Lugano is a city in Switzerland, spread over the lands of the canton of Ticino, near the Italian border. The city is located on the shores of Lake Lugano, between two mountains – Monte San Salvatore and Monte Bre.
Lugano is the economic and cultural center of Ticino, as well as the third most important banking center in Switzerland. This compact town can be called a real concentration of banks and shops.
Sightseeing in Lugano
Many tourists traveling through Switzerland, Lugano beckons with its Italian squares, a huge number of outdoor cafes, shady parks with lush flowering vegetation. In the city and its environs there are many interesting sights that you must definitely see.
All the most important historical sights of Lugano can be seen in one day – they are concentrated in the Old Town, which is located below the central station. You can take the funicular from the train station to the center of the Old Town (travel a little more than 1 Swiss franc), but in order not to disregard the Cathedral of St. Lorenzo, located on Via Cattedrale, it is better to go down on foot, along the steep steps of the ancient city.
Cattedrale di San Lorenzo – in fact, this is the first attraction that can be seen already from the Lugano station, or rather, you can only see the majestic bell tower of the cathedral towering above the city.
The cathedral looks quite attractive, largely due to the large number of frescoes and sculptures. The facade of the building is divided into 3 parts: the central entrance used to be exclusively for the nobility, the left entrance is known as the “bird portal”, and located on the right as the “portal of death” (perhaps it was designed to allow the dead to be carried through it).
You can see the interior of the cathedral from 8:00 to 17:00.
Through the narrow streets leading down from Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, you can go to the next attraction of the city of Lugano – Piazza della Riforma.
The Reform Square, paved with granite slabs, is a centuries-old attraction.
There is something to see at della Riforma. Along its perimeter are low ancient buildings, small shops, cozy cafes and restaurants. Here is the building of the city municipality, the facade of which is decorated with allegorical sculptures of Liberty, Force, Religion and Concord.
Various city events take place on this square, starting with the official and religious holidays of Switzerland, and ending with jazz festivals.
This square in the Italian style always attracts many tourists, because it is included in the list of what you must see in Lugano for 1 day.
Not far from Piazza della Riforma, on the embankment of Lake Lugano, there is a recreation area.
You can quickly walk to Lake Lugano and the promenade (Via Lido, Lugano) from the Old Town with a leisurely stroll. It is a must to see the Lugano embankment, because it is one of the most popular places where both city guests and locals like to walk.
Along the embankment in 2 rows trees grow, playing the role of an unusual dividing strip between the lake and the Old Town.
A comfortable beach area with full infrastructure is equipped on the shore. It is not customary to swim here in the lake, for this there is a spacious open-air pool, which is very popular. On the territory there are convenient changing rooms, showers, luggage rooms for storing things (you need to put 2 francs, but they return when you open the cabinet). The Lido di Lugano area is equipped with everything you need for a comfortable stay.
Near Lake Lugano, at Viale Carlo Cattaneo, there is another city attraction – one of the most beautiful parks in Switzerland, Parco Civico Ciani.
In Chiani Park you can rent a boat and ride on the lake, stroll to the yacht club, sit on comfortable benches and look at flowering exotic plants. At the entrance to the park for children there is a playground.
Chiani Park is famous for its carved gate. This attraction on the shores of Lake Lugano in Switzerland seems to be a symbol of the door to Italy, which is very close, on the opposite bank. You can sit on the bench in front of the decoration gate and see how beautifully the expanse of water sparkles in the sun, separating the two states.
In the Civico Ciani park you can not only admire the landscapes: there is a cantonal library, there is a House of Congresses, as well as a small villa Chiani, which now houses the city Art Museum. Thanks to the elegant villa that once belonged to the Chiani brothers, the park got its name.
Like Reform Square, this city park serves as a venue where various celebrations and festivals are often organized.
Entrance to Parco Civico Ciani is free. Perhaps that is why in the summer there are always a lot of visitors.
Among other city attractions, a special place is occupied by the Church of St. Mary, which is located at Lugano Centro.
This Romanesque church is known for its unique frescoes created by Italian artist Bernardino Luini in 1529. Directly above the altar on the wall are scenes of the crucifixion of Christ: “Passion of Christ”, “Descent from the Cross” and “Resurrection”. If you stand close to the altar, then the image will be able to recognize the views of Jerusalem and Calvary. The fresco “Madonna and Child” is on the right wall, and “The Last Supper” is on the left.
You can see the sights that were just discussed in Lugano daily from 8:00 to 17:00 – at that time the church of St. Mary was opened.
Mount Monte San Salvatore is a natural attraction and one of the most popular places in Lugano. From the observation deck equipped on this mountain, you can look at the luxurious Lepontian Alps – it is thanks to these landscapes that Lugano became known as Rio de Janeiro in Europe.
Mount Salvatore is located a couple of kilometers south of Lugano, and you can get to the observation deck located on it by funicular. The Paradiso Station, from which the funicular departs, is located in the urban area of Lugano-Paradiso.
- The funicular operates according to this schedule: from mid-March to mid-November daily from 9:00 to 18:00, departure every half hour.
- A ticket costs 17, and when buying a “two-way” 30 francs.
- Children from 6 to 16 years old travel at half price, children under 6 years old – free of charge.
Another peak, also considered a tourist attraction in Switzerland, is Mount Monte Bre, which is located east of the city.
- Climbing this mountain for adults will cost 14 and 25 francs on one and both sides, respectively, and for children from 6 to 16 years, half.
- A cable car ride can be combined with a boat ride, then a ticket will cost about 27 francs.
They climb to the top of Monte Bre not only to take beautiful bird’s-eye photos of the city of Lugano in Switzerland. Here is the museum of Wilhelm Schmid (German artist of the 1920s), which receives visitors exclusively on Friday and Sunday.
See also: The city of Lucerne is the cradle of Switzerland .
Gandria (Centro storico Gandria) in ancient times was a fishing village, and now it is one of the suburbs of the city of Lugano.
Gandria, which is considered to be a tourist attraction throughout Switzerland , is located on the slopes of Monte Bre, which at this point abruptly descend to Lake Lugano.
It is interesting to look at the stone houses in Gandria: they literally grow out of the water or stand along the steps tending to the top of Monte Bre. After all, Gandria is also a lot of stairs laid out of stone. Owners of houses come here mainly in the summer, many rent houses to tourists and local vacationers.
A bus runs along the top of Monte Bre, but most of Gandria is not accessible for vehicles. Given this, the route around the town can be planned as follows: come by bus, and then go down to the pier, and from there return to Lugano by ship.
But if climbing uphill is not scary, then you can get to Gandria by ship – they leave from the pier in Lugano every hour.
There is another option, how to get to Gandria to see all the sights of this historic center. With the city of Lugano, the village is connected by a pedestrian path stretching along the lake along an olive grove.
Address: Piazza A. Giambonini, Gandria, Lugano 6978.
Prices for room and board
Since any tourist, besides what to see in Lugano, is also interested in how much the stay in this city of Switzerland will cost, it makes sense to talk about prices for accommodation and meals.
Most of the hotels in Lugano are located in the old part of the city – there is a great view, a lot of cafes, and, quite unusual for Switzerland, reasonable prices. The cost of a room for one person in 2 * and 3 * hotels in this area is in the range from 90 to 210 CHF per day, depending on the “star rating” and demand. For example, at the Acquarello Swiss Quality Hotel, for an economy double room you will have to pay 105 CHF for one day.
In hotels that are further from the historic center and major attractions, prices are slightly lower. So, in 3 * Locanda Del Conventino, which is located at a distance of 3 km from the center, a standard room will cost 98 CHF. A good budget hotel is next to Independence Square – this is Pestalozzi Lugano, where a room will cost 75 CHF. Not far from the city park of Chiani is Hotel Zurigo, where in season the room costs from 90 CHF for 1 day of stay.
The most economical tourists who come to the city of Lugano can stay in a hostel. Overnight in a dormitory in Montarina or Youth Hostel Lugano (near the railway station) will cost only 30-35 CHF per day – for Switzerland this is a trifle.
Below you can see the average prices in Lugano catering establishments indicated in Swiss francs:
- lunch or dinner in an economy class restaurant (for one) – 20-25;
- lunch in a mid-range restaurant (soup, second, salad) for two – 110;
- set at McDonald’s and similar fast food – 13;
- lunch with drinks – 20-30;
- cappuccino – 3-5;
- draft beer of local production (0.5 l) – 6.
The best option for food is a good meal during lunch. An excellent restaurant where you can get tasty and inexpensive food is the Ristorante Manora buffet restaurant in the eponymous department store in the Old Town. By the way, what is important in Switzerland, this institution also works on Sundays!
Prices on the page are current as of March 2018.
Weather: when is it best to come to Lugano
In Lugano, the Mediterranean climate is almost always cloudless and the sun shines. Winters in this city are mild, the lowest air temperature is +2 ° C, there is no snow. In summer, the air warms up to + 25 … + 27 ° C, and due to low humidity, almost no high temperature is felt. If you are guided by the weather, then in Lugano is always great!
The most important cultural events in this city take place from the moment they celebrate Easter (March-April), and the harvesting holidays in October end. If the trip will be devoted exclusively to the cultural program – to visit museums, see the city’s old buildings – then the best time would be the beginning of spring or mid-autumn. There are few tourists at this time, and you can easily see all the sights of the city of Lugano in Switzerland. And from May to August there is usually the most influx of tourists.
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How to get to Lugano
You can travel to Lugano by train, and it is convenient to get from different cities of Switzerland. From the ancient city-museum of Bern, the train goes through Lucerne, the ticket costs 89 francs. The Zurich-Lugano route daily runs 18 trains, the trip lasts more than 2 hours, the cost of tickets is 16 francs. From Geneva, traveling by train will cost 60 francs, the journey will take 5.5 hours.
You can find a convenient flight, see the timetable and buy a train ticket on the website of the Swiss Railway – www.sbb.ch.
Lugano is a city in Switzerland where there is a small Lugano-Agno airport. It is located 4 km from the city and accepts international flights.