My Trip to Magical Lake Lugano


My Trip to Magical Lake Lugano

Where Switzerland and Italy meet is a place so magical you’ll never want to leave.


Lugano. They call it the “Monte Carlo of Switzerland”, and (unlike Monte Carlo), I absolutely love it. And not just because they film James Bond there. The first thing we noticed about the area is that the views in Lugano are unreal. Lakes and mountains and lusciousness. Everywhere. At the intersection of the Swiss Alps and Italy, Lake Lugano’s scenic beauty attracts adventurers from around the world.

My Trip to Magical Lake Lugano

Welcome to Lugano, Switzerland!

We quickly settled into one of Lugano’s best spots to stay, the super-fab bespoke hotel, the VIEW.

My Trip to Magical Lake Lugano

The VIEW Lugano

My Trip to Magical Lake Lugano

We arrived by way of France, in a car packed up for a two-week road trip. When we pulled up to our hotel, The VIEW Lugano, our personal butler (yes, that’s right — each guest gets a butler to cater to their every whim) greeted us and showed us to our suite.

The first thing I noticed was the impressive view from our oversized terrace overlooking Lake Lugano (known as the magical lake in the mountains).

My Trip to Magical Lake Lugano

My Trip to Magical Lake Lugano

Our suite at The VIEW was ultra modern and nautical-inspired

Our suite was a perfect mixture of sophistication and creativity; the yacht-themed decor and giant windows allowed the suite to showcase the best of nature, mixed with the genius of human design.

The VIEW calls themselves a bespoke hotel for a reason — they’re big on personalization. Give them all your preferences in advance (from reading material, to pillow types, to the mini bar, to room scent, to bath salts and shower gel — even the type of toilet paper!), and they’ll make sure your suite is teed up exactly to your liking in advance of your arrival. And in your room, you have an iPad from which you can control the mood lighting (in about 5 different ways), the blinds, the temperature, music and more.

The VIEW truly is a place after my own heart. I’ve stayed in some nice hotels, but this is unquestionably one of the most luxurious — and the most bespoke. I also appreciated the perfectly-trained hotel and restaurant staff, who would have pleased even the Queen.

While in Lugano, we were treated to several meals at the hotel’s restaurant, and they did not disappoint. True to the bespoke nature of the hotel, they had a five-course vegan meal prepared for us. Each course was incredible. Packed with flavor and created using locally-sourced organic ingredients. Throughout our stay, the restaurant always had freshly picked ingredients for food daily and an abundance of local and international wines. What more could a girl ask for?

My Trip to Magical Lake Lugano

I loved the nautical theme at The VIEW

My Trip to Magical Lake Lugano

A delicious vegan dessert at The VIEW Restaurant

My Trip to Magical Lake Lugano

Lots of local and organic wines to choose from

The breakfasts served in our suite were similarly delightful. Their vegan lattes and pastries, and fresh fruit hit the spot.

My Trip to Magical Lake Lugano

Breakfast on our terrace, staring at the lake. Perfection.

My Trip to Magical Lake Lugano

Chilling in our suite… the iPad on the bed controls the lights, temperature, blinds, and more.

As Michael and I started to explore, we wanted to experience the Lake Lugano area a bit more, so we went for a drive. But not just any drive; we got into a cute little electric Smart car –the hotel provides them– and we went searching for beauty and for trouble. Ok, so I made that last part up; Michael and I have tamed since our dating days (but only a bit!). After we nicknamed our car “Pugsy,” we started to take in the sights of this wonderful Mediterranean climate. Pugsy took us down the windy road the hugs Lake Lugano. It was possibly the most beautiful drive I’ve ever been on. The hilly lake views were stunning, and we passed many beautiful gardens; a lakefront church, the Church of St. Mary of the Angels; and all the way south to Morcote, which took about half an hour.

My Trip to Magical Lake Lugano

Lake Lugano is simply stunning

Morcote has been named the prettiest village in all of Switzerland, is home to a 12th Century castle, and some of the most picturesque architecture anywhere. It also has narrow, medieval alleys unchanged over hundreds of year. But let me explain: these narrow alleys aren’t like the dark, creepy alleys in a big city; they’re alleys that invite you, that tease you, that beg you to explore them. They whisper to your soul and say, “come find out what you’re missing. You never know who–or what–you’ll run into.” So we did. And we were not disappointed at what we discovered. The homes, the foods, the stores, the people. All so unique. All so local. All so welcoming.

My Trip to Magical Lake Lugano

Exploring Morcote

My Trip to Magical Lake Lugano

It’s amazing that people live here, because they have to climb to get to their home, and there are no cars

My Trip to Magical Lake Lugano

We climbed all the way to the top, where we found a tiny church next to a tiny graveyard. This place was definitely one of my faves: to see a place so unencumbered by modern development that allows you to sit, to think, to ponder, and to truly feel happiness…. I kept thinking maybe in man’s rush to build more and acquire more stuff so that he could make himself happier, he was actually doing the opposite: making himself unhappy. #deepthoughts

My Trip to Magical Lake Lugano

A view of the graveyard at the top of Morcote

My Trip to Magical Lake Lugano

Taking a quick break from climbing to the top of Morcote

After doing some restful meditation lakeside in Morcote, Pugsy started to take us back to Lugano. All that wandering and pondering had given us an appetite. We stopped at Ristorante Capo San Martino, a restaurant with a big outdoor patio that’s perched atop a cliff which overhangs the lake below. As we took in the incredible view and indulged in oysters and organic white wine, we daydreamed about making Lugano our regular vacation spot.

My Trip to Magical Lake Lugano

Casino di Campione — the largest casino in Europe — is the only eyesore in the area

As we drove along the edge of Lake Lugano, we noticed the imposing structure of Casino di Campione (the largest casino in Europe which my hubby called “Bellagio in the Alps”) across the water. We eventually made our way to the Giardino Belvedere, a large open-air modern art museum with olive trees, cork oaks, and palm trees. And, of course, lots of art.

My Trip to Magical Lake Lugano

Exploring a street fair in Lugano

My Trip to Magical Lake Lugano

Lugano is a beautiful little town

The next day we explored the town of Lugano. Full of cute little shops and charming restaurants, you could comfortably explore the entire downtown in a day or two. We had dinner at a waterfront restaurant with one Michelin star, called Ristorante Arté. It’s a can’t-miss experience. The decor changes regularly, with various art installations, but the food is reliably delicious, and the view sublime. They had no problem coming up with an incredible vegan dinner (6 courses!) and all the ingredients were not only local but also organic.

My Trip to Magical Lake Lugano

Ristorante Arté boasts stunning views

My Trip to Magical Lake Lugano

Creative cuisine at Ristorante Arté

And, of course, every glam girl knows that no trip is complete without a spa day! The VIEW has everything you need to indulge and relax. Their super-modern spa has 2 saunas, 2 Hammams, a Himalayan salt room, 2 chromotherapy showers, 4 Thalassotherapy treatment rooms, a ladies-only Kneipp path, a relax area, a large indoor pool and a Vitality pool with a heated whirlpool, a hydromassage circuit and water jets. Whew! On top of all those goodies, they have a super-long menu of high-tech treatments. Mike and I had massages and body treatments, and spent a long time just hanging out in the pool and hot tub.

My Trip to Magical Lake Lugano

One of my treatment rooms

My Trip to Magical Lake Lugano

The spa at The VIEW is just as modern as the rest of the hotel

My Trip to Magical Lake Lugano

Mike, looking verryyyy happy

There was just so much to do and see in Lugano that it’s hard to put it all into words. But out of all of my globe-trotting adventures, this place is at the top of my list. As a lover of nature and of the less explored things in the world, I feel Lugano is a great trip to relax and unwind. If you get the chance to go, be sure to look out for Pugsy, he’ll make sure your experience there is just that much more fun.

The best time to go is in the late spring and early fall, when the foliage is in bloom but the tourists haven’t come out in full force yet.

A writer, artist and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary spends most of her time in France, but still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC and has traveled extensively around the world, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and brands to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 68 Comments

  1. Rosalia Russell

    I can smell the scent by just reading this. I feel the heart of the writer in this article. Love it!

  2. Jossen Row

    I think, you really need to spend a lot of money in this luxurious hotel.

  3. Elizabeth Gonzalez

    We are definitely going to visit that place. My husband and I always wanted to travel outside the USA. Now is the chance.

  4. Karen Abeyta

    Whenever I’m watching a James Bond movie, I always wish to be in that beautiful place. I’m going to book my flight going to that wonderful place.

  5. Connie Schmidt

    Urbanette never fails to amaze me with their traveling articles. This article makes me want to visit Switzerland.

  6. It’s a great way to escape the busy city of NYC. Traveling with your partner is really fun, yet romantic. It boosts up the romance in your relationship.

  7. Lili

    I always think of traveling to Switzerland, I will definitely my friends to go there. We need some recreation after all.

  8. Oxi Harger

    Think how romantic it is to get married in that church! Ugh, So romantic, right?

  9. Helen Boone

    Based on your article, I think you spend a lot of money on this vacation. I’m going to go there but I think I need to save a lot of money first. Lol.

  10. Edna Badillo

    Once you visited Switzerland, it will always be at your heart.

  11. If you are curious about Morcote, try to google it. It’s really an amazing place.

  12. Artur Piterson

    I like the idea of an electric car, as they let the tourist travel pollution free.

  13. Deanna Woods

    What kind of fragrance do they use that last for a month? I want to use that for my clothes hahaha!

  14. Eloise Ferris

    The scented pillows, and the amazing view. It’s hard to choose. Lol

  15. Genie Mackenzie

    I really recommend the View hotel for visitors who wants to have a luxurious accommodation.

  16. April Henry

    Why are you doing this to me? Haha! I feel like I wanna hop on a plane right now and go there. Lol.

  17. Brett Lee

    Pugsy, haha! What a cute name for a car.

  18. I always admire the sceneries in James Bond movies. Now I know where will I find it. Thanks!

  19. Maxine Ford

    Switzerland is now on my list. Will really save money for this travel!

  20. Frederica Pellman

    It all sounds wonderful – and I am sure it was an unforgettable experience. How lucky you are to experience it, and to experience it with someone you love. Double treat! It’s on my bucket list, especially Morcote. My kind of place..

  21. Looks like a place where you can forget your stressful work and the stressful city of NYC. Time to escape for a little while, enjoy the nature. I’m going to add this to my bucket list for this year’s vacation time 🙂

  22. Nataliya Smith

    I will look for pugsy once we go there! LOL

  23. Jurik Smith

    Do they provide electric car for each guest? That is awesome you know!

  24. Angelo Henderso

    I’m curious, where did you get the name Pugsy from? What does it mean? Lol, It’s a cute name but, it’s not accurate for a car. HAHAHA!

  25. Selli Coaze

    Yay! This article makes me more excited to visit Switzerland. We’re going on a vacay this August and we are planning to visit this wonderful country.

  26. Juli Woods

    I’m engaged, and I would love the Switzerland to be the place where we go for our honeymoon. It looks like it’s the most romantic place in the world!

  27. If you want to buy some souvenirs, you should really visit the market in Lugano. They sell a lot of local items — I got a lot of gifts for friends there. The food, oh, I remember when we ate there. The food is totally mouthwatering.

  28. Marina Josef

    I’ve been to Morcote. It is really a beautiful village. It feels like you travel a very long time ago. Every time I read articles about Morcote, I’m starting to miss that place. Planning to go there soon.

  29. Luthi Sanders

    I’m curious about how much they spend on this vacation. But, I know every dollar you spend on this is totally worth it. The experience is priceless.

  30. Marina Bozek

    I would really love to travel this place with my hubby. He’s from Switzerland, he said that it is really a good place to visit.

  31. Kseniya Tomlin

    It’s nice to know that the world still has places like this to visit. Places like this one are one of the reasons why traveling outside NYC is really fun. No pollution, no car horns, no traffic and many more ugly features of NYC.

    • Yes! That’s something I really love about towns in Europe — they’re so peaceful, and the culture and attitudes are so friendly and warm.

  32. Jesse Wyss

    Traveling is boring without casinos! LOL Thank God I read about the casino!! Switzerland seems like the perfect place to escape.

  33. WOWWWWW!!! Incredible photos, Hilary. Who took them? Your husband??

  34. Whoa, I can imagine how beautiful Morcote is. When I visit Switzerland, I definitely won’t miss this place. I want to see how beautiful and breathtaking it is with my own eyes.

  35. Lana Wiliam

    We’re going to Lugano this coming April, and we don’t have any accommodations yet. Thanks, Urbanette. I will try this VIEW hotel. I know my family will love this hotel as much as you love it.

  36. Eloisa Clay

    Traveling with your husband is one way of making your relationship stronger. Having some quality time together away from the busy streets of NYC is a great escape. I adore you both, for this.

  37. Katherine Donnelly

    When I was still young, I dreamt about traveling to Switzerland. It is an amazing place because of its breathtaking views. The lake itself is really breathtaking.

  38. George Sumanta

    A lakefront church? Whoa, I want to get married there someday.

  39. Britni Baynes

    Looking for a cheap flight going to Switzerland! I think it’s time for us to have some romantic time together. Yay! Lugano will be a great place to celebrate our anniversary.

  40. Jeweli Prater

    How’s the culture there? I hope you put something about the local cultural attractions as well…

  41. Lancy Stanford

    I like the name of your car, Pugsy. Lol, I think about a pug and a pussy cat. HAHA!

  42. Ani Hoker

    I visited Morcote before. Yes, It’s really a beautiful village, and the people are nice too. If I can have a chance to visit that amazing place again, I will grab the opportunity.

  43. Kimberly Holder

    I just googled Morcote. Now, I want to book a flight going to Switzerland. Hehe

  44. Will they provide you a small electric car? Do you have your own driver or you’re the one who needs to drive it? I’m curious because you don’t indicate it in there.

  45. Kelly Gonzales

    Seriously? The scent last for that long?! How cool is that? Hahaha! I hate scented too.

  46. Jodi Thil

    Oh.. I love scented room. You’re lucky you have the chance to go to a place like that.

  47. Yes! Indeed, a great place to stay. We had a family vacation 2 years ago, and we stayed at hotel Splendide Royal (pretentious name, but the hotel was so glam). It’s kind of expensive, but it’s all worth it.

  48. Candis Melton

    I wanna go there so bad! The way you describe the place makes me want to go there. Urrghh… Why are you doing this to me? Lol

  49. Really? James Bond filmed there?! Oh, I really need to go there! I’m a fan of James Bond.

  50. Carol Joyner

    Wow! The way you write this article, I believe that it is true, a great place. I will put that on my list.

  51. Olive Williams

    I just looked up Lugano and Lake Como (where George Clooney has a vacation house) is only 45 minutes from there. I’m going to plan a trip to visit both. Thanks for inspiring me to travel more! xx

  52. Carrie Bleau

    I went to Lugano a few years ago. It was amazing! Lugano is surrounded by mountains most of which can be accessed by operating funiculars. For some of the most breathtaking views of the city, surrounding lake and mountains visit the top of Mt. San Salvatore. The view is particularly beautiful during sunsets. St Salvatore’s funicular station is located almost in the city center, just ask locals or cab drivers for directions.

  53. I visited last year and had a memorable and enjoyable Lugano experience. I had a lovely cruise around Lake of Lugano and had dinner in a lakeside restaurant, then a night cruise back to Lugano.

  54. Wilma Moore

    Looks very calming!

  55. Kelly Gonzales

    Definitely heaven! Lake of Lugano seems a romantic place where me and boyfriend can walk.

  56. Evelyn Harris

    Who would not want a relaxing vacation with impressive views?!

  57. The way you describe it, seems like it’s just a perfect mix for someone looking for a relaxing vacation— excitement of the city with a touch of peace and calmness! I’m going to add this to my travel schedule for this summer. Thanks!!

  58. Linda Williams

    Thanks for sharing your photos! Definitely inviting!

  59. Jealous!!! Fabulous, romantic and relaxing trip 🤗

  60. Mildred Davis

    Nature at its best!

  61. Kathryn Gibson

    I think I’m going to enjoy Lake of Lugano. With fresh breeze and ambience… Can’t stop imagining how relaxing my vacation would be!

  62. Incredible photos!! Looks like Lake Lugano and the View hotel are well worth a visit!

  63. Blanche Martina

    I agree with what you’ve said! Heaven!!! I was only in Lugano for a short 2 day trip, but it left a lasting impression.

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