Swiss-Mediterranean // Ticino // Monte Generosa // Lake Lugano // Piazza della Riforma // Italian-speaking...

With its Mediterranean flair, Lugano is the largest town in Ticino and a town of parks and flowers.

The city is open and welcoming, an international melting pot of European culture. It’s also a banking and business center, being Switzerland’s third most important financial city. Stroll along the palm-tree-lined lake and dine at charming cafés set along the cobblestoned squares of town.

Close to Italy with Milan only an hour away, Lugano is one of the most beautiful, lake-side towns in Switzerland. With all the big name luxury shops (Cartier, Gucci, Bvlgari, Hermes, Louis Vuitton...the list goes on), two casinos and some wonderful restaurants, it is hardly surprising that both Ian Fleming and George Harrison chose to reside here. It is a classic winter and summer destination spot with hundreds of ski resorts from under an hour away (St Moritz is 2½ hours away). Locals like Splugen where you can ski for the day and get back to enjoy the stunning night time views in less than an hour (Insiders tip: there’s a great rental shop just by the ski lifts so really convenient).

The Lake
There are tours and lunch or dinner in the grottos. (Grotto dei pescatori is a favourite) or you can rent a small boat for about 60 CHF an hour and do it yourself! In the summer everyone swims in the lake, and there are all the water sports from sailing to water skiing etc. In the first week there is a lake crossing challenge and around 500 people swim from one side to the other – it’s pretty fascinating to watch.

The Town
The picturesque town has all the big brand shops and some smaller exclusive, albeit expensive boutiques. The Laderach Chocolate shop is a must with seriously good chocolate. For those who like a bargain, Fox town is an internationally known outlet for all the brands at 30 percent less.

Other places of interest are the Grand Café al Porto, which dates back to 1803 and is where everyone who is anyone meets for cappuccino and brioche. Piazza Riforma, in the main square is a great place to watch the world go by and enjoy a Prosecco or an Aperol spritz. There is also Parco Cianni, if you fancy a walk in the park.

Surrounding Area
Funiculars take you up to Monte Bre or Monte San Salvatore for fabulous views of the area. Monte Generosa has a 360° view over the whole of Ticino. There is also Swiss Miniature: a miniature Switzerland in a park… very cute.

Hotels and Accommodation
There are a good number of luxury hotels in Lugano, the best of which include The View, Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola, Hotel Splendide and Villa Principe Leopoldo.

Our Reviews
Thank you for choosing Our Man On The Ground to be your luxury travel guide to match you to your perfect destination. Read on for the city’s highlights, our reviews on its hidden gem hotels, restaurants, bars, pubs and great things to do.

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Photograph of Lake Lugarno courtesy of Switzerland Tourism

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