For your next weekend away, plan a beautiful weekend in Lugano, Switzerland! With these top things to see and do during your visit in Lugano, there is something for everyone, from delicious pizza to picturesque mountain views! Lugano is located in the Ticino region at the south of Switzerland, and easy to reach with multiple modes of transportation. So it’s the perfect Swiss location for a weekend away in the country!
*This is based on our November weekend trip to Lugano in 2021.
Facts About Lugano
Before we share what you can do in a weekend in Lugano, here are some facts worth knowing:
- Lugano is located in the Ticino region with the main language spoken is Italian
- The first Eurovision song contest in 1956 was held in Lugano
- Lugano is the 9th largest city in Switzerland and largest in Ticino.
- Monte San Giorgio in Lugano is a UNESCO world heritage site since 2003
- Lake Lugano is situated right next to the center of the city
Where Is Lugano?
Lugano is located in the Ticino region at the south of Switzerland, and easy to reach with multiple modes of transportation. There are many trains per day from locations within Switzerland such as Zurich but also from Milan in Italy. Making it an easy destination to reach from many airports.
As this region is the most Italian-speaking region of Switzerland, you will find a strong influence combined with the northern Italian Lombardy region. But it still has a special Swiss vibe since it is Switzerland after all!
For our trip we flew very cheaply to Milan and then took the train, which took less than 2 hours with a direct train.
Things To do In Lugano – A Weekend Itinerary
Hopefully on your visit, you will have some lovely weather for exploring. Get inspired below from what we ended up doing during our weekend in Lugano!
Ride A Funicular
There are a few funiculars you can take in Lugano;
- One that takes you to the top of Monte Bré
- One that takes you to the top of Monte San Salvatore
- One that takes you from the main train station to the city center down below. It’s a popular one that people use since the walk can be quite steep. It goes every couple of minutes and very convenient if raining.
Eat The Most Delicious Pizza
Fancy pizza? Well search no further as I can highly recommend stopping at Spaghetti Pomodoro for your mandatory dose of pizza (or pasta if you prefer!). Here they offer so many choices, and each one is cooked to the ultimate perfection. My personal recommendation is the diavola pizza topped with delicious spicy salami.
The Views At Monte Bré
Make your way to the top of Monte Bré, whether by the bus and hiking a little or taking the funicular (both recommended to combine if you can!). From the top on a clear day you will be pleased to see the most amazing skyline and vantage point of seeing Lugano from above. From here you are also looking south towards Monte San Salvatore, Monte San Giorgio and Monte Generoso.
Viewpoint Punto Panoramico
This is pretty view point between the last bus stop (Brè, Paese) to the top of Monte Bré, looking down to the village of Bre. You can get there by car too. From this viewpoint you have a gorgeous view towards the mountains following the lake. It’s a spectacular view in summer or winter.
We were lucky to experience both weather types our weekend visit, sunny on the Saturday and snowy on the Sunday!
Shop Till You Drop
Lugano is a pretty place to spend your time shopping. From little boutiques to well known brands, theres something for everyone. When it comes to the brands specifically, there is one area for the expensive brands and then the main high street that has more affordable brands. Many places of course except payments by card so there is not much need to have cash with you.
While we visited, they even already had the Christmas tree up ready for the December festivities.
Watch People While Enjoying A Coffee
Find yourself stopping at a little cafe for an Italian coffee. Since this is the Ticino (Italian-speaking) region after all, the coffee’s here are really good. If you have the time, stop for at least 30mins and enjoy the locals around you, the dogs being walked and hopefully with some good weather for relaxation.
Sit In The Parco Ciani Gardens
Not far from the city center (max 10 mins walking) you can enjoy some beautiful, romantic gardens. These are located at Parco Ciani, a tranquil place home also to the Library and Lugano Convention Centre. The garden is very well looked after, even during our visit in November. Lake Lugano is very calm to sit and relax next to, with many ducks and swans also passing by.
Top tip: Walk here at night for some gorgeous reflection panoramic views of the city!
Walk Along To The Beach
Being right on the lake Lugano’s water edge from the gardens, walk further along the beautiful pathway of trees and red benches until you end up at the small beach area. Is it close to all the boats docked in the bay. It’s a lovely little spot to stop and enjoy the view of Monte San Salvatore and the city. While we visited, there were some ducks enjoying this area. There are some play areas also for children and a wooden path used often for locals to run along.
Monte San Salvatore
Just like Monte Brè, you can visit Monte San Salvatore by taking the funicular from the bottom to top. Here it will take you to the top with gorgeous views looking North towards Monte Brè. During opening hours there is a beautiful restaurant here for a bite to eat or a well earned refreshing drink.
Unfortunately the funicular was closed for some refurbishments during our weekend, so we didn’t get to visit the top. We’ll try this next time!
More Switzerland Inspiration:
Summary Weekend In Lugano
Our weekend in Lugano was a sweet and special trip, seeing as much as we could in just 2 days. We were super lucky with the weather, despite being a little cold. Lugano is most definitely a place we can recommend for a weekend away, as well as for longer trips. We loved it so much that its a location we will definitely find ourselves visiting again in the future.
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