The Funicular to the top of Monte San Salvatore is a fun way to get a 360 view over Lugano and Lake Lugano below. You can also see both the Swiss Alps and the Savoy Alps as well as the Lombard Plains in Italy in the far distance.
The Monte San Salvatore funicular is also sometimes called the Lugano Paradiso funicular because it runs from the Paradiso railway station.
Monte San Salvatore is a local icon watching over the town of Lugano, and some like to call it the Sugarloaf Mountain of Ticino as it somewhat resembles the one in Rio de Janeiro.
There are also a number of things to do at the top of Monte San Salvatore which makes this trip a fun day out from Lugano or even Locarno further North.
|Via delle Scuole 7, 6902 Paradiso, Switzerland (Google Maps)
|Dec, Jan, Feb 10 am – 5 pmMarch 9 am – 5 pm, April – July 9 am – 6 pm, July – Sept 9 am – 11 pm (details here)
|12 min (runs every 30 minutes)
|Adults: 30 CHF return
Half-tax or GA: 15 CHF return
Children (6 – 16): 13 CHF return
Medium-Large Dogs: 10 CHF return
|20% with Ticino Ticket, Children with Junior Travelcard travel free, Children under 6 free
|Wheelchair-friendly (90x80cm/200kg), folded pushchairs
San Salvatore Museum (Museo San Salvatore)
Museo San Salvatore is located right at the top of the funicular and is perfect for those of you who enjoy both geology and religious history. The building was a hospice created in the 17th century that provided shelter to pilgrims visiting the nearby San Salvatore church.
The ground floor hosts a collection of religious art from the Archfraternity of Good Death and Prayer. While the first floor is dedicated to a mixture of geology, speleology, caves and lightning. So, there is certainly something for everyone.
Chiesa Monte San Salvatore
At the top of the mountain is the Chiesa Monte San Salvatore with stunning views of the lake and mountains beyond. Dating back further than the 13th century, the church has been rebuilt in 1718 and further renovated in the 19th century. It is quite a simple affair with a single nave, choir and barrel vault.
For those wishing to have a meal or even just a snack Ristorante Vetta is also at the top of the funicular and has a range of dishes to suit any taste. The restaurant can host up to 200 people and with its stunning terrace with panoramic views of Lake Lugano, there is no reason to skip this place, even if it is just for a coffee!
There are also several great lookout points at the top of Monte San Salvatore which are worth exploring to get those magnificent panoramic views. The main one is at the very top of the mountain right next to the church. Just walk passed the museum to the top very top from the funicular station. And, be sure to circle the church (Chiesa Monte San Salvatore) as you get different views from each side. The other ones are on the hike down the mountain.
Walking & Hiking Trails
Those who love to walk a little further will find plenty of options on Monte San Salvatore.
First, there is the Nature Trail which is intended for children, but you can enjoy it too. There are various fun signs along the path to encourage kids to explore the nature around the top of the mountain and discover all that it has to offer.
If you want to go further afield you can explore the whole mountain from top to tail via the huge range of hiking trails. There is a path from the Paridiiso stop in Lugano to the top of Monte San Salvatore which takes around 2 hours one way.
You can also hike all the way to the lovely lakeside town of Morcote which takes around 3 hours depending on which path you take. That makes for a great day out as Morcote is a destination in and of itself!