Living in Lugano will make you fairly envied by other expats. The city is not only an excellent testament to the very high standard of life enjoyed by most of the population across Switzerland; it is also the home of the largest Italian-speaking community outside of Italy. As a result, life in Lugano means getting to experience a mix of two different cultures. The result is a diverse city that is unique in the country.
Lugano is located in the Swiss canton of Ticino. This canton is in the far south of the country, and has embraced its border with Italy to the fullest. It is the ninth-largest city in Switzerland and allows you to enjoy the perks of a bigger city within the confines of a smaller area.
The city lies on Lake Lugano (Lago di Lugano). This lake is located to the south of the Alps, between the famous Lago Maggiore and Lago di Como. But living in Lugano doesn’t only afford you beautiful views of the lake.
The Alpine scenery is also stunning, as Lago di Lugano is framed by two mountains: Monte Brè, to the north, and Monte San Salvatore, to the south. Both offer amazing views of the city and lake beneath them. The beautiful landscape of the area has led to the presence of many celebrities, who choose to spend the summer in Lugano.
The climate is definitely favorable to those living in Lugano. The winters are quite mild, and the summers — although they do often see a lot of rain — are usually warm. These attractions have led Lugano to be nicknamed the “Monte Carlo of Switzerland”.
Living in Lugano is heaven for those who love outdoor activities, and as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Switzerland, both natural and man-made activities abound. If you do enjoy the outdoors, your first activity should definitely be a cycle on some of Lugano’s 300 km of mountain biking trails. This is the largest network of trails in the country.
If you want to enjoy the scenery without so much exertion, you can opt to take the funicular railways to the summits of Monte Brè and Monte San Salvatore — or alternatively, you can simply drive there by car. On top of the first, you will find Switzerland’s (supposedly) sunniest spot, and the old village of Brè. On top of the second, you will discover an ancient church and a museum.
If you decide to live in the center of Lugano, you will find yourself surrounded by historic points of interest. Seventeen sites across the town are nationally significant, and part of the Swiss heritage sites. These sites range from libraries, churches, and museums to a cemetery and the Radiotelevisione Svizzera di Lingua Italia (the Italian broadcasting facility).
It is easy to assume that Switzerland is part of the European Union. However, living in Lugano means that you need to familiarize yourself with Swiss francs (CHF), or franco svizzero in Italian. Credit and debit cards are accepted across Lugano, and the Swiss railway, the airport and highway tolls accept euros, too.
For more information about daily life in Switzerland, check out our Family, Children, and Education guide.
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