Lugano Lake Travel

Is Lugano in Switzerland Really Worth Visiting? (2024)

Before we headed off to Italy, we decided to make a spontaneous stop in Lugano. Before we arrived here, we weren’t really too sure whether Lugano is worth visiting.

I was surprised when we got off the train at Lugano train station. After thinking Luzern was as pretty as a picture, I quickly realized Lugano was possibly even more beautiful!

In this article, you’ll read how to get to Lugano, where to stay and what to do to have a great time here.

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Lugano Switzerland

Where is Lugano located?

Lugano is a lovely lakeside city located in Switzerland, nearby its border with Italy. It is the biggest city in the canton of Ticino and the Italian-speaking Southern part of Switzerland.

Lugano has a certain Mediterranean feel to it and to me it is the perfect blend between Italian and Swiss influences.

Lugano worth visiting

How to get to Lugano?

By plane: Lugano has a small airport called Lugano Airport (LUG). Nearby airports include Milan Malpensa (MXP), Milan Linate (LIN), Milan Bergamo (BGY) and Zurich (ZRH).

By train: It is easy to travel to Lugano by train. For example, from Milan to Lugano is a good connection by train (this takes 1,5 hours). Another option is to travel from Zurich or Luzern to Lugano by train.

We travelled by train from Luzern to Lugano and I cannot recommend this enough. The train system in Switzerland is very well organized. Besides, the train ride itself includes some very incredible views from your window.

By car: Lugano is also very easily reachable by car, as it is closely located near the main A2 motorway.

If you are approaching Lugano from the Milan direction by car then you need to follow:

Autostrada A9 in the direction of Como-San Gottardo and take the exit that is signposted “Lugano SUD”

If you are approaching Lugano by car from the Zurich direction then you need to follow:

Autobahn A2 in the direction of St.Gotthard-Chiasso-Italy and take the exit that is signposted “Lugano NORD”

Three hours in Lugano

Where to stay in Lugano?

To fully enjoy the beauty of Lake Lugano, it’s best to stay here for at least a couple of days. Therefore, I highly recommend staying at one of the following hotels:

Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola: Luxurious

Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola is the perfect place to stay if you’re looking for a 5-star luxury resort in Lugano. This magnificent mansion was transformed into a hotel in 1885.

It’s home to an indoor swimming pool, private beach area and a clay tennis court. Click here to have a look at more of the pictures of this gorgeous place and to understand why you should really stay here!

Woman having breakfast overlooking Lake Lugano
Suite in Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola
Suite in Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola
Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola entrance surrounded by greenery
Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola

Sonniges Paradies: Mid-range

If you would like to stay in an apartment overlooking the Lake of Lugano, then Sonniges Paradies is your best bet. This apartment has a wonderful view of the lake, is very clean and is equipped with everything you need.

Besides, there’s free WiFi and free private parking available. Click here to view their latest prices and more.

Hotel Villa Selva: Affordable (in relation to Swiss prices)

Would you like to stay in a charming hotel surrounded by a swimming pool and palm trees? Then opt for Hotel Villa Selva. This is definitely a hidden gem and feels like an oasis of peace.

It’s located 15 minutes away by foot from the centre of Lugano. What’s even better, is that it’s quite affordable compared to other places to stay in the area!

What to do in Lugano?

If you have a few hours to spend in the mesmerizing lakeside city of Lugano, I would suggest doing (all or some of) the following activities:

Visit Cattedrale di San Lorenzo

Carved from white limestone and Carrara marble, the Cattedrale di San Lorenzo is a must visit in Lugano. It is a Roman Catholic cathedral which main feature is its façade.

It was founded in the High Middle Ages, rebuilt in the 15th Century and it is the seat of the Bishop of Lugano. From the Cathedral you will have a stunning view over Lugano, its mountains and its lake.

Lugano worth visiting

Visit Monte Bré

If you want to have a top view of Lugano and its lake, ride the funicular up to Monte Bré. After arriving at the top, you can go for a lunch at Osteria Funicolare, which has an outdoor terrace with a great view.

The furnicular ride costs 25 CHF per adult and 12.50 CHF per child. A return trip is included in this price.

Walk along Lake Lugano

Of course, you should have a walk along Lake Lugano! Take in the beautiful views that the lake has to offer and be astonished by the colour of its water. Perhaps even go for a swim as the water probably looks very, very inviting.

The combination of the lush mountains and the colorful lake reminded me of scenery in South-East Asia. 

Lugano worth visiting
Surreal surroundings in Lugano.. emerald green water with lush mountains

Relax at Parco Ciani

If you are looking for a bit of relaxation, head over to Parco Ciani. Parco Ciani is an elegant park located in the centre of Lugano. It’s home to lots of flowers, ancient trees and a great view of Lake Lugano.

It used to be owned as a private villa by a wealthy Swiss family, until the city of Lugano bought it in the year of 1912.

Have an aperitif at Shaker Bar

Finally, before you head off again, treat yourself to an aperitif at Shaker Bar. This is a cosy bar located nearby the lake promenade of Lugano.

Lugano Shaker Bar

Is Lugano worth visiting for a few hours?

Without any doubt, the answer is yes! Lugano is most certainly worth visiting, even just for a few hours. In a couple of hours, you will still be able to take in the beautiful views that Lugano has to offer.

However, if you have more time to spare, I definitely suggest spending a few nights in Lugano. In this way, you will be able to enjoy its beauty even longer.

It’s located 15 minutes away by foot from the centre of Lugano. What’s even better, is that it’s quite affordable compared to other stays in the area.

What is the weather like in Lugano?

The temperatures in Lugano are very pleasant and the climate is mild during the whole year.

The top temperatures can exceed 30 degrees celsius in July and August, however the fresh breeze off Lake Lugano means that it’s still very enjoyable during this time of the year. For warm weather, the best time to visit is from May to September.

In conclusion

Lugano is definitely worth visiting, even for a couple of hours. However, if you have more time to spare, I highly recommend staying here.

It’s the perfect mix between Switzerland and Italy and there is more than enough to do here. Besides, it’s home to truly magnificent sights.

Have you ever been to Lugano or are you thinking of visiting this beautiful place? Let me know in the comments!

Away with Danae

Lugano Travel

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7 Comments

  1. Considering a day trip from Lake Como can you give me some information how that would work we are coming from the states we would fly into Milan and Staying in Lake Como Can you give me some guidance how this can work?

    1. Dear Sherry,
      it depends where you’re staying in Lake Como. From Como (Train station: Como S. Giovanni) you can take a direct train to Lugano, which only takes around 35 minutes. One of the direct trains you can catch from Como is the RE80 line heading towards Locarno. You can also catch the EC train line heading towards Zurich HB. Here is a handy link to check the train times: https://www.rome2rio.com/map/Como-Italy/Lugano#r/Train/s/0

      Kind regards,
      Danae

  2. Considering visiting lake como and an off beaten path city in Switzerland near lake como for a couple of days in September 2024
    Lugano seems beautiful and perfect can you share what’s there to see and should not be missed

  3. Hello we want to optimize our visit to Lugano and are staying in Bellagio. I know there is a bus from Menaggio, is this the best way to reach Lugano?

  4. Hello Denae, I am visiting the Lake Como region middle of April 2024 and will be in Hotel Villa Aurora,Lezzeno. I would love to travel to Lugano as 19th April I have a whole free day. What is the best way from my hotel.

  5. Hello, I am staying in Lake Como area mid April and have a free day, 19th April. It was suggested I travel to Lake Lugano from Como Stn. Is this the best way to get there. Are trains regular returning to Como? Thank you.

    1. Dear Michelle, yes this is a good way to get to Lake Lugano, there are regular direct trains that take around 35 to 40 minutes in total.

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