Lugano is one of the most charming cities in Switzerland. That’s why we prepared a special Lugano day trip itinerary just for you.
It is here where Swiss sophistication and order meet Mediterranean charm. This lovely lakeside city invites you to enjoy its multicultural atmosphere and explore the Italian roots visible in architecture, nature, and food.
Follow this ultimate day trip itinerary to experience the best of Lugano in a single day.
A Walk Around The Old Town
After a hearty breakfast, start by exploring the old town. If you’re staying in the city center, it’s as easy as stepping out of the door. Make sure to visit Santa Maria Degli Angeli Church, known for its beautiful frescoes. Piazza Riforma is the city’s vibrant main square, bustling with activity and surrounded by cafes, restaurants, and beautiful architecture.
New Conference Center is the latest addition to Lugano’s architectural landscape and boasts an elegant, sleek form, a testament to modern functionality.
From the center, stroll along the lake and cross over to Parco Ciani, a verdant lakeside park boasting lush greenery and vibrant flower gardens. Take a moment to breathe in the crisp morning air and appreciate the tranquility of this scenic spot.
Explore Gandria Olive Trail Nature Footpath
In Lugano, you’re never far from nature. Take a bus to the village of Gandria, some 15 minutes away from Lugano, and find yourself surrounded by picturesque olive gardens. It’s a perfect place to explore the Gandria Olive Trail. About a 2.5-mile walk will lead you through the historic paths around Lake Lugano, where people have been growing olives for hundreds of years. Learn more about the trade and everyday life in the olive grooves.
Unique Experience: Risotto Workshop
The highlight of this Lugano day trip itinerary is definitely food, and more specifically, risotto.
Risotto is one of the most typical dishes for the region of Northern Italy and Southern Switzerland. It is here, in Lombardy, where rice fields have been kept and tended for generations. Risotto is made out of a special type of short-grain, starchy rice, roasted and boiled in broth with a dash of white wine.
Making risotto is a meditative activity as it requires gradually adding the broth and mixing it well till the rice absorbs the moisture. Lugano is a perfect place to learn how to make risotto: whether plain or with mushrooms, vegetables, or saffron, risotto is a fantastic dish to warm you up on an autumn evening.
Whether you consume it in one of the trattorias or decide to learn how to make it during our special open-air risotto workshop, it will make an equally delightful lunch during your day trip to Lugano.
Funiculars and lake cruises
This Lugano day trip itinerary wouldn’t be complete without a lake cruise and climbing one of the famous mountains surrounding Lugano.
In the afternoon you can choose to continue your explorations. There are two mountains right next to Lugano, which provide amazing views of Lake Lugano.
Ride a funicular to Monte Brè to admire panoramic views of Lugano and its surroundings. You can also climb Mount Salvatore, on foot or by funicular, for another amazing view. Alternatively, opt for a boat trip across Lake Lugano to enjoy the serenity of this beautiful lake.
Evening and dinner
Lugano is full of amazing trattorias serving local food: a mix of typically Lombardian dishes with a Swiss influence. As the evening approaches, we recommend that you find a restaurant with a terrace in the fresh air, where you can admire the beautiful panorama of Lake Lugano and the surrounding mountains.
The most well-known dishes worth trying are:
- Tortelli di Zucca
Especially in the fall, Tortelli di Zucca is a treat. Little dumplings filled with pumpkin, crushed amaretto cookies, and dried fruits will simply melt in your mouth.
Lugano Day Trip Itinerary
Lugano’s charm lies not only in its natural beauty but also in its rich culture and culinary heritage. This Lugano day trip itinerary encapsulates the essence of Lugano, blending lakeside tranquility, historic allure, breathtaking vistas, and a culinary journey through a risotto workshop.
As you explore Lugano, allow yourself to be captivated by the fusion of Swiss elegance and Mediterranean allure that makes this city a treasure trove of unforgettable experiences. Embark on your own adventure and create lasting memories in this captivating destination.