48 hours in Ticino: Here are our travel tips for Locarno

Is it worthwhile to take a short trip to Ticino? Definitely! We spent 48 hours in the south of Switzerland and have some tips for you on what to do and where to go in Locarno.

We were really looking forward to the planned girls’ trip for a long weekend in Locarno. My long-time friend Mirella and I therefore gave it a lot of thought beforehand what we wanted to experience in the 48 hours. Spoiler: so much! So here are our best tips for what to do in Locarno.

Off to the south!

On Friday morning we took the train from Thurgau heading south. Two changes of train and just under three hours later we found ourselves in the sunny south of Switzerland. Immediately, we felt that holiday feeling setting in: not a cloud in the sky, palm trees lining the streets and a friendly “Buongiorno” instead of “Grüezi”.

We took bus number 7 from Locarno Station and a few minutes later we alighted at the Cinque Vie bus stop. From there it was just a short walk to the Locarno Youth Hostel. Other travellers were sitting chatting at the tables on the terrace and enjoying the sun.

Locarno Youth Hostel with its pretty terrace and large garden is the perfect place to linger. © Laura Gargiulo

We quickly dropped off our luggage and collected our Ticino Ticket. It is free if you stay in the Ticino Youth Hostel and allowed us free travel anywhere in the canton on public transport. I mean, how cool is that?!

Dolce far niente

Not wanting to waste any time, we quickly headed off on foot to the old part of the town and soon reached the Piazza Grande. This is the venue for the annual Locarno Film Festival. And there are plenty of opportunities to meet stars and starlets from around the world at the Moon&Stars. As both events were long over when we visited, we strolled along the “Walk of Fame” and placed our hands in the bronze handprints of our secret crushes: Bastian Baker, Luca Hänni, Baschi…

We were suddenly overcome by a craving for gelato! You can get it on every street corner and in every imaginable flavour. From sweet chestnut to tiramisu to coffee. Mmmmh.

With a view of the Piazza Grande, the ice cream tastes even better. © Nina Wild

Locarno is built on the shore of Lake Maggiore with its turquoise blue water. Even in the middle of October it was “T-shirt weather” and people were already treating themselves to an aperitif in the early afternoon in one of the many cafés on the lakeshore. We sauntered along the water’s edge, enjoying the good mood and the nice feeling of not having to do anything at all.

Lake Maggiore in all its glory.  © Nina Wild

The best view ever!

As evening approached, we made our way to Locarno’s local mountain, Cardada. It’s very easy to get there. You first take the Funicolare Locarno from the city as far as Orselina, where you change to the cable car. But be aware: You have to pay cash when you board the cable car. However, you do qualify for a discount with the Ticino Ticket, Half Fare Travelcard and the GA Travelcard.


Once we reached the top we were stunned by the view over the lake and the mountain scenery. We had never seen Locarno from this perspective. The view from the lookout point is unbeatable. There are also lots of walking trails, playgrounds and a restaurant up there.

In our opinion, the best travel tip for Locarno: The viewing platform on Cardada offers a 180-degree panorama of the surrounding landscape.  © Nina Wild

Blue, bluer, Verzasca Valley!

Invigorated the next morning by the generous breakfast buffet, we set out for Lavertezzo on the post bus, where we started our circular walk at the parish church. First, the trail climbs relatively steeply up to the historic Revöira alpine pastures, where people lived in the stone houses centuries ago. The paths along the way are littered with prickly chestnuts. A few times we are almost hit by falling fruit.


After the climb, the path from Brione followed the deep blue and crystal clear waters of the Verzasca back to our starting point in Lavertezzo. The route along the river is also suitable for children, as the BoBosco marble run is located parallel to the trail. Adventure guaranteed!


Finishing on a high note, we finally crossed the Roman Ponte dei Salti. As we were not there in the summer peak season, there also weren’t so many people about. 😉

Finally we saw the famous Roman Bridge in real life!

Until the next time

 Even Locarno was sad that we had to leave. The rain came pouring down on Sunday morning. At least that made it a little easier for us to say goodbye. We were really happy, because although we were “only” in Ticino for 48 hours, we saw and experienced a lot. And at least we were able to extend the late summer for two days.

What is your personal highlight in Locarno? Tell us about it in the comments section!

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