When I was growing up, if there was place in the world I always wanted to visit, it was Switzerland and on this Europe trip we went there.
As a child I was always fascinated by the beauty of the Swiss Alps and the natural beauty of Switzerland. As I got older, every time I saw someone’s photo from Switzerland or any movie or documentary of Switzerland, I would tell myself that one day I will visit that country. So when we entered Switzerland from Italy that was one of the most exciting moments of my life.
I was so happy that finally I would be on a mountain trail, looking at the beautiful Alps and the farms full of big cows.
Our first stop in Switzerland was Lugano.
Lugano, with 54,000 residents, is the largest city in the canton of Ticino. It is located on the beautiful Lake Lugano, 30 minutes north of the Italian border and one hour north of Milan. The city feels completely different than German-speaking Switzerland, but the prices, cleanliness, well-dressed people, and Ferraris remind you that you are still in Switzerland.
Lugano, Switzerland, nicknamed the “Monte Carlo of Switzerland,” is a popular tourist destination because of its quaint Swiss-village feel, its culture, its favourable proximity to (and distance from) urban commotion and, most of all, its majestic scenery.
Once we were in Lugano, we had half a day to explore the beautiful city. It was perfect spring weather with the sun shining on the clear blue beautiful sky. I was so excited to get off the bus and explore my dream destination. You could actually tell that you are in Switzerland as it was so clean everywhere.
As we got off the bus, I could see Lake Lugano with its deep blue water. The rich vegetation in the surrounding valleys and the stunning mountain peaks makes this a place of peaceful relaxation. As we walked along the lake I was extremely happy to enjoy this beautiful country.
Down by the lake shore is the famous Lugano promenade which gently meanders along the water’s edge, decorated with maples, palms and carefully tended flower beds. Here you can sit and watch the ferry boats busy themselves or take a lake cruise and admire the spectacular scenery.
The charismatic narrow streets in the centre of Lugano are peppered with grand piazzas, where cafes and bars make a welcome retreat for those who like to relax and watch the world go by. There are historic buildings and Renaissance churches with their charming belltowers and 15th century frescoes that portray incredible moments in history.
The next thing I noticed in Luganoo was big designer stores and boutiques everywhere. Via Nassa and Via Pessina are two of the most popular shopping streets found right in the heart of Lugano. You name the brand and they have it from Hermes, Versace, Gucci, Issey Miyake, to Armani, Rolex, Cartier.
We were not planning to go brand shopping but we were looking to buy a Swiss knife for my husband and a watch for me.
As we were walking along the shops, we discovered that everything is expensive in Switzerland. It’s quite amazing to see items that you saw the day before in Italy at triple the prices. Our guide told us that a lot of locals drive into Italy to do the shopping (it’s quite close) every week or two.
We ended up ditching shopping after buying few souvenirs and concentrated on sightseeing.
We visited San Lorenzo Cathedral, City hall, Old Fountain on the embankment in the centre of Lugano. It was a really nice town and I can understand why it is called a place for the rich and famous.