Lugano Travel Guide

Lugano Switzerland

Highlights and top attractions in Lugano

Lugano is located in the Italian-speaking Ticino region, right by the lake bearing the same name. This popular Swiss town offers visitors the chance to experience Swiss-Italian style cuisine, culture and architecture, all presented with an attention to detail that is typically Swiss.

With a mild, Mediterranean climate and the lake lapping at its shores, it’s easy to see why travellers fall in love with Lugano. The lake is framed by soaring Alpine peaks and fringed with palm trees, making this a favourite with those who like to spend time outdoors.

While in Lugano, visitors can enjoy as relaxing or active an itinerary as they please. Hiking trips are a favourite pastime, or you can discover the town’s pretty gardens or Old Town at a more leisurely pace if you prefer. Lake cruises are also popular, as is sampling the delicious local cuisine. 

Major events in Lugano

Street Food Festival

This is a relatively new event, first launched in 2017. Held during the final weekend of April, visitors can sample all sorts of Swiss and international specialities while enjoying vibrant music and lake views.


Taking place between mid-April and June, this classical music festival is held in the Palazzo dei Congressi.

Estival Jazz

During the warm summer days of July, this jazz festival in Lugano is a free, open air concert for all.

National Day

In celebration of the country’s national day, the Swiss skies light up over Lugano with a dazzling firework display. This occurs annually, at midnight on 1st August.

Blues to Bop

This Lugano music festival takes place in late August, using the town’s piazzas as stages. It lasts for four days, and plays host to blues artists from all over the world.

How to get to Lugano

Those who want to take a trip on the Bernina Express, a panoramic Swiss train journey, can take a bus from Lugano to Tirano to connect with the route.

A standard train trip from Zurich to Lugano takes just under two hours, or about 3 hours and 15 minutes from Bern. A Lucerne to Lugano rail journey will take about 1 hour and 40 minutes. 

Lugano is easy to reach by car, being located just an hour’s drive from Milan in Italy, or a little under three hours from Bern or Zurich. Lucerne is less than two hours away by car.

Lugano Info

Population: 63,000

Canton: Ticino

Average high temperatures: January –  6C / 44F; April – 15C / 60F; July – 27C / 80F; October – 16C / 62F

Christmas market dates: 30 November, 2019 to 6 January, 2020. (More info here.)

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