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The perfect mix of Italy and Switzerland

Lugano (not to be confused with Lucarno) is situated in the South of Switzerland in the Italian speaking Ticino region.  It is beautiful.  Nestled between mountains and on the shore of Lake Lugano (Lago di Lugano), a glacial lake named after the city, the area is simply breathtaking.

Here you will find a blend of Swiss and Italian Culture, so if you love them both this is heaven on earth.  Previously I never could decide.  Do I go to Switzerland or Italy?  Which is best:  Switzerland or Italy?  Where do I spend my holiday: Switzerland or Italy?  Well, Lugano is the answer.  Here you’ll get the best of both worlds.

Plan your trip to Lugano Switzerland

Lake Lugano Boat Trips

While writing this article or ‘travel-letter’ to you, I could think of a thousand headings, all of them perfectly suited to describe Lugano.  However if I think of Lugano, I just have to recommend it as the perfect place for your post-retirement travel bucketlist.  That said, it is definitely also a wonderful place to explore with your family and you’ll see why in this article.

Is Lugano worth a visit?

Lugano is definitely worth a visit.  The city boasts with some of the most beautiful architectural buildings.  It is just a pleasure walking around in the city.  It is clean, the people are friendly, it is safe and easy to explore.  Furthermore you have the picturesque surroundings and stunning views across the lake.

There is enough to see and explore, yet it is peaceful and dreamlike.  

How much time do you need for a visit?

When looking at the suggested time to spend in Lugano, I would say it is an easy one day trip, but you might want to overnight for a day or two to enjoy a few of the extra activities on offer.  In my opinion, I would recommend 2 to 3 days  which would include time to just sit back, relax and take in the beauty.


Lugano San Lorenzo Ticino

The perfect retirement travel destination

How to get to Lugano

The nearest airport to Lugano is Lugano Airport (LUG) a regional airport located approx. 4 km (2.5 miles) from the city of Lugano and approx. 80 km (50 miles) north of Milan.

Getting there by train is easy and when you arrive at the train station in Lugano you can take the Lugano Città–Stazione funicular from the ‘Stazione’ (station) to the city center.

  • The Lugano Città–Stazione funicular (also known as Funicolare Lugano Città–Stazione, or Sassellina) is a funicular railway that has its upper station within the main railway station of Lugano.  So you don’t have to walk anywhere and you don’t have to hire a car.  The lower station of the funicular is on Piazza Cioccaro in the historic city centre below and that is exactly where you want to be.

Accommodation in Lugano Switzerland

At Piazza Cioccaro near the funicular’s lower station, you’ll find the Luganodante Boutique Hotel.  Easy access and centrally located with friendly service.  Although we haven’t yet stayed there overnight it comes with high customer ratings and great reviews.  (Below more accommodation options.)

Things to do in Lugano

One of the best places to explore is the historic old town which is a pedestrian zone.  Therefore no traffic.

In my opinion lunch at Piazza Della Riforma is an excellent idea.  Spending some time at the Piazza with beautiful views of the city hall and architecture, while enjoying good wine and food, is a perfect way to spend the afternoon.

That is after you’ve strolled along the narrow streets and wandered around in the many arcade-like shopping streets.  With the many archways and columns, the buildings offer a shopping experience protected from the sun and rain.

Enjoy the bakeries and outdoor seating areas of the many pretty restaurants.

The historic Grand Café Al Porto Restaurant is a beautiful place to visit and spend some time.

The very pretty farmers markets and street markets sell the best produce and just looks amazing.  Get fresh ingredients or something to snack on like bread, meat, cheese and tomatoes for a picnic.  (Tuesdays and Fridays are market days.)

Then spend some time at the lovely Parco Ciani with its lakefront views:  the perfect place for a picnic.

Boat rides / hiking / shopping /and so much more…

Take the ‘funicolare per il centro’ up to the Cathedral of St Lawrence and enjoy the amazing views.

Thereafter stop at GABBANI Gastronomia – This iconic shop is definitely worth a visit:  excellent Italian food at good prices.  You can also book your accommodation with them (link below).

Address: Via Pessina 12, Piazza Cioccaro 1, 6900 Lugano, Switzerland

Where to stay - Popular Accommodation options