Lugano Paradiso gate

Things to do in Lugano. 4 Day Lugano Itinerary!

guide to Lugano ItineraryAre you asking the question – ” Is Lugano in Ticino worth visiting?” and are you looking for the best things to do in Lugano?

Carry on reading, then this 4 Day Lugano Itinerary will blow you away. There are so many things to do in Lugano in Switzerland, that you will want to come back again and again.

After reading this 4 Day Lugano Itinerary you will no longer ask the question, ” Is Lugano worth visiting?” , you will be totally in Love with the Lugano Region in Switzerland

Within the 4 Day Lugano Itinerary you will find subjects like

  • Biking with kids in Lugano / Bike tour Lugano
  • Family bike routes near Lugano
  • Hiking in Lugano, Ticino
  • Visiting Lugano City
  • Best Viewpoints in Lugano Region
  • and we even cover Bellinzona and its Castlegrande

And to make this read even more enjoyable for you,  I will already answer your question, ” Is Lugano is worth visiting?” Oh, YES!! Lugano is well worth a visit as there are many things to do in Lugano Ticino. You will return for many more trips after your first one. Find out all these beautiful things to do in Lugano!

Enjoy Our 4 Days Lugano Itinerary – Family Friendly.

How to Get to Lugano Region?

For this family trip to Lugano we have opted to take the bikes and travel on the train to Lugano Ticino. With the NEW Ceneri Base Tunnel completed, the travel trip from Zürich to Lugano, Switzerland is under 2 hours. You need to make a reservation for your bikes with the SBB train company

We started our trip from Zürich, and in less than 2 hours, we stepped out of the train in Lugano and our 4 Day Lugano itinerary could start.

On the Map below you can find the location from all our activities and cycling tours during this 4 day Lugano Itinerary.

Day One, Lugano Itinerary

Check-in to our Hotel in Lugano

A short cycle down from the Paradiso Train Station in Lugano brought us to our Hotel in Lugano. We stayed at the “Hotel de la Paix” which was at the lower end of Lugano near the Lake front and the Paradiso Boat dock. The hotel was perfect for us, we all staid in one room which was large enough. A small terrace with a direct view over to Monte San Salvatore and down to Lake Lugano. It is for sure one of the older hotels in Lugano, but it was comfortable and had a great location. Plus we could store our bikes securely in the Hotel garage.

hotel garden in Lugano
Hotel De la Paix in Lugano

Cycling to Parco Ciani in Lugano

As we had still a good afternoon for us, we decided to check out the Lugano area with our bikes. Along the Lake Lugano shore line from Paradiso there is a dedicated cycling / bike line which makes it easy for the families.

lugano itinerary family cycling in Lugano
easy cycling in Lugano with the family

Other things to do in Lugano is visiting the Parco Ciani.  This park is a well-used place by locals and tourist a like and for good reasons. It has a beach, stunning views to all sides and a large playground. The park has two section, the neat English garden style section, where beautiful spring flowers are decorating the lawn, and the Gate to Paradiso makes you wonder what will happen if the gate opens….

lugano itinerary Parco Ciani
beautiful Paradiso Gate in Parco Ciani

The wilder and more natural area is towards the end and it was here where we found the large beach and the play ground.
Considering the current situation (visited in April 2021) we tried to stay away from the playground. And thanks, to the great beach the kids did not mind.

I recommend for a late afternoon visit as this is also a great place to catch the sunset in Lugano.

bikes in Parco Ciani in Lugano
Parco Ciani in Lugano
children at Parco Ciani - Lugano itinerary
Images from Parco Ciani in Lugano Region, Switzerland

Day 2, Lugano Itinerary

Biking to Origlio Lake

If you want to get the Lugano Region a bit off the beaten path, that make your way to Origlio Lake. A lake with a beautiful park away from the city and in pure nature.

Our plan was to ride our bikes on the full bike route No. 357 on the Ticino Bike Map, but due to strong wind and quite some uphill we changed the route a bit and went quicker to the lake, which was welcomed by the whole family.

Never the less up to the point where we changed the route we came across some beautiful features including this most beautiful church.

When you get to the lake you can walk around it or just enjoy the part by the park and playground. It was beautiful and we had the place for ourselves.

If you opt for the shorter route like we did, be aware that there is quite a bit on the main road, so be aware of that. This region is also great for mountain biking in Lugano Ticino area.

How to get to Origlio?

From Lugano train station you need to get to Torricella – Taverne. Your Ticino Ticket covers your trip therefore you only need to pay for your bikes which was about Chf 4.60 one way for 2 bikes. Children under the age of 6, do not have to pay and also not their bikes.

family biking around Origlio Lake - Lugano itinerary
Stunning Bike route to lake Origlio

Late Afternoon Sunset at Parco San Michele

After a rest in the hotel, and more a warming up session (if was quite windy that day and cold) we made a split decision and cycled over to the funicular station of Monte Bré.

We heard of this place “Parco San Michele” by a Ticino Blogger which mentioned it as an insider tip. So we simply had to check it out, and we’re so glad we did. As mentioned there are many things to do in Lugano and catching a sunset surely has to be on your Ticino Bucket list.

family sitting on a bench at Parco San Michele lugano itinerary
Enjoying the sunset at Parco San Michele – Lugano Region

After investigating how best to get there, we figured out that the funicular of Monte Bré stops exactly where we wanted to be.

Go to Cassarate via Parco Ciani, we left the bikes at the funicular station and locked them together.

You need to pay the funicular at the top at Suvigliana, there is a automate ticket machine.

Now, head up the road to your right, until you see the sign post for Parco San Michele, it is about a 5 min walk from the funicular. There is also a parking place at the entry of the park just in case you are visiting Lugano Region by car.

Take a pizza, some crisps and why not an Aperol! This place is beautiful and so relaxing. Perfect to experience the best Lugano can offer.

sunset images from Parco Michele lugano itinerary
Enjoying a sunset at Parco Michele in Lugano region. Is Lugano worth Visiting?

 

Day 3, Lugano Itinerary

Visit the City Lugano

a fresco from Luini in church Lugano
Amazing Fresco from Leonardo Da Vinci’s Studend Luini – Lugano

Today our plan is to hike “La Via Del Ceneri”, but before that we took some time and walked within Lugano City to the train station.

This has given us the opportunity to discover some amazing Frescos, churches, and side galleys within Lugano City.

Even if you are not a city person and more like the mountains and nature kind of family, like we, it still is well worth visiting Lugano City. And as you have to walk to the train station for our suggested  afternoon hike, why not add some time and make it a culture trip.

If you need a lunch box for your picnic during the La Via del Ceneri hike, we recommend to stop at Gabbani. Beautiful fresh product ideal for a Ticino picnic.

different images of Lugano city
Within Lugano City. Totally not like a city feeling

Hiking La Via del Ceneri – Ticino

By train we went to Rivera. As this was in collaboration with Ticino Tourimo they picked us up at the train station and drove us to the Piazza Ticino where the hike started.

I have heard though that there will be a now bus line introduced from Rivera to the Piazza Ticino. But please do check before heading there.

Oh, by the way the Piazza Ticino is the center point of Ticino and you can also find a Photo spot of the “Grand Tour Of Switzerland” should you collect the points like we do.

totem poel on a piazza on la via del ceneri
Piazza Ticino – center point in Ticino- starting La Via del Ceneri

About La Via del Ceneri

The “Via del Ceneri” is a tribute to the importance of the region. At the end of 2020, the missing connection tunnel was completed with the New Ceneri Base Tunnel. A big moment for Ticino and the Alpentransversale.

With this tunnel, the travel distance between Zurich and Lugano has reduced to under two hours. But also, are the two cities Locarno and Lugano now faster connected with the tunnel.

a family walking along the via del ceneri in Ticino
Images along La Via Del Ceneri

Starting the Hike

We started from the Piazza Ticino (Centre point of Ticino) up the pilgrim’s path over the Ceneri pass and away from the busy road and in to pure nature.

Many stops and information boards make this hike fun and also informative.

Soon, we got to a nice picnic place where the view over the Magadino-Valley was breathtaking. This hike finished in Cadenazzo, from where have taken the train back again to Lugano Paradiso. Read the full hiking itinerary including a trail map of the La Via Del Ceneri

father nd son on the via del ceneri path
Before arriving at the Village Robasacco on the Via del Ceneri path with view down the Valley

Late Afternoon Visit Monte San Salvatore

If you still have some energy and time left you may want like we did, ride up to Monte San Salvatore.
The weather forecast was not brilliant for the next day, so this is why the whole crew was ok to marvel over Lugano region from the top.

On weekdays the last decent of the Funicular San Salvatore is already at 6pm. Just keep this in mind.

You can walk down via a beautiful path to Carrabia and then take the bus back to the hotel, but as we already walked La Via del Ceneri, this was out of question for us.

Just to give you a time line, we spent one hour at the top and it was perfect. Just enough time to capture these amazing 360-degree views and shoot some photos.

To reach the top viewing platform you need to climb a few steps, but nothing too bad. And then you are standing at the top of Monte San Salvatore you really will no longer ask “Is Lugano worth Visiting” the 360° view in front of you will tell you the answer.

I was so glad we opted to visit that afternoon, as the next day the sky was cloudy and it rained even a bit.

Sometimes just do what your heart tells you to do.

father and son on top of San Salvatore on a lugano itinerary
Marvel as long as your heart wants. Beautiful Lugano Region

Day 4, Lugano Itinerary

Cycling / Biking from Agno to Caslano

We enjoyed a slow morning, yes, it is important also on a busy Lugano Region itinerary trip. We got lucky and the weather was holding up and no rain clouds to be seen.

This bike ride was on our Lugano Itinerary pretty much since the beginning and I was so happy we managed to go and visit this area of Lugano, as it is different.

family on cycling path Agno to Caslan- lugano itinerary
at the start of the Agno to Caslano Bike route

After breakfast we cycled to the Lugano city funicular which brings us up to the Lugano train Station. By the way, it is very easy and if you like to know more about cycling in Lugano with Kids, then click here to read how easy it is to cycle with kids in Lugano Region Ticino.

From Agno the dedicated cycling – biking, walking path is close to the station and runs along the Lago di Lugano all the way to Caslano.

A super easy relaxing bike ride ideal for a family with beginner riders, or if simply you want to ride along a pretty lake shore. If you are there during the summer months bring your swimming gear, as there are many small beaches along the way.

boats floating in lugano lake in Caslano
beautiful small harbours along the biking route to Caslano in Lugano Region

Late Afternoon Stroll along the Olive Grove Path

On the way home by train from Agno we promised the kids an ice-cream when we’re back in Lugano city. And it was there where we decided that there is still one more place we would love to check out before heading back home.

With our bikes we rode to the start of the Olive Grove Path. Again, we passed through Parco Ciani and into the Castagnola area. Basically, just follow the lake road and before you’re climbing up the hill there is a road taking you down to the Lido San Domenico and the start of the path.

If you are visiting Lugano Region by car, there is also a car park right at the start of the Olive grove path.

mother and children along the Olive grove path in Lugano Ticino
The path along the Olive Grove trail – Lugano Itinerary

The path winds his way along lake Lugano offering stunning views. As it was late afternoon it was peaceful and only a few locals used the path to do their daily exercise-running.

We loved that it was not yet overgrown by the trees on the lake side which allowed us to have plenty of views on to the water and the kids could throw stones.

The path has so much characteristic and it just shouts Italy all over. Or in our case Ticino!

When you get to Gandria take some time to explore this quirky little village. So beautiful.

A bus awaits to bring you back to Castagnola post office should you not feel to walk back. But honestly it is such an easy walk and pretty indeed, that we walked it back like it was just a small walk down to the lake. It is a 1.6km stretch one way.

Another alternative would have been hopping on a boat in Lugano Paradiso to Gandria and walk back to Lugano city and even the hotel.

ticnino images along the olive grove path
beautiful images along the Olive Grove trail in Lugano Region

Day 5, Lugano Itinerary

Castelgrande in Bellinzona & Home Journey

As our trip back with the train to Zürich only takes 2 hours, we were happy to make a stopover in Bellinzona. And as it was Saturday we got spoilt by also being able to visit the market before heading to the Castelgrande.

girl walking up Castelgrande in Bellinzona
beautiful Castelgrande in Bellinzona, Ticino Switzerland

Honestly, we did not know much about Bellinzona and were super happy that Ticino Turismo organised a guide for us.

At the beginning we were a bit worried as some guided tours are just a bit slow, we got lucky. Claudia Maspoli from Bellinzona Tourismo made it a perfect guided tour. And her knowledge is second to none.

If you do not know much about Bellinzona, I highly recommend to book her or do some reading about the place beforehand. It will make all of a difference to your visit.

We left Bellinzona two hours later pleasantly surprised, and have added it to our next Ticino itinerary list. Such a beautiful and interesting place with lots of history. Even with the kids it was great. They loved the castle and walking on the old walls and entering the dark tunnels. I mean which child would not love to be a princess or a knight?

different images of Bellinzona on a lugano itinerary list
Bellinzona and its beauty

Our Thoughts on This 4 Day Lugano Itinerary

Yes, we did managed to pack in a lot in to the 4 day Lugano itinerary, but it was worth every effort  & every little bit of moaning from the kids. And I believe we have truly shown you here that the question “Is Lugano worth visiting” is answering itself. Do you agree?

Although there is much more to Lugano, more mountains to climb, more bike routes to try and more parks to discover, we feel with this 4 Day Lugano itinerary you get a bit, Lugano off the beaten path, but also some typic places and views.

If you have more time you could always add to this Lugano itinerary Ascona & Locarno, and check out the Best Places to Visit There.

Fact that we did bring our bikes on the train made the trip even more special. At the beginning we imagined it to be difficult, even a nightmare but it was all but that.

Super easy to take the train from Zürich. Why we left from Zürich and not from Valais our Home? As this trip was planned during the Easter break we visited families near Zürich and combined it. 🙂

tulips in the sunset light in Lugano Parc Ciani
Lugano sunset from Parco Ciani

You may also like these related Articles from Ticino

And Maybe you Like to Travel Switzerland a bit More?

I hope that the information provided here will prove itself useful when planning a 4 Day Lugano Itinerary, and hopefully you have answered the question “Is Lugano Worth Visiting?” after reading this article.

If I have left anything out, please ask your questions in the comments below and share your experience, so that other readers can join in the conversation and benefit from your queries and stories as well.

Note: This trip was together with Ticino Turismo, thank you again! However you can always be assured that the recommendations are our honest tips and reviews.

Thank you & Never Forget to Explore

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Hi, my name is Corina, a mum of twins, a wife and founder of Packed Again – a Swiss Family Travel & Adventure Blog. We live in the most amazing mountain valley in Switzerland, the Valais.

It is outdoors where we feel the most connected and happy with each other.

The Blog will give you lots of information on Swiss Adventures & Beyond.

Never Forget to Explore!

Thank you Corina

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