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La dolce vita! How to enjoy the sweet life in Ticino

Among the charming towns and soothing nature of Ticino, a Mediterranean lifestyle meets Swiss  quality and orderliness. Think yachts floating on turquoise lakes, hikes through chestnut forests or a lineup of unmissable events.

During summer months when it can be cold and wet north of the Alps, Ticino is basking in the sun. With more than 2000 hours of sunshine annually, you can often find us hanging out in Switzerland’s sun room. That’s because these are perfect conditions for a variety of exciting outdoor activities, be it up in the hills or down in the valleys, up in the air or in the water.

sweet life in Switzerland´s south

As a base for your explorations, stay at one of the three Swiss Deluxe Hotels properties. We simply could not pick a favorite as each of these prestigious hotels has their own distinct character. Check into the Hotel Eden Roc or the Castello del Sole in Ascona, or the Splendide Royal in Lugano, and you can be assured that these houses remain at your disposal while you are out there enjoying the sweet life.

For an unforgettable day in Ticino, pick and choose from our suggestions

Explore the Brissago Islands without the crowds

Thanks to a subtropical climate, the Brissago Islands are home to Ticino’s official botanical garden. Get up early and hire a boat in Ascona – optionally with a captain. This will allow you to reach the island before the first scheduled ship arrives. Hire a boat and grab our Brissago visitor’s guide.

Take it to the skies by paragliding from Cimetta

Paragliding from Cimetta

Whether you have paraglided before or are new at it, you will be in good hands with FlyTicino. In no time, you will see yourself soaring above the lush forests back to Ascona. For vistas minus the adrenaline rush, hop on the funicular and cable car from Locarno to Cimetta. Read about our experience

Hike the waterfall in Foroglio

The remote Bavona Valley is a world of its own. Accessible by public bus or car, you will start your hike in the stone village of Foroglio. Once you reach the top of the 108-metre waterfall, magnificent views await. Read our blog post about Foroglio

Enjoy a Japanese tea ceremony

In the hills above Ascona at Casa del Tè, take of your shoes and step into another world. Among a tea garden sits a Japanese tea house which offers tea ceremonies. The matcha green tea is especially foamy and refreshing. More information

Embark on a «grotto cruise» on Lake Lugano

Lake Lugano

To understand Ticino’s food culture, visiting a traditional grotto restaurant is a must. Departing from Lugano, a boat will take you to one of several lakeside restaurants. You will have enough time to enjoy the sunset and a Ticino dinner before the boat transfer returns. May 31 – Aug 17. More information

Visit the castles of Bellinzona, a Unesco World Heritage site

Each of Bellinzona’s three castles houses a museum, with the main attraction being at Castelgrande. Open all year round, it is impressive to walk on the castle grounds dating back to the 13th century. At Grotto San Michele, indulge in local cuisine such as farina bòna gnocchi. More information

Experience culture at the LAC Lugano Arts Center

Our favorite address for art exhibits and concerts is home to an extensive permanent collection as well as noteworthy special exhibits. Those into live music should miss a classical concert in the astonishing concert call. More information

Where to enjoy the “suite” life

Hotel Eden Roc – Ascona

Its all “ship ahoy!” at this sun-kissed hotel on the shores of lake Maggiore in Ascona. Swimmers can pick among a private beach and two outdoor pools. Those into boating, have access to the yacht club next door, and foodies must try the seafood served at the hotel´s Marina restaurant. edenroc.ch, Instagram @edenroc-ascona

Hotel Castello del Sol – Ascona

Located in the fertile river delta of Ascona, this hotel embraces the farm-to-table philosophy. The young executive chef, Mattias Roock, harvests everything from herbs to risotto rice for his 18-point GaultMillau cuisine. The luxury here are privacy and space to breathe. castellodesole.com, Instagram @castellodelsole

Hotel Splendidte Royal – Lugano

This former Belle Epoque palace has seen royal families and celebrities from around the world. Views from the hotel´s suites open up to the scenic bay, and Lugano´s cultural hotspots are just footsteps away. splendide.ch, Instagram @splendideroyal

Top Instagram spots in Ticino

Here is a shortlist of the best Instagram spots in Ticino – according to us. But we would like to invite you to go into exploration mode and walk off the beaten path. Find your own beautiful spots and share them on social media.
On a recent trip to Lugano, for instance, we discovered the most beautiful picture spot just by veering off a marked hiking path: the historic Villa Heleneum Park on the shores of Lake Lugano.

– Brissago Islands
– Carasc Tibetan bridge in Curzútt
– Corippo
– Foroglio
– Intragna
– Lago del Naret in Fusio
– Lavertezzo
– Madonna del Sasso
– Monte Brè in Lugano
– Montebello Castle in Bellinzona
– Morcote Villa Heleneum
– Park in Lugano

Follow us on Instagram for even more Ispirations: @newlyswissed

About the authors

Since 2010, Dimitri and Mamiko Burkhard have been exploring Switzerland through a curious pair of eyes. Along with a dozen other authors, they have published more than 1300 articles in the Newly Swissed Online Magazine. This one-stop resource about Switzerland covers topics ranging from hotels to hiking and from start-up portraits to unmissable Swiss events. Follow them on social media @newlyswissed or online at newlyswissed.com.


words by Dimitri & Mamiko Burkhard

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