Best Things to do in Lugano –
A Trip to Monte Brè
If you’re visiting Lugano it’s definitely worth taking a trip up one of the mountains to admire the views across the city and the lake from on high.
A while back we visited San Salvatore, but on our most recent trip to Lugano we went to Monte Brè. At 925m, Monte Brè is known as the sunniest mountain in Switzerland and is even home to the rare Christmas rose; this is apparently the most northerly place it grows.
We visited at the end of November, which is definitely the off peak season and although the funicular to San Salvatore is closed, the one at Monte Brè was still operating. Despite the time of year the sun was shining brightly and it was sunny with brilliant blue skies. From the Villa Principe Leopoldo where we were staying, we took the hotel’s shuttle bus to the centre of Lugano.
View across to Monte Brè from the centre of Lugano
After being dropped off close to the lake, we then walked about 20 minutes to the bottom of the funicular doing a spot of shopping at the Christmas market along the way. However, from the Central Bus Station you can take the number 2 bus in the direction “Castagnola” and this goes directly to the Funicular stop at Cassarate.
There are 2 funiculars you need to take to get to the top. The first and shortest, Ruvigliana, originally opened in 1908 and takes you to the first station. You then alight and follow the signs and cross the road to the second funicular which dates back to 1912 and which takes you right to the top of Monte Brè.
At the summit there are two restaurants, one opposite the funicular station and another a little lower down the path with a small children’s playground outside.
The lower restaurant with a great viewing point
Unfortunately in late November both restaurants were shut, however, there are plenty of good viewing points. Walking in the opposite direction up a little path instead you come to a small chapel.
The chapel at Monte Brè
If you have time you can walk all the way back down to Lugano and the lake, stopping at the pretty village of Brè with its grottos, but it is apparently quite steep in parts.
From the second restaurant you get fabulous views over Lake Lugano and across towards San Salvatore and the Melide reservoir and Monte San Giorgio and the Valais Alps to the west.
The easiest way back to Lugano is once again by taking the two funiculars and the views on the descent are also quite stunning.
View from the top of the funicular station on the way down to Lugano
Lugano is just around 2.5 to 3 hours from Zurich depending how you travel but this little gem of a place is full of charm and beauty and is a great place to visit to recharge your batteries.
If you’re heading there over the Winter season as we were don’t forget to pop over to the Christmas market in the main square. We stayed at the Villa Principe Leopoldo during our stay. For more information please visit the Lugano Tourism website.
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