Bellinzona's unique location is both beautiful and historically strategic, sitting at the meeting point of several alpine valleys. It boasts three beautifully preserved castles which combine to make the whole area an official UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Romans built the first fortifications at Castelgrande, which were then extended by the dukes of Lombardy. Castelgrande offers a lovely view over the Old Town and visitors can meander along the ramparts and enjoy the surrounding mountains. The second castle, Montebello, offers medieval drawbridges and views to Lake Maggiore, while the third, Sasso Corbaro, towers above the wooded hillside.
The town of Bellinzona itself is italianate in style and features many picturesque squares and courtyards. Wander among the Old Town’s atmospheric alleys for their restored merchants’ houses and churches. As with all the Ticino towns, there are plenty of cafés and delicatessans to enjoy and a particular highlight is the Saturday market on the Piazza Nosetto. At Villa dei Cedri there are 19th century paintings and peaceful gardens. Bellinzona is also ideally located for day trips to the nearby lakeside resorts or to visit the high mountains of the Gotthard region. Hotel guests benefit from the FREE Ticino Ticket, allowing you to hop on and off buses and trains across the region.
Book a Bellinzona holiday. Call us on 0800 619 1200 for our tailor made service or click here for a quotation.
Where to stay in Bellinzona
Our handpicked Bellinzona hotel
What to see and do from Bellinzona
Bellinzona is at the heart of the region's transport network so visitors have a good choice of excursions here, especially with your complimentary Ticino Ticket. Head to Locarno to pick up the train for the delightful Centovalli region with plenty of walks. You may also like to visit the subtropical gardens of the Brissago Islands or simply relax beside Lake Maggiore. There's another beautiful lake to discover in Lugano, with a variety of scenic cruises. Take one of the funiculars up to the summit of Monte Brè or Monte San Salvatore for some lovely views and drinks on the sun terraces.
In the centre of the region you can find Monte Tamaro, famous for its panoramic lakes and mountains views and many scenic walks. You can also travel just a little way north to enjoy walks in the higher Alps. Please click here for our summary of the best the region has to offer.
Visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site from Bellinzona
The medieval Castles of Bellinzona are on your doorstep and can be enjoyed at your leisure. You can also visit Monte San Giorgio with its dinosaur fossils, in the south of the Ticino region. Find more Swiss World Heritage Sites here.
Explore the Ticino region with our great value travel passes
Our holidays include the Half Fare Card, which entitles you to a 50% discount on most rail, mountain railways, cable cars, boats and PostBuses across Switzerland.
If you are planning daily outings, the complimentary Ticino Ticket will also save you a great deal of money - and help you avoid the queues at the ticket office! If you are planning trips further afield, it can be well worth pre-booking the Swiss Travel Pass. We will be delighted to guide you on the pass that's right for you. Call us on 0800 619 1200 for more advice.
Scenic rail holidays from Bellinzona
Enjoy a fantastic two or multi centre holiday, with a scenic rail journey connecting your resorts.
Bellinzona is on the route of the Gotthard Panorama Express rail and boat journey for Lucerne or Weggis. You can also take the short journey to Lugano to join the Bernina Express (for St. Moritz or Pontresina) or Locarno to join the Centovalli Line (for Brig).
If you prefer to be based solely in Bellinzona, there are many lakes and mountains journeys to be enjoyed locally. We can tailor make any itinerary you choose, please contact us for details on 0800 619 1200.