Today we visited two towns with similar names but with very different vibes…but which one did we like most……
With the mountains in the background and the restaurants lining the streets full of pizza, it was like taking a trip back to Italy. The weather was a little colder but sunny all the same, which made the lake a beautiful one to walk around.
We decided to park up in the centre. Just to warn you, Switzerland is not cheap and parking is much the same, so only park in any centre if there is no other way you can get there (with us having two larger dogs, public transport is not easy, though I might add not impossible either).
There are many sights to see from the Cathedral of San Lorenzo to the Church of Santa Maria degli Angioli.
These are beautiful examples of gothic and baroque style buildings, so a must see if you are in the area. All the main sights are in the old town which is easily walkable, there are also plenty of walks and hikes you can do outside of the city aswell if you want to stretch your legs.
We took a walk around the city to get a feel of what it was like. Aswell as the historical buildings, it has a variety of shops but the ones that stick out are the high end shops Lugano seems to keep.
Walking along lakes are always cruel for us. As I have mentioned before because our boys love water, and it’s always tough for them not to jump in and have a swim.
We spent just a couple of hours in Lugano, although a lovely place to visit, we just didn’t get the right feeling from it. I can’t quite describe what it was, if it was anything at all, but there was just something we didn’t like. That being said I wouldn’t not suggest this place just on our feeling alone, as the city itself had done nothing wrong to us it’s just, as us British would say, it wasn’t our cup of tea.
Lugano was the first city to host the Eurovision Song Contest back in 1956
Before we left this area completely though, we have to mention that lake Lugano wasn’t just owned by Switzerland, there was a little section across the lake that was still owned by Italy. Campione d’Italia is a commune owned by Italy but separated by mountains, with the nearest Italian city being Como. There isn’t an awful lot in Campione d’Italia itself, although there are some nice restaurants with some lovely views looking over the lake and Lugano.
Once we had drove around the lake, it was time to discover another city.
We arrived at our next stop and decided we wanted a little bit of a walk, so we parked out of the city just along part of the lake surrounded by parks. The parking here is a ticket machine but is a lot cheaper than city parking, paying just a couple of francs for a few hours.
Around this part of Lake Maggiore there are plenty of parks to walk through beforehand, so you have the option of walking through the parks to get to the old town, or along the promenade and get views of the lake. We started by walking through a park to get to the promenade to walk the rest of the way. Be careful though as some parks are completely a no dog zone (we discovered this after walking through one and then spotting the sign! Luckily no one caught us 🙈).
It was a peaceful promenade with not too many people around to spoil the views, though I can’t promise that for the summer. It didn’t take us too long to get to the old town but it did build up an appetite.
We had a slow walk around the centre of the city to see what it had to offer, with streets and streets of all different types of shops – it gives you a variety when looking around.
We came towards the Piazza Grand, which was the part of Locarno I really wanted to see, from all the pictures I have seen it is one of the picturesque places to see with the beautifully multicoloured buildings.
At this stage, I learned not to visit somewhere just before the Christmas markets start!
This did dampen our spirits a little as we couldn’t stand in the centre of the square and admire the buildings around. We appreciate that this isn’t their fault but our own for just bad timing. If only we could of seen it a few weeks later when the markets were open.
On the way back to the car we decided the only way we could cheer ourselves up was to buy some chocolate, I mean we are in the country that has the best chocolate in the world!
We walked into a shop which had multiple choices of chocolate, it was like heaven. You could either buy packs or buy it by the slab! We opted to buy by the slab……
We were spoilt for choice with many flavours to choose. We tried to get a variety so we got white chocolate, cornflakes in milk chocolate and brownie chocolate (this one was personally my favourite).
All of the chocolate was nothing like we had tasted before, and we can see why Switzerland is known for being the best chocolatiers in the world!
At this stage, we were delighted to see that it’s a chain brand in Switzerland, so we could get some more on our travels around the country. (Läderach chocolate)
This hadn’t been the best day but also hadn’t been the worse, plus chocolate brightens up anyone’s day………..