Paragliding, Ticino
Milo Zanecchia

Ticino’s essential experiences

From lakeside cooking to luxurious spa time to sky-diving, Ticino is overflowing with options for great days out

Written by Time Out. Paid for in partnership with Switzerland Tourism and Ticino Tourism.

Although Ticino has a wealth of incredible sights to enjoy, there’s also far more to see than just the famous spots. Once you’ve ticked-off those from the list, get to know the area even better through one or more of these handpicked experiences. 

Not only will you gain a deeper understanding of Ticino and its culture, you’ll also be guaranteed to have a lot of fun, whether you’re travelling as a family, as a couple or with friends. Essentially, there’s a lot going on in Ticino, so get started on it all with our guide to the very best experiences.

Whether you’re on a quick weekend break away from the city or a longer family holiday, find the very best local highlights across Switzerland at

Essential experiences to try in Ticino

Tried hiking and cycling? Ticino offers ample opportunities for extreme sports-lovers to get their fix, so why not crank things up a notch? Make the most of the region’s mountainous landscape by rock-climbing or canyoning in mountain rivers and waterfalls, while those with a head for heights should try paragliding (as a bonus, you’ll get unrivalled sunset views from the sky) or even sky-diving at Para Centro Locarno for the most daring thrill-seekers – a genuinely unique way to see Ticino.

Falconeria Locarno

Witness some of the most incredible species of bird on the planet take to the skies at Locarno’s famous birds of prey centre. Watching eagles, falcons, owls, vultures and other winged wonderers soar through the air makes a fantastic day out for the whole family, and kids will love the fact that the birds glide right over your head during part of the demonstration.

Life in miniature can be a lot of fun. Find out for yourself at this much-loved open-air museum, which has been running on the shore of Lake Lugano for over 60 years. The museum packs some of the best buildings and sights from across Switzerland into just 14,000m², by replicating them in miniature. See the Federal Parliament in Bern, Locarno’s sprawling Piazza Grande, lakes, funiculars and 18 trains, all replicated in tiny – and, let’s be honest, super-cute – form.

If you’re going to learn to cook authentic Ticinese cuisine, there are few better places to do it than right beside one of the jewels in Ticino’s crown. Master the art of preparing a regional dish while on the shore of beautiful Lake Lugano (aided by a professional chef), after you’ve enjoyed a charming cruise on the lake and discovered more about the area from your knowledgeable, on-board guide. After you’ve cooked up a traditional feast, enjoy your dish with a drink on the terrace, soaking up views of the city.

It can be difficult to find an activity that keeps both kids and adults happy for a whole day, but that’s precisely what you’ll find at Splash & Spa Tamaro. Set near the foothills of the mighty Monte Tamaro, this immense water park features water slides (try the Tunnel of Horror, if you dare!), wave pools and dedicated children’s play areas to keep the young ones entertained, while grown-ups will love the Jacuzzi with pool bar and extensive spa and wellness area, boasting a range of saunas, massage treatments and fitness classes. Truly something for everyone.

Everyone deserves a little retail therapy once in a while and when you’re in Ticino that means heading straight to FoxTown, a collection of over 160 factory stores offering designer clothes, sports equipment, home accessories and gifts from hundreds of well-known brands. After all that browsing and buying you’ll need to replenish those energy levels, so take your pick from a choice of restaurants serving up everything from traditional Swiss favourites to sushi. And as FoxTown is only 15km outside of Lugano, it couldn’t be easier to reach, whether you’re travelling by car, train or bus. Retail therapy has never been easier.

Hotel, restaurant, bar, delicatessen – family-run Gabbani is many things to many people, and has been since Domenico Gabbani opened the establishment in 1937. However, it’s the venue’s produce shop that has become its most famous asset and the primary reason for tourists to stop by when visiting Lugano. Gabbani’s delicatessen is known around Lugano for its fresh, high-quality food and drink, much of it sourced from the region. Pasta, cheese, wine, pastries, bread and much more can all be found here, whether you’re searching for the perfect gift to take home or a treat to tide you over before you get back to sightseeing. If you’re looking for something more substantial, Gabbani’s renowned restaurant and bar can provide that, too.

Keep the adventure going

Ticino is packed full of great experiences – find and book yours by visiting, where you can read more about everything the region has to offer and how you can take part.

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