Things to do in
Lugano

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Our most recommended things to do in Lugano

Lake Como with Bellagio and Lugano Day Trip from Milan

1. Lake Como with Bellagio and Lugano Day Trip from Milan

Escape the hustle and bustle of Milan for a relaxing tour of the countryside of northern Italy and southern Switzerland, traveling in air-conditioned comfort in groups of no more than 25 people. Relax as you take in Alpine views and see stunning lakes and villas. In less than an hour, you’ll pass the Italian border and arrive in Switzerland and take a scenic drive to the foot of the Alps. The first destination on your great escape is Lugano, featuring breathtaking panoramas and excellent shopping opportunities. If you are craving artistic culture, take a relaxing walk through town to Chiesa di Santa Maria di Loreto church. For a spot of retail therapy, make your way over to the beautiful downtown shopping area, brimming with inviting shops, rich Swiss chocolate, and fine luxury goods. Next, reach the famous city of Bellagio, the "Pearl of Lake Como.” Once in Bellagio, enjoy free time to explore the town and do some shopping, or relax and eat some local food in the most nostalgic bars and restaurants. After taking some photos and enjoying the town’s charming atmosphere, continue to Lake Como by coach. Upon arrival, enjoy a 2-hour boat cruise along the lake for a unique opportunity to admire the breathtaking landscapes and see villas of the rich and famous. Lake Como is a famous holiday destination for stars and celebrities. During the cruise, your guide will point out George Clooney’s villa, plus villas that once hosted Star Wars and James Bond movie sets. After that, the bus will take you back to Milan’s city center in time for dinner.

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Swiss Travel Pass: Unlimited Travel on Train, Bus & Boat

2. Swiss Travel Pass: Unlimited Travel on Train, Bus & Boat

The Swiss Travel Pass is a must-have for any traveler to Switzerland. You can enjoy unlimited access by public train, bus, and boat to over 90 cities and towns and benefit from free entrance to 500+ museums, discounted city tours, and access to private and scenic trains with a pre-requisite seat reservation. There are two broad types of Swiss Travel Pass: Continuous and Flexi, with an option to choose from 3, 4, 8, and 15 days. Apart from it being an ‘all-in-one’ pass which allows a traveler to access all modes of public transportation within the country, it also offers numerous other benefits on the mountain excursions. So be it the adventurous, the avid or the leisure traveler, you will have the chance to make the most of your Switzerland Travel Pass.

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Swissminiatur: Open-Air Miniature Park Entrance Ticket

3. Swissminiatur: Open-Air Miniature Park Entrance Ticket

Discover the whole of Switzerland in just 1 hour with a visit to the Swissminiatur park, a miniature version of the country which covers about 14,000 m². See over 128 models of the most famous buildings and monuments in Switzerland.  The detailed and authentic models include well-known sites such as the castles of Rapperswil, Chillon and Bellinzona, the Federal Parliament in Bern, and the Piazza Grande in Locarno. Moreover, a 3,560m long model railway with 18 trains runs through the park. It is fascinating to watch the variety of trains that run along the tracks, cross bridges and stop by at stations. Boats are in motion on the lakes, cable cars and funiculars go up and down the mountains, cars move on the highway. For garden lovers, the whole park is beautifully decorated with a selection of 1,500 different plants and over 15,000 flowers. The park is located in Melide, on the shore of Lake Lugano, in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland. The park is surrounded by mountains like Monte Generoso, Monte San Salvatore, and Monte San Giorgio, which has been declared UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site.

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From Milan: Full-Day Trip to Como, Lugano and Bellagio

4. From Milan: Full-Day Trip to Como, Lugano and Bellagio

Discover two countries in one day on this unforgettable tour. See Lake Como and enjoy the scenic views. Explore Bellagio, known as the Pearl of Lake Como, and visit the town of Lugano. Start your trip from Milan, jump aboard a bus and drive to Lake Como. Stroll along the medieval alleys on this guided walking tour and see the old villas. Discover the art, history, and local traditions before seeing the impressive Gothic Cathedral. Next, go back on the bus and head to Switzerland. First, admire the views of The Alps as you drive by. Enjoy free time in Lugano to walk around and explore. Visit Lake Lugano and relax with a picnic by the lake. Afterward, drive to the small village of Cadenabbia. Then board a ferry to Bellagio. Once in Bellagio, you can walk around or go shopping, if you like. Continue to Mount Ghisallo and see the Sanctuary of Madonna del Ghisallo dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Return to Milan by bus.

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Zoo al Maglio: 1-Day Ticket for the Jungle of Ticino

5. Zoo al Maglio: 1-Day Ticket for the Jungle of Ticino

First, you will see the more exotic animals as you enter the zoo. Later on, you will be able to meet pet animals like Guinea pigs, ducks, geese, swans, African goats, and turtles. When you arrive, buy a food bag at the entrance to allow you to get up-close with the animals. On the shady part of the park there is a picnic area next to the playground. Next to it, you will see a wooden house that is perfect for birthday parties. All around the park there are zones to relax in, sit, and watch the animals. There is also a minicar park for action-loving kids. Snacks, beverages, souvenirs, and information can all be found at the entrance.

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Lugano: 1-Hour Express Discovery Tour

6. Lugano: 1-Hour Express Discovery Tour

Fall in love with Lugano in just 1-hour on this express guided tour. After meeting your guide in front of the Museo Delle Culture, embark on a journey through the history, the local lifestyle, and the contemporary transformation of the city.  As you stroll through this Swiss city's picturesque streets, discover its parks, monuments, and historical architecture. Get the opportunity to get insider tips about the best cafes, restaurants, and bars to visit during your time in Lugano in order to make the most out of your visit.  Don't miss the opportunity to see Lugano through the eyes of a local, discover what daily life looks and soak up some of the city's characteristic ambience. This is the perfect experience for both those visiting for the first time and those returning to Lugano who wish to rediscover the city.

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Lugano: Guided Tour with Lunch

7. Lugano: Guided Tour with Lunch

After meeting your guide at your hotel, you’ll start the day with a walk through the historic centre of Lugano. Here, you’ll see the new conference centre, stroll through Lugano’s main shopping district, and see locals enjoying themselves in the many outdoor restaurants. A highlight will be going inside of the 15th-century church which is simply called "the church". Inside, you’ll see impressive mural paintings made by the Italian artist Bernardino Luini, one of Leonardo da Vinci’s disciples.   You’ll then take a bus to the start of the Gandria Olive Trail footpath where you’ll enjoy a leisurely one-hour walk on the paved historic “Olive Trail” along the lakeside. You’ll eventually reach the romantic village of Gandria, which is nestled along the banks of Lake Lugano.   Afterwards, you’ll board a public boat and cruise to your lunch stop at one of Lugano’s most scenic areas, where you’ll experience an outdoor grotto lunch of risotto. Local Ticino white or red wine will be served so you can focus on your lunch, and al the while, you’ll be overlooking beautiful Lake Lugano with its surrounding mountains and villages. Your stand-by chefs will help you with your risotto to make sure you enjoy an excellent tasting grotto lunch. Following your lunch experience, your boat will return you to the city.

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Swiss Coupon Pass: 2-for-1 Offers in Switzerland

8. Swiss Coupon Pass: 2-for-1 Offers in Switzerland

The coupon book contains 100 exclusive vouchers with 50% discounts on food, sightseeing tours, entrance fees to tourist attractions, theme parks, UNESCO world heritage sights, Swiss castles, car and motorbike rental as well as class upgrades for train and boat journeys with a total value of 4,500 CHF. The Swiss Coupon Pass is available in English and German. Choose to either have your pass delivered (only available in Switzerland) or pick it up in Zurich, Geneva or Basel.

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Lugano: Past and Present Discovery Walk

9. Lugano: Past and Present Discovery Walk

Discover the historical side of Lugano with a passionate local who wants to share all the best kept secrets of Lugano with you. Your excursion will start in front of the building of Museo delle Culture. There you will learn about the various architectural styles from different time periods, and will also find out how the city has changed over time. From visiting churches to discovering the history behind the Statua Carlo Battaglini or the church Santa Maria Immacolata, you will encounter unique sites that an ordinary tour won’t show you. Your guide knows that traveling is the best way of learning, and having a knowledgeable local by your side to give you insider tips and share local secrets is even better. Of course, if you wish to learn about something in particular or have a special interest, just let your guide know and they can tailor the itinerary to you.

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Lugano: Photogenic City Walking Tour

10. Lugano: Photogenic City Walking Tour

Join your guide to discover the city of Lugano through your camera lens. Enjoy a short city walk which will provide you the unique opportunity to get to know the city from an insider’s point of view. Your walk will take you from LAC to the university, and as you use your camera to capture the beauty of Lugano you will also get to discover local spots and hidden gems that your typical tourist tour won’t show you. Prepare to discover an alternative side of Lugano which is full of history and unique beauty. Don't forget to book the experience at a suitable time to ensure the best light possible for the pictures. You simply cannot leave the city before taking a stroll on the shores of the lake and getting to know more about the history of Ticino.

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What people are saying about Lugano

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 417 reviews

Our tour guide Mara is amazing, she’s very passionate and knowledgeable and she showed us all the must see spots and the history behind it. Lugano is amazing place, we got there in the morning, took beautiful pictures, went around the area. Then moved to Bellagio by ferry for lunch and by fast ferry to Como. It’s a great experience! We enjoyed it so much.

The experience was very good. The tour is very nice and well organized. We saw beautiful places and the only thing we couldn't do was visit Lugano, due to restrictions on the Swiss border because of Covid. The guide spoke very well and explained everything in great detail.

I can't recommend this tour and Alicia, our tour guide, enough. I had a brilliant day and the tour felt very bespoke and professional. Such good value for money considering all the places we went to, including our boat cruise.

It was great tour, luckily the weather was sunny in Lugano and Belagio. Overall the trip was perfect, where the Christmas lights were all over the cities and great vibes all around. Our guide mara made it much better.

Perfect, the starting point, the quality of the bus and the driver, the points visited and the time calculated ... but above all MARA, the girl who guided us,