WHAT TO DO ?
FOR A WALK WITH ME:
Go to Monte San Salvatore
Altitude: 912 M
Good viw on the lake, Lugano and moutains...
FOR A DRINK:
Bottegpne del Vino
The Corso : movies
Vanini: ice cream
day trip 2: melide and bissone
it's a relaxed day trip from Lugano. First you need to catch a train to Melide, about 8 minutes away. Here, if you have children, you can visit the Swissminiatur - it's a park with all the most important swiss buildings and mountains in diminuitive size. Then there's a lovely promenade along the lake, hich will take you to the next village: Bissone, which is an old fishing village. There are lots of olf buildings and tiny narrow lanes and arches - and a small baroque church. There are also several restaurant to have lunch. In the afternoon you can take a boat back to Lugano and enjoy more lake scenery.
day trip 1: monte san salvatore
it's not off-the-beaten-path strictly speaking, but it's just off lugano, so i guess it fits the cathegory. From Lugano-Paradiso there's a funicular that rides up to the top of the mountain: if the day's clear you can have wonderful unforgettable views over lugano and the lake lugano area. You can also see the alps in the distance.
Note that the trip there and back costs (year 20029 27 swiss francs. There's a restaurant on top, and some easy and short nature trails
Being a librarian myself ...
Being a librarian myself, I could not resist visiting the Library of the Canton Ticino (Biblioteca Cantonale). I cannot remember what the library looked like from the inside, though I can imagine that, at the time (1989), they had a card catalogue in small old-fashioned wooden drawers. Anyway, this is what the outside looked like.
- Adventure Travel
Hike a part of the Ticino Sun...
Hike a part of the Ticino Sun Trail from Monte San Salvatore to Morcote via the mountain villages of Ciona and Carona. Note: I believe the Ticino Sun Trail is a 6 or 7 day hike and this is just one of those days. The hike also begins at the base of Monte San Salvatore but you can cheat as I did, and take the funicular up. In the summer, it can be hot here (We had it hot!), so it would be best to bring a hat and sunscreen. Water would be good too, although you can buy drinks along the way on Monte San Salvatore, Ciona (I think), Carona, and Morcote. www.lugano-tourism.com/new/Parchi/walk/default.htm
has a map of this hike. This link doesn't take you directly to the map. Also click on Carona: a village of the past and that will take you to the map. I really don't remember how long it took to hike from Monte San Salvatore to Morcote, but I would guess 3 - 4 hours.
- Hiking and Walking
If you walk through the town...
If you walk through the town centre to the lake, and walk left along the lakeside you come to a little park. This is a really pretty place where locals take their children and dogs. It has some nice views of Mont St Salvatore and Paradiso.
Morcote. Where we ended our...
Morcote. Where we ended our hike! This town has well preserved arcaded houses and quaint alleyways. The church is about a 15 minute walk up narrow stairways from the boat landing stage. The church has 16th century frescoes, busts of bishops, and carved faces on the organ.
At the boat landing stage is a covered arcade where shops offer souvenirs and ice cream! We felt we deserved some of that after hiking in the heat all day so we enjoyed some Italian ice cream. Yummy!
We could have continued walking along the shore to Melide from here (where the dam is) which takes about 50 minutes, but it was starting to get late for that. We took the boat back to Lugano which was also very nice! Morcote is worth a trip by boat if you don't want to hike all the way there. Photo: That's my twin brother (fraternal) outside the Madonna del Sasso Church at the end of our hike.
Photo: Steeple of the Chiesa...
Photo: Steeple of the Chiesa di Santa Maria del Sasso Church in Morcote. Morcote was once a fishing village, but in the 14th century it became a proper fortified town and was one of the major ports of Lake Lugano until the Melide Dam was built in 1847. During the golden age the beautiful church of Santa Maria del Sasso and the monumental stone staircase were built.
Morcote is where we ended our hike after an unending descent of millions of stairs from Monte Abostora. I mean UNENDING! We had a good laugh about it at the time, because it seemed we weren't getting anywhere! :) The stairs ended right at the church and there was beautiful music coming from inside, but I don't remember if it was flutes, or singing, or something else. It was nice though, and we sat in a shaded archway and listened for a while and enjoyed a fantastic view of Lake Lugano.
Photo: View from San Grato...
Photo: View from San Grato Botanical Park back towards Carona, Ciona, and Monte San Salvatore (where we started). The village of Carona is the birthplace of many well-known artists and in the village center are a number of houses which belonged to nobles. The San Giorgio Church is recommended. We didn't make a stop here, but continued on.
Carona/Ciona. When I first...
Carona/Ciona. When I first arrive someplace (like Lugano), I often look through the postcards in the souvenir shops to get an idea of what there is in the area if I'm not very familar with it. I'll see some pictures of places that I think look interesting or are particularly scenic and I'll attempt to go to that place. If it's not obvious, I'll ask around or check in some travel guides (sometimes right in that store). This building (in the photo) is one which I saw on a postcard and it intrigued me to check out this charming little town. I don't remember exactly, but I believe those were bananas hanging on the wooden beams. My photo doesn't do it justice. The postcard was MUCH better! :) As you can see, we were about the only people here except for the scooter lady.
A nice experience could be taking a train in Ticino area, around 7 am or 4/5 pm, the trains are usually full of students going or coming back from school, but there is the atmospheare of a holland coffe shop, many guys relaxing smoking their joints, it was realy a funny and an unexpected experience.
GRAVESANO - the village I used...
GRAVESANO - the village I used to live the last 6 years. It has a very cute 'nucleo' which is the old center of the village. People used to build their houses close to eachother to save the energy. Only later the villages spreated out. Walk through the narrow street of the village and visit the nice church.
Like here you can see the snow, which, compared to Lugano is not that rare. Gravesano is about 500 m.o.s and so it's much easier that we get, sometimes, more snow then the rest of the town.
You absolutely have to visit...
You absolutely have to visit the Verzasca Valley. It has its very special charm, it feels like going back in time.
The Verzasca river comes down from the mountains through a steep and narrow valley. A curvy, but comfortable road takes you thru an incredibly scenic countryside. The water of the river changes from an amazing emerald green to a deep turquoise blu, wild and too dangerous to swim in. Sometimes the crystalline waters can be deceiving, looking calm and inviting for a swim, but be aware the hidden turbolences are impossible to detect. On sunny days people are sunbathing, lying on the huge smooth rocks. A couple of very old medieval stone bridges connect the two valley sides. The houses of the small, picturesque villages are made of stone, even the roofs. Don't forget your camera!
The place at the very end of the vally is called Sonogno. Their bread is still being backed in a oven in the village square. From there a nice walk even deeper into the valley, always following the river takes you to a waterfall and a grotto, where you can eat some very tasty local salami and cheese, or try the homemade minestrone.
Monte Cardada high above...
Monte Cardada high above Locarno in February. Great for skiing with a fantastic view over the Lago Maggiore and into Italy. Below around the lake spring is making a timid appearance with primulas and camelias already blooming. This is why this part of Switzerland is really great, so many things right at your doorstep.
If you have time, you should...
If you have time, you should drop by Bellinzona, which is about an hour's drive from Lugano, to visit the old castle there. It's very well preserved and parts of the it have been converted into a musuem. It shouldn't take you more than 2 hours to tour the castle; and thereafter, you could drive to Locarno (about 40mins drive I think) where you could spend the rest of the afternoon shopping or sipping a nice cup of coffee. If you go there around August, you could catch the annual Locarno Film Festival, which is considered quite a big event there with an open air film screening in the square and other performances.