Switzerland, so close you can almost touch it. Let’s go on a trip to Lugano! Here are our advice for a one day field trip in the pretty capital of the Ticino!
How to get to Lugano by car or by train
You can travel to Lugano both by car as well as with public transportation. If you have a car, before heading out, you must remember that that you’re going to need your ID or passport with you to pass the border, and that the Swiss border police are very strict regarding the possession of certain products, such as meat and alcohol. We therefore advice you to read this information before leaving Italy. Further, if you decide to take the highway, it is necessary to expose a Swiss motorway sticker on your windshield (It costs 40 Francs). If you decide to go by car, it’s better to pass Menaggio, where you exit and follow directions for Switzerland – Porlezza, and then for Lugano. In the town center it is very expensive to park, it is more convenient walk for a little bit after parking outside the center. If you prefer to travel by public transportation, you arrive at the Como San Giovanni station by bus, and then you switch to the Tilo train (collaboration between Lombardy and the Swiss railway) towards Lugano. You might have to switch trains once, in Chiasso.
Arrival in Lugano
The first thing that will hit you is how similar it is to Italy, as it is an Italian speaking part of Switzerland and also has cultural heritage, but at the same time it is a very different place; perhaps due to the strict rules and the millimeter organization of things with a decidedly Germanic feel. Even though speaking the same language, if you listen to Swiss radio you’ll catch up on several words that are present only in the Swiss Italian, and not in the Italian spoken in Italy, like for example “Natel” (cell-phone; deriving from the name of the first phone company in Switzerland).
In Lugano, the local currency is the Swiss Franc, and even Euros are accepted almost everywhere, it might be wise to pay by credit card, as you may get the change in the local currency if you pay cash. Another important thing to remember; Lugano is really really expensive! If you think you know what a certain thing ought to cost, well, add to that number. Need an example? A Kebab is 12 Francs, a simple meal at least 30-40 Francs, and a chocolate bar 5 Francs. But in return you get a really neat, clean and organized place.
What to see on your one day trip to Lugano
When you walk around this town, you’ll notice right away what an authentic gem it is, nestled in around the lake area. You can walk along the shores on sandy, artificial beaches, find restaurants and rent a boat or pedal boat for a romantic trip on the lake. During your walk along the lake shore you get to visit Parco Civico, an authentic paradise of colorful and beautifully kept flower beds. Moving away from the water, you arrive at the town center, with its luxury shopping, small and cozy streets, full of local product stores, foods and, of course, delicious chocolate! Visit the San Lorenzo Cathedral (if it’s open) and stop by the Riforma Square for a relaxing drink.
If you love looking at the panoramic view from up above, catch a ride (before 6.00pm) on the cable railway Mount San Salvatore and watch the breathtaking panoramic view with your own eyes. Lugano isn’t known for its night life, in fact it is custom to go for a drink or for dinner early on in the evening! I advice you to stop by Lugano, when you come back you can watch Campione or maybe visit the Swiss Chocolate Museum! And remember to bring some chocolate back to us! ^^