Locarno – Mediterranean jewel


Locarno is located on the northern shore of Lake Maggiore and, together with Lugano, is the warmest place in Switzerland. It is considered the northernmost city with a Mediterranean climate on a lake.



Palm Trees and Film Dreams: Locarno’s Enchanting Piazza Grande

The town of Locarno is characterized by its Mediterranean atmosphere, where palm and lemon trees thrive in the middle of the town and give it a special charm. The heart of the town is Piazza Grande, which is famous for its annual film festival.

Locarno Film Festival

The Locarno Film Festival is considered the most important film festival in Switzerland and is one of the most renowned in Europe.

The heart of the festival is the evening film screening on the beautiful Piazza Grande, which is transformed into an “extraordinary open-air cinema”. Producers, directors and actors who come to Locarno to present their films walk the red carpet and add a touch of glamor to the festival. In addition to the screenings on the Piazza Grande, further film screenings take place in 13 other cinemas in the city.

Piazza Grande in Locarno

Piazza Grande in Locarno

Piazza Grande with international events

The winding alleyways of the old town all lead to the Piazza, a large cobbled square in the heart of Locarno that reflects the vibrant life of the city. However, the Piazza Grande is much more than just a large square – it is the venue for international events that attract thousands of visitors every year. These include the Moon&Stars music festival, the renowned Locarno Film Festival, the Food Truck Festival, Locarno on Ice and the weekly market, which takes place every Thursday.

The Piazza Grande also serves as the starting point for many of the city’s sights, such as the Castello Visconteo. Originally dating back to the Middle Ages, it was partially destroyed in 1531 and now functions as an archaeological museum. The small alleyways that lead uphill from Piazza Grande between the houses all lead to the old town.

Castello Visconteo

Castello Visconteo

Castello Visconteo

On the edge of the old town stands the 12th century Castello Visconteo, around a fifth of which has been preserved in its original state. Magnificent palazzi house unique art collections.

The museum exhibits important archaeological finds of international significance. These valuable exhibits were recovered during various excavations at numerous burial sites and can now be found in the museum’s various exhibition rooms.

The collection of Roman glass discovered in the canton of Ticino is particularly well known. This impressive collection is complemented by finds from the Bronze Age dating back over 3000 years.

The museum also houses an exhibition dedicated to the 1925 Peace Conference and the Locarno Treaties. A tour of the exhibition shows the venues where the conference was held, as well as historical items of clothing and Nymphenburg porcelain.

Above Locarno, in Orselina, lies the Madonna del Sasso pilgrimage church, which is attributed to an apparition of the Virgin Mary. It is the main attraction and offers a fantastic view of the town, the lake and the surrounding mountains.

Madonna del sasso

Madonna del sasso

Madonna del Sasso pilgrimage church

The Madonna del Sasso pilgrimage church in Orselina is located on a spectacular rocky outcrop and is one of the most important religious and historical sites in the canton of Ticino. Legend has it that the Franciscan friar Bartolomeo wanted to build a place of devotion to the Virgin Mary on the rock of Locarno. Today there is the Church of the Annunciation at the foot of the mountain, the Way of the Cross and the pilgrimage church. The holy mountain is home to a treasure trove of art, history and spirituality.

The pilgrimage church stands on a spacious square from which you have a magnificent view of the valley. From the square in front of the church, you can look out over Locarno and the lake and admire the surrounding mountains.

The path to the pilgrimage church leads through a beautiful natural landscape and past picturesque chapels. Alternatively, the holy mountain can also be reached by funicular from Locarno-Madonna del Sasso.

Video You won’t believe this is Switzerland!

Locarno is a Swiss town on the shores of Lake Maggiore. It is famous for its Italian flair (dolce vita), its wonderful location between the hills and the lake and its annual film festival. Locarno is also known as the city of flowers due to its warm climate. Piazza Grande, the popular main square, is perfect for a coffee or lunch. The old town just behind the square is full of boutiques and small alleyways. If you climb up the hills, you have a great view of the surrounding area, even of the neighboring town of Ascona. If you want to go even higher, you can visit the Madonna del Sasso (famous pilgrimage church) or climb Cardada, the local mountain behind Locarno.

You won't believe that this is Switzerland! 🇨🇭 Walking in Locarno (Ticino)

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