The largest and trendiest town in the Ticino region
Lugano is the largest and trendiest town in the Ticino region, and one of the most important financial and banking centers in Europe. In the middle of three cultural heritages (Italian, French, and German), its position makes it a unique destination for business and leisure travelers alike. Moreover, the town benefits from a warm, Mediterranean micro-climate, making Lugano an ideal travel destination, all year round.
What to do in Lugano?
Nicknamed "The Monte Carlo of Switzerland," Lugano offers breathtaking sceneries, multiple attractions, a pleasant pedestrian area, an abundance of things to do.
The center of Lugano is perfect for discovering on foot. You can visit the whole area in 45 minutes, while the distance from one point of interest to another never exceeds 15 minutes. The narrow streets and the hidden squares make the center of Lugano a great place for a romantic walk.
If you'd like a highly sophisticated shopping experience, this is the street you've been looking for. Within less than 300 meters, Via Nassa offers a variety of little shops, from jewelry to clothing. A special mention goes to its charming antiquarian bookshops. Most shops are open on weekdays until 6:30 pm, on Saturdays until 5:00 pm, and closed on Sundays.
Piazza Riforma is the main square of Lugano, where several events take place during the summer. From here, you can visit the Town Hall, with its neo-classical statues, and the Information Office of Lugano Tourism. Every Saturday, the market of antiques and handicrafts takes place.
Shopping in Lugano is a fundamental part of the Swiss experience. From fashion to jewelry, from art and antiques to gastronomy, chances are you will find what you're looking for. Most shops open at 8:00 a.m. and close at 7:00 p.m from Monday to Friday, on Saturdays at 6:30 p.m., while supermarkets are usually open all day and on Thursday until 9 p.m. All shops are generally closed on Sunday.
Arguably one of the most beautiful parks in Switzerland, Parco Ciani, with its area of over 60,000 m², overlooks the majestic Lugano Lake, and it's the "green heart" of the city. One can lose himself here, surrounded by flowers, statues, and fountains. Inside the park, you can find some historical buildings of the city of Lugano, such as Villa Ciani, the Convention Center, a library, and the fascinating Museum of Natural History.
Immerse yourself in the Mediterranean atmosphere of Lugano. A walk along the lake promenade is the perfect way to relax and enjoy the city's beauty. Starting from the main entrance of Parco Ciani, the promenade will lead you through many parks, such as the breathtaking Belvedere garden, with its 11.000 sq.m. of peace and beauty, and the city's artistic center, the Lugano LAC Arts and Culture Center. You will discover the famous Santa Maria degli Angioli church, the Washington monument, and a majestic, gigantic sequoia.
Lugano Cathedral (Cattedrale di San Lorenzo)
Roman Catholic cathedral, dedicated to Saint Lawrence (hence the name). Originally founded during the High Middle Ages, the cathedral was rebuilt in the 15th century, and it's currently the seat of the Bishop of Lugano. It offers a wide array of artistic styles, from its Medieval foundations to its Renaissance facade, from its Gothic cross-vaulted ceiling to its internal frescos and Baroque decorations.
Church of Santa Maria degli Angioli
The construction started in 1499, and the church appears to have a much more sober facade than the Lugano Cathedral, yet it hosts the most famous Renaissance fresco in all Switzerland, the "Passion and Crucifixion" by Leonardo's disciple, Bernardo Luini. Santa Maria degli Anglioli also houses two other masterpieces by Luini: a painting of the "Last Supper," and a fresco of the "Madonna and Child with Saint Giovannino." The church offers an augmented reality 3D experience as well.
LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura
Lugano Arte e Cultura (LAC), opened in 2015, is a cultural center dedicated to music, visual, and performance arts. It offers a concert and theater hall, and a museum. Built by architect Ivano Gianola, LAC is located in the center of Piazza Bernardino Luini, overlooking the Lake. The concert auditorium can host up to 1,000 people, while the museum is spread over three floors, for a total surface area of 2500 m².
What to do just outside Lugano?
Thanks to the "Ticino Ticket", travelers are free to visit every corner of the Ticino Canton. Also available in digital format for smartphones and tablets, the "Ticino Ticket" is included in your booking at LUGANODANTE, so you have no excuses not to explore the neighborhood!
It's considered the sunniest mountain in Switzerland, and here's why you can spot here the rare "Christmas rose," a flower usually found only in Southern Europe. Monte Brè offers a different view of the city of Lugano than Monte San Salvatore, but equally charming. The Brè village, at the top of the mountain, maintained its original, romantic character, and it's certainly worth a visit.
Monte San Salvatore is a mountain in the Lepontine Alps. From Carona, the famous village on top of its peaks, one can enjoy the view of Lake Lugano, the Po Valley, the Savoy and Swiss Alps. The funicular links the city with the summit of the mountain in just twelve minutes.
Another former fishermen's village, Gandria is located at the bottom of Monte Brè. Reachable by both land or lake, the village offers many attractions, from the town's center, with its tiny streets and stairs, to the 16th-century church of San Virgilio and its baroque interiors; from the Museum of Swiss Customs to the typical grotto, when one can relax and get a taste of the typical cuisine of the region.
Winner of the "nicest village in Switzerland" title, Morcote was once a fishermen's village, home of artisans and artists. Amongst the many attractions, one should not miss the Chapel of San Antonio Abate and its monumental staircase, the Baroque chapel of Sant'Antonio da Padova, the Church of Santa Maria del Sasso, and the Scherrer Park, full of exotic botanical rarities.
The Hermann Hesse Museum
In 1919, Herman Hesse rented an apartment in the Camuzzi House, where this small museum is situated today. By his window, he had an amazing view of the village of Montagnola, which inspired many of Hesse's most famous works, such as Siddhartha and Narcissus and Goldmund. Hesse was so fascinated by Montagnola that he started watercolor painting, capturing the essence of the landscape. The museum offers a permanent exhibition and many activities, such as lectures, walking tours, and readings.
Opened in 1959, SwissMiniatur is Switzerland's largest open-air miniature museum. Located in Melide, and surrounded by Monte Generoso, San Salvatore, and San Giorgio mountains, the museum offers over 1:25 scale models of Switzerland's most well-known buildings and monuments, together with a 3,560-meter miniature railway network, winding its way around the park.
San Grato Park
Just 10 km from Lugano, San Grato park, with its 200,000 m² surface area, offers one of the largest collections of azaleas, rhododendrons, and conifers in all of Switzerland. The park is open throughout the year, and admission is free. Inside the park, you can also find the iconic "swing," created as part of the "swing the world" project by two young photography and video-making enthusiasts, to give value to the most panoramic and "instagrammable" corners of the region.
Monte Generoso and "Fiore di Pietra"
Monte Generoso is one of the most breathtaking places in Switzerland, where visitors can enjoy a fabulous 360° panoramic view from the Apennines to the Alps. Standing on the mountain, with all of its majesty, you can find the "Fiore di Pietra" (literally: "stone flower") building. The architect Mario Botta designed both the exterior and the interior spaces of Fiore di Pietra, and the building offers two restaurants and a conference room for extraordinary celebrations and business events.
Overlooking Lake Maggiore, Monte Tamaro, with its 1,962 meters above sea level, is among the highest mountains in the Swiss canton of Ticino. If you're planning a tour of Monte Tamaro, make sure you visit the fabulous Santa Maria degli Angeli church, designed by Mario Botta.
If you're a shopping addict, you cannot miss FoxTown, with its 160 stores of the most prestigious brands for men, women, and children. Discounts vary from 30% to 70%, all year round, and this "Paradise of Shopping" is open 7/7, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., including holidays.
Parking space for 1,200 cars, a Casino, and nine restaurants. Tip: if you reach FoxTown by public transportation, you'll get an additional 10% discount in all the stores!
Few cities are so vibrant with exhibitions, festivals, and live concerts such as Lugano. Make sure to check this page out regularly, as new events are added daily.
Here is a partial list of the events:
The Ticino region is known for its excellent wines. The history of Merlot, in fact, starts in Mendrisio back in 1907, when Merlot was planted from Guyenne, in the Perigord region of France. Enjoy an itinerary in the vineyards, relax in the cellars carved into the rock, and buy the best labels directly from the producers.
Best wineries, LUGANODANTE suggests:
FATTORIA MONCUCCHETTO - Built in 2009 under the direction of the enologist Cristina Monica and Chef Andrea Muggiano.
TENUTA BALLY & VON TEUFENSTEIN - A vineyard of 6.5 hectares, funded in 1917 by Ernst Otto Bally, that produces traditional Merlot Cresperino.
TENUTA CASTELLO DI MORCOTE - On a vast promontory of 172 hectares, the company is family-run for four generations. The main grape varieties are Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay.
AGRILORO - Founded in 1981, the vineyard produces 18 different wines, 80% red, 20% white. In 2010, Agriloro won the "Swiss winemaker of the year" title.
CASTELLO LUIGI, AZ. AGR. BELVEDERE - Castello Luigi has an area of 43,000 square meters, 30,000 of which are used for vineyards. The wines produced are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Chardonnay.
CASTELLO DI CANTONE - The history of Castello di Cantone begins in 1990, when six hectares of vineyards were planted at the foot of Mount Sangiorgio, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The vineyard produces three wines: Castello di Cantone, Negromante, and Galanthus.
AZIENDA AGRICOLA BIANCHI - A family business founded in 1998. The vineyard produces high-quality organic products, especially wine and honey. The vineyard cultivates Johanniter, Bronner, and Solaris grapes, together with Merlot, Syrah, and Chardonnay.
The Lugano region is known for its meticulous organization of guided tours and excursions in the area. From culinary experiences to art, history, and culture, chances are you will find what you're looking for. Amongst Lugano's most popular tours, here are LUGANODANTE's favorite
Amongs Lugano's most popular tours, here are LUGANODANTE's favorite:
Lugano - Guided City Walk (free tour) - An on-foot tour to discover Lugano's train station, the cathedral, and the city from above;
Lugano - Unexpected Classic Tour (free tour) - Is Lugano a modern town, or is it still connected to its past roots? This is the best way to discover Lugano's true nature.
Monte Brè - From the city center to the "sunniest peak" of Lugano. Breathtaking views and a walk through the village of Brè.
Monte San Salvatore - Lugano's boundaries are marked by Monte Bré and Monte San Salvatore. This excursion starts on the lakeshore and ends on the summit of the latter.
Gandria - Discover this former fishermen's village, a romantic angle of Switzerland.