Biggest town of Ticino, the Italian-speaking canton South of the Alps, Lugano is located on the shores of Lake Lugano (Ceresio), and its warm summers and trendy fame make it some kind of Swiss Monte Carlo.


It is the largest city in Ticino (and incidentally the largest Italian-speaking city outside of Italy) and it is a city with such a mild climate and trendy reputation that bad tongues dub it "the Swiss Monte Carlo."

It's true that Lugano, situated on the lake of the same name (but which is actually called Ceresio as Lake Geneva is actually called Lake Léman), really does have the feel of the southern Riviera, with its lush vegetation and sunny quays...

Talk about Lugano to a Swiss person, and they will often sigh with envy... Because Lugano is the emblematic resort of Ticino, and Ticino inevitably evokes holidays or weekend getaways...

We're south of the Alps here, and you can feel it! The climate of course, and the language, but also the architectural style... everything already evokes Italy, located just a few kilometres away.

Even when the storm threatens (which was the case when we were there in 2012, as you can see in the photo gallery), Lugano is still a delightful place, with its palm trees and its large park by the lake, with its lively quays and picturesque streets.

Lugano is, of course, Italian-speaking, but don't be too surprised if you're greeted with a smiling "Grüezi": the city, via the motorway, is only some 200km from Zurich, and the German-speaking Swiss love to spend their weekends in Ticino!

So go spend a few days in Lugano and make some spectacular excursions on the heights and you will understand why...

This guide features more places in the same region, check them out!
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