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Ticino - Sightseeing & hiking suggestions

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View from Cimetta

Impressive view from Cimetta, overlooking Italy, Switzerland and the northern part of the Lago Maggiore. The island is Isola di Brissago.

Activities in the Ticino

Find the activities that we enjoyed. They include boat trips over Lake Lugano and Lake Maggiore, wonderful viewing points up in the hills near Lugano and Locarno and hiking routes along the lakes and in Ticino's romantic valleys.

SIGHTSEEING TIPS FOR THIS REGION

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Bernina Express

Wonderful scenic train ride from the old town of Chur across the Bernina Pass via Italy to Lugano.

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Gotthard Panorama Express

An impressive train and boat journey across the famous Gotthard route.

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Boat trip Lake Lugano

Enjoy southern Switzerland from the water. A boat trip is a relaxed way to see the green mountains and picturesque villages in the Lake Lugano region.

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  • Attraction type: Natural site, Lake;
    Scenic trip, By boat
  • Escort: independent (no guide)
  • Region: Lake Lugano (Ticino)
  • Duration: 1 day or less

Centovalli railway

The Centovalli railway offers a unique train journey across remote valleys in northern Italy and southern Switzerland.

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Boat trip Lake Maggiore

Explore southern Switzerland and northern Italy by boat. Enjoy the green mountains, palm trees, wonderful villages and pleasant Mediterranean climate.

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  • Attraction type: Natural site, Lake;
    Scenic trip, By boat
  • Escort: independent (no guide)
  • Region: Lake Maggiore (Ticino)
  • Duration: 1 day or less

Monte San Salvatore

Monte San Salvatore is one of the two easy to reach panoramic viewing points in Lugano. It offers views of the city, most of the lake, and mountains such as Monte Brè and Monte Generoso.

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  • Attraction type: Natural site, Mountain top, By funicular
  • Escort: independent (no guide)
  • Region: Lugano (Ticino)
  • Duration: 1 day or less

Monte Brè

Monte Brè is one of the two easy to reach panoramic viewing points in Lugano. It offers views of most of the city and the lake, almost as far as Porto Ceresio in Italy, at the south-most tip of the lake.

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  • Attraction type: Natural site, Mountain top, By funicular
  • Escort: independent (no guide)
  • Region: Lugano (Ticino)
  • Duration: 1 day or less
COVID-19 friendlyIndependent or small group activities that easily allow avoiding the masses

Castles of Bellinzona

Explore the three castles of Bellinzona, a UNESCO World Heritage site from the Middle Ages.

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  • Attraction type: Culture, Museum;
    Culture, Monument;
    City tour
  • Escort: independent (no guide)
  • Region: Bellinzona (Ticino)
  • Duration: 1 day or less

Swissminiatur

The miniature version of Switzerland. You can see many of its highlights in a few hours.

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  • Attraction type: Culture, Museum
  • Escort: independent (no guide)
  • Region: Lake Lugano (Ticino)
  • Duration: 1 day or less

The Ticino region in one day

Don't have much time, or looking for an introduction to the Ticino region? This one day trip to Lugano and Locarno makes sure you won't miss the best spots.

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  • Attraction type: Natural site, Mountain top, By funicular;
    Natural site, Mountain top, By cable car;
    Natural site, Lake;
    Culture, Monument;
    City tour;
    Scenic trip, By train;
    Scenic trip, By boat
  • Escort: independent (no guide)
  • Region: Lake Maggiore (Ticino), Lake Lugano (Ticino)
  • Duration: 1 day or less

Monte Tamaro

Gondola ride to a hiking area, viewing point and the famous Santa Maria degli Angeli church.

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Monte Generoso

Scenic ride with the cogwheel train to the highest peak in the Lake Lugano region. Spectacular 360° views all the way from Milan to the Gotthard massif.

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  • Attraction type: Natural site, Mountain top, By train
  • Escort: independent (no guide)
  • Region: Lake Lugano (Ticino)
  • Duration: 1 day or less

Cardada-Cimetta

A pleasant trip from Locarno along the famous Madonna del Sasso church up to Cardada and finally Cimetta. A wide view of Locarno, Ascona and Lake Maggiore awaits you here.

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  • Attraction type: Natural site, Mountain top, By cable car;
    Natural site, Mountain top, By funicular
  • Escort: independent (no guide)
  • Region: Locarno (Ticino)
  • Duration: 1 day or less

Madonna del Sasso

The Madonna del Sasso is a historical church on a sacred mountain just outside Locarno. The church, the walk to get there and the view from the top are definitely worth a visit.

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  • Attraction type: Culture, Monument;
    Natural site, Mountain top, By funicular
  • Escort: independent (no guide)
  • Region: Locarno (Ticino)
  • Duration: 1 day or less

Brissago Islands

Take a boat to a unique island with a subtropic climate and wonderful gardens.

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  • Attraction type: Scenic trip, By boat;
    Natural site, Lake
  • Escort: independent (no guide)
  • Region: Lake Maggiore (Ticino)
  • Duration: 1 day or less
Free cancellationAt least one (usually all) retailers listed here offer free cancellation for this activity

Entrance ticket to the Falconeria in Locarno

Watch eagles, hawks, owls, vultures and other birds of prey from up close. See them in action when the falconers perform their show.

Details & prices
  • Attraction type: Theme park
  • Escort: independent (ticket only)
  • Region: Locarno (Ticino)
  • Duration: 1 day or less
  • Details & booking: Viator.com
Free cancellationAt least one (usually all) retailers listed here offer free cancellation for this activity

Self-guided restaurant tour in Lugano

Try the local food in no less than 5 restaurants in the beautiful city center of Lugano. You'll walk from one restaurant to the other in minutes. All small dishes combined are a full diner.

Details & prices
  • Attraction type: Culinary tour
  • Escort: independent (no guide)
  • Region: Lugano (Ticino)
  • Duration: 1 day or less
  • Details & booking: Viator.com
Free cancellationAt least one (usually all) retailers listed here offer free cancellation for this activity

Guided tour through Lugano with a local

One hour guided tour through the city center of Lugano. You'll walk along the monuments, the lake, and get tips about where to eat too!

Details & prices
  • Attraction type: City tour
  • Escort: guide
  • Region: Lugano (Ticino)
  • Duration: 1 day or less
  • Details & booking: Viator.com
Free cancellationAt least one (usually all) retailers listed here offer free cancellation for this activity

Bungee jump from the Verzasca dam

A 220 meter bungee jump from the Verzasca dam (Contra dam), just like James Bond did in the movie Goldeneye. A training is included. Transportation to the dam is not included (there's a bus).

Details & prices

Bernina Express tours 2 to 3 days

Choose from various independent tour packages to enjoy the Bernina Express. Book 1 night to see the highlights, or 2 nights to see the whole route, including Lugano. You can add more nights to explore the towns (recommended).

Details & prices

6 days of Swiss Panoramic Trains

Enjoy the Gornergrat cogwheel train, the Glacier Express, Bernina Express and wonderful alpine views while traveling across the Swiss Alps.

Details & prices

REGIONAL HIKING SUGGESTIONS

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Castagnola - Gandria

An easy short hike along Lake Lugano via the Olive Tree Path to the picturesque town of Gandria.

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  • Hiking time: 0h45
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Elevation: 275 - 342 m
  • Distance: 2.6 km
  • Terrain: town, along lake
  • Region: Lake Lugano (Ticino)

City walk Lugano

This city walk is a very nice way to get to know beautiful Lugano. Easy to combine with a boat trip or funicular ride.

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  • Hiking time: 1h20
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Elevation: 271 - 356 m
  • Distance: 5.1 km
  • Terrain: town, along lake
  • Region: Lake Lugano (Ticino)

Town walk Ascona

The town center of Ascona is tiny but stunningly beautiful. This self-guided walk leads you through all the pretty streets and to the lakefront.

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  • Hiking time: 0h35
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Elevation: 197 - 235 m
  • Distance: 2.5 km
  • Terrain: along lake, town
  • Region: Lake Maggiore (Ticino)

Town walk Bellinzona with one castle

Explore the best streets of Bellinzona and the castle in the center of town.

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  • Hiking time: 0h40
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Elevation: 223 - 278 m
  • Distance: 2.3 km
  • Terrain: town
  • Region: Lake Maggiore (Ticino)

City walk Locarno

A pleasant walk along the lakefront and the historical town center of Locarno, including the pretty Piazza Grande.

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  • Hiking time: 1h00
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Elevation: 192 - 225 m
  • Distance: 4.1 km
  • Terrain: along lake, town
  • Region: Lake Maggiore (Ticino)

Lavertezzo - Ganne

A pleasant hike along the Verzasca river, starting at the famous Ponte dei Salti, a 17th century stone bridge over crystal clear water.

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  • Hiking time: 1h45
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Elevation: 535 - 685 m
  • Distance: 4.7 km
  • Terrain: forest, along river
  • Region: Lake Maggiore (Ticino)

Lugano - Gandria

A pleasant hike across Lugano, along Lake Lugano via the Olive Tree Path to the picturesque town of Gandria.

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  • Hiking time: 1h40
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Elevation: 272 - 361 m
  • Distance: 5.5 km
  • Terrain: town, along lake
  • Region: Lake Lugano (Ticino)

Town walk Bellinzona with three castles

Get to know the small town of Bellinzona and it's three famous castles.

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  • Hiking time: 2h00
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Elevation: 223 - 464 m
  • Distance: 5.6 km
  • Terrain: town
  • Region: Lake Maggiore (Ticino)

Brissago - Madonna del Sacro Monte - Brissago

A walk in the lakeside town of Brissago, and to the Madonna del Sacro Monte church on the slopes of Mount Gridone.

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  • Hiking time: 1h00
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Elevation: 193 - 327 m
  • Distance: 2.5 km
  • Terrain: forest, town, along lake
  • Region: Lake Maggiore (Ticino)

City walk Locarno and Camellia Park

A pleasant walk along the lakefront, the historical town center of Locarno, and the Camellia Park.

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  • Hiking time: 1h30
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Elevation: 192 - 225 m
  • Distance: 6.1 km
  • Terrain: town, along lake
  • Region: Lake Maggiore (Ticino)

Tenero - Locarno

An easy walk along the northern tip of Lake Maggiore, even pleasant on a cloudy day.

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  • Hiking time: 1h00
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Elevation: 193 - 206 m
  • Distance: 4.4 km
  • Terrain: town, along lake
  • Region: Lake Maggiore (Ticino)
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