Lake Lugano is one of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland and it is ideal to discover it by boat since you can capture the beauty of the lakeside towns and its most famous mountains.
There is a road that borders the lake, but we recommend to take the ferry which connects different cities and sights in the region.
Where you can buy tickets
Lugano is located in the centre of the lake and from the various landing stages along the lake promenade you can buy your tickets. The prices will depend on the chosen destination and the length of the journey.
If you want to visit all the sights that Lake Lugano has to offer, we recommend that you buy a day ticket and, above all, take the first boat in the morning so that you have time to visit as many places as possible.
Die Boote der Società Navigazione – Lago di Lugano
The company, which exploits the shipping rights on the lake, has a fleet of 9 boats that operate on Lake Ceresio all year round.
Some of their boats are very old and date back to 1927, the newest is the Gottardo and was launched in 2001.
There is a restaurant service inside and this is the ideal option for windy or cold days. Despite the sheltered location, there are large windows through which one can comfortably admire the landscape.
There is even a little corner for the little ones in the house.
But on a sunny summer day it is ideal to enjoy the breeze, both in the bow and stern, the views of the various villages and mountains of the lake are impressive.
For more information on timetables and prices, visit the official website of the Società Navigazione del Lago di Lugano.
What to see at Lake Lugano?
From Lugano there are two possible options to cross the lake, either to the southern part, which borders on Italian Lombardy and whose main exponents are Morcote and Monte San Salvatore or to the east, with Gandria and Monte Brè as main attractions.
We recommend a tour around the lake, first visiting the southernmost part of the lake and then visiting Gandria at the easternmost part of the lake.
The city of Lugano is an important financial centre in Switzerland and one of its most important tourist destinations. We recommend you to visit its elegant streets full of shops of important brands and above all its sunny Reforma Square, the nerve centre of Lugano.
Don’t forget to visit the Ciani City Park, a marvel of lush vegetation next to the lake promenade.
The mountain San Salvatore
After setting sail from Lugano, the boat heads for the San Salvatore mountain, which is located in the district of Paradiso. It is very close to the centre of Lugano and the journey is fast and convenient. There is also a water jet like the Jet d’Eau de Genève on Lake Geneva. It is not so high, but still worth seeing.
Mount San Salvatore (912 m) can be reached by funicular and its main attraction is the magnificent 360º views from its two vantage points.
Switzerland in miniature
Heading south, the boat passes under the road that crosses the lake and stops in Melide, where the Swiss Miniature Park is located. If you are travelling with children, it may be a good option to spend lunch there, as you will certainly have a great time strolling among the most famous monuments and natural sites in Switzerland.
On the other side you will see Campione d’Italia, a small village surrounded by Swiss territory. The small town enjoys a special status and one of its main beneficiaries is the Casino, which enjoys a more permissive legislation than other casinos in Switzerland or Italy.
After visiting the beautiful Bissone’s shores, the cruise ship leaves for Morcote. After roughly 40 minutes from Lugano, this beautiful lake landscape appears as if from nowhere, with the church of Santa Maria del Sasso standing out.
You can get off at the pier of the village and admire its charming walk and above all its church.
When leaving Morcote, the boat goes to the other end of the lake. It clears the road again and crosses Lugano. You can get off at the Cassarate stop to climb to the top of Monte Brè (925 m). A funicular will take you to the top station, from where you can enjoy a magnificent view over the bay of Lugano and San Salvatore, the so-called Sugar Loaf Mountain of Switzerland.
This small village with almost 250 inhabitants is another reason why it is worth visiting Lake Lugano by boat.
You will get the best views of Gandria once you arrive by boat as you will see nice houses and terraces overlooking the lake.
It is a beautiful place full of charm, and although the visit can be done rather fast, the views of Gandria from the boat aresimply unforgettable and one of the main attractions of this part of Ticino.