Holidays To Locarno - Ticino

Vivacious and cultural lakeside town

Situated on the shore of Lake Maggiore and enjoying the balmy sunshine normally associated with its Italian neighbour, Locarno really is an ideal place to relax and enjoy the dolce vita. As well as the sparkling lake, visitors are treated to beautiful views of foothills of the southern Alps. The famous Piazza Grande offers boutique shops and an inviting Mediterranean-style café culture. During the Locarno International Film Festival (held here since 1948), the Piazza is transformed into a huge open air cinema. 

Locarno can enjoy Mediterranean weather in the summer - around 30°. Spring and autumn are great times to visit, with the sun having some genuine warmth which may not always be the case in the rest of Switzerland at these times. Families will enjoy the Lido during the summer, with its splash pools, waterslides and spectacular views over the lake. Palm trees abound, making for a wonderful place to stroll and enjoy the sunshine and every spring, the stunning Parco delle Camelie features an arresting display of colourful and fragrant camellias. Historic places of interest include the 15th century Castello Visconteo and a trip on the 1905 funicular up to rocky Orselina, home to the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Sasso. Hotel guests benefit from the FREE Ticino Ticket, allowing you to hop on and off buses and trains across the region. 

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Locarno holiday ideas 2024/25

Choose from our handpicked Locarno hotels

What to see and do from Locarno

Lake Maggiore is a beautiful sight and it is a delight to explore it on a lake cruiser. Your Half Fare Card is valid on the Swiss part of the lake and we highly recommend a cruise - maybe to the glorious, subtropical Brissago Islands or to pretty Ascona for lunch by the water. A full day on the Lago Maggiore Express route into Italy is also recommended (although there isn't a discount). If you enjoy rail travel, you could use your Ticino Ticket for free travel as far as the border on the Centovalli trains, stopping off at little villages for lunch and walks in the beautiful landscape. 

Orselina, just above the centre of Locarno, is home to the Madonna del Sasso sanctuary - take the funicular or walk up the hill. This is also the starting point for a trip to higher mountains, using the cable car to Cardada and then the chairlift to Cimetta. There are wonderful views to be had over the Alps and a variety of walking trails. Thanks to the new Ceneri tunnel you can now travel easily to Lugano and its lake for a day's visit.

Please click here for our summary of the best the region has to offer.

Visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site from Locarno

There are two UNESCO sites within easy reach of Locarno. Discover the medieval history of the Castles of Bellinzona and or head down to Monte San Giorgio where you can find dinosaur fossils and delightful walks. 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 PassWe 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 Locarno

Enjoy a fantastic two or multi centre holiday, with a scenic rail journey connecting your resorts.

Locarno is the starting point for the Centovalli Line (for Brig) which then connects to the Glacier Express and Lötschberg Regio Express. Locarno is also on the Treno Gottardo route to Lucerne. Or why not travel to Bellinzona to join the Gotthard Panorama Express for Lucerne and Weggis.

If you prefer to be based solely in Locarno, 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.

How to get to Locarno

Your ticket wallet will contain comprehensive travel instructions to help you reach your destination with ease, including recommended rail connection times and platform numbers. These are the most common routes for your Locarno holiday. 

Fly to Zurich

Flights available from London, Luton, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow.

Swiss Railways: Zurich Airport > Bellinzona > Locarno with a transfer time of around 2 hours 30 minutes. 

Fly to Geneva

Not recommended due to a minimum transfer time of 5 hours.

Travel by international rail

Rail from London St. Pancras via Paris to Basel.

Swiss Railways: Basel > Bellinzona > Locarno with a transfer time of around 3 hours 30 minutes.


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Call us on 0800 619 1200 or email us at

Locarno promenade

Ticino Ticket

Free travel across the region by train and bus, plus discounts on boats, mountain transport and entry local attractions. The Ticket is issued by the hotel on your arrival and is valid for the duration of your stay. More details...

Planning your holiday 2024/25

Switzerland Call 0800 619 1200
  • Decide where you would like to stay
  • Choose your scenic journeys
  • 1st or 2nd class rail travel in Switzerland
  • How many nights in each resort
  • Decide on bed & breakfast or half board
  • 3, 4 or 5 star hotel accommodation
  • Plan visits with your Half Fare Card
Request your holiday quote

Locarno-Ascona region video