The canton of Ticino is where you can experience the Italian speaking part of Switzerland, including its food and culture. It is the most southern part of Switzerland along with the Valais. The Ticino is one of the places to enter or leave Switzerland if you plan to travel in Italy as well. Ticino is the local Italian name of the canton; in German it is called "Tessin".
WHAT TO DO
Find day trip and sightseeing suggestions in the Ticino.
Browse our selection of hotels in the Ticino.
Feel free to post to the forum if you have any questions about this region.
What is the Ticino region like?
Switzerland is a country with a huge variety of different landscapes and climates. This applies to the Ticino too.
The main mountain range of the Alps marks the northern border of the Ticino, with the village of Airolo in the Leventina valley (Val Leventina) at 1,141 m as the starting point of the famous Gotthard Pass. The peaks are over 3,000 m high here.
Further south, there's lowest point of entire Switzerland: Lake Maggiore, just below 200 m. This area has a Mediterranean climate with palm trees, flowers and green mountains up to 2,000-2,500 m.
Most tourists prefer to stay around Lake Maggiore or Lake Lugano. The Lake Maggiore region is where the towns of Bellinzona and Locarno can be found. Lugano is located on Lake Lugano and surrounded by mountains. All mentioned towns are a good base to explore both lake areas.
Ascona on Lake Maggiore is worth mentioning too. This atmospheric little town with its colorful boulevard is very attractive. It doesn't have a railway station though, so if you travel by public transportation you'll have to get to Locarno by bus first and catch a train there.
What not to miss in the Ticino
If your itinerary allows you to arrive and/or depart on one of the panoramic trains, we highly recommend that: have a look at what the Bernina Express, Centovalli Railway and Gotthard Panorama Express have to offer.
During your stay, you can enjoy the scenery during boat rides on Lake Lugano or Lake Maggiore, visit wonderful viewing points overlooking the Alps and the lakes, and explore the towns and nature on foot. Try to include at least one boat ride, one viewing point and one walk to catch a glimpse of this wonderful canton. You'll find our suggestions here.
TOWNS IN THIS REGION
The city of Lugano is located on a lake in a very scenic area in southern Switzerland. Lugano is well connected to the entire region by trains, buses and boats.
The pretty lake front, the surrounding mountains and good train connections make the town of Locarno a pleasant base to explore the Lake Maggiore region.
The small town of Bellinzona is famous for its three castles and a good base for day trips all over the Ticino.
SUBREGIONS IN THIS REGION
The Lake Lugano region is surrounded by Italy, and that clearly shows in architecture, food and atmosphere. It is a wonderful holiday destination with forested mountains, mild climate, a pretty lake and the pleasant city of Lugano.
Ancient castles, mountains and the towns of Ascona, Locarno and Bellinzona await you in the Mediterranean Lake Maggiore region.