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City Guide: Lugano

Nestled beside a shimmering lake, it’s a Swiss Riviera

Credit: Aconcagua

The lake resort of Lugano is in the Italian-speaking Swiss canton of Ticino. Nestled beside a shimmering lake, it’s a Swiss Riviera complete with architectural delights, tree-lined promenades, and splendid piazzas. 

The climate on this southern side of Switzerland is the warmest in the country, with lots of sunny days to enjoy the scenic beauty.

Lugano is a place meant for strolling, especially in the piazzas and the promenades. Ancient churches abound, not the least of which is the breathtaking San Lorenzo Cathedral. This is a city rich with art galleries, including the Museo d’Arte, located at Villa Malpensata. The gay scene in Lugano is small but lively.

Gay life in Lugano revolves around the Gothic Sauna. With fun on three floors, the place includes a Finnish sauna, steam bath, relax rooms, solarium, dark rooms, plus a labyrinth. Hot meals and drinks are available in a lounge that serves as a reading and discreet cruising room. Nude and foam parties are often hosted here. 

The Lido di Lugano, the public city beach with swimming pools on the lake has long been a cruising area of the old style, both gay and trade. Also see areas around Viale Castagnola, Viale dei Fiaggi, Via Lido, Via Foce and the Cassarate River.

Many people visit from other cities via Swiss Federal Railways. A rail pass is a shockingly affordable way to get around, even in first class.
For the most up-to-date travel information on gay Lugano, see our City GuideListings GuideEvents Guide and Activities Guide.