Populated by great mountains and vast blue lakes, the enduring beauty of Ticino is one of old-world charm, but it certainly isn’t lacking in modern glitz and glamour. It enjoys the most hours of sunshine in Switzerland and a warm Mediterranean climate making this southernmost canton a jewel in the summer crown of the country.
Sharing more of its border with Italy than Switzerland, Italian is the only official language here, and great swathes of culture, culinary tradition and history are shared with neighbouring Lombardy and Piedmont.
As well as forest covered mountains, water defines the region, the canton taking its name from the Ticino River that flows southwest into the Po, and centred around the two great transfrontier lakes – Lugano and Maggiore – with their deep blue waters fringed by glamourous towns and snow-capped peaks.
The city of Lugano itself has picturesque boulevards lined with palm trees and stunning views of the Alps, and, as with sophisticated Locarno by Maggiore, is a great base from which to explore the region. There are some 4000km of hiking trails snaking out across the mountains, wild swimming in the beautiful Valle Verzasca, boating, mountain biking and rustic villages to discover. The Italian cities of Como and Varese are easily reachable too.
When to go
Ticino's sunny climate is best enjoyed during the larte spring and summer months. Locarno's annual film festival is held in August.
What to do
- Boat trips on lakes Lugano and Maggiore
- Swim in the Valle Verzasca
- Day trips to Italy