Must-see attractions in Ticino

  • Bellinzona, Switzerland: a tower at Castelgrande with blue sky.
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    Rising dramatically above the Old Town, this medieval stronghold is Bellinzona’s most visible icon. Head up Salita San Michele from Piazza Collegiata, or…

  • Montebello Castle in Bellinzona, Switzerland.

    Castello di Montebello


    On cloudless days, you can see Lake Maggiore from this 13th-century hilltop fortification. The fortress is one of Bellinzona’s most impressive with its…

  • Santuario della Madonna del Sasso


    Overlooking the town, this sanctuary was built after the Virgin Mary supposedly appeared in a vision to a monk, Bartolomeo d’Ivrea, in 1480. There’s a…

  • Castello di Sasso Corbaro


    From central Bellinzona, it’s a 3.5km hike south to the Castello di Sasso Corbaro. Perched high on a wooded hillside, the castle has an austere beauty…

  • Castello Visconteo in Locarno, Switzerland.

    Castello Visconteo


    Named after the Visconti clan that long ruled Milan, this fortified 15th-century castle’s nucleus was raised around the 10th century. It now houses a…

  • The village of Foroglio in Bavona valley, Switzerland.

    Val Bavona


    A smooth road follows a mountain stream through this valley, where narrow meadows are cradled between steep rocky walls. Its tightly huddled stone and…

  • Monte Generoso, Switzerland.

    Monte Generoso

    Lago di Lugano

    Popping up between Italy and Switzerland, the 1704m peak of Monte Generoso has far-reaching views across a patchwork of lakes and mountains. The rack-and…

  • Corippo



    Blink and you'll almost certainly miss this pint-sized hamlet, which looks as though it would topple down the terraced hillside with the slightest puff of…

  • Scherrer Park in Morcote, Switzerland.

    Parco Scherrer

    Lago di Lugano

    Set in subtropical parkland, Parco Scherrer, 400m west of the boat stop in Morcote, is the dream come true of textile merchant and art enthusiast Hermann…

  • View of Lago di Lugano and the city of Lugano from Monte San Giorgio summit.

    Monte San Giorgio

    Lago di Lugano

    Rising in a pyramid above Lake Lugano, 1097m Monte San Giorgio has become Ticino’s mountain of myth thanks to its rich stash of Triassic marine-life…

  • Village of Cevio



    The centrepiece of Cevio is its vibrant 16th-century Pretorio (magistrate’s court), covered in the family coats-of-arms of many of the area’s rulers,…

  • An aerial view of the Isole di Brissago in Ticino, Switzerland.

    Isole di Brissago


    Marooned in the glimmering waters of Lake Maggiore, this tiny pair of islands is famous for its botanic gardens designed in the 19th century. Magnolias,…

  • Parco Ciani along Lake Lugano in Switzerland.

    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…

  • Interior of the church Santa Maria degli Angioli in Lugano, Switzerland.

    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…

  • Centovalli Railway


    River deep, mountain high... To see the valley in beautiful slow motion, hop aboard the staggering Centovalli Railway. Departing from Locarno for…

  • 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…

  • Old Town


    You can feel just how close you are to Italy when exploring Locarno's hilly Città Vecchia (Old Town), an appealing jumble of piazzas, arcades, churches…

  • Museo Comunale d’Arte Moderna


    Housed in the late-16th-century Palazzo Pancaldi, this museum showcases paintings by artists connected with the town, among them Paul Klee, Ben Nicholson,…

  • 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…

  • Piazza Grande


    Locarno’s Italianate Città Vecchia (Old Town) fans out from Piazza Grande, a photogenic ensemble of arcades and Lombard-style houses. A craft and fresh…

  • Parco Muralto


    Locarno’s climate is perfect for lolling about the lake. Bristling with palms and ablaze with flowers in spring and summer, these gardens are a scenic…

  • Chiesa di San Biagio


    This 14th-century church is one of Bellinzona’s most evocative with its original frescoes of the medieval Lombard-Siena school.

  • Luxury chocolate candies



    Chomp into some cocoa culture at the Alprose chocolate museum, Schokoland – a sure-fire hit with kids. Whiz through chocolate history, watch the sugary…

  • Lavertezzo


    While the church-topped village is as pretty as can be, it plays second fiddle to the grandiose backdrop of thickly forested mountains and the jade-green…

  • Intragna


    Perching on a rocky ledge at the confluence of the Melezzo and Isorno rivers and looking into a valley bounded by mountain beyond mountain, Intragna has a…

  • Museo dei Fossili

    Lago di Lugano

    Revamped and expanded by Ticinese starchitect Mario Botta, Meride's Fossil Museum showcases vestiges of the first creatures to inhabit the region –…

  • 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…

  • Chiesa di Santa Maria del Sasso

    Lago di Lugano

    It's a stiff 15-minute climb up a seemingly endless flight of steps to this church, lifted on a hilltop above the lake and easily identified by its…

  • Rasa


    Redolent of a more peaceful bygone age, Rasa is an utterly charming stone village, clinging to high slopes, combed through with neatly tended vegetable…

  • Robiei Dam


    At the end of the Val Bavona, just after San Carlo, a cable car rides up to Robiei dam and its startlingly turquoise reservoir, tailor-made for a day’s…

  • Museo di Castelgrande


    This museum has a modest collection of finds from Castelgrande's hill dating to prehistoric times. More engaging are the 15th-century ceiling decorations…

  • Bosco Gurin


    A road of seemingly endless hairpin bends snakes up to this minor ski centre (with 30km of pistes) and high-pasture village of slate-roofed, whitewashed…

  • 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…

  • Re


    Re, on the Italian side, sees a procession of pilgrims on 30 April each year, a tradition that originated when a painting of the Madonna was reported to…

  • Chiesa di San Francesco


    Standing on the site of a 13th-century Franciscan monastery, the 16th-century Chiesa di San Francesco is adorned with frescoes by Baldassare Orelli. Note…

  • Pinacoteca Casa Rusca


    This gallery occupies a beautifully restored 18th-century townhouse, Casa Rusca. The permanent collection zooms in on 20th century paintings, sculpture…

  • Sonogno


    A once-abandoned hamlet at the head of the valley, Sonogo is enveloped by chestnut and beech woods. Its pocket-sized centre is an adorable collection of…

  • 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…

  • Val di Campo


    A winding forest road brings you to this broad, sunny, upland valley. The prettiest of its towns is Campo, with scattered houses and Romanesque bell tower…

  • Museo delle Dogane Svizzere

    Lago di Lugano

    Across the lake from Gandria is the Museo delle Dogane Svizzere, accessible by boat. It tells the history of customs (and, more interestingly, smuggling)…