Lugano

View on Lugano, Ticino, Switzerland
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Looking for all the big city has to offer in an area that still maintains its small town charm? Lugano, Switzerland may be the perfect destination for you. Whether you’re looking for deluxe accommodations for a trip, furnished apartments for rent in Lugano, Switzerland, property for sale in Lugano, Switzerland, or just some tips on what to see or do while you’re in the area, this comprehensive guide has everything you’ll need to know. If you’re considering real estate, Lugano is a particularly luxurious and historic place to put down roots, and there’s never a shortage of beautiful Lugano real estate for sale. Read on as we cover everything you’ll need to know about the history, geography, and accommodations of this charming area along the Swiss-Italian border.

Lake Lugano

Lake Lugano is located at the border of the Southern Switzerland and Northern Italy.
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The beautiful and expansive lake which lends its name to the city of Lugano is among the most beautiful natural lakes in the world. The 18.8 square mile lake divides southern Switzerland from northern Italy, with the majority of the lake situated on the Swiss side. As far as Lugano, Switzerland real estate is concerned, there are plenty of desirable locations near and around the lake. If you’re in search of accommodation, Lake Lugano, Switzerland is a beautiful place to consider. There is no shortage of Lake Lugano property for sale. While Lake Lugano real estate for sale isn’t exactly cheap, it’s among the most beautiful areas in the world, so you certainly get what you pay for.

The lake itself is populated by a diverse range of native wildlife, including many species of bird and plenty of fish including brook trout, whitefish, European chub, tench, and carp.

The area surrounding the lake is also rich in fossils, with many dating back over 220 million years ago. Most of these fossils are concentrated around Monte San Giorgio.

In fact, Monte San Giorgio was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003 as it’s believed that the area offers the best record of marine life from the Triassic period.

Its rich history is rivaled only by the natural beauty of the lake, which serves as an incredible backdrop for the city of Lugano and the surrounding areas.

Canton of Ticino

Canton Ticino is the southern canton of Switzerland with the Italian as the official language.
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At the southernmost point of Switzerland lies the Canton of Ticino, a beautiful region surrounded by Italy to the west, south, and east. This gorgeous area is home to lush forests, beautiful lakes and rivers and residents enjoy the most sunshine out of any region in the area. Considering the beautiful surroundings, you may be interested in looking into Ticino property for sale. When it comes to Ticino, Switzerland real estate, the price of property is quite high, which is to be expected considering how beautiful the area is. If you’re looking for property for sale in Ticino, Switzerland you’ll find plenty of beautiful Ticino apartments and homes available in the area.

The Best Hotels in Lugano

In addition to the beautiful real estate in the area, there are also plenty of 5-star hotels in Lugano, Switzerland. Lugano luxury hotels are a great way to take in the sights and culture of the area as you decide if the city is a good fit for you. In addition to the luxury accommodations at these hotels, they’re also home to some of the best fine dining establishments in Lugano.

Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola in Lugano. Photo by villacastagnola.com
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Отель Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola. Nestled into the lake shore at the foot of Monte Bre, the Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola is a true five-star luxury hotel overlooking Lake Lugano. Originally built as a summer home for the Von Ritter family, the Villa Castagnola has operated as a hotel since the late 1800’s. Today, guests can enjoy luxury dining courtesy of chef Frank Oerthle, a renowned art gallery that’s housed works by some of the finest artists in the world, and luxury accommodations in one of the hotel’s 74 rooms.

Villa Principe Leopoldo. The Hotel Villa Principe Leopoldo & Spa is the palatial former residence of the German Emperor Wilhelm’s brother in law. It’s located atop Collina d’Oro (the Golden Hell) and it offers an incredible view you won’t soon forget.

Patrons can expect to enjoy unparalleled luxury accommodations, a relaxing spa, and incredible dining experiences while staying at Villa Principe Leopoldo.

Resort Collina D’oro. The Collina D’oro is another beautiful option worth considering, and it’s particularly attractive if you’re planning a more extended stay. In addition to its elegant rooms and suites, there are also apartments available for long term rentals of one month or longer.

Located on the southern side of Lake Lugano, this princely residence features beautiful guest rooms, apartments, dining and entertainment options as well as a spa.

Отель Splendide Royal. This elegant and cosmopolitan hotel is located on the shores of Lake Lugano and offers luxury amenities that are second to none. At the Hotel Splendide Royal, even your pets can enjoy luxury accommodations that are among the best in the area.

As you’d expect, in addition to the well-appointed guest rooms, the hotel also offers plenty of dining, entertainment and wellness experienced tailored to the discerning tastes of their guests.

Lugano Apartment for Sale

Are you considering relocating permanently to the area? You’ll find plenty of apartments for sale in Lugano, Switzerland. Apartments in Lugano, Switzerland tend to be pricey, as luxurious accommodations in this beautiful area don’t come cheap. However, residents tend to find that the cost to reside in this beautiful and historic city is well worth it.

Lugano Apartment for Sale

For sale, apartment, rooms: 3, Lugano
Switzerland | Ticino | Lugano

2 059 022 EUR3 rooms, 178 m 2

2 Apartments, rooms: 4–6, for sale, Lugano
Switzerland | Ticino | Lugano

10 089 644 EUR4 – 6 rooms, 217 – 320 m 2

Lomocubes Residence

Lomocubes — is a new exclusive residence with 12 spacious apartments on 5 levels.
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Among the most elegant luxury apartments in Lugano is the Lomocubes. This architectural marvel offers an impressive synergy of interior and exterior spaces. Each spacious living room features floor to ceiling windows with an unobstructed view of Lake Lugano, which makes these apartments arguably the most beautiful residence in Lugano. Check here for more information on Lomocubes Lugano.

The Window Lake Residence

The new residence Window Lake overlooking the lake is located a few minutes away from Lugano on the slopes of Monte Bre in Aldesago.
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If you’re searching for new apartments for sale in Lugano, you’ll certainly want to look closely at the Window Lake Residence which was built just last year in 2017. These incredible residences offer expansive living rooms, four bedrooms, four bathrooms, and a large porch with breathtaking views of Lake Lugano and the mountains. If you’re looking to take up residence in Lugano, these beautifully designed modern apartments are not to be missed. While there are plenty of other apartments for sale in Lugano, the Window Lake Residence offers unparalleled amenities and a modern design that fits in beautifully with the incredible natural landscape.

Residence Vistalago

The new residence Vistalago is located in Lugano Paradiso at the foot of Monte San Salvatore overlooking the mountains and Lake Lugano.
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Residence Vistalago, Lugano is a premier residence in Lugano that offers beautiful apartments with impeccable views of Lake Lugano as well as the Swiss Alps. Located at the foot of Monte San Salvatore in Paradiso, the Residenza Vistalago is an impressive and somewhat affordable residence. Lugano, Switzerland is known for their sprawling villas, many of which soar into the 10+ million dollar range, and these beautiful apartments are a welcomed departure from that. These beautiful apartments feature a municipal tax multiplier of 60%, which is particularly attractive.

Unlike some of the more palatial apartments in the district, some of the apartments at Residenza Vistalago can be had for just over 1.5 million dollars. While that’s certainly a large sum of money, it pales in comparison to some of the more expensive apartments and villas in the area. You can learn more about these remarkable apartments on the Residenza Vistalago website.

Luxury Houses in Lugano

Considering all of the incredibly beautiful sights and historic locations in the area, and their rich history as a welcoming enclave for foreign nationals, many people are interested in houses for sale in Lugano, Switzerland.

While there is no shortage of villas for sale in Lugano, many of them soar well into the million dollar range, which is out of reach for most people. However, there are still some luxury houses for sale in Lugano, Switzerland that offer great value. If you’re interested in taking up roots in the area, you’ll be able to find luxury homes for sale in Lugano, Switzerland from realtors such as Sotheby’s, Christie’s, as well as independent realtors in the area.

Houses for sale in Lugano

Villa, rooms: 10, Collina d'Oro, Montagnola, for sale
Switzerland | Ticino | Collina d'Oro | Montagnola

9 172 403 EUR10 rooms, 719 m 2

For sale, Lugano, apartment, rooms: 8
Switzerland | Ticino | Lugano

8 721 153 EUR8 rooms, 600 m 2

The American School In Switzerland TASIS

One of the best private schools in Switzerland is TASIS The American School in Switzerland.
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TASIS, the American School in Switzerland, is among the best boarding schools in Switzerland.
This standout academy was founded in 1956 in Lugano and currently houses 265 full time boarding students in addition to hundreds more day students from pre-K through graduate level. The school features a sprawling campus with over 25 buildings designed to serve the needs of the over 700 students that call the TASIS school home in some capacity. One aspect that makes this school so unique is the emphasis they put on travel, as the students can take regular trips to visit the historic areas that are featured in their studies.

At the TASIS School Switzerland, over 60 nationalities blend together to create a multicultural learning environment designed to set students up for success in their studies beyond this international school. Lugano offers plenty of sights and destinations for students to enjoy year round, and its location along the hillside of Lake Lugano is among the most desirable destinations in the world.

Franklin University Switzerland

Franklin University Switzerland is a private liberal arts university in Lugano.
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Boasting a diverse array of students and faculty, Franklin University Lugano is a dually accredited Swiss/American university with a long-standing track record for academic excellence. If you’re looking at universities in Switzerland for international students, this is undoubtedly a college to explore further. At Franklin, you’re able to study in Switzerland for international students, in English.

Lugano Shopping

When it comes to shopping in Lugano, there are plenty of fantastic destinations such as Foxtown Lugano and the Lugano Market. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs to help you remember your trip or to give as gifts, cutting-edge fashions, jewelry, or fine furnishings, you’ll be able to find what you need in the shops of Lugano’s vibrant shopping district. Let’s take a closer look at some of these iconic shopping destinations.

Via Nassa

Via Nassa is among the most historic streets in Lugano, and it’s home to many fine retailers specializing in everything from clothing and jewelry to distinguished gifts.

FoxTown Outlet

Are you looking for an outlet? Lugano has you covered with Foxtown, which features over 160 shops and restaurants. Foxtown is home to some of the most prestigious brands in the world, and there’s certainly something for everyone at this expansive shopping center.

Lugano Market

On Tuesdays and Fridays from 7 am to 12 pm, the center of the city plays host to Lugano Market. This broad market offers plenty of opportunities to sample and purchase food, wine, snacks, and spices from the local farmers in the area, and it’s a great way to enjoy many of the fine provisions that Switzerland has to offer. Given Lugano’s diverse culture and heritage, you’ll be able to find specialties from many of the different cultures that make Lugano their home.

Miniature Park

Swissminiatur museum in Melide, Ticino.
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When it comes to Lugano entertainment, you can’t miss the Italia in Miniatura Swiss miniature park. Lugano is home to many diverse and unique attractions, and the miniature park is undoubtedly among the most fun and exciting of them all. The park features all of the iconic buildings and geography of Italy as well as the rest of Europe. Also, you’ll also find several fun games and activities for children, many delicious restaurants, and a gift shop as well. Adults and children alike are sure to enjoy a fun-filled day when they visit the miniature park.

Top Restaurants in Lugano

No trip would be complete without a tour of the best restaurants in Lugano, Switzerland. Lugano is home to many excellent restaurants, many of which you’ll find inside of the fine hotels we discussed above. Beyond those, there are plenty more restaurants throughout the area, specializing in regional cuisine, as well as other flavors that are popular throughout the world.

If you’re interested in fine dining, you’re in luck, as several restaurants throughout the area specialize in a culinary experience that’s second to none.

Restaurants such as Ristorante Galleria Arte al Lugo, Motto del Gallo, and al Faro all offer fine dining that’s not to be missed. Each of the five-star hotels in the area also offers excellent dining experiences which feature cuisine from some of the top chefs in Europe.

Or, if you’re interested in a more casual restaurant in Lugano, the Pizzeria Galleria, Grotto del Prep, and Pasta e Pesto may be more in line with what you like. Lugano is also home to plenty of excellent choices for cheap eats, as well. Fingy’s, Kebab Ararat, and Das Porto are also great choices for grabbing a cheap bite on the go.

Beyond these great options, there are countless more delicious restaurants in the area that are sure to delight your taste buds. When it comes to dining, Lugano is a world-class destination.

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Casino Lugano

The newly restyled Casino Lugano has been a fixture in the community since 2002. Regardless of the type of game you prefer, you’ll find something for everyone at Casino Lugano. Poker, blackjack, and all of the most popular table games are available, in addition to slots and even gaming tournaments. Tourists and locals alike love to spend the day at the Casino Lugano Switzerland to try their luck. Who knows, maybe you’ll come home a big winner!

Water Park & Wellness: Splash and Spa

Not far from Lugano there is the water park Splash and Spa featuring a variety of water facilities, water rides and whirlpools, spa centers, salt and Turkish saunas.
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If you’re looking for wellness in Lugano, you’ll undoubtedly want to check out the Splash and Spa, which is a top rate water park near Lugano. At the aquapark, Lugano residents and tourists alike can enjoy several fun and exciting aquatic experiences including several indoor and outdoor pools, a pool bar, children’s area, terrace and relaxing gardens as well. Once you’ve had your fill of fun at the water park, you can retire to the spa, which has all of the amenities you’ll need to make this relaxing experience one you’ll never forget. At the spa, you’ll find several relaxing saunas, a salt pool, and even a snow room, all designed with your comfort and relaxation in mind.

Mountains in Lugano

Lugano is also home to many beautiful peaks of the Swiss Alps. In Lugano, the two most famous mountains are popular tourist destinations and provide incredible views of the Bermese and Pennine Alps as well as Lake Lugano.

View to Lugano city, Lake Lugano and Monte San Salvatore from Monte Bre, Ticino, Switzerland
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Monte Brè

One of the most well-known mountains in the area is Monte Bre. Lugano, Switzerland has always been known as one of Europe’s sunnier destinations, and Monte Bre is said to be the sunniest place in all of Switzerland. This small but picturesque mountain provides incredible views of Lake Lugano as well as the larger more expensive mountains of the Bermese and Pennine Alps. Nestled on the mountain is the village of Bre, which is home to some 300 year-round residents.

This small, isolated town features Ticinese style architecture and features a town square that’s home to the Path of Art, which displays beautiful artwork from many prominent artists, including Wilhelm Schmid, a famous Swiss painter. This small village is connected to Lugano by bus service.

Monte San Salvatore

High atop the city lies Monte San Salvatore. Lugano is well known for its impressive geography, and Monte San Salvatore certainly lives up to its billing as one of the most remarkable sites in the city.

Easily traversed on foot or by bike, Monte San Salvatore offers incredible views of Lake Lugano and the city below, and a bustling mountaintop village that’s known for its striking foliage.

The village of Carano atop the mountain is well known for its beautiful and diverse range of exotic plants and flowers, and it’s a destination that’s not to be missed.

Piazza Della Riforma (Lugano's Main Square)

Perhaps the most interesting place in Lugano is the Piazza Della Riforma. Lugano is full of important historical landmarks and at the center of that is Piazza della Riforma.
Located directly in the middle of town, the main square has seen several important battles, such as the battle between the Cisalpini and the Volontari Luganesi which resulted in Tocino becoming independent from the rule of Napoleon in 1798. The square continued to be ground zero for many of the political happenings in the area throughout the 19th century as well.

Today, Piazza della Riforma is as lively as any town square you’ll find, with many cafes and bistros catering to tourists and locals alike. A great place to take in the local culture and enjoy some sun and relaxation, the Piazza della Riforma is not to be missed.

Gotthard Railway

The famous Gotthard railway passes via Lugano and interconnects the Alps and connects with railways of Italy and Germany.
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The Gotthard Railway is a vital rail line that links northern and southern Europe. In the 1870s, there was already a well-developed network of railways in northern Switzerland, and throughout Europe. However, there was no railway line through the Alps towards southern Switzerland and Italy. Thus, the Gotthard Railway project began in 1872 to provide a Swiss Alps railway. This train offers breathtaking views of the Swiss countryside and is particularly impressive considering the train penetrates the Swiss Alps by way of the Gotthard train tunnel.

Truly a civil engineering marvel, this impressive Swiss Alps train offers one of the best ways to travel in style through the Swiss countryside. Given the beautiful views and affordable cost, it’s often a preferred method of transportation compared to a flight.

Lugano — How to Get There

Thanks to the wonders of modern travel, it’s easy to get to Lugano by either plane, bus, or train.

As far as flights to Lugano are concerned, the Lugano airport is located a mere 4km west from the heart of town. This tiny airport serves over 200,000 passengers each year on 2,400 flights.

In addition to commercial air traffic, the airport is also home to a flight school and a flying club. Silver Air and Swiss International Air Lines are the two major commercial airline companies that offer flights into and out of Lugano Airport.

You can also travel to Lugano by train, which is a particularly popular option thanks to its affordable price, quick service, and beautiful scenery. For example, the Lugano to Milan train can take you from the heart of the city to the center of Milan in about an hour and a half. Every major train provider in Europe offers affordable and efficient connections to Lugano.

The city is also easily accessible by bus, with over ten departures and arrivals into the city each day. While bus travel is the slowest of all your transportation options, you can still arrive in Lugano relatively quickly and for very little money.

For example, a bus from Milan Airport to Lugano takes anywhere from two and a half to four hours to get you from your terminal to the heart of the city. Travel from Milan to Lugano, Switzerland is particularly popular, and there are many departures and arrivals each day.

Lugano and Lex Koller

The Swiss Federal Act on Acquisition of Real Estate by Persons Abroad, better known as the Lex Koller or Koller’s Law is a legislation that was put into place by the Swiss government in the early 1980’s. However, similar legislation existed as far back as the 1960’s.

This legislation was designed to reduce the amount of Swiss property for sale to foreigners as the Swiss government feared there would be a “clearance sale” of property, which would have many adverse effects on the economy.

This law is particularly contentious, with many people calling for its abolishment while others call for stricter enforcement. Over time, the restrictions on property for foreigners in Switzerland have been relaxed, but it remains to be seen if enforcement will continue to be lax, or if it will be enforced more tightly.

In 1997, the Lex Koller was rolled back to allow for foreign investment in Swiss real estate markets, including loan and mortgage refinancing. This landmark restructuring of the law had far-reaching implications as it made any and all commercial properties exempt from Koller’s law.

As long as there is some degree of commercial activity being conducted on the property, either by the property owner or a renter, the property is exempt from this law.

The law was further relaxed in 2002 when it was ruled that any EU/EFTA nationals with a permanent residence in Switzerland were to be treated as Swiss nationals for the purpose of the law. This amendment made it even easier to find property for sale in Switzerland for foreigners.

In 2005, the government ruled that foreign investors could purchase shares in residential property investment companies without authorization. However, if both the investor and the company are foreign, an authorization is still required.

By and large, the Lex Koller’s primary effect is on residential real estate for sale to foreigners in Switzerland. Fortunately, there are many ways to work around the law which allows foreigners to purchase real estate in the area legally.

By the same token, the law is fairly far-reaching and can be difficult for most people to understand. A lawyer with experience in Swiss real estate is an invaluable resource if you’re considering moving to Switzerland, but are unaware of how the laws may affect your ability to do so.

For more information about Koller’s Law and how it may affect your ability to own property in the area, this site is an incredibly useful resource.

Districts of Lugano

Districts of Lugano
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Lugano is broken into several different districts and municipalities, each with their own destinations and rich history. The major districts of Lugano include Paradiso, Collina d’Oro, Morcote, and Caslano.

Paradiso

Paradiso, Lugano, Switzerland is one of the most beautiful and historic areas in Lugano. It’s located at the foot of Monte San Salvatore, and it was home to a settlement of the Roman Era nearly 2,000 years ago.

Thanks to its desirable location and the construction of the Gotthard Railway in 1882, Paradiso quickly became a popular vacation destination. Currently, over 4,500 residents call Paradiso their home, and the population is divided relatively evenly among Swiss nationals and foreign nationals.

Collina d’Oro

Collina d’Oro, Lugano, is another beautiful district of the city, and it’s characterized by its lush natural forests and strong agricultural community. The name translates in English to Golden Hill, which is fitting considering its location at the foot of the Monte Crocione.

The area is home to nearly 5,000 full-time residents, over a quarter of which are foreign nationals. Collina d’Oro is made up of four smaller villages: Agra, Gentilino, Carabietta, and Montagnola. The district was incorporated recently, in 2004, and Carabietta became part of the district in 2012.

Morcote

The bustling and historic port of Morcote is one of the most historic districts in Lugano, and it’s also the smallest. Less than 1,000 residents call Morcote home, and over a third of them are foreign nationals.

Considering how beautiful the area it is, and how welcoming the locals are to foreign nationals, Morcote, Switzerland real estate is consistently in high demand.

The majority of Morcote is covered in lush forestation, with the remainder of the land dedicated to agriculture and buildings and roads. Many of the buildings, primarily religious structures were built many hundreds of years ago and are among the most historic buildings in Switzerland.

Caslano

The small, densely populated district of Caslano is rich in history and natural beauty, which explains why Caslano, Switzerland real estate is always a hot commodity.

This district is home to nearly 5,000 residents, with over a quarter of that population comprised of foreign nationals. It’s well known for its rich history, and it’s designated as part of the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites.

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