A botanical garden open in 1950 filled with lush imported plants, the Brissago islands are an oasis for those who love nature and tranquility: easily reachable with a ferry boat, they offer the chance to admire plants from all over the world. The atmosphere is relaxing, perfect to enjoy lunch at the restaurant overlooking Lake Maggiore.
All the alleys in town converge here: Ascona’s main square, Piazza G. Motta, is the place to go for a stroll, to window shop or to enjoy an aperitif at sunset. Those who want to visit Ascona in the easiest way possible can hop on the little touring train that leaves from Piazza G. Motta and showcases the most important local sights.
The Bagno Pubblico in Ascona, a much loved place by locals, offers free access to the lake and is the ideal place to spend a relaxing day by the water, to swim and sunbathe. The park is also popular with family thanks to its beautiful trees and to the presence of a playground in the sand. This place is perfect for those who enjoy early morning or sunset swims, when the summer light is just perfect and makes everything even more beautiful.
Lido Ascona is very popular with those seeking fun and entertainment and has a lot to offer to those who want to practice sports: here you can dive, swim, try stand up paddling, but also play beach volley and table tennis, while kids can enjoy the playground and the long sandy beach. The restaurant and the bars are ideal for having lunch or dinner, or for enjoying a drink in a relaxing Mediterranean atmosphere.
Right above Ascona, Monte Verità is a magical place with a very interesting history: in the early 1900s it was picked by a group of vegetarian and naturist artists as their residence and they lived there following their new philosophy of life. Today it’s a green oasis, home to a museum and to other culturally interesting buildings, a wonderful place to spend a few relaxing hours surrounded by nature.
A must for those who love the mountains, taking the gondola up to the peak is wonderful itself, but spending the day on the summit is an even better one: here you can take in the views, pedal around on a mountain bike, try paragliding or simply take a walk. If you want, you can stop for the night on the summit: waking up in the morning with such a view is a wonderful and highly recommended experience.
The Museo Comunale di Arte Moderna, opened since 1922, has collected incredible masterpieces throughout the years by artists from both Switzerland and the rest of the world. The museum is famous for being home to the most important collection by notorious artist Werefkin.
Located in a pretty little square in the historical center of Ascona, the Church of Saint Peter and Paul is a masterpiece built in the 1500s, painted a beautiful shade of yellow and with an imposing bell tower. The inside of the church is embellished with several amazing frescos, including the one above the altar, painted by Serodine, one of Caravaggio’s pupils.
A long and winding valley, with a narrow road that climbs towards the bordering Val Vigezzo in Italy: the best way to enjoy the panorama and the natural beauty of this region is taking the panoramic train of the Centovalli, which leaves from Locarno and arrives in Domodossola, Italy, offering stunning scenarios. Otherwise, those who want to be more active, can explore Centovalli by bike and bike all the way to Valle Canobina.
With its Roman bridge, popular with daredevils who want to dive in the waters of the Verzasca river, the eponymous valley is the ideal destination for those who want to see the “real” Ticino, with quint stone houses, flowers in the windowsills, and a snack of local salami and cheeses at a grotto. Beautiful woods, perfect for those who love to walk or want to try extreme sports such as rafting and bungee jumping, surround the villages and the river.
Locarno, Ascona’s neighbor, is a must-see lakeside town, easily reachable on foot, by bike or e-bike. There are several tourist attractions not to be missed: the quaint alleys dotted with cafés and shops are ideal for strolling, Piazza Grande and Castello Visconteo beg to be photographed, Casa Rusca and the church of Sant’Antonio are beautiful to visit, and the lakefront promenade is the perfect place to enjoy a gelato.
An ancient ritual deeply rooted in the Far East: the tea ceremony is something unique and not to be missed, not only for tea lovers, but also for those who want to try something different. The incredible atmosphere of Monte Verità enriches the ceremony, giving it a touch that is even more mystical.
Reachable by taking a panoramic walk from Ascona, the ancient village of Ronco Sopra Ascona offers one of the most breathtaking views of the region for which it has been nicknamed “balcony over Lake Maggiore”. A village with a strong artistic vibe, Ronco features quaint alleys, stone staircases and beautiful arches, a dream come true for photographers.
Built in 1928 by the father of dancer Charlotte Bara, this theater, after a long refurbishment, is now back to its ancient glory and is a space dedicated to the diffusion of art where people can participate in dance workshops, meetings to develop artistic projects, and music, directing, acting and singing classes.
A sunny valley that offers lots of fun activities, Valle Maggia offers a wonderful landscape of waterfalls, rivers, small lakes, woods and imposing mountains. Hiking and biking paths are ideal for those who want to explore the valley while staying active, while the typical grottos are perfect for those who love good traditional food.