Lugano is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Switzerland. The city is home to a number of historic buildings and museums, whilst the surrounding area has many natural sights.
Both Lake Lugano and the surrounding mountains provide a wide variety of outdoor activities. The area surrounding Lugano is home to over 300 kilometres (190 mi) of mountain biking trails, the largest net of trails in Switzerland.
Heritage sites of national significance
There are 17 sites in Lugano that are part of the Swiss heritage site of national significance. The city of Lugano, the districts of Barbengo, Brè, Gandria and Biogno, and the sites of
Cantine di Gandria and Castagnola are all part of the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites.
Villa Favorita in Lugano.
The heritage sites of national significance include two libraries, the Biblioteca Cantonale and the Biblioteca Salita dei Frati as well as the Swiss National Recording Archives (Fonoteca nazionale svizzera). There were three churches; Cathedral of San Lorenzo, Church of Santa Maria degli Angioli and the Church of San Rocco.
There were three museums; the
Museo Cantonale d'Arte the ,
Museo cantonale di storia naturale di Lugano and the Villa Ciani complex with the Museo civico. The cemetery complex at via Trevano is also one of the sites, as is the Radiotelevisione svizzera di lingua italiana (RTSI) Italian-language broadcast facility. The rest of the sites are notable houses throughout the city. They include; the Palazzo civico at piazza della Riforma, the Palazzo e cinema Corso at via Pioda, the Palazzo Riva at via Francesco Soave, the Palazzo Riva at via Massimiliano Magatti, the Palazzo Riva at via Pretorio 7 and Villa Favorita in Castagnola.
Church of Santa Maria degli Angioli
Palazzo Civico or City Hall
Sketch of Ecce Homo from MASI (Museo d'arte della Svizzera italiana)
View of Monte San Salvatore and Lugano, as seen from Monte Brè
A very popular destination in Lugano is Lake Lugano. The lake is 48.7 square kilometres (18.8 sq mi) in size, 63% of which is in Switzerland and 37% in Italy. It has an average width of roughly 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) and is nearly 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) at its widest. The maximum depth of the lake is 279 meters (915 ft). The water is generally warm with average water temperatures in the summer ranging from 19.5 °C (67.1 °F) to 24.0 °C (75.2 °F).
Several companies, including the Società Navigazione del Lago di Lugano (SNL), provide tourist boat services on the lake. A popular excursion is by SNL boat to the picturesque lakeside village of Gandria. Additionally there are numerous shipyards, water taxis and boat rental sites along the lake, as well as hotels and restaurants that offer moorings. Bathing in the lake is allowed at any of the 50 or so bathing establishments located along the Swiss shores.
In addition to the lake, Lugano is surrounded by mountains, which provide a number of opportunities for sports or sightseeing. Two mountains, both providing excellent views over the city and lake, bracket each end of the city's waterfront. Monte Brè (933 metres (3,061 ft)), to the north, is reputedly Switzerland's sunniest spot and is also home to the old village of Brè. Monte San Salvatore (912 metres (2,992 ft)), to the south, has an old church and museum atop its summit. Both mountains are accessible by funicular railways, which are themselves easily accessible by frequent city bus or by car.
View of Lake Lugano from Monte San Giorgio
Slightly further afield is Monte Generoso (1,704 metres (5,591 ft)), with a view that encompasses the lakes of Lugano, Como and Maggiore, as well as the Alps from the Matterhorn to the Bernina Range, the Lombardy Plains, and, on a clear day, the city of Milan. The summit can be reached by taking either an SNL boat, or a railway train, to Capolago, and changing there onto a rack railway train of the Monte Generoso Railway.
- St. Lawrence Cathedral (9th and 15th century)
- St. Mary of the Angels Church (16th century) with the fresco of the Christ's Passion from Bernardino Luini
- Parco civico – Villa Ciani
- Piazza della Riforma
- Villa Favorita
- San Rocco Church
The view of Lake Lugano from Monte Brè
- LAC (Lugano Art and Culture), the cultural centre dedicated to visual arts, music and performing arts
- Museo delle Culture (Museum of Cultures)
- MASI (Art Museum of Southern Switzerland)
- Foundation Aligi Sassu and
- Historical Museum
- Cantonal Museum on Natural History
- Swiss Customs Museum
- Municipal Art Museum
- Wilhelm Schmid Museum
- Hermann Hesse Museum
- Alprose Chocolate Museum (Chocoland)