LUGANO FAQ`S

How do I get to Lugano by air?

Lugano Airport is a small international airport with flights arriving from Zurich and Geneva. Taxis await visitors at the Lugano airport for the 10-minute ride to the center of Lugano. You can also reach Lugano by shuttle bus services. These shuttles can be found outside of the main airport building. The three main companies are Lugano Servizi, Giosy Tours, and Jet Bus (look for marked signs with these names).

Milan`s airports are, on average, 1 1/2 hours away by bus or train. Of these, Milano Malpensa may be the best choice for Lugano due to the high volume of flights and its location well towards Switzerland (1 hour by shuttle). For Europeans, Malpensa is especially convenient for its high volume of Easyjet routes.

How do I get from the train station to my hotel?

Lugano is a major stop along the rail lines that connect Milan with Zurich. As such, trains from all parts of Switzerland arrive throughout the day and night. For rail information and schedules, visit www.sbb.ch. Rail passengers arrive at the Lugano railroad station located at Piazzale della Stazione, which is in the center of the city, west of piazza Indipendenza. If your luggage is light, you can walk to many of the hotels; if not, you can take one of the taxis waiting outside the station.

How do I get around Lugano using public transportation?

Lugano is small enough to get around on foot, and many of the streets are pedestrian-only, but the hills above the lakefront can be steep so the bus or the funicular from the center of town might be a better option on the way up to the train station if you have a lot of bags. Taxis can be found on the main roads. Ferries and funiculars are great options for seeing the views.

If you wish to stay within the Lugano area, it is best to use the TPL (Trasporti Pubblici Luganesi; www.tplsa.ch) bus line. A short-journey ticket (30 minutes) costs about 1.90Fr, 1-day travelcard for 1 zone is about 7.20Fr, or you can purchase a short-journey multi-journey travelcard (up to 6 trips) for about 9.50Fr, which can be used by multiple people. Tickets for TPL buses must be purchased prior to boarding the bus from the automated machine.

If you are visiting the surrounding areas of Lugano, you should use the Autopostale bus system (www.autopostale.ch); these are the yellow buses. Tickets for Autopostale buses can be purchased from the bus driver, or from the main bus terminal located in downtown Lugano (Autosilo Balestra). Reference the website for exact bus lines and ticket prices.

Funicolare Lugano Citta - Stazione: The funicular links the old center of the town on the lake shore to the railway station higher up the hill. Starting at 5:20am till 11:50pm throughout the year and runs every 5 to 10 minutes.

Funicolare Lugano Paradiso - Monte San Salvatore: This funicular links Lugano (Via delle Scuole 7, Lugano Paradiso) with the top of the Monte San Salvatore, with beautiful views of Lake Lugano, the isthmus of Melide, the Monte Generoso and the Italian enclave of Campione d`Italia on the other side of the lake. Tickets cost about 23Fr; Return is about 30Fr.

Funicolare Monte Brè: This funicular links Lugano (Via Ceresio di Suvigliano 36) to the top of the Monte Brè. A single fare costs about 16Fr; Return is about 25Fr.

By Boat: Ferries run across the Lake Lugano daily. They also offer a number of cruises. Note: While much of Lake Lugano is in Switzerland, a large portion of it is in Italy, so take your passport when on a boat.

How do I call/hail a taxi?

Taxis are readily available in Lugano from numerous locations and on all the main roads. Be aware that the minimum charge for taking a taxi (regardless of how far you are traveling) is around 15-20Fr. This is the fixed fee for taxis (quite high compared to other cities), so no haggling or shopping around is required. You can also often pay in euros. Waiting taxis can always be found at the train station or across from the main shopping square downtown (across the street from Manor).

I will have a car in Lugano, where can I park?

We suggest you inquire about parking at your hotel (typically at a daily parking fee). While there are multiple parking garages located in Lugano, many fill up quickly during peak tourism time, and street parking is often hard or impossible to come by.

How do I get around by bicycle?

The town of Lugano and the lakefront itself are ideal for bikers. You can rent a bike at the railway station in Lugano. Prices generally start at about 30Fr per day, depending on the type of bicycle.

Can I pay/tip in US dolars?

The currency of Switzerland is the Swiss franc, usually indicated as CHF or SFr. While Switzerland is not part of the European Union and thus is not obliged to convert to the Euro, many prices are nonetheless indicated in euros so that visitors may compare prices. Euros are accepted in many places, but you will most likely receive francs in return. US dollars are not accepted.

There are ATM machines in Lugano that can be used to directly get Swiss francs using a debit or bank card. These are usually located near or inside every bank and/or post office. We recommend you inform your bank you will be traveling prior to your trip.

There are many exchange offices located in downtown Lugano. Visitors should use these offices, as they typically will provide a better exchanged rate than banks.

What is the weather like in Lugano? When is the best time to visit?

Some would argue there`s no bad time to visit Lugano. With its pristine waters, lovely streets, neighborhoods and beautiful views of the Alps, you could say anytime is a good time to visit Lugano.

Having said that, there are a few considerations. If fairly stable weather is a goal, head to Lugano between March and October. There might be less snow on the Alps, but also fewer tourists and fairly mild weather. Spring is beautiful here as the many parks explode in floral color. During the summer, highs can get into the 80s, but more likely sit in the mid 70s.

If you are determined to head to Lugano in the winter season, it`s low season and the room rates are even less expensive.

Some believe the best time to visit Lugano to see the sites and enjoy its beauty is in October, when the summer crowds have thinned and winter crowds have not yet arrived. The weather is cool, but not yet cold and everything takes on a quiet, peaceful feel.

I don`t speak Italian. Will many people speak English?

Swiss Italian is spoken in Lugano as a primary language. Aside from some specific vocabulary, Swiss Italian is identical to `Standard` Italian (it`s not like the Swiss German variants which often differ significantly from High German). English is spoken by many individuals that interact with tourists but away from the tourist trail it is much less common, so some Italian and German would be useful.

Most of the employees working for hotels, restaurants, and shops that are aimed at tourists can speak the English language at a competent level. We suggest you get a good English-French guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.

What is the food like?

Lugano`s cuisine, like the city`s culture and geography, is at the meeting point between Switzerland and Italy. In terms of `fast food`, the locals love their version of the Lugano-style piadine, very satisfying if you`re on the go. The piadine is a flatbread wrap that comes with various fillings. It will normally be filled with some combination of cold cuts, prawns or ham, different types of cheese, salad and vegetables like aubergine. Piadine can be fresh or grilled, and the heated version resembles a taco or quesadilla.

The main draws are the Grotti, but there are many smaller ristoranti and caffè where you can get excellent food. Indeed it can actually be quite difficult to find non-classy food here.

Regarding times, note that mealtimes are rather strictly adhered to (this is Switzerland after all), so if you come from a 24-hour city then you may be in for a surprise when you find that absolutely nowhere is serving at 3:45pm when you finally decide to get out and go for a meal, and your stomach may just have to grumble a bit until you get to dinnertime.

If you need groceries, then the main Swiss supermarket chains are called Migros, Coop, Denner. The ever-present Lidl and Aldi are also here and usually significantly cheaper than the Swiss ones. Note that many shops are not open on Sundays.

What is the nightlife like in Lugano?

You will find many bars, lounges and restaurants in Lugano, many of which boast outdoor seating to better enjoy the summer weather. For year-round night entertainment, consider in Lugano the quiet way. Get a drink or a bite to eat, and sit outside enjoying the view of the mountains or lake.

Lugano reigns as the center of the Ticino`s nightlife circuit, with options that attract local residents from quieter towns throughout the district. The most obvious options involve visits to either of the two casinos in the area. Other than gambling, you`ll find numerous bars and cafes, many of them lining the edges of the historic center`s most famous square, piazza Riforma.

If you`re visiting in the summer, check out the open air concerts that sometimes fill the Lugano air with the sound of music. Blues to Bop is the most famous of these, and is held each year in August. Several concerts will be held each night on the town`s piazza, the lakeside promenade and other parts of the city`s center. You won`t necessarily find tons of well-known artists here, but instead a wide variety of artists, some better known than others. This is a hugely popular event and one that gives Lugano a special charm to visitors.

The summer is also a great time just to wander along the lakeside promenade and open air bar/cafes. Check local listings for clubs and shows as venues come and go with the seasons.

Is Lugano a dangerous city? Are there certain areas I should avoid?

Lugano is as safe as most cities in Switzerland, but the density of expensive purses, watches, and sunglasses may make pickpockets more of a problem. The usual cautions apply to walking alone late at night, especially after the bars close before dawn.

What are the best areas for shopping?

Shopping in Lugano takes on a Swiss/Italian flair, and no visit would be complete without at least a little peek in the shops. If you wish to experience great designer and name-brand discount shopping, be sure to visit Foxtown. It is located in nearby Mendrisio and can be reached by bus, or by regional train. There are also plenty of shops in downtown Lugano, many of which are located on the historical ia Nassa.

To enjoy some regional products, head to the Lugano market. The market is open Tuesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to noon on Piazza della RiForma and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The weekday markets features mostly locally grown produce and flowers, while the weekend market also features antiques and handcrafts, along with the requisite flowers and produce.

Most stores are open all week, with most opening around 8 or 9 a.m. and closing for the day around 6:30. Many close for 1 to 2 hours in the middle of the day, and on Saturdays, most shops close at 5 p.m. Supermarkets and department stores are open all day (without the midday closure) and stay open on Thursdays until 9 p.m.

How can I get access to the internet while visiting Lugano?

There are a few internet cafes in town. As usual, try near the train station. Free Wi-Fi connection can be found along the lakeside and in the University campus (Via Buffi, 13).

What should I do if I need medical assistance or need to go to the hospital

Police Emergency Number - 117
Ambulance / Medical Emergency - 144
Fire Department - 118

Emergency Care:
- Ospedale Civico (24 hours/7 days): +41 (0)91 811 60 06
- Ospedale Italiano: +41 (0)91 811 76 51

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LUGANO FAQ`S

How do I get to Lugano by air?

Lugano Airport is a small international airport with flights arriving from Zurich and Geneva. Taxis await visitors at the Lugano airport for the 10-minute ride to the center of Lugano. You can also reach Lugano by shuttle bus services. These shuttles can be found outside of the main airport building. The three main companies are Lugano Servizi, Giosy Tours, and Jet Bus (look for marked signs with these names).

Milan`s airports are, on average, 1 1/2 hours away by bus or train. Of these, Milano Malpensa may be the best choice for Lugano due to the high volume of flights and its location well towards Switzerland (1 hour by shuttle). For Europeans, Malpensa is especially convenient for its high volume of Easyjet routes.

How do I get from the train station to my hotel?

Lugano is a major stop along the rail lines that connect Milan with Zurich. As such, trains from all parts of Switzerland arrive throughout the day and night. For rail information and schedules, visit www.sbb.ch. Rail passengers arrive at the Lugano railroad station located at Piazzale della Stazione, which is in the center of the city, west of piazza Indipendenza. If your luggage is light, you can walk to many of the hotels; if not, you can take one of the taxis waiting outside the station.

How do I get around Lugano using public transportation?

Lugano is small enough to get around on foot, and many of the streets are pedestrian-only, but the hills above the lakefront can be steep so the bus or the funicular from the center of town might be a better option on the way up to the train station if you have a lot of bags. Taxis can be found on the main roads. Ferries and funiculars are great options for seeing the views.

If you wish to stay within the Lugano area, it is best to use the TPL (Trasporti Pubblici Luganesi; www.tplsa.ch) bus line. A short-journey ticket (30 minutes) costs about 1.90Fr, 1-day travelcard for 1 zone is about 7.20Fr, or you can purchase a short-journey multi-journey travelcard (up to 6 trips) for about 9.50Fr, which can be used by multiple people. Tickets for TPL buses must be purchased prior to boarding the bus from the automated machine.

If you are visiting the surrounding areas of Lugano, you should use the Autopostale bus system (www.autopostale.ch); these are the yellow buses. Tickets for Autopostale buses can be purchased from the bus driver, or from the main bus terminal located in downtown Lugano (Autosilo Balestra). Reference the website for exact bus lines and ticket prices.

Funicolare Lugano Citta - Stazione: The funicular links the old center of the town on the lake shore to the railway station higher up the hill. Starting at 5:20am till 11:50pm throughout the year and runs every 5 to 10 minutes.

Funicolare Lugano Paradiso - Monte San Salvatore: This funicular links Lugano (Via delle Scuole 7, Lugano Paradiso) with the top of the Monte San Salvatore, with beautiful views of Lake Lugano, the isthmus of Melide, the Monte Generoso and the Italian enclave of Campione d`Italia on the other side of the lake. Tickets cost about 23Fr; Return is about 30Fr.

Funicolare Monte Brè: This funicular links Lugano (Via Ceresio di Suvigliano 36) to the top of the Monte Brè. A single fare costs about 16Fr; Return is about 25Fr.

By Boat: Ferries run across the Lake Lugano daily. They also offer a number of cruises. Note: While much of Lake Lugano is in Switzerland, a large portion of it is in Italy, so take your passport when on a boat.

How do I call/hail a taxi?

Taxis are readily available in Lugano from numerous locations and on all the main roads. Be aware that the minimum charge for taking a taxi (regardless of how far you are traveling) is around 15-20Fr. This is the fixed fee for taxis (quite high compared to other cities), so no haggling or shopping around is required. You can also often pay in euros. Waiting taxis can always be found at the train station or across from the main shopping square downtown (across the street from Manor).

I will have a car in Lugano, where can I park?

We suggest you inquire about parking at your hotel (typically at a daily parking fee). While there are multiple parking garages located in Lugano, many fill up quickly during peak tourism time, and street parking is often hard or impossible to come by.

How do I get around by bicycle?

The town of Lugano and the lakefront itself are ideal for bikers. You can rent a bike at the railway station in Lugano. Prices generally start at about 30Fr per day, depending on the type of bicycle.

Can I pay/tip in US dolars?

The currency of Switzerland is the Swiss franc, usually indicated as CHF or SFr. While Switzerland is not part of the European Union and thus is not obliged to convert to the Euro, many prices are nonetheless indicated in euros so that visitors may compare prices. Euros are accepted in many places, but you will most likely receive francs in return. US dollars are not accepted.

There are ATM machines in Lugano that can be used to directly get Swiss francs using a debit or bank card. These are usually located near or inside every bank and/or post office. We recommend you inform your bank you will be traveling prior to your trip.

There are many exchange offices located in downtown Lugano. Visitors should use these offices, as they typically will provide a better exchanged rate than banks.

What is the weather like in Lugano? When is the best time to visit?

Some would argue there`s no bad time to visit Lugano. With its pristine waters, lovely streets, neighborhoods and beautiful views of the Alps, you could say anytime is a good time to visit Lugano.

Having said that, there are a few considerations. If fairly stable weather is a goal, head to Lugano between March and October. There might be less snow on the Alps, but also fewer tourists and fairly mild weather. Spring is beautiful here as the many parks explode in floral color. During the summer, highs can get into the 80s, but more likely sit in the mid 70s.

If you are determined to head to Lugano in the winter season, it`s low season and the room rates are even less expensive.

Some believe the best time to visit Lugano to see the sites and enjoy its beauty is in October, when the summer crowds have thinned and winter crowds have not yet arrived. The weather is cool, but not yet cold and everything takes on a quiet, peaceful feel.

I don`t speak Italian. Will many people speak English?

Swiss Italian is spoken in Lugano as a primary language. Aside from some specific vocabulary, Swiss Italian is identical to `Standard` Italian (it`s not like the Swiss German variants which often differ significantly from High German). English is spoken by many individuals that interact with tourists but away from the tourist trail it is much less common, so some Italian and German would be useful.

Most of the employees working for hotels, restaurants, and shops that are aimed at tourists can speak the English language at a competent level. We suggest you get a good English-French guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.

What is the food like?

Lugano`s cuisine, like the city`s culture and geography, is at the meeting point between Switzerland and Italy. In terms of `fast food`, the locals love their version of the Lugano-style piadine, very satisfying if you`re on the go. The piadine is a flatbread wrap that comes with various fillings. It will normally be filled with some combination of cold cuts, prawns or ham, different types of cheese, salad and vegetables like aubergine. Piadine can be fresh or grilled, and the heated version resembles a taco or quesadilla.

The main draws are the Grotti, but there are many smaller ristoranti and caffè where you can get excellent food. Indeed it can actually be quite difficult to find non-classy food here.

Regarding times, note that mealtimes are rather strictly adhered to (this is Switzerland after all), so if you come from a 24-hour city then you may be in for a surprise when you find that absolutely nowhere is serving at 3:45pm when you finally decide to get out and go for a meal, and your stomach may just have to grumble a bit until you get to dinnertime.

If you need groceries, then the main Swiss supermarket chains are called Migros, Coop, Denner. The ever-present Lidl and Aldi are also here and usually significantly cheaper than the Swiss ones. Note that many shops are not open on Sundays.

What is the nightlife like in Lugano?

You will find many bars, lounges and restaurants in Lugano, many of which boast outdoor seating to better enjoy the summer weather. For year-round night entertainment, consider in Lugano the quiet way. Get a drink or a bite to eat, and sit outside enjoying the view of the mountains or lake.

Lugano reigns as the center of the Ticino`s nightlife circuit, with options that attract local residents from quieter towns throughout the district. The most obvious options involve visits to either of the two casinos in the area. Other than gambling, you`ll find numerous bars and cafes, many of them lining the edges of the historic center`s most famous square, piazza Riforma.

If you`re visiting in the summer, check out the open air concerts that sometimes fill the Lugano air with the sound of music. Blues to Bop is the most famous of these, and is held each year in August. Several concerts will be held each night on the town`s piazza, the lakeside promenade and other parts of the city`s center. You won`t necessarily find tons of well-known artists here, but instead a wide variety of artists, some better known than others. This is a hugely popular event and one that gives Lugano a special charm to visitors.

The summer is also a great time just to wander along the lakeside promenade and open air bar/cafes. Check local listings for clubs and shows as venues come and go with the seasons.

Is Lugano a dangerous city? Are there certain areas I should avoid?

Lugano is as safe as most cities in Switzerland, but the density of expensive purses, watches, and sunglasses may make pickpockets more of a problem. The usual cautions apply to walking alone late at night, especially after the bars close before dawn.

What are the best areas for shopping?

Shopping in Lugano takes on a Swiss/Italian flair, and no visit would be complete without at least a little peek in the shops. If you wish to experience great designer and name-brand discount shopping, be sure to visit Foxtown. It is located in nearby Mendrisio and can be reached by bus, or by regional train. There are also plenty of shops in downtown Lugano, many of which are located on the historical ia Nassa.

To enjoy some regional products, head to the Lugano market. The market is open Tuesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to noon on Piazza della RiForma and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The weekday markets features mostly locally grown produce and flowers, while the weekend market also features antiques and handcrafts, along with the requisite flowers and produce.

Most stores are open all week, with most opening around 8 or 9 a.m. and closing for the day around 6:30. Many close for 1 to 2 hours in the middle of the day, and on Saturdays, most shops close at 5 p.m. Supermarkets and department stores are open all day (without the midday closure) and stay open on Thursdays until 9 p.m.

How can I get access to the internet while visiting Lugano?

There are a few internet cafes in town. As usual, try near the train station. Free Wi-Fi connection can be found along the lakeside and in the University campus (Via Buffi, 13).

What should I do if I need medical assistance or need to go to the hospital

Police Emergency Number - 117
Ambulance / Medical Emergency - 144
Fire Department - 118

Emergency Care:
- Ospedale Civico (24 hours/7 days): +41 (0)91 811 60 06
- Ospedale Italiano: +41 (0)91 811 76 51