From Montese we had to head back up to Switzerland to drop off our hire car. We originally intended to return to Zurich and fly back to the UK from there. However, the idea of 6 hours in the car didn't exactly excite us.....or the Z man. So we made a decision to head to Lugano, just over the border, instead. We would stay a few nights then take the train, a one hour journey, to Milan. Sorted.
Great decision. Lugano is stunning. It's a little like Lake Como goes to Monte Carlo. Expensive, well groomed and so very stylish.
We were staying in the Ibis Budget hotel. There was no flashy hotel suite or Maserati waiting to collect us form the train station but we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.
We spent a sunny morning cruising around Lago di Luganno on one of the large ferries. As recommended we stopped off in Gandria for lunch. Gandria is a gorgeous little pedestrian town situated right on the lake and you could be forgiven for thinking you were somewhere along the Amalfi coast. A great place to visit but it would be rather quiet and the swimming slightly treacherous with a child. If you have the time another great spot to stop off for a bite would be Grotto die Pescatori . We didn't have time this visit but I'd love to at some point.
Back in Lugano we headed straight for the public 'lido' for a swim. There are many fantastic public pools in Lugano and I would love to road test them all. We went for the closest, Lido Riva Caccia, which had a spectacular view of the lake and plonked ourselves down for an afternoon of swimming. People watching at this pool was just as entertaining as the swimming! There was many a fine lady in full bathing regalia.... earrings, makeup, mani, pedi, perfect hair..... gracefully gliding across the lake. They seemed, like the swans of the lake, to move as a flock. It was quite the site. As the afternoon wears on there is a shuffle for free lettino's, which are more expensive than the entrance fee, and some serious repositioning to follow the sun. Afternoon drinks on the deck begin and the mood is jovial. It's the perfect place to see out the day.
Although it was short we loved our time in Lugano and would definitely love to head back some day for longer.