Looking for a serene escape in Southern Switzerland? Look no further than Lake Lugano! Nestled at the southernmost edge of the stunning Ticino region, this idyllic lake stretches its arms out into neighboring Italy. With stunning natural beauty and a peaceful atmosphere, Lake Lugano is the perfect place to unwind and soak up the beauty of this enchanting region.

As someone who spends a lot of time in Switzerland, I regularly visit Lugano and Lake Lugano – and it is always a pleasure to visit this part of Switzerland.

In this post, you´ll find out some important Lake Lugano facts, plus tips for your Lake Lugano trip, including the best things to do at Lake Lugano and where to stay.

Landscape of Lugano lake, mountains and the city located below, Ticino, Switzerland

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So, let´s get started! Here are some of the most FAQs before I then recommend the top Lake Lugano activities.


  • The lake is named after the city of Lugano and is situated between Lake Como and Lago Maggiore.
  • In Italian known Lago Di Lugano, or Lago Ceresio
  • Average width around 1 km (0.62 miles) 
  • Maximum width of about 3 km (1.9 miles)
  • Maximum depth of 288 meters (945 feet) 
  • The lake is 49 square km (19 square miles) long – 31 square km (12 square miles) are in Ticino (Switzerland) and the northeastern and southwestern ends in Lombardy (Italy). 
  • It is a glacier lake (our favorite kind of lake because this often comes with beautiful watercolor – unless you are a swimming rat – then you might appreciate the cold glacier water a bit less).


Did you know that Lake Lugano is not only located at the southernmost point of Ticino, Switzerland but also spans across the Italian border? That’s right! An impressive 37% of Lake Lugano lies in Italy while the remaining 63% is situated in Switzerland.

So, in this post, we will mostly focus on the Swiss part of this beautiful lake.


Good news. Lake Lugano, Lake Como, and Lake Maggiore are three completely different lakes. So, in this part of the world, three beauties are here for us so we can admire and fall in love with each single of them.

Lake Como lies completely in Italy (North Italy) and Lake Maggiore is just a bit east of Lake Lugano. It is also located in the canton of Ticino, and also spans across the Italian border! So, Lake Lugano and Lake Maggiore have a bit in common.

FUN FACT: I once read that Lake Como and Lake Lugano – once upon a time – were one body of water before they split up. If that is true (I cannot find that source anymore) then they share the same history as Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.

In all honesty, I will tell you a little secret: As a Swiss lake expert, I have concluded that Lake Lugano is even more stunning than stunning Lake Maggiore. Here, I said it! 


YEEEEES. Lake Lugano is a beautiful lake, with beautiful towns and villages along its shores and Lake Lugano is very well worth a visit. The many opportunities for water activities and mountain excursions nearby, make Lake Lugano one of the best places to visit in Switzerland.


You can explore Lake Lugano by boat, bus, train, car, bike, funicular, or foot.

It really is up to you and your preferences but the Swiss side of the lake is all well connected to each other. While I love driving in Switzerland, I should add that the roads and streets in this part of Switzerland are windy and narrow – finding parking can be tricky, and Lugano can also be busy. No, it is not my favorite area to drive, yet it is also doable.

Rather, I recommend using a mix of buses, trains, boats, and funiculars to get around + and walk also as much as possible.


If you plan to stay in Lake Lugano, then I recommend staying in or near Lugano, which is the best base to get around.

The View Lugano – The View Lugano is located in Lugano-Paradiso, just a 5-minute walk away from Lake Lugano and Monte San Salvatore Park. The hotel offers modern suites with free Wi-Fi, free air conditioning, a wellness area, and a restaurant. The city center of Lugano can be reached within a 5-minute drive.

Each suite at The View is equipped with a furnished balcony that provides stunning views of the lake. 

The wellness area includes a sauna, hammam, indoor swimming pool, and fitness area. Guests can also request massages for an additional charge. The hotel also provides e-bikes and electric smart cars free of charge. ➡️ BOOK YOUR STAY AT THE VIEW LUGANO HERE

LUGANODANTE – We like you –  The historical center of Lugano is home to the 4-star Superior Hotel LUGANODANTE – We like you, which underwent a complete renovation in the summer of 2020.

The air-conditioned and soundproofed rooms at LUGANODANTE – We like you feature a Full HD TV of up to 43 inches, a kettle with a variety of teas and coffees, and complimentary water and soft drinks from the minibar.

This might be the perfect choice if you are looking for something more comfortable and luxurious. ➡️ BOOK YOUR STAY AT LUGANODANTE HERE

Hotel Zurigo Downtown – Hotel Zurigo is a historic property situated in the heart of Lugano, across from the Lugano Centro Bus Stop. Guests can enjoy staying in air-conditioned en-suite rooms with complimentary Wi-Fi and a minibar.

On-site parking is limited and at an extra cost. The hotel is conveniently located only 300 meters away from Lake Lugano and a 2-minute walk from Piazza Riforma, offering a range of restaurants and shops. ➡️ CHECK OUT RATES FOR HOTEL ZURIGO DOWNTOWN HERE


Lake Lugano is a popular place to visit year-round. Thanks to its mild climate, it is also not as cold as other Swiss destinations in the winter. While summer is the most popular time to visit, I have experienced some really hot days which were great for chilling at the “beach” or doing water activities but not ideal for hiking.

My favorite times to visit Lake Lugano are late spring and fall – the weather is mild, and it comes without the crowds.


I have some bad news: Like the rest of Switzerland, Lake Lugano is also quite an expensive area. Actually, it is – like most lake areas in the country – one of the most expensive destinations in Switzerland. But you get two for the price of one: A mix of Alpine Switzerland and Mediterranean Italy. So, though not a cheap place to visit, Lake Lugano is worth visiting at least for a short trip.


So, now after all the facts, let the fun begin and discuss the many amazing things you can do around Lake Lugano.


Ready to escape the everyday hustle and bustle? Then a Lake Lugano boat cruise might be perfect for you! Picture yourself basking in the sun beneath swaying palm trees, setting sail on a leisurely cruise, or trekking through gorgeous landscapes.

Boat tour on Lake Lugano-2

Whether you crave cultural experiences, immersion in nature, or a rocking nightlife scene, the lake region has got you covered. And while you dream about all the activities you want to enjoy in and on Lake Lugano, hop on a boat cruise!

From Morcote’s stunning Renaissance architecture to the charming fishing village of Gandria, each stop offers its own delights. Let’s go!


Start your Lake Lugano trip with a visit to Lugano, a picturesque city nestled in a bay on the northern side of Lake Lugano. Surrounded by majestic mountains, Lugano offers stunning viewpoints that will take your breath away.

Parco Ciani is one of the most beautiful places in Lugano

Things to do in Lugano, Switzerland Arzo Travels

Stroll through the traffic-free historic town center, admire the Italianate Lombardy-style buildings, and explore exclusive museums. With a calendar full of events, you’ll never run out of things to see and do.

Soak up the relaxed atmosphere and indulge in the Italian concept of “dolce far niente,” the sweetness of doing nothing. Visit in the spring to catch the blooming camellias and enjoy the mild climate. Lugano is a must-visit destination that’s sure to captivate and mesmerize you.

One of the most beautiful views of Lake Lugano is from Parco Civico. 


Welcome to the magical world of Swissminiature in Melide! Nestled on the picturesque shores of Lake Lugano, this one-of-a-kind museum will take your breath away.

SwissMinitiuar in melide, Lake Lugano

SwissMinitiuar in melide, Lake Lugano Lausanne Cathedral

Imagine Switzerland on a small scale – 128 exquisite models of stunning houses, castles, and Swiss landmarks await you in the lush open-air park spread over 14,000 square meters. Each miniature has been crafted with great precision and care to provide an authentic and detailed experience. The vibrant surroundings of exotic plants and flowers elevate the beauty of these creations. 

  • This is not only for kids – adults will enjoy it as much as the little ones.
  • It is also allowed to bring your dogs.
  • Discount with a Swiss Travel Pass.


Did you know that the Lugano Region offers more than just a relaxing spot under the sun? Lake Lugano boasts a rich history that can definitely be a highlight of your visit to the city. And the best part?

There are countless water sports activities that you can enjoy in one of Switzerland’s finest waters! You can try windsurfing, sailing, stand-up paddle boarding (SUP), or even water skiing. 

Plus, getting access to the lake is effortless thanks to Lugano’s amazing lidos that offer endless sports and leisure opportunities. 


Let’s dive a little deeper into one of Switzerland’s most stunning villages, Morcote. This charming former fishing village sits on the shores of Lake Lugano and it’s easy to see why it’s a popular spot for photographers.

What to do and see in Morcote, Ticino, travel guide

The Swing in Morcote with Arzo Travels

In fact, it was voted Switzerland’s most beautiful village back in 2016 – and it’s not hard to see why! From the sparkling lake to the charming architecture, Morcote has it all.

Plan a visit and see why Morcote is truly one of Switzerland’s finest hidden treasures.

Looking for some adventure and stunning views? Get ready to climb over 400 steps and be rewarded with something truly special. Not only will you be able to capture picture-perfect moments, but you’ll also stumble across a surprise – a swing with the most amazing view ever!

So be a little brave and take on the challenge, you won’t regret it. Here is my more detailed Morcote post.


Step back in time and explore the charming village of Gandria, nestled at the base of Monte Brè and hugged by the sparkling waters of Lake Lugano. With its untouched, old-world charm, Gandria is like taking a step back in time.

Boat tour on Lake Lugano

And just a short boat ride away, on the opposite side of the lake, lies the Swiss Customs and Smuggler Museum. Here, you can learn about the fascinating history of smugglers who once traversed these waters, and gain a new appreciation for the ingenious methods they employed.

Don’t miss the chance to discover this hidden gem that’s teeming with rich history and picturesque scenery.


Looking for a breathtaking walk in Switzerland? Then start from Gandria and walk the Olive Tree Trail

Olive Grove Train in Lugano

Experience the breathtaking views along the 3.5-kilometer “Sentiero dell’olivo” trail, where you’ll immerse yourself in the fascinating world of olive tree growth and oil production.

18 information boards will guide you along the way, providing insight into the history and scientific nature of these fascinating plants. Take a journey of discovery and bring home a newfound appreciation for one of the world’s oldest and most beloved crops.


San Salvatore! This stunning peak offers breathtaking 360° views of the surrounding lake and mountains, including the high Alps in the west.

Lake Lugano from San Salvatore

From the rooftop of the church at the summit, you can even take in a clear view of southern Ticino. And getting there is a breeze thanks to the funicular rail that’s been running since 1890. So if you want to take your Lake Lugano adventure to new heights, head to San Salvatore for an unforgettable experience!


Looking for breathtaking views of Lake Lugano and the city? Then you don’t want to miss this spot – Monte Bre! Plus, you’ll get to lay eyes on the rare and protected Christmas rose (probably because Monte Bre is considered the sunniest mountain in Switzerland).

At the top of Montre Bre Mountan in Switzerland

When you visit, take some time to relax on the “summit” and enjoy a bite to eat at one of the two restaurants with sun terraces. Just keep in mind that the descent down to Lugano or the lake, via the pretty Brè village, can be pretty steep.

If you’re up for a bit of adventure, try the nature and archaeological trail to Gandria for even more stunning views.


While Lake Lugano is an amazing attraction in itself, why not take advantage of the fact, that Bella Italy is just a stone’s throw away?

Milano Duomo, Lombardy itinerary

Villa Monastero in Lake Como

Explore the beauty of Milan and Lake Como from the convenient location of Lake Lugano. Located just over an hour away, these two destinations are home to some of the most breathtaking views in all of Italy.

From the fashion-lover´s paradise of Milan with its stunning Milan Cathedral to the picturesque views of Lake Como and a visit to one of the impressive villages and parks, you won’t have time to be bored!

And while you’re there, don’t forget to check out some of the amazing Italian cuisines!


Welcome to the Bernina Express! This panoramic train takes you on a breathtaking journey from the northern to southern parts of Switzerland while passing through the stunning Rhaetian Railway UNESCO World Heritage site.

Alp Grüm Bernina Express with Arzo Travels
Alp Grüm via Bernina Express

You’ll be amazed as the train glides by stunning glaciers before descending down to palm trees. With 55 tunnels and 196 bridges on its route from Chur to Tirano, the Bernina Express is an unforgettable experience.

So, what does this have to do with Lake Lugano? During the summer months, you can hop aboard the Bernina Express Bus and extend your journey all the way to Lake Lugano! Trust me, this is such a scenic Swiss train ride (and bus ride) you will love it!


From breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and cities to delicious Italian cuisine and even a ride on the Bernina Express, there’s something here for everyone.

So mark your calendars now and plan to visit Lake Lugano, Switzerland in 2024! With its stunning scenery, unique attractions, and friendly locals, Lake Lugano will be the perfect place to explore and make a lifetime of memories.


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