As we were so close to Switzerland, we decided to pop over for a day or two. We continued north on Lake Maggiore which continues on into Switzerland. The drive along the lake shore was stunning with beautiful, very exclusive homes perched on the hillside leading right onto the lake, many with their own private yacht, some even built on stilts in the lake, amazing places but very expensive, we thought.
Our plan was to stay lakeside all the way and check out the towns at the north end of the lake as our first stop in Switzerland, but we took a wrong turn and ended up going through a really long tunnel and completely missed the towns, very annoyingly!
We drove towards Lugano instead and found a nice stop at a cemetery car park where we could stay the night, it was a lovely quiet area with a pretty church nearby and a lovely grassy field, great for the dogs and a game of Frisbee. We chilled for the rest of the day after going for a little bike ride to check out the area.
The following morning we drove to San Salvatore Mountain where we planned to hike to the top. After eventually finding the car park we headed off on the steep, hard work climb, through the pine forest to the peak. It was about an hour and a half up with lots of steep steps and we were rewarded with several Awesome view points on the way. Most people get the overpriced funicular up which meant the walk was really quiet and tourist free. It was a really great hike, hard work but enjoyable and the boys, although tired had a great time too. The views from the top were incredible with a 360 degree viewing platform. We could see south all the way to Milan and the stunning snow capped mountains of the Swiss Alps to the north. After taking it all in, we began our hike back down the mountain, which was a lot easier and we were relieved to finally get back to the van for some well deserved breakfast.
We later drove to the very attractive lake side city of Lugano which was so busy and looked very upmarket. The only parking was paid and as we didn’t have any Swiss franks we made the easy decision to not have a wonder around. We decided to drive back towards Italy over the opposite side of lake Lugano, hoping to find somewhere nice on the way to stop off and have a swim in the lake, this didn’t happen! Apart from 1 small park up which was full, everywhere else was very exclusive, private and unwelcoming to us vanlifers. The lake itself from what we got to see driving past was beautiful so it was a real shame it wasn’t accessible to visitors like us. We were glad to get back to Italy and decided when we would return to Switzerland, we would be more prepared and do more research on certain places.