On Top Of Monte San Salvatore

The highlight of our visit to Lugano was to venture Monte San Salvatore.

Monte San Salvatore, one of Lugano’s home mountains, rises few steps away from the busy streets of the city. Its altitude is about 912 m and one of the easy to reach vantage points in Lugano.

Getting Here

The peak of the mountain can be reached either hiking or by Funicular rail.

The route to the summit is a frequently visited old trail and since year 1200 pilgrims walked this route to pay homage to the Sun of God, whom according to the ancient legend took a rest here before his ascent to heaven. The trail is quite moderate and takes about 3 hours. The hiking trail begins just near the Funicular station in Paradiso.

For more experienced and fearless mountain climbers “via ferrata” (iron way) is a chance to enjoy the high adrenaline adventure experience. (Artificial fixed aid climbing route on the vertical rock face).

From the top of the mountain there are also other popular walking trails which leads down to beautifully situated Ciona, a small Italian style village and up to picturesque village of Carona and to the charming village of Morcote and further to Melide.

It was our second day in Lugano and we had our return to Milano at the midday. So we decided to take Funicular ride to save our time to spend more time on the top of the mountain.

Monte San Salvatore Funicular

The Funicular station is located in residential area of Paradiso, which is only 5 minutes away from the Paradiso railroad station and at 500 meters form the Lugano-Sud motorway exit. With the cable railway you can reach the top of the mountain within 10 minutes and from morning it makes trips every 30 minutes till late afternoon. It costs CHF 30 per adult for a return ticket and the holders of TICINO Tickets is CHF 24 per adult.  For more information: https://www.montesansalvatore.ch/en/mount-san-salvatore/funicular/

From our hotel it was only 2 minute walk to the Funicular Station so we took the first trip in the morning. It was about 10 minute ride with spectacular views of the city below, Lake Lugano and surrounding mountains. Halfway up the mountain at Pazzallo you will need to switch to another funicular. (Pazzallo is a quarter of the city of Lugano which lies on the slopes of Monte San Salvatore).

On The Top Of The Legendary Mountain

Once you exit the Funicular there is a restaurant and a section with few picnic tables where you can sit and enjoy the vistas. There are several viewpoints from the funicular station, which can be reached by foot. Once you walk past the restaurant there is a small trail with steps to reach the top of the summit. The trail is only about 5 minute walk to the top.

This is the perfect location where you can enjoy the spectacular view of the Lake Lugano, the town below and mountains. From here we could see the Swiss Alps and the parts of Italy, particularly the Italian enclave of Campione d’ Italia which is on the other side of the lake, the isthmus of Melide (The Melide causeway) which connects the southern section of Ticino with the rest of Switzerland and Monte Generoso, a mountain of Lugano Prealps, located on the border of Italy and Switzerland.

On the top there is a small Old Church (‘Chiesa Vetta‘). It is open to the public so we had a visit to the chapel which was built on the 13th Century. Atop of church is the “Terrazza Panoramico“, which serves as an observation platform. The top of the church is a must see when visiting Monte San Salvatore. The vistas were quite stunning. We had a 360° view of the Lugano valley, the lake below and the Alpine scenery from south to west. It was a clear Autumn day. We were even lucky to see the snow- capped Swiss Alps in the north. 

We felt like we were on top of the world and it’s an experience you don’t want to miss in Lugano !

On the way back to the funicular station we visited The San Salvatore Museum. The museum house meticulously restored collection of rare religious artifacts, illustrations and documents of The Archfraternity of Good Death and Prayer. Spread over the other rooms of the museum are very interesting collections of geological material, which displays the geological evolution of the area and particular about the Region of San Salvatore. We were surprised to find that the mountain we are standing on was born out of an ancient sea from Triassic Age.

The other exhibitions of the museum are devoted to Speleology – explores the regions’ underground caves which lay out leads to geological evolution of this landscape and an exhibition on historical significance of lighting and of lightning research.

After spending unforgettable few hours on the top of the legendry mountain we rode down the funicular to catch the train back to Milan.

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