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A Day Trip To Lugano, Switzerland

Discover Lugano for the day, with our exclusive LUXOS guide.

by Diccon Bewes

 You don’t have to go to Italy to experience la dolce vita; you can find that right here in Switzerland. Hop on the train through the new Gotthard Tunnel (the longest in the world) and in a couple of hours you’re beside a lake, prosecco in hand, enjoying the sun. Welcome to Lugano!

Ticino’s biggest city is a delight, with all the style of the Italians but all the efficiency of the Swiss. Steep hillsides careen down to the lake while the old town is a pretty maze of arcaded buildings and pavement cafés.

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Lugano and its lake are surrounded by almost conical peaks but one stands out from the crowd: Monte San Salvatore. Its pyramidal shape is an iconic part of the Lugano skyline but the best view is from the top not the shore. This has been a tourist must-do since the funicular opened in 1890 and it more than lives up to expectations. The near-aerial views of the city are simply splendid.

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If you’re looking for refined elegance and sublime cuisine then look no further. The restaurant at the Villa Leopoldo combines an exquisite interior with a panoramic summer terrace, though most likely you’ll be looking at the food. That is created under Chef Dario Ranza, who serves up a taste of Italy with local variations. Not to be missed!

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For more ideas on how to Do, Dine and Spend in Switzerland and beyond, visit our Destinations pages.