photo by Benjamin Chaulet

Lugano is a lakeside city in Ticino, the Italian-speaking part of southern Switzerland. Part of a temperate micro-climate, Lugano offers palm trees, picturesque boulevards, stunning views of the lake and the Alps, and plenty of opportunity for outdoor and indoor activities. Lugano also makes a good base for visiting other cities and sites in the area. The city is a pleasant place to relax in the summertime and is only half an hour away from Lake Como.

Getting there

By plane

Lugano has a small international airport with flights arriving from many European cities especially Italy, England, France and Germany. Milan's airports are 1 1/2 hours away by bus or train and are served by easyJet and Ryanair. Swiss International Airline , Flybaboo and Darwin Airline offer discount web special prices to Lugano from many parts of Europe.

By train

Trains leave for Zurich (3hr) and Milan (40min-1hour) as well as Geneva (via Zurich or Locarno-Domodossola: 5h30' with 1 or 2 train-change, 6h30' via Milan with 1 train-change). Note that getting to Geneva or points west it is faster to go via Zurich or Locarno as the trains are more frequent and faster.

By bus

There are two shuttle services (Star Bus , Malpensa Express ) between Lugano and Milan - Malpensa Airport and a daily bus service during summer to Tirano (Italy) with train connection (Bernina Express ) to St. Moritz (Switzerland).

By boat

Note that a small part of the lake is actually in Italy so bring your passport if you plan on exploring by ferry.

Traveling around

Lugano is small enough to get around on foot, and many of the streets are pedestrian-only, but the hills above the lakefront are very steep so the bus or the funicular from the center of town might be a better option on the way up to the train station if you have a lot of bags. Taxis can be found on the main roads. Ferries and Funiculars are great options for seeing the views.

For more information:

  • Funicolare Lugano Citta - Stazione, telephone +41 91 800 72 28/29. This funicular links the old center of the town on the lake shore to the railway station higher up the hill.

  • Funicolare Lugano Paradiso - Monte San Salvatore, telephone +41 91 985 28 28. A funicular which runs from Lugano to the top of the Monte San Salvatore, with spectacular views of the Lake of Lugano, the isthmus of Melide, the Monte Generoso and the Italian enclave of Campione d'Italia on the other side of the lake.

Boats While much of Lake Lugano is in Switzerland, the truth is that most of it is in Italy. But, still - take your passport when on a boat.


  • Swiss Miniature Village, Via Cantonale, Melide-Lugano. Tickets: Adults CHF17, Children below 6 years gratis, 6-15y CHF12 and Senior Citizen (over 65) CHF15. (Price on 2010)

  • Parco Civico (Ciani park)

  • Old Town

  • Cantonal Art Museum Highly recommended!

  • Museum of Modern Art

  • Monte San Salvatore (San Salvatore funicular)

  • Hermann Hesse museum. The museum is in Montagnola and you can get there in fifteen minutes from the Lugano railway station by a bus number 36 (direction Agra). Check the time tables, the bus frequence isn't very high. Get off at bus stop Bellevue. The museum also offers an audio guide for a walk in the steps of Hesse, which is a extremely good choice on a beautiful day. Besides the exhibition there is also a film on Hesse shown, duration approximately 50 minutes. In the summer season (March-October) opened daily from 10.00 to 18.30, in the winter season only on weekends from 10.00 to 17.30. Tickets: CHF 7.50/CHF 6.00, discounts for families and groups. Friendly and helpful staff. English, German and Italian spoken.

Things to do

  • Swimming

  • Boating

  • Hiking

  • Trekking Lugano and Malcantone region

  • Mountain biking Bike rentals: :* SFR Railway Station Lugano, Tel. +41-512-215642 :* Balmelli Sport, Via Pioda 12, Tel. +41-91-9235867

  • Casinò Lugano , via Stauffacher 1, Tel. +41-91-9737111, Fax +41-91-9737149, email: info@casinolugano.ch. Open every day from 12AM-4AM (Fridays and Saturdays closing time at 5AM). Tables open at 2PM.



The cafeteria in the Manor Department store offers a wide variety of tempting International dishes, ranging from sushi to pasta. Fresh fruits and vegetables arrayed in stylish displays are almost a painting themselves. Wine and beer are available as are a wide range of other beverages.


  • Argentino, Piazza Riforma, Tel. +41-91-9229049. Excellent pizza, great service. They offer 2 sizes of pizza, price ranges around CHF15-20.

  • Tango, Piazza Riforma, Really great tasty pizza, quick service (6-7 min per pizza). Price ranges around CHF 15-20.


In the summer your best bet is just to wander along the lakeside promenade and open air bar/cafes. Check local listings for clubs and shows as venues come and go with the seasons.

There are three clubs in the city (discos). Morandi's is 25+ for women, 30+ for men. Privilege, Tito's Place, Club One and The Cube are all located in the downtown (near Manor, a department store).

Oops is a great place to have beer in the evening. Near University

  • Arte, Lungolago, Amazing decor(also an art gallery) Great food Views of the Lake


There are a wide range of hotel options right in town, from atmospheric B&Bs to posh four stars to comfy and communal hostels. Be sure to book ahead in the summer, but the rest of the year it's possible to just show up and find something as long as your budget is flexible.


  • Montarina Hotel & Hostel , +41 (91) 966 72 72, +41 (91) 966 72 72, Via Montarina 1

  • Hotel Pestalozzi , +41 (91) 921 46 46, +41 (91) 921 46 46, Piazza Indipendenza 9, A very clean, family-run hotel with some en-suite rooms. English and German are spoken.

  • San Carlo Garni , +41 (91) 922 71 07, +41 (91) 922 71 07, Via Nassa 28

  • Youth Hostel Lugano-Savosa , +41 (91) 966 27 28, +41 (91) 966 27 28, Via Cantonale 13, 6942 Savosa


  • Hotel International au Lac , +41 (91) 922 75 41, +41 (91) 922 75 41, Via Nassa 68, 6901 Lugano, . Family tradition since 1906, it is the right hotel for holidays or for business stays and the only one on the lake promenade in the centre of Lugano, with own indoor parking, restaurant, meeting room, garden with swimming-pool and terrace. W-Lan Internet Hot-Spot, an Internet workstation and an

  • Hotel Villa Marita , +41 (91) 966 05 61, +41 (91) 966 05 61, Via Lucino 49, 6932 Breganzona

  • Lugano Dante Center Swiss Quality Hotel , +41 (91) 910 57 00, +41 (91) 910 57 00, Piazza Cioccaro 5. CH-6900, Located 1 minute from station, 200m from the lake. WIFI access and meeting facilities. Multistore car park.

  • Villa Sassa Hotel, Residence & SPA , +41 (91) 911 41 11, +41 (91) 911 41 11, Via Tesserete 10

  • Hotel De La Paix , +41 (91) 960 60 60, +41 (91) 960 60 60

  • Acquarello , , Piazza Cioccaro, CH-6900, The Swiss Quality Hotel Acquarello has a direct connection to the station with the cable car and is situated in the city center. Single room from 117CHF, double room from 178CHF (season from April 2009).


  • Grand Hotel Eden , +41 (91) 985 92 00, +41 (91) 985 92 00, Riva Paradiso 1

  • Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola , +41 (91) 973 25 55, +41 (91) 973 25 55, Viale Castagnola 31

  • Hotel Splendide Royal , +41 (91) 985 77 11, +41 (91) 985 77 11, Riva A. Caccia 7

  • Villa Principe Leopoldo Hotel & SPA , +41 (91) 985 88 55, +41 (91) 985 88 55, Via Montalbano 5, Villa Principe Leopoldo is located at only 2 Km from the city of Lugano. The historical main building – the Villa – is, together with the nearby Residence (of more recent construction), one of the most refined luxury hotel establishments in Lugano.


All the major labels and designer boutiques (Versace, Hermes, Paul & Shark, Louis Vuitton, and Cartier) can be found here, as well as the usual Swiss and Italian knick-knacks.


Lugano is as safe as most cities in Switzerland, but the density of expensive purses, watches, and sunglasses may make pickpockets more of a problem. The usual cautions apply to walking alone late at night, especially after bars and clubs close before dawn.

Important Numbers

  • Police (Polizia) – Emergency only: 117

  • Fire Department (Pompieri): 118

  • City of Lugano Police: +41 (0)58 866 82 50 (piazza Riforma), +41-58-8668111 (Via Beltramina 20B)

  • Civic Hospital (Ospedale Civico): +41-91-8116111 (via Tesserete 46 )

  • Emergency Ward (Pronto Soccorso), Civic Hospital: +41-91-8116006

  • Ambulances (Ambulanze): 144

  • Poisonings (Intossicazioni): 145

  • Doctor and dentist on call: 1811

  • Emergency Service - Street aid: 140

Lost Property Office (Ufficio oggetti smarriti), City of Lugano Police, Via Beltramina 20b. Mon-fri: 7:30AM - 12AM, 1:30PM-5PM Phone: +41-58-8668250


  • Universita della Svizzera Italiana

  • Scuola Universitaria Professionale della Svizzera Italiana

  • Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligience

  • Franklin College Switzerland: an internationally accredited college.

  • The American School in Switzerland (TASIS), an international secondary school.


There are a few internet cafes in town. As usual, try near the train station.


  • Tourism Center / Lugano Turismo , Direzione, Piazza Indipendenza 4. Tel: +41-91-9110404, Fax +41-91-9211460, info@lugano-tourism.ch.

Get out

Trains leave hourly for Milan and Zurich where you can transfer to any destination in Europe.

Contact & location

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The photos displayed on this page are the property of one of the following authors:

Benjamin Chaulet, Martijn, Marco Castellani, Cristiano Dri, Cristian Santinon

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This travel guide also includes text from Wikitravel articles, all available at WikitravelView full credits

HJP, Daniel Franklin, Tea Tönnov, Christian Hartmann, Andrei Lintu, Pascal Schoenmaekers, sixzilly, John P. Noe, Evan Prodromou, Matteo Corti, Mark Jaroski, Colin Jensen and Michele Ann Jenkins, Inas, Airin, Tripter, Episteme, Unger, Quattrop, TheForester, Nzpcmad, Nils and Huttite

This travel guide also includes text from Wikipedia articles, all available at WikipediaView full credits

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