Lugano is a lakeside city in Ticino, the Italian-speaking part of southern Switzerland, and is the largest Italian-speaking city in Switzerland, or for that matter, outside Italy. 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.
Lugano has a small international airport with flights arriving from Zurich and Geneva. Milan's airports are 1.5 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.
Trains leave for Zürich (3h), Basel (3:34) and Milan (40min-1h) as well as Geneva (via Zürich or Locarno-Domodossola: 5h30 with one or two transfers, 6h30 via Milan with one transfer). Note that getting to Geneva or points west it is faster to go via Zürich or Locarno as the trains are more frequent and faster.
There are three shuttle services between Lugano and Milan Malpensa Airport:
- Lugano Services(approx every 2 hrs, 04:00AM-23:30AM; 1hr 10min; €25,00 one way; advance reservations on line or tickets directly on the bus)
- JetBus (approx every 1-2 hrs; 06:00AM-23:10PM; €27,00 or 35,00 CHF one way; can be booked at airport)
- Malpensa Express (every 2 hrs; 8:35AM-23:35PM; €30,00 or 35,00 CHF one way; can be booked at airport.)
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, you'll never need to call!). This funicular links the old center of the town on the lake shore to the railway station higher up the hill. Starting 05.20 till 23.50, always, there is one every 5-10 minutes.
- 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.
- Funicolare Monte Brè - Monte Brè, A funicular which runs from Lugano to the top of the Monte Brè for 14 fr. one way and 20 fr. round trip.
- There are ferries which travel between the towns on Lake Lugano at regular intervals. Daily rates are available.
- While much of Lake Lugano is in Switzerland, a large portion of it is in Italy so take your passport when on a boat.
Italian is spoken in Lugano as a primary language. English and German are widely spoken by many of the individuals that interact with tourists.
- Swiss Miniature Village, Via Cantonale, Melide-Lugano. Adults CHF17, Children below 6 years free, 6-15y CHF12 and Senior Citizen (over 65) CHF15. (Prices in 2010).
- Parco Civico (Ciani Park). A peaceful park with a wide variety of flowers and trees located near the heart of Lugano's tourist area
- Old town.
- Cantonal Art Museum.
- Museum of Modern Art.
- Monte San Salvatore (The cable car station is in Paradiso, Via delle Scuole 7.). The top of this mountain has a restaurant, hiking paths and a look-out tower offering an amazing panoramic view of Lugano, the lake and surrounding area. It is possible to hike up to the mountain (about 2 hours), or take the cable car. A return ticket for adults costs CHF 28.00.
- 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 timetables beforehand as the buses aren't frequent. Get off at the bus stop Bellevue.), ☎ . Summer season (Mar-Oct) daily 10.00-18.30; otherwise F-Su 10.00-17.30.. The museum also offers an audio guide for a walk in the steps of Hesse, which is an extremely good choice on a beautiful day. Besides the exhibition there is also a film on Hesse shown, duration approximately 50 minutes. Friendly and helpful staff. English, German and Italian spoken. CHF7.50/CHF 6.00, discounts for families and groups..
- Gandria (Walk, boat or bus). Gandria is an unspoiled, picturesque lakeside village at the foot of Monte Brè. Perched on the steep mountainside it is a community of narrow streets, inaccessible to cars, with a delightful surprise round every corner.
- Swimming. The Lido di Lugano right in the city centre is a great place to swim with a beach, 3 swimming pools and a bar.
- Boating. Boat rental options include paddle boats and speed boats.
- Mount Brè (Monte Brè). There are numerous rustic trails that lead up from towns surrounding Mount Brè to its summit and the Funicolare Monte Brè. A trail map is available from the local tourist information.
- Olive Tree Trail. Path along the streets from Gandria to Castagnola which is marked with signs that describe the history of olive trees in the region.
- Trekking Lugano and Malcantone region.
- SFR Railway Station Lugano, ☎ .
- Balmelli Sport, Via Pioda 12, ☎ .
- Casinò Lugano, Via Stauffacher 1, ☎ , fax: +41 91 973-7149, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 12:00-04:00, extended to 05:00 Fridays and Saturdays. Tables open at 02:00.
- Blues to Bop Festival. 21:00-01:00/02:30 depending on the evening.. Free open air music festival with multiple stages throughout the heart of Lugano in late August.
- University of Italian Switzerland (USI), 13 Giuseppe Buffi St, ☎ , fax: +41 (0)58 666 46 47, e-mail: email@example.com. Switzerland’s most international university. It is distinctive in the Swiss university system because of the originality of its degree curricula and areas of research.
- University of Applied Sciences of Italian Switzerland (SUPSI), Le Gerre (Manno), ☎ , fax: +41 58 666 6001, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. One of the nine universities of applied sciences recognized by the Swiss Confederation.
- Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligience
- Franklin College Switzerland, 29 Ponte Tresa St (Sorengo), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. An American liberal arts institution in an international environment, Franklin is fully accredited in the United States by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and in Switzerland by the Swiss University Conference.
- The American School in Switzerland (TASIS), an international secondary school.
Many 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. Via Nassa in the city center is the main place for shopping high street brands.
- Foxtown, Mendrisio, Via A. Maspoli 18 (Can be reached by train from the Central Station (direction Mendrisio-Chiasso)). 11-19. Huge designer outlet in just 20 km from Lugano.
The cafeteria in the Manor Department (Piazza Dante 2) 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. 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.
- Ristorante Antico, CH-6978 Gandria - Lugano, ☎ 091 971 48 71. Italian cuisine in the village of Gandria with dining on a terrace with views of Lago di Lugano
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. Spring-Autumn, Bar Mojito (p.za Manzoni, directly at the lakeside)
There are clubs in the city (discos). Nix (under the Casinò), Privilege (near Manor, a department store), Tito's Place (quartiere Maghetti), Club One and The Cube are all located in the downtown.
Oops (via Maderno 24) and Bibliocafè Tra (Salita dei Frati, Piazza Molino Nuovo) are a great place to have beer in the evening. Near University . Another hint:
- Arte, Lungolago. Amazing decor, (also an art gallery), great food and 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, Via Montarina 1, ☎ , fax: +41 (91) 966 00 17, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The house is surrounded by a palm garden and has a nice swimming pool that all guests can use. Hostel guests can use a small communal kitchen. The hostel costs CHF 25 per night whereas a single room in the hotel starts at CHF 70. Breakfast at CHF 12 per person.
- Hotel Pestalozzi, Piazza Indipendenza 9, ☎ , fax: +41 (91) 922 20 45, e-mail: email@example.com. A very clean, family-run hotel with some en-suite rooms. English and German are spoken. Prices start at CHF 64 for a single room without shower and toilet.
- San Carlo Garni, Via Nassa 28, ☎ , fax: +41 (91) 922 80 22, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. CHF 65-190.
- Youth Hostel Lugano-Savosa, Via Cantonale 13, Savosa, ☎ , fax: +41 (91) 968 23 63, e-mail: email@example.com. Prices start at CHF 23 in a dormitory, provided you have a membership.
- Hotel International au Lac, Via Nassa 68, ☎ , fax: +41 (91) 922 75 44, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00-onwards, check-out: 6:30-12:00. . 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 "Ethernet" connection for notebook computers are available free of charge at the Internet corner. “Historic hotel with honor”: the ICOMOS jury has granted the hotel this eminent UNESCO award. CHF 115-310.
- Hotel Villa Marita, Via Lucino 49, Breganzona, ☎ , fax: +41 (91) 968 11 18, e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00-23:00, check-out: 10:00-11:00. CHF 80-190.
- Lugano Dante Center, Piazza Cioccaro 5, ☎ , fax: +41 (91) 910 57 77, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Located 1 minute from station, 200m from the lake. WiFi access and meeting facilities. Multistore car park. CHF 139 to 425 per night per room.
- Villa Sassa Hotel, Residence & SPA, Via Tesserete 10, ☎ , fax: +41 (91) 922 05 45, e-mail: email@example.com. On the hills overlooking Lugano, yet just a few minutes walk from the centre of town. Single room in the hotel starts at CHF 240. Double room starts at CHF 240..
- Acquarello, Piazza Cioccaro, ☎ 0041(0)91 911 68 68, fax: +41 (91) 911 68 69, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 15:00-23:00, check-out: 07:00-11:00. Has a direct connection to the station with the cable car and is in the city center. Single room from 116.25 CHF, double room from 157.50 CHF (season from October 2011, all included).
- Grand Hotel Eden, Riva Paradiso 1, ☎ , fax: +41 (91) 985 92 50, e-mail: email@example.com.
- Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola, Viale Castagnola 31, ☎ , fax: +41 (91) 973 25 50, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Hotel Splendide Royal, Riva A. Caccia 7, ☎ , fax: +41 91 985 77 22, e-mail: email@example.com.
- Villa Principe Leopoldo Hotel & SPA, Via Montalbano 5, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 2 km from the city. 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. Prices range from CHF 450 to CHF 1,950 per room per night.
There are a few internet cafes in town. As usual, try near the train station. Free Wi-Fi connection can be found along the lakeside and in the University campus (Via Buffi, 13).
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.
- 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