Locarno, situated on the northern shore of Lake Maggiore, is Switzerland's warmest city and, with over 2300 hours of sunshine, the ideal place for sun worshippers. Here there are palm trees and lemon trees in the centre of the town and the lakeside promenade is lined with colourful flowers and benches inviting you to sit and relax.
Distance: 9.8 km
Car: 14 Min.
Bus: 20 Min.
Per feet: 2h 15 Min.
At its centre is the Piazza Grande, into which all the streets of the Old Town lead, and which is famous for annual spectaculars such as the well-known Locarno Film Festival or "Moon and Stars", a series of open-air concerts featuring musical stars. Locarno also has places of interest for history-lovers, be that the 12th century castle "Castello Viscontea" on the edge of the Old Town or the "Madonna del Sasso", the most famous pilgrimage church in Italian speaking Switzerland, in Orselina, just outside Locarno. It was founded after an apparition of Mary in the 15th century, and a funicular railway in the centre of Locarno leads up to this holy place. It can also be reached on foot, with the path taking you past 12 Chapels of the Cross, depicting the Passion of Christ, and up to the Church of the Annunciation, where the mortal remains of the Franciscan monk Bartolomeo, to whom Mary is said to have appeared, were laid to rest.
Not far from bustling Locarno, there are numerous side valleys with typical Ticino villages, whose stone roofed houses and ancient church towers give them a very special charm. The local area can be explored in different ways, either by hiking in the Centovalli, Maggia, Verzasca and Onsernone valleys, or by going trekking or riding in the fascinating and remote chestnut forests.
If you like to get up and away, you can take the panoramic cable-car and chair-lift up to the closest mountain, the Cardada/Cimetta, way up above Locarno, which in summer is a big attraction for paragliders and hang gliders, but in winter is an important area for skiing, sledging and winter hiking, with lovely views of Lake Maggiore.