Locarno sits on the northern shore of Lake Maggiore, which is nestled in the Alps. Its intriguing history interweaves castles, churches and Roman occupation. Enjoy the city built around the main plaza in the historic center. Nearby suburbs are made up of agricultural land, forests, lakes and rivers.
Explore the antique buildings around Piazza Grande in the center of the city. The spacious square features events and festivals. Dine al fresco at one of the restaurants surrounding the plaza. Gaze up at the Civic Tower. You’ll find many shops around Piazza Grande, as it is the main commercial area of Locarno.
Visit the Madonna del Sasso, a majestic church sitting on the edge of a cliff overlooking the lake. Take a 20-minute walk through picturesque woodland with inspiring views of the lake to reach the holy site. You can also reach the church by chairlift. Look down on the city of Locarno below from the towering heights. Inside, admire the ornate interior and numerous artworks.
At the Astrovia Locarno walking and cycling track, see a model of the solar system created to a scale of 1:1 billion. The sun is 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) from the farthest part of the model, Pluto.
Find the Castello Visconteo, a 13th-century castle in the old town. Admire the ruins of the structure that have survived almost a millennium. The museum inside provides information about archeological sites in Locarno.
Take a boat out onto Lake Maggiore. It is 43 miles (69.2 kilometers) wide, making it the largest lake in the Ticino region.
The official language of the region is Italian. Like northern Italy, Locarno has warm, pleasant summers and cool winters with some snow.
The larger city of Lugano is about 20 miles (32.2 kilometers) south of Locarno, beyond Lake Maggiore. Make sure to visit these postcard-pretty Alpine cities in southern Switzerland.