Photo of Locarno

About Locarno

Nestling on the northernmost shore of Lake Maggiore is Locarno, a town that is steeped in history and natural beauty. Boasting a warm climate where lemon and palm trees blossom, a fascinating and picturesque Old Town lined with narrow lanes and ancient churches, and a gorgeous hinterland ideally suited to hiking, Locarno bares all the trappings of a fantastic romantic weekend away. Our collection of the best places to stay in Locarno offer something for everyone from chic boutiques to upmarket luxury hotels.

The Old Town is a piece of Mediterranean elegance. The lovely narrow lanes all lead to the heart of Locarno, the magnificent Piazza Grande, where you can find the market and, in the heat of the August sunshine, the annual film festival. On the edge of the piazza stands the Castello Visconteo, a 12th castle doubling up as an archaeological museum, which is worth checking out. Locarno is also renowned for its thriving art scene, with galleries like Casa Rusca and Il Rivellino displaying the best of contemporary art.

The waters of Lake Maggiore, Alpine-fed and crystal clear, are perfectly suited to scuba diving and watersports like wakeboarding and waterskiing; you can also book boat excursions to the nearby Brissago Islands. Afterwards, be sure to head to the Lido Locarno, an excellent wellness complex featuring thermal baths, spa treatments and swimming pools, all against a stunning backdrop of snowcapped Alpine mountains.

Out-of-town, there is much to feast your eyes upon. Looming high above Locarno, saintly and beautiful, stands the Church of Madonna del Sasso, a pilgrimage site where you can get breathtaking views of the town and surrounding hinterland. Stretching further on lies the lush green valleys of Verzasca and Maggia, both of which boast amazing views and hiking paths. Nearby, at the Verzasca Dam, you can go bungee-jumping down a 220m drop, the selfsame drop used in the film GoldenEye.

What not to miss

  • Scuba dive in the clear glacier-fed waters of Lake Maggiore.
  • Take a boat trip out to the nearby Brissago Islands.
  • Go bungee-jumping down the Verzasca Dam.
  • Hike through the lush valleys of Maggia and Verzasca.
  • Check out the market at Piazza Grande.
  • Visit the pilgrimage site above Locarno, the Church of Madonna del Sasso.
  • Paraglide from Cinetta to Locarno!

This, unsurprisingly, is a popular spot so to ensure a room at one of the best places to stay in Locarno be sure to plan your trip well in advance.

The best places to stay in Locarno

Chic boutique

  • Giardino Lago: offering airy and colourful rooms, marrying chic style with home comforts, this gorgeous hotel stands right on the banks of Lake Maggiore. Offering guests the chance to do a number of watersports, the hotel also boasts a superb restaurant.

Pure luxury

  • Villa Orselina: in an utterly romantic spot by Lake Maggiore, this luxury hotel offers 3 restaurants, an extensive and pampering spa, and bright white rooms with top-of-the-range bathrooms and floor-to-ceiling windows. Ideal for couples looking to splash out.

For an apartment or villa

  • Our partner Booking.com has a wide range of villas and apartments in the nearby area.

Travel information

  • Locarno has the warmest climate in Switzerland, and also 2,300 hours of sunshine every year. The best time to go is between June and August when the temperature ranges between 16 and 28 degrees.
  • Fly to Zurich Airport, get a train to Locarno, changing in Bellinzona. The journey should take around 2 hours.
  • If you want to rent a car we recommend contacting our partner Rentalcars.

Still not sure?

Best Hotels in Locarno

  • Giardino Lago Locarno (Minusio) 14 rooms from £163

    This hotel marries amazing views of the stunning Lago Maggiore with a stylish boutique feel that offers simple but attractive design features. Upon the lake, guests are encouraged towards a number of watersports, including fishing. The restaurant offers fine cuisine, and bicycles are free to hire.

    Lakeside  -  RIght by Lago Maggiore
    Elegant
    Country Escape
    Towelling robes
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  • Villa Orselina Locarno 28 rooms from £360

    Villa Orselina is a blissful hotel overlooking Lake Maggiore and the Alps. The deluxe white on white rooms, feature floor to ceiling windows and lavish bathrooms. With an extensive spa and three restaurants you will be well taken care of. Perfect for a romantic break by the lake.

    Hideaway  -  A perfect escape- pamper yourself at the spa, feast at one of the excellent restaurants and admire the views of the lake.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the 15th century sanctuary of Madonna del Sasso in Orselina, less than five minutes walk from the hotel.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
    Recommended by  -  Small Luxury Hotels
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