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3 weeks in Lugano - ideas?

Well, I worry even writing this, but it looks like our postponed move to Italy is finally on. We're booked to leave Aug 23. I am desperately hoping both Canada and the countries we're traveling through can keep the lid on infection rates for a few more weeks.

Based on official EU publications, it appears we can comply with Italian quarantine regulations by staying in a Schengen country for at least 14 days before entering Italy. We need to do so anyway, to get our daughter settled into her master's program and find her a place to live in Lugano.

We cannot enter Italy during this time, obviously, though that isn't a hardship. We just have to watch the borders on Lake Lugano and Lake Maggiore to stay on the correct side. I am so exhausted with getting ready (again) for the move that was delayed in April that I don't want to make lots of plans. We will rest, keep our distance from others, and wear our masks. But we still want to explore the area a little bit as Switzerland does not require quarantine (today.) We will have a leased car, and will likely stay off public transit this time. We will not take a long trip into the interior of Switzerland, we'll just stay in Ticino. There will be time to travel more widely in the future, I hope.

Do any of you have a few favourite places to see or eat in Ticino to share? I'd love to hear about them.

Posted by
21086 posts

These suggestions are based on my experiences in Swizerland decades ago, so you'll get no restaurant suggestions from me, other than that you be prepared for sticker shock. You can pretty much be sure restaurants will be painfully expensive if previous visitors recommend options like supermarket cafeterias--which I believe has happened in Swizerland's case.

Bellinzona has multiple castles and used to get less tourist traffic than Lugano and Locarno.

There is postbus service from Locarno up the Valle Verzasca, which is very nice, though the waterfalls will not be at their peak. I think the Valle Maggia is also considered beautiful.

Gandria and Morcote are two picturesque, small towns near Lugano, both accessible by public transit (one by bus, the other by boat).

Locarno is a grand old lake resort that didn't appeal to me as much as Lugano, but you should see it and form your own opinion.

Posted by
3111 posts

Good luck Nelly, we’ll be cheering for you later this month. We spent 3 days in Ancona one fall and loved it’s laid back ambiance. It was full of meandering little streets, cute restaurants, shops, ice cream cafes, a charming waterfront, a funicular to hikes, boats and bikes to rent, etc. Enjoy soaking up the sunshine and relax in whichever scenic village or city you travel to for your day trips.

Posted by
1782 posts

hey hey nelly
congrats and hoping all goes like you're hoping to get to switzerand
lifeinitaly.com/lake lugano
theculturetrip.com/lake lugano (scroll down a bit and articles to see, do and eat)
theculturetrip.com/ticino info of places to see, things to do and eat.
savvysightseer.com/lake lugano
views are fabulous, we spent 2 days on lake garda which was lovely and lake annecy, below geneva, same gorgeous views and small villages around both lakes.
aloha

Posted by
1549 posts

Visiting Ascona and Locarno, north end of Lago Maggiore might be a good day trip. Good luck with your travels. I would highly recommend avoiding public transportation and wear masks all the time until your 14 days have passed, as a responsible global citizen.

Posted by
1222 posts

As mentioned, Ancona/Locarno. Not sure if the island of Brissago is accessible at this time.

Morcote is a tiny village in an attractive location. If you are up to it, hike above the village to a raised graveyard and onto San Grato Park, which we stumbled upon by accident.

Bellinzona is well worth a trip, and a better day out for me than Lugano was. Three castles, hill walks, a nice centre. Market day on Saturday.

There may be a bus to the Bernina Express starting point in Tirano, which will call for a long day. We rode the Centovalli train when based on Lake Orta, I don't know of the driving time from Lugano.

Posted by
2656 posts

If you are staying in Lugano with your daughter, we enjoyed spending a day going up to Mt San Salvatore via the Mount San Salvatore Funicular (the base is located 5 minutes from Paradiso station) and hiking down to Melide, a small town (where we stayed) just a few train stops down from Lugano. There are stunning views across the lake from the top. And I recall seeing on the hike down - though we did not stop to visit - a Swiss miniature open-air museum.

Posted by
21086 posts

I've taken the Centovalli trip two or three times and have recommended it here. However, the line terminates in Domodossala, Italy. Camedo appears to be the last stop in Switzerland. In terms of scenery, I don't know how much of the best you'd be giving up by just traveling Locarno-Camedo-Locarno. There are six trains per day, at least on weekdays.

Posted by
924 posts

Thanks, all. Some great tips here. We will of course wear our masks and be very careful to keep our distance. We will have a car and will use very little public transit, if any. The only extra bonus is we won't have to totally stay inside for 14 days, we can at least get out for groceries , drives and walks (mandatory as we'll have our dog with us.) We have rented a private home with a small yard. Yes, we will be good global citizens as we have been here in Canada. The flight is non-stop Canada to Paris, which reduces our risk I think. And our risks to others. Though it seems France is having a spike in cases, there's no way to avoid going through France. We'll just keep to ourselves.

And, I hope we can rest and enjoy ourselves during the time in Switzerland.