Must see attractions in Lago di Lugano

  • Sights in Lugano

    Museo d'Arte della Svizzera Italiana

    The showpiece of Lugano's striking new LAC cultural centre, the MASI zooms in predominantly on 20th-century and contemporary art – from the abstract to the highly experimental, with exhibitions spread across three spaces. There is no permanent collection currently on display, but there is a high-calibre roster of rotating exhibitions. Recent focuses have included European pop art and the work of Belgian surrealist René Magritte.

  • Sights in Lugano

    Monte Brè

    Rising dramatically above Lago di Lugano, the conical peak of Monte Brè (925m) is the trailhead for hiking and mountain-biking trails that afford wide-reaching views of the lake and stretch all the way to the Bernese and Valais Alps. Mountain bikes can be hired near the summit for Sfr30/40 for a half-/full day. A funicular from Cassarate whisks you up to the mountain. If you don't fancy walking, take bus 2 from central Lugano.

  • Sights in Lugano

    Parco Ciani

    This lakefront promenade necklaces the shore of glassy Lago di Lugano, set against a backdrop of rugged mountains. Notice the distinctive profiles of cone-shaped twin peaks Monte Brè and Monte San Salvatore. Linden and chestnut trees provide welcome shade in summer, while tulips, camellias and magnolias bloom in spring.

  • Sights in Lugano

    Chiesa di Santa Maria degli Angioli

    This simple Romanesque church contains two frescos by Bernardino Luini dating from 1529. Covering the entire wall that divides the church in two is a grand didactic illustration of the crucifixion of Christ. The power and vivacity of the colours are astounding.

  • Sights in Lugano

    Schokoland

    Chomp into some cocoa culture at the Alprose chocolate museum, Schokoland – a sure-fire hit with kids. Whiz through chocolate history, watch the sugary substance being made and enjoy a free tasting. The shop, cunningly, stays open half an hour longer. Take the train to Caslano (Sfr6.60, 26 minutes).

  • Sights in Lugano

    Monte San Salvatore

    Lugano's very own Sugarloaf Mountain, the 912m peak of Monte San Salvatore has riveting 360-degree views over Lago di Lugano and southern Ticino to the Alps beyond. A funicular hauls you up to Monte San Salvatore: the panorama at the top is tremendous, reaching over lakes, rippling mountains to Italy in the south and the high Alps in the west. For more fabulous views, the walk to Paradiso or Melide is two hours well spent.

  • Sights in Lugano

    Museo Hermann Hesse

    This museum showcases German-born Swiss poet, novelist and painter Herman Hesse's personal objects, including some of the thousands of watercolours he painted in Ticino, plus books and other odds and ends that help recreate something of his life. From Lugano, take bus 436 (direction Agra, Roncone) to Montagnola, Bellevue (Sfr6.40, 19 minutes).

  • Sights in Lugano

    Parco Botanico San Grato

    Footpaths thread through these hilltop botanical gardens, which afford sensational lake and mountain views. In May the park is ablaze with the colour of azaleas and rhododendrons in bloom. To reach the park, take bus 434 from Lugano to Carona (Sfr6.40, 25 minutes).

  • Sights in Lugano

    Piazza della Riforma

    Porticoed lanes weave around Lugano's busy main square, which is presided over by the 1844 neoclassical Municipio (town hall) and is even more lively when the markets on Tuesday and Friday mornings are held.

  • Sights in Lugano

    Cattedrale di San Lorenzo

    Lugano’s early-16th-century cathedral conceals some fine frescos and ornate baroque statues behind its Renaissance facade. Out the front are far-reaching views over the Old Town’s jumble of terracotta rooftops to the lake and mountains.

  • Sights in Lugano

    Swissminiatur

    At Swissminiatur you’ll find 1:25 scale models of more than 120 national attractions. It’s the quick way to see Switzerland in a day. Trains run twice hourly from Lugano (Sfr6.40, six minutes).

  • Sights in Lugano

    Cherry Building

    Like an abstract work of art, a cherry tree graces the roof of this pink-brick, cubic edifice, the handiwork of much-lauded Ticinese architect Mario Botta.

  • Sights in Lugano

    BSí

    Bearing the hallmark of famous Ticinese architect Mario Botta, this striking cluster of buildings was formerly known as the Banca del Gottardo.