Set sail for new shores. Discover inner freedom.
“Here the sun shines more intimately, the mountains glow with a deeper red” – these are the words that Hermann Hesse used to describe this exceptional, diverse area on the border between Italy and Switzerland. Unspoilt natural landscapes, ancient villages with colourful houses that cling to the steep slopes of the mountains like eagles’ nests, and sophisticated towns with grand promenades and villas give the area its unique character, constantly revealing new sources of wonder. Set sail for new shores on your holiday near Lake Como and discover the magic that flows through our 5-star superior hotel on Lake Lugano and the North Italian lakes.
Every day, the great German writer wandered so he could absorb the magic of the landscape. When you spend a short break near Ticino in our hotel in Porlezza at the foot of Mount Bronzone, you will swiftly understand why. Its charm is simply irresistible. Lugano, with its rich artistic heritage, will captivate you with its sheer variety. The LAC museum of art (Lugano Arte e Cultura), the MUSEC Museum of Cultures, Parco Ciani, Parco del Tassino, the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, the elegant shopping streets, and of course, the casino – there is plenty to discover.
From the lively town centre, the funicular will take you to Lugano’s local mountain, Mount San Salvatore, at 912m above sea level. The church on the summit has no steeple, instead featuring an extraordinary roof terrace. Let your gaze soar across the expanse of lake to the other panoramic peaks, Mount Brè and Mount Generoso, before continuing on to the 80 Alpine peaks to the north. To the south, clear weather will sometimes even grant you a glimpse of Milan Cathedral and the Apennines in the distance. Legend has it that Jesus even made a stop at the summit before continuing on his way up to heaven. At the foot of Mount San Salvatore, in Melide, you can explore Switzerland in miniature in the fantastic Swissminiatur, Switzerland’s largest open-air miniature museum.
In 2016, Morcote, a former fishing village, was voted the most beautiful village in Switzerland. The highlights: the church of Santa Maria del Sasso, the terraced cemetery, the staircase with 404 steps, the Captain’s Tower, and the picturesque Parco Scherrer, where nature and architecture merge into one. And right next door, you’ll find Vico Morcote with its castle and historic vineyard. Nearby Carona, also known as the “artists’ village”, was an independent republic in the Middle Ages offering numerous privileges, therefore attracting a host of wealthy artists and architects who left their mark on the area.
Those interested in prehistoric times should pay a visit to Mount San Giorgio, sometimes called the “dinosaur mountain” and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. An impressive museum is dedicated to the giants of prehistory, where a selection of fossilised plants and animals are on display. On the slopes of the mountain, whose summit boasts spectacular views, perch numerous charming villages such as the artists’ village of Tremono, and Arzo with its marble quarry. You can also enjoy stunning views from Mount Generoso. The panorama extends from the Valais Alps to the Apennines.
Art meets nature on Mount Brè, which is known for its wealth of mountain biking and hiking trails. One trail of particular note is the art trail, where you can marvel at works by international artists. An entire museum is dedicated to Wilhelm Schmid and his works of magical realism, who lived in Brè for many years. Gandria, an old, romantic fishing village, is a true oasis of calm. On the lake shore not far from the village is the Swiss Customs Museum.
You can also gain a new perspective from Mount Bronzone, one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the area. You simply mustn’t miss out on taking a trip to San Mamete and Castello, which perches like an eagle’s nest above the lake. And of course, you need to visit the village of Montagnola on the Collina d’Oro, Hermann Hesse’s adopted home. Here, you will find the Hermann Hesse Museum on the Hermann Hesse Trail, which leads to the church of Sant’Abbondio.
A stone’s throw from our wellness hotel near Lugano lies the alluring Lake Como, which has been a Shangri-La for writers, actors, politicians, and composers since time immemorial. The list of famous residents is long, extending from Alessandro Manzoni, Stendhal, and Plinius, to Franz Liszt and Giuseppe Verdi, to Konrad Adenauer and George Clooney. It is impossible to break the spell of this magical setting with high-alpine landscapes, Mediterranean flora, and magnificent architecture spanning all eras.
As far back as Roman times, the Via Regina led south past Lake Como, along which believers made the pilgrimage to Rome. Many of these pilgrims were so enchanted by the beauty of the area that they settled here permanently, as evinced by the countless churches and abbeys around the lake. One of these is the Sanctuary of the Beata Vergine del Soccorso in Ossuccio, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2003. Como boasts no fewer than three impressive churches: the magnificent cathedral, the Basilica di San Fedele, and the Basilica di Sant’Abbondio. Other highlights of the charming city include the Torre di Porta Vittoria, part of the ancient city wall, the neoclassical Villa Olmo, the Casa del Fascio, and of course the lakefront promenade, which leads past beautiful parks to Italy’s only seaplane school with hangar. You can also take the funicular railway to Brunate, from where you can enjoy a spectacular view of the city.
One of the main attractions of Lake Como has to be Bellagio with its delightful lakefront promenade, narrow, windy lanes, fishing port, the Basilica San Giacomo, and the magnificent Serbelloni and Melzi villas with their extraordinary gardens. From Bellagio, you can take the ferry to Varenna, Tremezzo, and Menaggio: the “golden triangle” of Lake Como. Varenna, an old fishing village, is the most romantic location. High above the old village centre sits Castello di Vezio, where you are treated to a magnificent view over the village and the lake. Other must-sees are Villa Monastero and its park, as well as the mountain villages of Esino Lario and Perledo.
On the west shore of the lake, not far from our hotel near Lake Como with pool, lies the lively artists’ village of Menaggio with its countless artistic treasures, including the stunning church of San Stefano. Golfers will be in seventh heaven at the illustrious Golf Club Menaggio & Cadenabbia, where – with a little luck – you might even brush shoulders with George Clooney. On your way back to our hotel in Porlezza lies a true gem of natural beauty, Lago di Piano. Located at the heart of a nature reserve, the area boasts a wealth of activities. On the north shore lies Gravedona, a tranquil place with numerous attractions, including the distinguished churches of Santa Maria del Tiglio, San Vincenzo, and Santa Maria delle Grazie. High above the town sit the pretty mountain villages of Peglio, Livo, and Dosso del Liro, which are the starting point for numerous hiking trails.
To the west of Lake Como lies Lenno. Here, you will find Villa del Balbianello, which has found fame after providing the backdrop to countless Hollywood films, such as James Bond Casino Royale, Ocean’s Twelve, and Star Wars Episode II. The village of Rezzonico is also Oscar-worthy, setting a pretty scene with its imposing 13th-century castle and small fishing port. Rising from the waters of the lake is Isola Comacina, which found itself the site of fierce fighting in the war between Milan and Como in 1169. The ruins of the Basilica di Sant'Eufemia and the church of San Giovanni are reminders of its former glory. In 1175, King Barbarossa forbade its reconstruction, and Bishop Vidulfo, then Bishop of Como, cursed the island. The island was only settled again 800 years after the end of the war.
Holidays with your dog
The area around Lake Lugano and Lake Como is a paradise for all creatures, whether two-legged or four. In the infinite expanse of natural beauty, where lakes and mountains merge into one, your faithful companion will also enjoy an unforgettable holiday. As you’ll discover, when on holiday with your dog at our pet-friendly hotel near Switzerland, you can completely unwind. Here, dogs of all sizes are most welcome. As well as dog beds, water bowls, and a warm welcome, we also offer you (for a fee and when booked in advance) an exclusive dog-sitting service, so that you can completely relax in our SPA and lose yourself in well-being.