Located next to the sweet Swiss city of Lugano is the mountain of Monte San Salvatore. With a bright red funicular ride to the top, you can see the stunning views and the delightful highlights of Monte San Salvatore. The main highlight of the mountain is of course the gorgeous 360° views of Lake Lugano and looking down to the smaller villages surrounding the lake, a great place to eat and a few local hikes that can be started from the top.
Monte San Salvatore Facts
It’s always great to know some facts about a location before visiting. So here are our top facts we wanted to share about Monte San Salvatore:
- The elevation is 912 meters
- Back in 1200, pilgrims used to make their way up to the mountain summit on foot in order to pay respects to the Son of God
- The chapel at the top dates back to 1414
- You can enjoy small musical concerts here during the summer
- The funicular opened in 1890
Here’s a photo we took during our Summer visit
How To Get To The Top
The most popular and easiest way is to use the Monte San Salvatore funicular. Located from Lugano Paradiso, you can take the funicular every 30 minutes, unless you are visiting during winter where they have a different timetable. So check this before you visit. The bright red funicular can accommodate a large group, so don’t worry about not getting a spot – unless visiting on a busy Saturday during Summer.
Alternatively you can hike up completely from Lugano Paradiso, which is great for those who don’t have a set time to visit. You walk through the forestry area as well as past local houses along the way.
Travel Tip: You can buy a combination ticket of the funicular with the restaurant at the top if you have a reservation, which is cheaper! This allows you to ascend up Monte San Salvatore with the funicular, then enjoy a delicious meal and a drink at the restaurant while enjoying the views.
The monte San SAlvatore restaurant
Open for most of the warmer months till early Autumn, the main restaurant is called Ristorante Vetta San Salvatore. They have a small menu but great choices for all with dietary needs. The prices are also reasonable for Switzerland, as it’s similar prices as a restaurant in the city centre, so don’t expect to pay more for being at the top!
If you don’t wish to stop and eat something, at least taking a seat and enjoying the view with a cold drink is a must. The terrace area has seating right on the edge of the railing, allowing you to dream away with the mountainous views towards Italy.
monte San Salvatore or Monte bre?
As you might notice, Monte San Salvatore is on the South side of Lake Lugano with Monte Bre opposite. Both truly have amazing views looking down to the city of Lugano, so we can understand why it might be hard to pick which one you visit!
We believe the pros of visiting Monte San Salvatore are the following:
- 360° views of Lake Lugano and surrounding villages
- Further hiking routes to Carona and and down to the village of Melide (you can hike through the flowery Parco San Grato gardens this way too).
- 1 beautiful restaurant with outside seating area (weather permitting)
- An enjoyable funicular ride to the top (else hiking!)
- Perfect for watching the sunrise from!