The canton of Ticion has always been one of my favorite parts in Switzerland. Not only is it sunny most the time but also the residents are super friendly and the food is just amazing.
Locarno is a small city located at the beautiful Lago Maggiore, very close to Italy and has a lot to offer. The best way to explore the city is probably by feet but as it is surrounded by mountains there are some steep staircases and paths so you should be in a more or less good condition. A nice walk starts in Orselina where you can enjoy amazing views over the whole area and leads you down to the city center. If you want to start your journey with a good breakfast and good views visit the small garden hotel “Della Valle” – it’s family owned and has an amazing breakfast you can enjoy outside with great views and sunshine already early in the mornings.
The walk probably takes around 40 to 60 minutes – a nice place for a break if you need one is the beautiful church “Madonna del Sasso” – the most important church in the Italian part of Switzerland.
In case you’re not the biggest fan of hiking or walking; you can also use the cable car from the church down to the city center or further up to Cimetta – 1’670 meters above sea level.
Once you arrive in the city center you have plenty of opportunites to spend your day with. You should definitely try one of the delicious gelatos you can find everywhere, spend some time around the lake, or go for shopping around the Piazza Grande. There are also a lot of boat cruises available or you can take the ferry to the subtropical Brissago islands. If the weather is not on your side – there is a nice wellness and adventure pool called Lido which is well worth a visit on rainy and on sunny days as there are indoor and outdoor areas available.
More or less right next to Locarno you can find Ascona. The village is mostly famous for its beautiful promenade along the lake, lined with nice restaurants, coffees and small boutique hotels. If you want to stay there I can recommend the Seven Boutique hotel (make sure you get a room with lake view – it’s worth it).
Even tough Bellinzona is not located at a lake it is nice to spend a day there. Bellinzona has a beautiful historical center and three nice castles connected by an endless wall you can walk on. The castles as well as the wall are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Every Saturday you can find a big market in the old town with a lot of regional specialities, jewelery and clothes.
We also took a ride with Artù – a little blue train transporting you to the castles of Montebello and Sasso Corbaro, offering fantastic views. The ride starts in front of the church St. Pietro e Stefano (Piazza Collegiata) and takes approxiamtely 90 minutes.
If you like markets you can find many of them in Locarno, Lugano, Ascona and Bellinzona. By clicking on the links you can find dates and times.
As the canton of Ticino is next to Italy it is only a short hop to the markets in Luino and Canobbio who are both well worth a visit. For Canobbio make sure you arrive early when travelling by car as you won’t have a chance to find a parking slot otherwise. Especially Canobbio is very nice, the market is directly at the lakeside and you can spend two to three hourse if not more – it’s quite crowded, don’t get lost there 😉
Mostly famous for massive traffic jams, the Gotthardpass and the area around are well worth a visit. As long as there is no snow (the pass road is closed during winter) I always use this way to drive back home. If you have a little more time it’s also nice to go for a hike around the area of Leventina.