Located in southern Switzerland’s Ticino region, the Italian-speaking city of Lugano is at the convergence of cultures. Its blend of Swiss-Mediterranean influences is reflected in its architecture, cuisine, and lifestyle.
Stunning views await on the slopes of Monte Bre, which towers to the north of the city and Lake Lugano. A funicular to the mountain’s summit gives visitors awe-inspiring 360-degree panoramas.
Monte San Salvatore
One of the best things to do in Lugano is ride the funicular up Monte San Salvatore for a spectacular panoramic view. The mountain towers majestically over the city offering a unique perspective of Lake Ceresio and the majestic mountain ranges in Switzerland and Italy.
The funicular departs from Paradiso rail station and takes a 12 minute climb through hillside suburbs up to the mountain. The views are incredible from all viewpoints – you can see Lake Lugano, the city and the snow-capped Swiss Alps!
You can also hike to the top of the mountain. It is a little rocky but well worth the effort to get to the top.
Once you are on the top, there is a concrete terrace atop a small church called the ‘Terrazza Panoramico’ with multiple viewing points for stunning 360deg panoramic views of Lake Lugano and the mountains. You can also visit the church museum that displays objects and documents related to the history of the Archconfraternity.
The Parco Civico (Ciani Park) is a great place to spend a few hours in Lugano. It’s a lovely park with many buildings, including a Natural History Museum and the Cantonal Library.
It also has a lot of trees and is very pretty. Citizens and tourists walk here a lot, especially on holidays.
Besides, it has a lot of flowers, especially around the lake. The park is free and very peaceful.
Another interesting place to visit in this park is the Cultural Museum of Lugano. This museum is very well curated and it takes about 1 hour to go through at a relaxed pace.
It is also worth checking the Museo d’Arte della Svizzera Italiana in the centre of Lugano. This is a museum that combines the art collections of the Ticino Canton and the city of Lugano, with a wide range of exhibits from the 15th to 20th century.
Parco San Grato
One of the prettiest parks in Lugano, Parco San Grato boasts panoramic lake views and countless azalea beside its walking trails. The manicured lawns and beautiful flower beds make this park a great place to relax after a long day of sightseeing in the city.
Another highlight of the park is the Cantonal Natural History Museum, which is located on its premises. This museum features various exhibits, including an interesting collection of fossils, birds, and other wildlife.
The museum also has a number of sculptures, including some unique ones. This museum is definitely worth a visit when you’re in Lugano and it’s free to enter.
The church of Santa Maria Degli Angioli is an amazing landmark you can’t miss when you’re in Lugano. It is one of the oldest buildings in the historic part of the city and it’s a must-see. Its facade is reminiscent of Certosa di Pavia and it has a unique architecture style.
Piazza della Riforma
Lugano is a delightful city with a distinctly Mediterranean vibe. This can be seen in its charming streets and squares as well as in the pretty parks that surround them.
The town hall in Piazza Riforma is one of the most recognizable sights in the city. It is also home to many quaint cafes and restaurants that are perfect for people-watching.
Another great attraction is the church of Santa Maria degli Angioli which is known for its Bernhardino Luini Renaissance fresco. You can visit it on a guided tour to get the full experience of this historic landmark.
You can also stop by the playful Renaissance garden gate that overlooks Lake Lugano in Parco Ciani to take some Instagram-worthy photos. There are manicured lawns, flower beds and weirdly shaped trees that make it an interesting place to spend some time.