You can enjoy a relaxed atmosphere in the city surrounded by forested mountains and the azure blue lake. Here one feels more like in Italy. Not only because of the beautiful weather with blue skies, palm trees, but also Italian ice cream, Italian pasta and, of course, Italian language. But Lugano is the largest city (but not the capital) of the Canton of Ticino in the Italian part of Switzerland. That´s why you feel like home because it also has everything, that is Swiss: order, tidiness, shops you know and of course (unfortunately) price tags 😉
We set off to this town on the shores of the lake of the same name after spending a pleasant morning in the Swissminiatur Park (I wrote about it here). I knew Lugano from the photos I had seen at Instagram and I was very looking forward to visiting it. But exceptionally, we didn´t go exploring the streets and monuments of this elegant city (although of course there are plenty of them), but we set out to find fun for kids.
If you decide to spend more days with your family in Lugano, here’s an information-packed four-day itinerary with more great tips on where to go:
This park is located near the city center, about five minutes walk east of the Piazza Riforma. On the seafront promenade towards the park, you will find stalls with excellent ice cream that is hard to resist. You can relax in the park by borrowing a book at a local café and sitting in the grass or on the bench. In the meantime, kids can enjoy the big playground.
A short distance from the playground, at the end of the park, you find a small beach. The refreshment in the lake will come handy in a hot day. You will have the view of the San Salvatore Mountain, which can be your next destination when exploring Lugano and its surroundings. If you want to swim in the pool, a few dozen meters away, on the other side of Cassarate River, you will find local Lido – a bath with both beaches and a swimming pool.
Monte San Salvatore
The San Salvatore funicular runs from the nearby Paradiso. You can reach it from the center of Lugano by car in about 10 minutes. I recommend not to park in the parking lot next to the funicular station, but a few dozen meters away in a parking lot by the local town hall (Municipio di Paradiso).
With our Holiday Card, we saved 30% on fare.
Right next to the upper station of the funicular you will find an information board with a map, where you can find panoramic viewpoints and how long it takes walking to them. There are no big distances, and small kids can easily make it. But I don´t recommend taking a stroller because of the stairs.
We first headed to the viewpoint behind the restaurant, but we enjoyed the most beautiful views from the roof of a small church about 5 minutes from the station.
When we walked back to the restaurant to have the kids play for a while on the playground, we had a little time to see an exhibition of retro posters.
Bonus: Alprose Chocolate factory
Your kids will surely be happy if you take them to the Museo del Cioccolato Alprose in the town of Caslano (free entry with Holiday Card).
You will learn here about the history of chocolate, you will also see the area where it is made. But on Saturdays and Sundays, the factory is closed, so you won´t see production and packaging lines in working – this can only be seen from a video projection in the museum. Here you can also see the predecessors of today’s vending machines. In the shop, you can taste a few chocolates for free.
Have you ever been to Lugano or are you planning to come here? Which of your activities would interest your children the most? Let me know in the comments! And do not forget to save this photo on Pinterest!