These nine stages guide you through the Sottoceneri, the south of the Swiss canton Ticino. Over 130-kilometre (80.7 mi), you hike between pre-Alpine mountains, Mediterranean lakes, Ticino villages and rustic mountain huts. Midway, the glistening waters of Lake Lugano await, two-thirds of which lies in Switzerland and one-third in Italy.
Like Lake Lugano itself, the Sentiero Lago di Lugano winds its way from the town of Magliaso along the Italian-Swiss border to Morcote, Mendrisio and finally Lugano in a wide arc. You visit countless scenic and cultural highlights along the way.
The Sentiero Lago di Lugano is not a typical circular hike around a lake. You often leave the lakeshore, enjoying incredible views of the lake from different perspectives which soften the steep ascents. Admire panoramas from the ridge between Monte Lema and Monte Tamaro, marvel at the extraordinary Botta Church on Alpe Foppa or the bizarre Denti della Vecchia rock formations. You lose all sense of town in the small villages, with their stone façades, and rustic huts supplying you with the calories you need to continue hiking.
Both the start and end point are accessible by train. The stages end either at a Capanna (a Ticino mountain hut) or in a village with a small selection of accommodation. For a stress-free hike, I recommend booking accommodation in advance. Some sections of the Sentiero Lago di Lugano can be covered by cable car or ferry so check the timetables ahead of time. Otherwise, all you need to walk the Sentiero Lago d
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Last updated: May 20, 2022
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At just under nine kilometers, the first stage of the Sentiero Lago di Lugano is the ideal daily route for warming up. You start on the western shore of the beautiful Lake Lungan at Magliaso train station. From there you head straight into the valley of the Magliasina stream, which you follow uphill…
The second stage is a real calf workout: Today you cover more than 1,500 meters uphill and will be rewarded with spectacular views over northern Italy, Ticino and the Alps. From Miglielia you climb steeply at first and in countless serpentines to Monte Lema. You can also complete the two-hour ascent…
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The vertical meters that you conquered uphill yesterday are downhill today - but you can also shorten the route with a cable car on the third stage. After a delicious breakfast on the Capanna Tamaro you start towards Alpe Foppa. There you can admire the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, designed by…
A short but crisp stage awaits you on the fourth day of the Sentiero Lago di Lugano. From Medeglio you follow a road into the forest at the beginning until you turn onto a hiking trail. You zigzag up to the Gola di Lago wetland. Your gaze wanders over a wide plain bordered by crumbling rock faces.
The fifth stage is a panoramic border tour with Monte Gazzirola as the highlight. The Capanna Monte Bar is the starting point and from there you hike to the eponymous, 1,814 meter high summit: At the Monte Bar you have Lake Lugano and Lake Maggiore at your feet. Continue to Passo di Pozzaiolo, from where…
The sixth stage of the Sentiero Lago di Lugano begins with the wonderful view from the Capanna Pairolo. Again close to the border between Switzerland and Italy, you initially hike across wide alpine meadows before you dive into the forest. Without major differences in altitude, you reach the Torri de…
The seventh stage starts at the San Salvatore train station in Paradiso in the south of Lugano. From different places you can take the bus to the starting point. Right at the beginning, the longest ascent of the day is imminent, which will take you to Monte Salvatore. From Paradiso it goes along the…
On the twelve kilometers of the eighth stage, you cover a few meters in altitude and dive deep into history. To get to the starting point in Brusino Arsizio, you take the ferry from Morcote to the other side of the lake. Your gaze wanders back to Morcote and the mountains behind it, which you hiked the…
The final stage of the Sentiero Lago di Lugano begins in Riva San Vitale, from where you take the 130-year-old cog railway to Monte Generoso. It's nine kilometers uphill through the enchanting mountain landscape of the nature reserve. From the Generoso Vetta mountain station, which is located directly…
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