If you want a workout with breathtaking views this is the hike for you. We hesitated to do this hike, as our youngest is only 7, but we gave it a go and it was well worth it.
To begin the hike, you can park in the Funicolare parking lot at:
Via delle Scuole 7
For Parking, you will need the right change to get out. Make sure you have 1, 2 or 5 CHF on you. Parking is 4 CHF for those who took the Funicular and 10 CHF if you hiked up.
From there, walk out of the parking lot in the direction towards the lake & Lugano Paradiso train station. Once you start up the road Via Corona there will be signs directing you to the top. The signs estimate it to take about 2 hours and 40 minutes. It took us about 3 hours with a few breaks along the way.
The trail is marked with trail markers the whole way up. In the beginning, you take a short trail through the forest passing some houses along the way.
Eventually, you will see the Funicular and follow the stairs along the tracks. This part was a little discouraging for my kids when they could see how much further they had to climb, but they were troopers.
The halfway point seemed to be a bit after you reach the end of the trail following the tracks.
Along the trail, there are a number of panoramic viewpoints. The trail winds around the Lugano side of the mountain so you are able to see many beautiful views of the city and the lake below. On a clear day, you can see Monte Rosa and other snow-capped Alps in the distance.
When you finally reach the top you will come out by the Funicular. There is a restaurant where you can sit and admire your accomplishment. We enjoyed some refreshing drinks and snacks while soaking in the views.
There is also a section with picnic tables. So, if you decide to hike up with a picnic you have somewhere to sit and enjoy it.
Just past the restaurant, you can take the trail about 5 minutes more to the very top. On the top, there is a little church and the most amazing panoramic views over Lugano. You can see parts of Italy, the Swiss Alps, and the winding Lugano Lake below. (Pictured above is the first look out, you have to climb a little higher for the best view of all. )
There is also a church by the viewpoint. It is open to the public and you can go inside to see the little chapel. If you go around the backside of the church you will see a small door with stairs leading to the roof. Take the stairs up to the top, the views will not disappoint.
From the top, you can get a good idea of how Lake Lugano winds through the beautiful mountains. Once you’re done enjoying the views, decide if you are going to hike or ride down on the Funicolare. The hike down is about an hour.
If you’re going to take the Funicolare down, it departs every half hour. During spring and fall, the last train down is at 5 pm. In summer the last train down is at 11 pm! If you miss the tram you have no choice but to hike down.
The Funicolare ride is only a 10-minute ride to the top versus the 2 1/2 hour hike, although you miss out on some fantastic views.
Funicolare Lugano-Paradiso – Monte San Salvatore
Adult return fares are 30 CHF and children 13 CHF. If you decide to hike in one direction they have a reduced rate of 23 CHF /10 CHF. Opening hours change depending on the season.