The Italian speaking, southernmost tip of Switzerland is Ticino, divided from the rest of the country by the Alps but connected by road via the San Bernadino pass. The climate here is subtropical and the atmosphere Mediterranean.
From the Alpine valleys, the road runs all the way through Bellinzona with its three medieval castles en route to the lake resorts of Southern Ticino. Locarno, on the shores of Lago di Maggiore, with its narrow streets, pavement cafes and lakeside lido is one of the most famous destinations, with a world-famous film festival in August.
Further south, the health and holiday resort of Lugano lies on the Lago di Lugano between the peaks of San Salvatore and Monte Bré. The largest city in Ticino, it is the most liked holiday destination for the Swiss. Piazzas, palms, palazzos, the Cathedral of San Lorenzo and the promenade along the lakeshore give the city an extraordinary flair. Local ferries connect Lugano with scenic lakeside towns of Gandria and Morcote.
During spring the area is in full bloom with fig and olive trees, myrtle and pomegranates. Local buses visit the charming villages of the area and funiculars run to the top of Mount San Salvatore. Coach excursions to the great passes of Lukmanier, Furka and Oberalp, and to Milan and Venice, can be arranged locally.