Nestled in the picturesque region of Ticino you’ll find Switzerland’s hidden gem, Lugano. It’s very close to Italy and one of the sunniest areas of Switzerland with its own micro-climate. Its main attraction is its enormous lake, however there’s plenty to occupy your time with a luxurious weekend in Lugano.
WHAT TO SEE
During the Summer you can take one of the many boat tours to explore the lake.
It’s a pleasant place for a stroll at any time of year, with quite a few artworks dotted around.
LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura is a brand new cultural space that houses a permanent art collection as well as regular exhibitions. Spanning three floors, there’s a 1,000 seat concert venue for music and theatrical performances.
The town centre is charming, with a spacious main square surrounded by cafes.
Lugano’s attractive town hall is also situated on the town square.
There are some really luxurious shops nearby, such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci. The covered galleries in the pedestrianised streets provide welcome shade in the warmer months.
If time permits, it’s worth getting out of town and taking a cable railway to admire the views from nearby Monte San Salvatore, 912 metres high.
Whilst the panoramic vista from Monte Bre is equally impressive and can be reached by cable railway from March onwards,
The picturesque church of Sant’Abbondio, up on the hillside in Sorengo is also worth a look if you have a hire car.
WHERE TO EAT
Lugano has some lovely restaurants in the centre of town but it also has quite a few hidden away eateries known as grottos. These rustic restaurants are located either up in the mountains or by lakes. Three of the best are Grotto Tigini, Grotto del Lago and Grotto della Salute.
For fine dining, look no further than the Hotel Splendide Royal – delicious cuisine in luxurious surroundings overlooking the lake.
In the town centre, Grand Café Al Porto is good for light meals, coffee and cake.
If you want to buy some Swiss chocolate to take home, Läderach is the place to go – they have been making it since 1962.
WHERE TO STAY
For a truly exceptional stay, the five star Splendide Royal is the perfect choice. With far reaching views over the lake of Lugano to the mountains beyond, it’s old school glamour and attentive staff will enchant you. I’ll be writing more about it in an upcoming post.
To start your journey in style, why not book a premier chauffeur service to the airport. We trialled Blacklane Limousines who operate in 180 cities worldwide, partnering with well established chauffeurs in each city and covering all major airports including our destination, Gatwick. We liked the ease of online booking with speedy confirmation of our reservation. On the day, we received confirmation of our driver’s name and mobile phone by text, with another text informing us when he had arrived to pick us up. He was courteous and knew the route very well, and his Mercedes C class was so comfy that the journey passed by in a flash.
Lugano has its own airport with flights to Zurich, Geneva and Rome. Alternatively, fly to Milan Malpensa airport, a one hour car or train journey. Lugano is a fantastic place to spend a luxurious weekend and this Swiss Italy really deserves to be better known.
Have you ever visited Swiss Italy? Do you have any tips for first time visitors?