Swaying palm trees and a sun-drenched lakeside promenade give Locarno a Mediterranean feel. The city has been attracting holiday-makers since the 19th century and boasts a postcard-perfect setting on Lake Maggiore. The city enjoys more than 2,300 hours of sunshine a year, making it one of the sunniest places in Switzerland.
Things to do in Locarno
Strolling along the lakefront promenade is one of the best ways to enjoy an afternoon in Locarno. As you walk, you’ll be treated to beautiful views over Lake Maggiore and the surrounding mountains. Palm-fringed Parco Muralto is set on the lake and is a great place to enjoy a picnic and relax in the sunshine. Kids love the adventure playground.
The balmy Mediterranean climate and low-altitude setting make Locarno perfect for growing subtropical plants. At Parco delle Camelie, you can admire more than 850 varieties of camellias.
Known as Citta Vecchia by locals, the Old Town cascades down a hillside and is filled with pastel-coloured Renaissance buildings. Enjoy an ice cream in sunny Piazza Grande and explore the maze of narrow alleys and arcades. In summer, Piazza Grande hosts a fantastic market selling local crafts and fresh produce.
A steep path leads up to Santuario della Madonna del Sasso, an ancient pilgrimage site that commands sweeping views over the town. It was built in 1480 and features an enchanting church decorated with centuries-old paintings. If you don’t feel like walking, a cable car departs from the town centre and whisks you to the summit.
Getting around Locarno
Locarno is pedestrian-friendly and easy to get around on foot while local buses are an easy way to get around. Rental cars are a good way to explore the surrounding area. Locarno Train Station offers connections to nearby towns and cities in Switzerland and Italy.