So whether you are a student looking to get more acquainted with your new home, a visiting friend, or a parent dropping your child off, here are some of my favorite things to do in Lugano!
SAN SAL: The steep switchback hike is not for the faint of heart, but the view from the top is absolutely incredible! You can see all of Lugano's surrounding lakes, the mountains, and even Italy! If you are short on time (or don't want to hike) you can also pay to take a funicular up to the top.
SWIM: If you are here during the warm months, don't neglect to take a dip in Lake Lugano. The best place to swim is at Lido al Lugano, for 6 francs you get access to a beach, swimming pools, high dive and more.
LAGHETTO: The small lake area behind Franklin's campus is known to the locals as Laghetto (or "little lake") not to be confused with La Ghetto ("the ghetto") haha. Also known as Lake Muzzano, this beautiful little area has a pedestrian trail winding around the lake, perfect for an afternoon walk, run, bike ride, etc. Just follow the road past Giardino and go down the steps to find where the road meets up with the trail.
BOAT: Rent a speed boat or peddle boat for a few hours and enjoy the views/ take a dip in the lake! Or for about 25 francs (round trip) you can take a ferry to the small fishing village of Gandria on the other side of Lake Lugano.
PARK: flowers, trees, and swans, this park is near perfect (typical Switzerland!). Parco Civico (aka Ciani Park) runs along the lake side and is perfect for an afternoon stroll. Bonus: there are tons of benches to sit on as you take in the rolling water, lakeside breeze and floating swans.
EAT: preferably outside, in a piazza, for the best people watching and a true Lugano experience! My favorites? The risotto at Argentino (downtown off of Piazza Riforma) OR the outdoor patio at AnaCapri (across from the train station) the view is incredible! But really there are so many good restaurant options you can't go wrong.
STROLL: little side streets. Sometimes aimlessly wandering is the best way to explore a new place. Especially in a city as small as Lugano, this is an easy way to explore the city center. no maps necessary!
MARKET: The Lugano farmers market takes place on Tuesdays and Fridays in Piazza Riforma. With fresh flowers, fruits, vegetables, honey, cheese, eggs, etc. It is worth a visit! But honestly the Manor and Migros grocery store carry incredible fresh/local grocery items as well. Whenever I come home to the US I bring back a jar of local Lugano orange flower honey, it is my favorite!
ARCHITECTURE: While exploring Lugano take note of all the hidden little architectural jewels scattered around the city.
MONTAGNOLA: Just a 30min walk uphill from campus is the beautiful neighborhood of Montagnola, formerly home to German author Herman Hesse. This church is about 12 minutes up the hill and dates back to 450! The current building was built in the 1600s!
-- BONUS --
BELLINZONA: About a 30min train ride away, but if you are in town visiting Lugano it would be a shame not to visit the capitol of our canton (Ticino) and see what Bellinzona has to offer! I highly recommend exploring the 3 ancient castles and eating a doner kebab.
Excited to visit Lugano yet?! I hope I have convinced you all of how wonderful our little city is and if you have any other questions or suggested additions to this list, comment below!
PS I am challenging myself this semester to get out and explore even more of what Lugano has to offer! So hopefully you'll see a Exploring Lugano Part II post sometime soon.