Swiss Cities in Depth: Bellinzona

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It’s time for a new installation in this series! As my first time publishing for ‘Swiss Cities in Depth,’ a portion of this article will be dedicated to my experience at Bellinzona. The personal touch alongside an overview and some sites to visit seem exactly up my alley. I mean, you could google the entire history of Bellinzona in your free time, right? So, let's get straight to why this picturesque city is worth the visit!

Brief Overview of Bellinzona

Bellinzona is the capital of the Swiss canton of Ticino and was situated in a strategic location. The city surrounds the Swiss Alps and is on the Alpine foothill, meanwhile, the ‘Tre Castelli’ surrounds the city! The Castles of Bellinzona, which are also the symbol of Ticino’s capital, consist of three castles: Castelgrande, Montebello, and Sasso Corbaro. These giant fortifications act as walls surrounding the city, and since 2000 have been acknowledged as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Culture and Castles: Things to do

Bellinzona was originally a Lombardy town, signified in the charm of its medieval era that is showcased through the Neo-classical, Italian-styled architecture and old restored houses which are kept for historical purposes. 

  1. Rabadan Carnival

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A perfect mix to appreciate culture in Bellinzona and enjoy yourself is to go to Rabadan, a carnival festival that takes place normally in early to mid-February! When COVID wasn’t a thing, Rabadan was ongoing for more than 150 years, attracting people from neighboring Swiss and Italian cities to witness the colorful carnival's lively nature.

  1. Explore the Castles 

Firstly, the castle which is easiest to get to is Castelgrande. They even have an elevator you can take! This elevator can be found at the Piazza del Sole, or a more scenic and educational route can be taken by beginning at the historic center around the Collegiata and going up the alleys. Then, there’s also Montebello and Sasso Corbaro. Montebello is near the old city, while Sasso Corbaro has the highest elevation of the three castles. This video can better give you a preview of what’s to come when you venture to see their wonders! 

Plus, here are some photos of the castles!

(Much better photography found online than I ever could).

  • Castelgrande 

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  • Montebello

  • Sasso Corbaro

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  1. Saturday Market Place

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Lastly, the weekly event of a mass marketplace! Feast your eyes on an array of bustling cafes and local small vending shops while getting fresh groceries as you explore the city! It has a lovely flea market-type feel that truly can be a wonder to experience.

My Adventures in Bellinzona!

I wanted to highlight my favorite visit to Bellinzona, which consisted of gawking at the beautiful architectural designs in the churches, strolling through the quiet streets while window showing, and going up the elevator to explore Castelgrande. 

Here are a few pictures that I took during the trip with a little caption to go along with.

This picture was taken right when I got off the train at 9AM I saw the blue sky above the buildings. I was shocked at the openness of the square, which is very different from Lugano, with smaller streets and is a bit more of a crowded setting.
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This was the view from the top of Castelgrande right before the sunrise! (This photo was taken about 30 minutes before the photo right under the ‘Culture and Castles: Things to do’ section!)

This was taken also from atop Castelgrande, but while I was venturing on the grass that stretched along the castle’s field.

Finally, this is a picture taken by a friend of mine in one of the towers on the castle. 

Concluding Remarks

This collection of photos now concludes the entirety of what I got to experience while in Bellinzona. I’d now recommend you use this article as a stepping stone before doing more research. Plan a day trip or weekend getaway with your friends to see what interests you all the most! I mean, It’s only a 35-minute train ride from Lugano...

Ps. This article is the 5th post in the Swiss Cities in Depth series, with Lugano, Bern, Geneva, and Zurich as its predecessors. Check them out as well! 

To our next meet-up via the web!

Ci vediamo presto!

(We will see eachother soon),



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