For a stunning, lakeside Swiss location in Winter, consider your next trip to the Ticino canton of Switzerland, specifically Ascona. It’s Mediterranean vibe with white-powdered mountains is a unique destination for Winter. This picturesque town, known for its stunning lakeside promenade, vibrant markets, and historic old town, transforms into a serene winter paradise, inviting visitors to revel in the magic of the season.
In this post we are sharing many things to do in Ascona during Winter, which we will also update with new content, as well as how to get there and answers to a few questions you may be wondering about!
How To Get To Ascona Switzerland?
Located South of the Alps, Ascona is next to Lake Maggiore, with the most picturesque views of the local mountains. Ascona is one of the picturesque locations in the Ticino canton that everyone should have visited at least once!
Travelling to Ascona by public transport is most sustainable, with the best option from many destinations include first taking a train to Locarno, and from here you can take the public bus to Ascona. You can also take the fast trains to Bellinzona first, such as from Zurich or Milan.
Travelling to Ascona by car is easy with many parking locations available, with the following times expected based on where you would come from:
- Zurich to Ascona – 2 hours 50 minutes by car
- Lucerne to Ascona – 2 hours 17 minutes by car
- Milan to Ascona – 1 hour 45 minutes by car
- Como to Ascona – 1 hour 9 minutes by car
- St Moritz to Ascona – 3 hours
If you’re not sure why you should visit Ascona in the first place? Check our 9 best reasons that will definitely convince you to visit!
What is there to do in Ascona in the winter?
Relaxation In Ascona
For those wanting to relax, visit a local spa during your visit to Ascona in Winter, such as the Termali Spa. They have some amazing massage and relaxation packages, where you can also book a private room with balcony, hot tub and sauna access.
We loved our visit to the spa last year, and look forward to going again soon!
Restaurants In Ascona
During Winter in Ticino, Ascona is very cosy with local restaurants providing heaters and blankets, as well as sparkling lights hung up through the trees. It’s quite romantic for those wanting a Wintery weekend together, else its quite magical for those travelling solo or with children.
Find a restaurant along the promenade for the best lake views in Winter.
For a specific restaurant tips that we have personally tried, check out
- Piazza Ascona (our personal top favourite in Ascona!)
- Osteria Nostrana
- Restaurant Eden Roc Ascona
- Al Pontile Ristorante
- L’ Angolo dei Golosi (for those wanting some Italian ice cream in Winter!)
Visit A Museum
Ascona is not particularly known for its museums. However, there are several museums and cultural attractions in the broader Ticino region that you can visit while in the area. Here are a few:
- Municipal Museum of Modern Art
- Casa Serodine Science Museum
- Pavilion Elisarion Art Museum
- Museo Casa Anatta History Museum
Within the area, you’ll find three designated snowshoe trails managed by SwitzerlandMobility, winding their way through captivating, snow-covered forests. Additionally, there are three cross-country ski trails that provide a picturesque path for gliding over the glistening, pristine snowscape.
As well as snowsledging, you can of course also go skiing! Though Ascona itself is a village, Ticino has a few skiing locations that are possible to travel to from Ascona. You can find all the information and opening status of the ski areas in Ticino on this Snow Report.
Enjoy A Night In The Cinema
For a cosy night inside, check the latest screenings at the cinema. The closest cinema with international movies is PalaCinema Locarno – which is just a short 10 minute bus ride (or 5min with the car) from Ascona. They have incredibly comfortable chairs and films in local and international languages, so keep this in mind when reserving a ticket.
Stroll The Christmas Markets
Ascona in Winter is a great place for a bit of Christmas shopping for gifts and food. You’ll be able to indulge in festive mulled wine, hot chestnuts and gingerbread snacks, as well as local cuisine of Ticino. You can walk around all the cobblestone streets and houses to experience the Christmas spirit.
The whole area is also decorated with lights and decorations, such as a huge Christmas present with Ascona in the background and the trees having Christmas balbals handing down.
Take A Hike
You can consider a relaxing hiking route from Ascona all the way to Tenero. This route is beautiful all year round, but in Winter it’s more special. The route is mostly flat, where you walk along the lakeside for most of the route. A relaxing way to enjoy the Mediterranean atmosphere.
Along this route, keep a look out for the Swing the World. This is one of the many swings found in Ticino that you can sit and enjoy. The one on this route is near the beach, hanging from a huge tree, so you cannot miss it
Alternatively you can take a hike up, up near the local mountains. We enjoyed a hike to the Balladrum viewpoint, which is a great location to look down to Ascona and the lake. We did the hike during Summer, but there is a concrete pathway half of the way that you can hike up during Winter.
Get Active With A Christmas Run – Corsa da Natal
The annual “Corsa da Natal” or Christmas run unfolds along the scenic paths of Borgo and the lakeside promenade in Ascona. This race welcomes participants of all skill levels, offering various routes and distances. The courses range from 300m for the youngest runners to 6km for the seasoned athletes.
The primary objective of the event is to promote inclusivity, particularly by involving individuals with disabilities through the “All4All” initiative. This has transformed the race into a prominent and significant fixture in the local sports calendar.
For 2023, the run takes place on 17th December 2023. More information can be found on the main website.
Ascona Fireworks on 1st January!
Every year, during Winter in Ascona is the firework show for New Years Day. With hopefully dry weather, the firework show is very pretty for all ages. The tradition is that the fireworks are usually let off in the dark at 6:30 pm, with the display visible from the lakeside over the gulf.
We have a specific Ascona Fireworks post here with more photos and what to expect!
Frequently Asked Questions About Ascona In Winter
Here are a few questions we see being asked about Ascona during the Winter period.
Does Ascona Get Snow In Winter?
Don’t expect much snow in Ascona during Winter, as it can still be rather sunny with its Mediterranean charm. This is great for those enjoying the Winter season with a bit of sunshine!
However, there are local mountains with hiking and snow sledging options, since they are at a much higher elevation. Most local mountains will be topped with a sprinkle of snow from mid-December onwards. For example Cimetta is a great place also to ski. Alternatively head up the Locarno chairlifts for a warm bombardino or gluhwein to drink.
What Is The Temperature of Ascona In Winter?
The average temperature during the Winter in Ascona is as high as 7°c and as low as 2°c. However this is just the average and you can experience minus °c amounts during the night.
Where To Stay In Ascona during Winter?
For a bit of Winter luxury, we recommend booking a night or more at the following:
- Hotel la Meridiana, Lake & SPA – It’s a stunning location offering the charm of a historic Swiss-Italian Ticinese house with walls from the Middle Ages blended with modern architecture and facilities.
- Hotel Ascona – The tranquil location on the legendary Monte Verità with the view of Lake Maggiore and the surrounding mountains makes this a privileged place to be.
- Charm Apartment – A full apartment for yourselves just a short walk from the promenade. This property offers access to a terrace and free private parking too!
Why Is Ascona Special In Winter?
Ascona is very special in Winter due to the Mediterranean climate. It’s picture perfect with palm trees, sunshine and possible snow topped rooftops. It’s the ideal winter location for relaxation for the spa, restaurants and shopping.