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1 day in Lugano

We will be driving from Milan to Lugano for 1 day. Where should we start our self tour of Lugano? While reading all of the information, I am a bit confused as we to where the funicular is vs the Old town, etc. What we would like to do in Lugano is: go up (or down) the funicular, see Monte San Salvatore, Monte Bre, Piazza Della Riforma, Via Cattedrale, and, hopefully, rest at Park Ciani. Please, suggest, where should we start and park? Restaurant?
Thanks in advance.

Posted by
8889 posts

The old town is at lake level. The funicular goes up to Lugano station.
Get boat trip on the lake. Make sure it is one that goes past Morcote. See photo here:

Are you staying in Milan? Are you planning to use a car to drive and visit sites in central Milan? Probably not a good idea. You can easily get from Milan to Lugano by train.

Posted by
30 posts

If you get good weather, recommend you take the Mt San Salvatore funicular. We were there on May 25, mostly sunny, and the view was breathtaking, far more impressive than any Internet pictures we saw before the trip. We got best photos of our trip by far at the top of Mt San Salvatore. To get to Mt San Salvatore, need to go south of center maybe a mile and a half to two miles, and about one long block in from lake. I think entrance is on via delle Scuole. We did it by bus, not sure about driving a car, the funicular was open until 11 pm, NOT 6 pm as the website said. Nice cafe at the top, too, we had ice cream there after walking around.

Posted by
31435 posts


The train station is on the side of a hill above town, so as mentioned earlier you'll need to use the Funicular to reach the old town at lake level.

I'm not sure about parking options, or whether you'll need the Swiss Highway Tax Vignette for driving to Lugano. You will need the compulsory IDP for driving in Italy.

Given that it's only about a one hour trip, you might consider going by train for your day trip, and that way you won't have to be concerned about parking. I'm not sure you'll be able to get to all the sights you mentioned in one day.