May 3, 2018 - 5:30 PM
Hi Judy52! I'm currently staying in Locarno for a spring break, and I've just returned from a day trip to Lugano. So although I haven't been able to thoroughly explore Lugano, I can offer some comparisons. In terms of nature and scenery, I'd say Lugano is more attractive. It's surrounded by steep foresty hills rising up from the lake, with a couple of viewing points nearby. Lugano's old town center is definitely pretty and offers lots of options for (luxury) shopping. And it indeed has much more of a city feeling than Locarno I'd say; it's rather large with quite some multi-storey buildings.
Locarno is smaller and due to its size it may appeal to you more. Scenery in Locarno is beautiful too, and the town has a lovely promenade along the Lago Maggiore as well as an attractive old town centre with the remains of the old Visconteo castle and the famous church of Madonna del' Sasso. You can make boat trips and enjoy the view from Cardada/Cimetta, to be reached by funcicular, cable car and chair lift. The Centovalli trains arrive right next to the main station (whereas you'll have to add an extra hour if you want to travel onwards to Lugano). So for your specific requirements, Locarno may be the better choice. It's hard to advise though, as it all depends on your personal preferences. You really can't go wrong with either town.