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Lake Maggiore, as seen from Locarno

Locarno is a city at the northern end of Lake Maggiore in Switzerland.

Get in

By car

From the east, take highway A2 Basel to Chiasso, exit at Bellinzona South, direction Locarno. After the Magadino airport, take the A13 highway, direction Locarno. After the tunnel, the first exit will take you to the center of Locarno. Parking available in the new Piazza Castello parking.

From the west, take the road along the coast of Lake Maggiore from Verbania through Cannobio and the Brissago customs. Then take the A13 highway, direction Locarno. An alternative, from Simplon and Domodossola, is the Valle Vigezzo and Centovalli road, direction Locarno.

By train

Regular trains link Locarno directly with Zurich, Basel, Lucerne, Milan and Bellinzona. The Centovallina train line connects Locarno and the Simplon line (from Geneva or Bern).

By plane

Lugano airport. Then take the bus to Lugano and the train to Locarno.

Get around

By bike

Bike rental can be found at the train station (Piazza Stazione, Tel. +41 91 7436564). Rental fee: CHF30/day (8AM-7PM).

On foot

Most of the city can be explored on foot. The Main Square Piazza Grande is walking distance from Main Railway station. Old Town of Locarno is behind Piazza Grande.

Ticino Discovery Card

With this card you get access to all major tourist attractions in Ticino canton including unlimited travel on public transport, cable cars, furniculars and museums. Price of the card is 87 CHF. People holding Swiss GA Travel card or Half fare card get 10 CHF discount. Card is valid for 3 days. A real good deal to discover Ticino and is available at major hotels, hostels, train station and Tourist Offices. [1]



  • Walk the Lake Maggiore promenade
  • 1 Ride a funicular, Viale Balli 2, +41 91 751 11 23. Take a historical funicular up to the old monastery of the Santuario della Madonna del Sasso and cable car station, from where you can take the cable car to approx 1,600m above the town, or walk back down into the town via the monastery and a stone pathway, approx 30 minute walk down. Single: CHF 4.80; Return: CHF 7.20.
  • Falconeria Locarno. An interesting show of birds like Peregrine Falcon, American Eagle, White Owls and Vultures. Check the show timing before reaching the place.


Most of shopping areas are in the arcades of Piazza Grande or in the Old Town. You can find out very interesting boutiques, sport shop, handmade jewels and many kinds of particular store offering specialities in old town of Locarno.


  • Albergo Ristorante Cittadella (old town). Fish specialties and pizza.
  • Osteria Borghese (old town). Traditional.
  • Pizzeria Primavera (old town). Pizza, icecream.
  • Ristorante Universo. Pizza, pasta, and more.
  • Ristorante Vallemaggia (old town). Original, good quality/price ratio, operated by a foundation.
  • Govinda (old town). Indian vegetarian.
  • Marnin (old town). Breakfast / tea time.


  • Bar Sport. Free entry, house music.
  • Bar Castello. Free entry.
  • Bar Pardo. Free entry.
  • Cantina Canetti. Free entry.
  • Max's way (old town). Aperitifs lounge music.
  • Vanilla Club. Disco in Riazzino, expensive, good house music.



  • YHA Locarno, Palagiovani, Via Varenna 18 (15 minutes walk from the central station), +41 91 756 15 00. Budget travellers hostel, single and multi person rooms, clean and modern.
  • Pensione Olanda, Via ai Monti 139a. Bed-and-breakfast-style pensione; beautiful breakfast terrace with views of the lake; wonderful innkeeper Irmgard Balbina, very helpful.
  • Hotel du Lac, Via Ramogna 3 (Near the shore of Lake Maggiore).
  • Hotel Dell'angelo, Piazza Grande. Great location, although some travellers complain of the noise at night.
  • Mirafiori, Via al Parco 25, fax: +41 91 743 77 39, . Three star hotel. Small, on the south hill of Locarno, 2km from the city center and from the railway station. Double room from 240CHF (season of April 2009).

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This city travel guide to Locarno is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.