If you are researching what to do in Lugano when it rains, you’ve come to the right post. Written by us as locals, we share a list of things you can see and do on your own, with friends, family or loved ones while visiting Lugano in the rain. Some activities are still outside, but most rainy day activities are inside, such as the cinema, a local museum or even a treat at the spa. Read on for full Lugano rainy day inspiration!
Fun Fact: Did you know the average annual amount of rainy days in Lugano is only 100 days!? That’s not much! With May being actually the rainiest month in Lugano with average 12 of these days. From personal experience, we notice the rainy days most in Lugano when Autumn is ending and the season is changing to Winter. This rain is in combination of the warmer temperatures disappearing.
What To Do In Lugano When It Rains
So we have combined a list of things to see and do (and eat!) for when you are in Lugano during a rainy day. As expat locals, these activities are also something we have enjoyed and done during a rainy day, so we recommend these below from experience. Read on to see our top local tips for what to do in Lugano when it rains;
Take A Boat Ride
Take a trip around Lake Lugano with the local boat that stops at a few little villages nearby. They do special boat trips for seasonal events too, such as Easter, Halloween and Christmas, so for these you might need to plan ahead but suitable for a rainy day. Check here for the boat prices, times and future trips!
Enjoy an Aperitivo
For one of our personal favourite recommendations, find a table inside the warm but outside area of Agua Lugano. This pretty restaurant is right on the lakeside front, where you can watch people, cars and boats all pass by enjoying Lugano, even in the rain. It’s a perfect spot for a relax after the day with an aperitivo.
Get A Random Local Bus
If you really don’t want to get drenched during the rain but still want to explore, you can consider taking a random bus from the main Lugano bus station to somewhere like Bre, Gandria or Morcote. Being on the bus allows you to see the views, if it’s not too cloudy, without having to get soaked. Just make sure to buy the return tickets it you don’t get off at the end!
Visit A Local Museum
One of the top things to do when looking for what to do in Lugano when it rains, is to stay warm inside and visit a museum. There are quite a few museums in Ticino with Lugano being home to the following;
- Museo d’arte della Svizzera italiana (MASI Lugano) – Art Galley Museum
- Museo Cantonale di Storia Naturale – The Natural History Museum
- San Salvatore Museum – great to combine with visiting Monte San Salvatore
- LAC Museum
- Museum of Cultures
- Customs Museum (based in Gandria nearby)
- City of Lugano Historical Archives
A personal recommendation is to visit the LAC museum. Located right in the city centre, LAC museum is a new cultural centre dedicated to the visual arts, music and the performing arts, as well as being one of Switzerland’s most important cultural institutions.
Eat Pasta or Pizza
Find a cosy spot at one of the many local restaurants in Lugano. Nearly all of them sell a delicious dish of pasta or pizza regardless of the weather! Our personal favourite for a pizza is from Spaghetti Pomodoro, which are always perfectly cooked with generous amount of toppings. They have cute seating inside but also an outside terrace under shelter, allowing you to sit outside in the dry.
Alternatively, we can recommend that you get a table at Agua Lugano, where you can choose a seasonal local dish while enjoying a stunning view of the Lake Lugano. Also a great place to watch some expensive cars drive past along the boulevard.
Enjoy A Rainy Walk At The Park
If you’ve got your umbrella or rain coat, a walk in the park is always a delight. Parco Ciani is one of the closest parks to the city, which is a gorgeous route when walking along the Lugano promenade from the city to the beach area. You can also consider walking to Parco Panoramico Paradiso, which has great views towards Monte Bre and the city below.
Get Film Tickets
A fun place to get away from the rain in Lugano is to visit the cinema. The CineStar cinema in Lugano has most films in Italian, but some of the top movies are also shown in English with Italian subtitles too. Make sure to check first online or by calling to see what films are in English for your visit.
There are of course plenty of shops to enjoy if you want to spend some money in Lugano. There are some very posh and expensive branded stores on one of the main shopping streets, but we can recommend some local thrift shopping in Lugano. These stores are so fun to rummage in, and if you are like me, you could be in them for hours checking everything out!
Take The Scenic Train
The local red and white trains are great to take when it’s raining, where you can hop on and off, but also stay on for the scenic route. It drives between the Monte Bre and Monte San Salvatore funiculars, which is a lovely route along the promenade.
Join A Tasting Experience
Check the local tours that Lugano tourism office organises, as long as the weather isn’t too bad. For example they have a tasting experience tour where you can discover meats, fish, cheeses and wines from the region. This also includes a mini-cruise to Ceresio. More information here!
Have A Wellness Spa Day
What better way to enjoy a rainy day than by staying inside for a spa day. Whether just for a swim, a 1 hour massage or some well relaxation in the sauna – a spa day is always a treat! Many spa’s do have a package deal with a massage included in the visit, so check online before you visit.
It might not be in Lugano specifically, but we recommend Termali Salini & Spa in Locarno, just a short train ride away from Lugano. It’s right on the lake side with stunning views even on a rainy day!
We hope these suggestions help you with what to do in Lugano when it rains!
Have any more suggestions and tips, let us know in the comments!