful and you can get up to the roof of a small church to enjoy an even better view. There are also a museum, hiking trails, and restaurants. However, if you wanna go hiking I suggest you wear special shoes or at least comfortable shoes as the paths are not really very comfortable and it’s covered with stones and sand, so very slippery. Just follow the signs when you get off the funicular train and you will see everything you wanted to see. I remember there are several panoramic viewing points, but from my experience, the roof of the church is the best spot. Also, when you’re at the top, you can see a small part of lake and land in Switzerland (you can tell from google map), that is Italian territory.
If you have time I suggest you go to Lugano cathedral to have a look, but last time when I was there, it was closed for renovation. Hopefully it’s open now.
That’s all about my one-day trip in Lugano. As I said before, you don’t need to hurry from one attraction to another, its beauty lies in its peace. Just give yourself enough time to walk and relax. 🙂