Lugano : Arrival, orientation and information
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Lugano’s train station overlooks the town from the west, and is linked to the centre by a short-run funicular or by steps down to Via Cattedrale, from where lanes run through to the main Piazza della Riforma, one block back from the waterfront. The station is also the arrival and reservations point for the daily Palm Express postbuses direct to St Moritz through Italy; all other postbuses depart from Piazza Rezzonico, adjacent to Riforma in the centre. (If you’re travelling on to Milan by train, ask for a free city-transport pass with your ticket.) Like Locarno, Lugano takes in a number of adjacent districts which often appear in listings as if they were separate towns. The modestly named Paradiso is just around the lakeshore south of the city centre; Cassarate is just east of the centre at the foot of Brè, the slopes of which are covered by the mansions and private palaces of the seriously wealthy Castagnola district. To complicate things further, locals – and some maps – refer to the Lago di Lugano simply as Ceresio.

Lugano’s little airport is 4km west of the city in Agno, served by internal flights and some European routings. Shuttle buses into the city wait for flight arrivals. The driver will drop you at your hotel (Fr.10 one-way including luggage), and on departure you can book a pick-up from your hotel back to the airport (079/221 42 43). If you’re arriving at Milan Malpensa airport, 40km southwest of Lugano in Italy, Bus Express (091/682 88 20, www.busexpress.com) operate four daily shuttles at 8.30am, 11.30am, 4.30pm and 7pm direct from Malpensa airport to the border town of Chiasso (40min) and Lugano (1hr); a one-way fare, including luggage, is Fr.30.

Lugano’s tourist office is in the Palazzo Civico on Riva Albertolli, directly opposite the main landing stage (April–Oct Mon–Fri 9am–6.30pm, Sat 9am–12.30pm & 1.30–5pm, Sun 10am–2pm; Nov–March Mon–Fri 9am–12.30pm & 1.30–5.30pm; 091/913 32 32, www.lugano-tourism.ch). They have the usual piles of information on the city, including a useful pocket Official Guide in four languages, as well as informative brochures on the region around Lugano. Their excellent guided walking tour of the city, starting from the Chiesa degli Angioli on Piazza Luini, is free (April–Oct Mon 9.30am). City buses are free to Swiss Pass, Lugano Regional Pass and InterRail holders, but full price to Eurailers (Fr.1.20–1.90 per trip, or Fr.5 for a day pass).

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