12 Best Things To Do In Lugano

Written by Joeri Van Overloop

Lugano, located in the Italian speaking region of Switzerland, is the perfect destination for active and leisurely travelers. From its stunning lakeside views to its vibrant nightlife, Lugano offers a variety of things to see for all kinds of visitors. Whether you're looking to explore the cultural sites or soak up some sun, there are plenty of incredible things to do in Lugano. So here are some of the best things to do in Lugano so you can make the most of your trip.

1. Cattedrale San Lorenzo

Cattedrale San Lorenzo in Lugano Pin

The Cattedrale San Lorenzo is a beautiful and historic landmark located in the city center of Lugano, Switzerland. The Lugano cathedral was commissioned in the late 15th century and has been providing spiritual guidance ever since. Its distinct architecture features a Romanesque style that was influenced by French, Italian and German elements.

Its bell tower stands at an impressive height of 70 meters and boasts four bells that date back to 1619. Inside, visitors can admire the frescoes painted by Bernardino Luini during the 16th century while observing its impressive marble columns along with its high altar of Carrara marble which dates back to 1766.

The San Lorenzo cathedral interior layout features three naves divided by sixteen chapels dedicated to various saints, each chapel featuring a unique design crafted by local artisans throughout the years.

Contact:

Address: Via Borghetto 1, 6900 Lugano, Switzerland

Phone: +41 91 921 49 45

2. Chiesa di Santa Maria degli Angioli

Chiesa di Santa Maria degli Angelioli in Lugano Pin

Chiesa di Santa Maria degli Angelioli in Lugano is an iconic symbol of the Swiss city, and one of the main attractions in Lugano. This beautiful church was designed by Italian architect, Mario Botta and opened its doors to the public in 1995. With a double bell tower and a spiral-shaped interior, this impressive structure stands out from other churches in the area. Inside, visitors can admire large stained glass windows that reach up to the ceiling, letting natural light fill all corners of this sacred building.

The most remarkable feature of the Church of Santa Maria degli Angioli is its stunning marble altar located at the far end of the church where mass ceremonies take place every Sunday morning. For those wishing to witness a Sunday celebration or attend religious services such as baptisms or weddings, this magnificent church offers them an unforgettable experience with its modern design and traditional atmosphere.

Contact:

Address: Piazza Bernardino Luini 6, 6900 Lugano, Switzerland

Phone: +41 91 922 01 12

3. Monte San Salvatore

Monte San Salvatore Pin

Monte San Salvatore, located in the Ticino region of Switzerland, is an incredible sight to behold. Standing at 912 meters (2,992 feet) tall and overlooking Lake Lugano and the city of Lugano, it offers some of the best panoramic views in all of Switzerland.

The top of Monte San Salvatore can be accessed either by funicular (cable car) or a 3-4 hour hike up a winding path along its northern side. The summit is crowned with a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Health that was built in 1885 by Cesar Jelmini as an act of gratitude for his recovery from eye disease.

4. Monte Brè

Monte Brè in Switzerland Pin

Monte Brè is a truly picturesque destination in the Alps near the town of Castagnola that should be on every traveler's list. It is situated near the Italian border, and its highest peak reaches 925 meters or 3,000 feet above sea level. Visitors to Monte Brè can find plenty of activities from skiing and snowboarding during the winter months to hiking and mountain biking during warmer days. The scenic views from the top of Monte Brè are breathtaking and give an incredible sense of accomplishment for those who reach the summit.

Best Flights To Lugano

Quickly search the best flights from the widest selection of airlines flying to Lugano. Regardless of what airline you go with, you can save money by comparing. Skyscanner is the best airline price comparison service specifically for Lugano.

5. Centro Storico

Centro Storico in Lugano Pin

The Centro Storico in Lugano is an area full of incredible history and culture. It lies within the old walls that once surrounded the city, and holds many of the city’s most important buildings. One can explore a variety of historic monuments and sites such as churches, palaces, courtyards, bridges, fountains, towers and other landmarks dating back to medieval times. Visitors can stroll through narrow alleys scattered with artisan shops selling local products or take a trip on one of the many boats operating from the lakefront pier.

The area also offers some wonderful options for dining and entertainment. There are dozens of cafes where visitors can enjoy Italian delicacies like pasta or pizza while taking in the best views of the lake below.

6. Via Nassa

Via Nassa in Lugano Pin

The small Swiss city of Lugano is well known for its stunning landscapes and breathtaking views. One of its most famous landmarks, Via Nassa, is the main shopping street in Lugano’s old town. It's location near the picturesque Lake Lugano makes it a popular place to visit in Lugano for tourists as well as locals.

Filled with fashionable stores and boutiques, Via Nassa is not only a shopper’s paradise but also an architectural delight. The buildings here are made from Ticino sandstone and feature stunning Italian Rococo facades that add to the beauty of this street. Along this vibrant street, visitors will find traditional chocolatiers, jewelers, watchmakers and antique stores that offer unique souvenirs to bring back home.

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7. Parco Civico

Parco Civico in Lugano Pin

Parco Civico in Lugano is an amazing spot to take in the beauty of Switzerland. Located near Lake Lugano, the park is a perfect place to go for a leisurely lakeside stroll and to relax. The buildings around the park are stunning, with their Italian-style architecture and vibrant colors. The lush green fields, towering trees and floral gardens create a serene atmosphere that allows visitors to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The main tourist attraction of Parco Civico is its two large fountains - Fontana dei Tritoni and Fontana del Pesce - which provide a beautiful backdrop when taking photos.

8. Hesse Museum

Hesse Museum Pin

The Hesse Museum in Lugano, Switzerland is a must-see destination for anyone interested in the life and works of German author Hermann Hesse. Located in Casa Camuzzi, a villa built by the architect Aldo Andreani between 1931 and 1933, it is here where Hesse spent his final years.

The museum houses several important artifacts from his life, such as vintage photographs, books, manuscripts and personal items. Visitors can also enjoy some of his most famous paintings on display from around the world.

Contact:

Address: Ra Cürta 2, 6926 Montagnola, Switzerland

Phone: +41 91 993 37 70

Best Flights To Lugano

Quickly search the best flights from the widest selection of airlines flying to Lugano. Regardless of what airline you go with, you can save money by comparing. Skyscanner is the best airline price comparison service specifically for Lugano.

9. Museo d'Arte della Svizzera Italiana

Museo d'Arte della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano Pin

Museo d'Arte della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano city is an impressive art museum located in the canton of Ticino, Switzerland. Located inside Villa Favorita, the museum has been established for privately collecting and exhibiting works of art since 1952.

The magnificent villa was built during 1837-1840 and its interior decorations made by famous Swiss architect Francesco Borromini. Today, it houses a large collection of artwork from the 1400s to today's contemporary artists, making it one of the most important cultural sites in Switzerland. The museum offers various exhibitions on different themes throughout the year ranging from modern art to historical pieces.

Contact:

Address: Via Canova 10, e, Piazza Bernardino Luini 6, 6900 Lugano, Switzerland

Phone: +41 91 815 79 73

10. Swissminiatur

Swissminiatur in Lugano is an enchanting miniature park located in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland. It encompasses a total of 120 miniatures of famous Swiss landmarks that are all exquisitely constructed and presented. These models range from historical monuments to modern-day architectural feats, making it a great spot for visitors to learn about the different aspects of the Swiss culture.

The scale model village also includes a mini-train line which runs through interesting landscapes such as mountains and valleys, giving guests an immersive experience into the diverse countryside that makes up Switzerland.

The highlight of Swissminiatur however, is its detailed replication of iconic top attractions such as the Matterhorn mountain in Zermatt and the Giessbach Falls near Lake Brienz. Every miniature structure is made from high-quality materials like marble and stone, guaranteeing durability even with changing weather conditions over time.

Contact:

Address: Via Cantonale 13, 6815 Melide, Switzerland

Phone: +41 91 640 10 60

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11. Villa Fogazzaro Roi

Villa Fogazzaro Roi Pin

Villa Fogazzaro Roi is one of the city’s most beloved Lugano attractions. The majestic villa was built in 1883, and it’s still a popular place for visitors to explore. Despite its grandeur, the villa exudes a warm and inviting atmosphere that makes guests feel right at home.

The lush gardens surrounding Villa Fogazzaro Roi are full of vibrant colors, thanks to hundreds of flowers and shrubs. Visitors can also find a lake located within the garden area that adds an extra layer of tranquility to their experience.

Inside the villa itself lies a large library with thousands of books curated by Italian novelist Antonio Fogazzaro himself! This library has become especially beloved amongst historians and literature lovers who use it as inspiration for their work.

12. Gandria

Gandria village in Switzerland Pin

Gandria is a small, picturesque village located on the edge of Lake Lugano in Southern Switzerland, and one of the best places to go for a day trip during your stay in Lugano. Gandria has a unique charm that makes it stand out among many other Swiss villages. The cobblestone streets and Italian-style houses give the village an old-world feel, making visitors feel as if they are stepping back in time.

The village of Gandria is known for its beautiful views of Lake Lugano and is a popular destination for tourists wishing to experience traditional Swiss culture. Activities like hiking and exploring the nearby nature trails offer plenty of opportunities to take in the scenery. Vacationers can also stop at one of the local restaurants or shops to sample traditional Swiss dishes or purchase souvenirs from their trip.

Best Flights To Lugano

Quickly search the best flights from the widest selection of airlines flying to Lugano. Regardless of what airline you go with, you can save money by comparing. Skyscanner is the best airline price comparison service specifically for Lugano.

FAQ

Q: Is Lugano Switzerland worth visiting?

A: It is undoubtedly a destination worth visiting for its stunning landscapes, rich culture, and pleasant Mediterranean climate. With its proximity to Lake Lugano and the surrounding mountains, outdoor enthusiasts will find themselves in paradise as they embark on hikes or boat rides with breathtaking views. Additionally, Lugano offers a myriad of cultural experiences with its historic town center dotted with charming squares and bustling markets.

Q: Is Lugano an expensive city?

A: While it's true that Switzerland as a whole tends to have a higher cost of living compared to other European countries, Lugano offers a range of experiences suitable for different budgets.

Accommodation options in Lugano vary widely, providing opportunities for both luxurious stays and more budget-friendly alternatives. Visitors seeking lavish accommodations can indulge in 5-star hotels boasting mesmerizing views over Lake Lugano or elegant boutique hotels located in the heart of the city. On the other hand, those on a tighter budget can find affordable guesthouses and hostels that still offer comfort and convenience without breaking the bank.

Q: What food is Lugano famous for?

A: One specialty is the irresistible Luganighe sausages. These succulent pork sausages are seasoned with a blend of aromatic herbs and spices, giving them a distinct flavor. Grilled to perfection and typically served with polenta or alongside other regional specialties like risotto or braised beef, Luganighe sausages offer visitors an authentic taste of the city.

Another iconic dish synonymous with Lugano is the exquisite Torta di Pane. This traditional bread pudding has become a beloved dessert throughout Switzerland and beyond.

Q: How far is the airport from Lugano?

A: Lugano Airport, also known as Lugano-Agno Airport (LUG), serves as the primary gateway for those flying into this enchanting city. Located just 6 kilometers west of Lugano's city center, the airport offers convenient accessibility for both domestic and international travelers. With its close proximity to the heart of Lugano, visitors can expect a short travel time from touchdown to exploring all that this beautiful region has to offer.

Q: Can you swim in Lugano lake?

A: The answer is a resounding yes! Lugano Lake offers an inviting swimming experience for both locals and tourists. With its mild Mediterranean climate, Lugano Lake boasts comfortable water temperatures during the summer months, ranging from 20 to 25 degrees Celsius. Whether you're seeking a leisurely swim or an invigorating workout, the lake provides ample opportunities for all. Numerous public beaches dotting its shores offer designated swimming areas with lifeguards on duty, ensuring safety for swimmers of all ages.

Q: Is Lugano a safe place to visit?

A: Rest assured, Lugano possesses a reputation as being remarkably safe for tourists. One of the key reasons why Lugano is considered safe stems from its low crime rate. Unlike some bustling metropolitan areas where pickpocketing and petty theft can be common occurrences, Lugano boasts relatively low levels of crime. The city's authorities have implemented stringent security measures to ensure the well-being of both residents and visitors.

PLAN YOUR TRIP TO LUGANO

Book Your Hotel In Lugano

You can book your hotel in Lugano with Booking.com as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hotel, they also return the cheapest rates for accommodations like hostels, guesthouses and apartments.

Book Your Flight To Lugano

Use Skyscanner to find cheap flights to Lugano. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know you get the best rates.

Need a Rental Car In Lugano?

Here is a budget-friendly car rental resource. No matter where you’re traveling, you’ll be able to find the best — and cheapest car rentals in Lugano here.

Looking for an Airport Transfer Service In Lugano?

If you are looking for a convenient and affordable option to get to and from the airport in Lugano, here you will find all the answers to book your next airport transfer in Lugano.

Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance

Travel insurance will protect you against illnesses, an injury, luggage theft, and even trip cancellations. It’s a comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong during your trip. I never travel to Lugano without it as I’ve had to use it several times in the past. My favorite travel insurance companies that offer the best service and value are:

Looking for the Best Travel Companies to Save Money With?

Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you go to Lugano. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m taking a trip. They will save you money when you travel too.

Want More Information on Switzerland:

Be sure to visit our Switzerland Travel Guide for even more planning tips.

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