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. Ancient churches abound, not the least of which is the breathtaking San Lorenzo Cathedral. This is a city rich with art galleries, including the famed Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. The gay scene in Lugano is small but lively.
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.
Aeroporto Lugano-Agno is about 5 miles from the center of town. Shuttle buses and taxis are the best way to go.
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.
Lugano is a place meant for strolling, especially in the piazzas and the promenades. For information on public transportation see the Lugano Tourism Site.
Currency and Money
The franc is the local currency for Switzerland (and neighboring Liechtenstein). Many businesses also accept euros, but don’t count on it.
360 Magazine is a French-language online guide to gay Switzerland. Collettivo Lesbico Gay has updated gay information for the region that includes upcoming party dates and film screenings of interest.
For general tourist information on Lugano and elsewhere in Switzerland, including travel and lodgings tips and gay information, see website MySwitzerland.
Gay life in Lugano revolves around the Gothic Sauna (Vicolo Vecchio 1). 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.
Reasonably priced lodgings are to be found next door. The Lugano Guesthouse (via Tesserete 7) offers basic and clean facilities, plus a balcony to take in the sights. The reception desk is at the bathhouse.
There are many fine four and five star hotels overlooking the lake. See our map & listings pages for locations and website links.
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