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Destinations » Switzerland » Lugano Travel Guide
Lugano is located in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland and is actually a small city of about 50,000 - similar in size to Lucerne - and counts as one of Switzerland's prettiest cities. Lugano boasts a pedestrian-only zone at its centre, filled with piazzas and cafes, and a beautiful palm-tree lined lakefront. It's great for shopping, people-watching, swimming in the lake and short excursions to nearby sights.
Via Nassa and Via Pessina are two of the most popular shopping streets located at the heart of Lugano. They offer a fantastic range of shops from famous fashion designers' boutiques to delicatessens and bakeries.
Every friday there is also a fresh food and flower market close by in the Piazza Riforma which is well worth a visit. There are several good department stores and supermarkets in the area.
Most shops and department stores in the Via Nassa district are open between the hours of 08.00 and 18.30 on weekdays. However on Thursdays the opening times are longer and shops stay open until around 21.00. Saturday opening times are the shortest and you will normally find most shops close around 17.00, apart from in the summer when the larger stores tend to stay open until 18.00 hrs.
Restaurant Osteria Calprino offers relaxed dining where the food is local and fresh. It is a small, cosy restaurant situated in Paradiso with charming, attentive hosts who offer a menu packed with traditional Ticino cuisine with a little Northern Italian influence.
Although comparatively small, Lugano is still considered a city and just like many other metropolises it offers visitors plenty of things to do after the sun goes down. For example, in the centre of town amongst the winding, narrow streets which lead away from the Piazzas you can find a variety of bars, cafes and pizzerias to choose from. While down near the water's edge you have a selection of fine restaurants where you can sit and enjoy a Ticinese meal while watching the sun set over the lake.
For those feeling lucky, there are two casinos in the area - one at the lakeside in Lugano and the other on the opposite shore in the Italian town of Campione. There is a regular ferry service running across the lake which means that both casinos are an easy option for a night of sparkling entertainment.
The Alprose Chocolate Factory is located just a few kilometres outside Lugano and is easily reached by train or car in a matter of minutes. The factory is owned and operated by the largest chocolate manufacturer in Switzerland (Alprose) and is open daily to the general public.
There is a guided tour which takes you through the factory enabling you to see all the processes that go into chocolate production.
The factory also houses a small museum which offers a glimpse into the history of chocolate from its early beginnings to the present day. The tour is concluded by a visit to the factory outlet shop where the entire Alprose chocolate selection is available for you to purchase. With a plentiful supply of free samples, the factory tour and the museum, it is a great day out for those who love their chocolate.
Zoo Al Maglio is a small family-friendly zoo situated on the banks of the Magliasina River. The wildlife park boasts over 100 animals and birds from all over the world.