Lugano is a lovely lake shore town of parks, flowers, villas, museums, and sacred buildings in the beautiful region of Ticino, Switzerland. Despite being a small town, Lugano has all the world-class amenities and is an important financial center for Ticino Region. The town is beautiful nestled near the Lake Lugano and the dominating San Salvatore and Brè Mountains add to the beautiful surroundings, making it look wonderful from all angles. The town is also not very far from Lake Maggiore which is an amazing lake that connects Switzerland and Italy through waters.
Lugano is already famous among tourists so you might find it crowded in holiday season however, there are enough hotels, restaurants, cafes, and shops to accommodate your needs. The town lies on the northern side of lake Lugano in a bay and the mountains around it provide a dreamy fairyland view of the town around the lake. You can also check the events list online before visiting Lugano as many international events and exhibitions are held in this town regularly. The climate of the town is also mild so many tourists enjoy the atmosphere with blooming camellias.
The town center is a pedestrian friendly zone with many parks, arcades, and Mediterranean style squares. The town is also covered with many palm and olive trees and there is a famous and beautiful olive tree trail where you can enjoy a relaxing walk.
17 Wonderful Attractions in Lugano Switzerland
The lake is the most famous attraction of Lugano Town and is famous for its wilderness. The lake has a size of 50 square kilometers and is a glacial lake. The lake is situated on the border between Switzerland and Italy. Boating and cruising in the Lake Lugano are one of the best activities in the town. You will notice beautiful mountain with wood-cloaked slopes on almost every shore of the lake. These peaks cover the lake views so the best way to explore the beauty of the lake is by boat otherwise you will see a limited view of the lake from the shore. The morning and evening hours are considered as the best time for lake cruising because of the lovely shades of sun that makes water and the mountains around it look incredibly Enchanting.
Monte San Salvatore
Monte San Salvatore dominates the southern skyline of Lugano town and is 900 meters high. This mountain is famous for amazing 360-degree views of the Lugano and its surroundings including Swiss Alps. You can reach on top of the mountain by a funicular that runs from Paradiso and takes around 12 minutes. If you love hiking, you will be glad to know that there are some amazing hiking trails that start from the mountain summit and lead to the lake side town of Morcote. You can also climb the Monte San Salvatore without funicular or come back down by hiking tracks. There are some beautiful azalea gardens and a fossil research museum on the mountain.
Monte Brè in Lugano Switzerland
Monte Brè is a magnificent mountain over the Lugano town and can be reached by a funicular rail. There is a small picturesque village of Brè that is nestled at the foot of Monte Brè. The village has a display house for the paintings of the famous Swiss painter, Wilhelm Schmidt. The Monte Brè is around 925 meters high and has amazing viewpoints from where you can not only enjoy the magnificence of Switzerland but also Italy.
There are a couple of nice restaurants on the mountain where you can have your food or drink while soaking up on the panoramic views of the surroundings. Monte Brè is also home to the Christmas Rose flower which usually only thrives in Mediterranean climates. This is mainly because Monte Brè is one of the sunniest mountains of Switzerland which helps nourishing this special rose flower.
Centro Storico in Lugano Switzerland
Centro Storico is the old and pedestrian friendly town center of Lugano which is filled with beautiful churches, arcaded squares, palazzi, and Renaissance architecture. The Piazza Riforma is a famous piazza in Centro Storico, where you will be delighted to see the pastel painted buildings and the happening life. The town center also has a tourist center for the visitors from where you can get lots of information and maps about Lugano. There is also a Neoclassical city hall situated in Centro Storico near the tourist office. Piazzale Ex Scuole is famous for the sales of cold cuts, cheese, fruits and flowers on every Tuesday and Friday mornings.
Vico Morcote in Lugano Switzerland
Vico Morcote is a sweet little town located between the lush vineyards and woods. This town has a very impressive architectural and historical heritage as most of the houses date back to the 17th and 18th century. The village also has a nice and beautifully decorated church which is surrounded by the breathtaking views of Alps and the valley. The village also has several amazing hiking tracks for an afternoon out around the Mediterranean flora.
Via Nassa in Lugano Switzerland
Via Nassa is a famous street for shopping with long line of arcades that date back to the 17th century. These arcades were used by the stallholders for shelter and shade in the past. Now the very same arcades have many cafes, upmarket boutiques, jewelry shops and department stores.
Parco Civico in Lugano Switzerland
Parco Civico is an enchanting lakeside park on the East side of the Centro Storico. Parco Civico offers incredible views of the Lake Lugano around the curve of the bay and is considered as an ideal sunset spot for a relaxing stroll. The park also has a convention center and a cantonal library.
You can enjoy the beautiful views of Monte Brè and Monte San Salvatore from this park along the lake. The gardens in the park are mesmerizing with flowerbeds, palms, and shrubs. The east side of the park has many maple, oak, lime, and plane trees.
Chiesa di Santa Maria degli Angeli
Chiesa di Santa Maria degli Angeli is a wonderful example of an incredible interior decoration. The exterior of the church is not as lavished as the interior, but it still looks amazing from the outside. The interior displays one of the finest Renaissance fresco that spreads across the entrance to the chancel. It represents Christ’s passion and crucifixion and was painted around 1529. There are two more paintings by the same artists, “Luini”, that depict the Virgin and the Child and the Last Supper. The altar is also a masterpiece crafted from the wood in the beginning of 18th century.
Cattedrale San Lorenzo
Cattedrale San Lorenzo is also one of the incredible architectures in Lugano Switzerland that has main façade carved from white limestone and Carrara marble. The cathedral was built in the 16th century on the venue of an old Romanesque building. The three portals of cathedral are sculpted with Renaissance motifs like birds. Between the three portals are marble sculptures of King Solomon, David, and the Four Evangelists. There is a beautiful rose window in the center of the cathedral. Cattedrale San Lorenzo also has a beautiful terrace from where you can enjoy the magnificent views of the lake and mountains.
Hesse Museum in Lugano Switzerland
Hermann Hesse was a Nobel Price winner German author who moved to live near the Lake Lugano in the village of Montagnolia in 1919. He continued to live there until 1962 when he died, leaving behind his classic books. Hesse Museum is created in his first home “Casa Camuzzi” in the village which displays his work.
His wrote classic books while living there which include Siddhartha, Narcissus, Steppenwolf and Goldmund. You can take an audio guide and learn about the life of Hermann Hesse around the village of Montagnola.
Gandria Village in Lugano Switzerland
Gandria is a picturesque lake side village in Lugano which is nestled on the foot of Monte Brè towards the eastern side. The village of Gandria is almost unspoiled since last 100 years and used to be an important place for smuggling between Swiss-Italian Borders. There is a 15th century church of St Viglio in Gandria. The façade of the church has many historic memorials about the important local families. There is also a Swiss Customs Museum near the village which displays the stories about the smuggler’s schemes and how the customs were able to control the smuggling.
Olive Tree Trail in Lugano Switzerland
Gandria is also very famous for its olive trees which are part of the village’s heritage. Gandria is situated at the end of the slops of Monte Brè which are terraced with Olive Trees. There is a beautiful 3.5-kilometer olive tree trail where visitors love to take a leisurely walk. This route will take you from Gandria to Castagnola through the Mediterranean environment.
Some of the olive trees are more than 100 years old and you will also learn about the new efforts and techniques about olive cultivation. This olive trail is well signposted for the ease of use for the visitors. There are information boards that display information about the specific type of olive trees and their relationship with the villages.
Museo d’Arte della Svizzera (MASI)
Museo d’Arte della Svizzera presents the diverse art collections of Ticino Canton of Switzerland including Lugano town since 2015. MASI has two locations in Lugano, one of which is in the center of the city in Palazzo Reali and the other is located at the start of the Via Nassa (Shopping Street) in a brand-new LAC building.
The LAC displays the modern and contemporary art and is a house to major temporary exhibitions while the Palazzo Reali displays the collections from the 15th century to the 20th century.
Swissminiatur in Lugano Switzerland
Swissminiatur is an open-air museum at the foot of the Monte San Salvatore. The Swissminiatur displays all of the Switzerland’s big landmarks in miniature form. There are around 130 models of landmarks including Matterhorn mountain, castles, landscapes, churches, and manor houses on the scale of 1:25. These models are wrapped around flowerbeds and woodland in the Swissminiatur park. There is a train for kids that takes them on a journey through all the landmarks in an informative and entertaining way.
The Alprose Chocolate Museum
The Alprose Chocolate Museum is a famous place to learn about the history of chocolate in Switzerland and has free tasting. Visitors can observe and learn how chocolate is made, processed, and packaged. The explanations are very detailed, which are going to be a memorable experience for you. You can also buy chocolates and souvenirs from the shop in the museum.
Lido di Lugano Switzerland
Lido di Lugano is a beautiful and luxurious holiday resort near the Lugano Town. You can reach here by walking a short distance from the city center. Lido di Lugano is much similar to the Lido de Bellagio in Bellagio and Lido Locarno in Locarno. All of them are built like an oasis at the shores of the lakes. Lido di Lugano has several outdoor pools including playing area for kids. These outdoor pools include an Olympic-sized pool, medium pool, and a diving pool for the visitors.
There is also a sandy beach in front of San Salvatore where you can lounge and relax. There is a beach bar and movie screen in the lawn.
Piadine in Lugano Switzerland
In the end lets talk something about the local special dish of Lugano which is called “Piadine”. This is a mixture of Italian and Swiss cultural dishes which has formed into a Lugano Style Piadine. It is a flatbread wrap that is wrapped with cold cuts, prawns or ham, salad, vegetables, and different types of cheese. Piadine is not very expensive and you can have it on the go and get it from different cafes. It resembles taco or quesadilla but has a taste of its own.