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#33 Things To Do

#33 Things To Do while staying at Parco San Marco

Nestled between lake and mountain in an area of art and culture, Parco San Marco offers everyone the chance to find what they want.
Discover our tips and the 33 unmissable activities: culinary, cultural and sporting experiences that will make your holiday unique and unforgettable.

The staff will take you on a sensory journey through contemporary cuisine, recommending the right wine to pair with simple yet refined dishes that highlight fresh, premium ingredients.

The splendid lake view will frame your romantic evening.

Perched on the tip of the small peninsula of Lavedo, in Lenno, Villa del Balbianello is one of the most romantic and elegant residences on Lake Como. It was built in the 18th century by Cardinal Durini by extending an ancient monastery.

The gardens are undoubtedly what makes the villa so unique: a spectacular series of paths and terraces overlooking the lake, among neoclassical statues, trees and bushes chiselled in Italian style into incredible shapes. Currently managed by FAI - Fondo Ambiente Italiano, it houses a museum with antique books and travel memorabilia collected by the last owner, the adventurous explorer Guido Monzino.

The fascination of the villa has even reached Hollywood, where the second episode of Star Wars "Attack of the Clones" and 007 Casino Royal were filmed.

The Villa can be reached, during the week, by foot along a footpath or by motorboat taxi from Lido di Lenno directly to the Villa's private dock.

The Gandria Olive Tree Trail is a one-and-a-half-hour walk along the Ceresio river, linking Gandria to Castagnola.

This walk winds among typically Mediterranean flowers and shrubs. A diversion from the main path leads to the Parco degli Ulivi (Olive Tree Park), with century-old plants and educational panels illustrating their characteristics, history and curiosities. Since it is south-facing and protected from the winds, it enjoys a mild climate even during the winter season.

You can set off on foot from Gandria and once in Castagnola return by boat.

Our executive chef will reveal all the tricks of the trade for preparing the perfect fresh pasta, or for surprising your guests with delicious vegetarian dishes and traditional Italian desserts.

Le Monte Brè, à 933 mètres d’altitude, est accessible en une vingtaine de minutes en funiculaire depuis Lugano-Cassarate. Au sommet, vous trouverez une petite église, ainsi que l’Osteria della Funicolare et le Ristorante Vetta, tous deux dotés de terrasses d’où vous pourrez admirer la belle vue panoramique sur les Alpes et le golfe de Lugano.

Après une courte marche à pied (sentier et escaliers, environ 20 minutes), vous atteindrez le centre du petit village de Brè, à 785 mètres d’altitude, agrémenté d’une vingtaine d’œuvres d’artistes contemporains, dont Aligi Sassu, Armando Losa, Gianfredo Camesi, Emilio Rissone, Mariapia Borgnini et Fra Roberto Pasotti, magnifiquement insérées entre les petites places et les rues pavées.

The soul of the restaurant "La Masseria - Mediterranean Grill" is undoubtedly its authentic ambience where you can enjoy both traditional Italian culinary specialities and fine cuts of meat straight from the grill. During the summer, you can enjoy the panoramic view of Lake Lugano from the terrace, while in the cooler months the rustic ambience of the dining room awaits you: a two hundred year old cellar with exposed stone vaulting and heated by a romantic fireplace.

A trip on a private boat is the best way to enjoy the beauty of the lake and discover new views and panoramas not visible from the pedestrian road.

You can hire a motorboat without a licence or book a private tour. In both cases the starting point will be the private beach of our Resort.

Bellagio, which lies right at the point where Lake Como splits into its two southern branches, is considered the 'Pearl of Lake Como' with its characteristic stairways between the houses in the historic centre. In addition to the Villa Melzi botanical gardens just minutes from the pier, you can plan a visit to the Villa Serbelloni gardens. Owned by the Rockefeller Foundation, which organises conferences and study stays here, the gardens are only accessible by guided tour and are characterised by a charming maze of paths and alleys that wind for almost 18 km along the Bellagio peninsula. Immerse yourself in native vegetation with ancient and exotic trees, embellished with terraces and statues. From here you will enjoy spectacular views of both the Lecco and Como branches of Lake Como.

Grab your favourite book and head for the Belvedere area, the highest part of the Resort's botanical garden. Cuddle up in one of the hammocks or on a deckchair and enjoy the peace and quiet and the breath-taking view of Lake Lugano.

In Oria, on the Como shore of Lake Lugano, stands Villa Fogazzaro Roi, the summer residence of the famous Italian writer Antonio Fogazzaro, who found inspiration here to compose and set "Piccolo Mondo Antico", his most famous novel, published in 1896.

Today the property of this extraordinary place has been bequeathed to the FAI, Fondo per l'ambiente italiano, by Marquis Giuseppe Roi, great-grandson of Antonio Fogazzaro, who - in the mid-twentieth century - renovated and tastefully refurbished every room to preserve and evoke the nineteenth-century settings in which the protagonists of the novel move.

The living rooms, the parlours, the study, the bedrooms, the kitchen: it almost seems as if the owners of the house have just gone out for a stroll.

Not to be missed is the splendid roof garden directly on the lake.

The Balcone d'Italia (Italian balcony) is a natural terrace at 1320 metres above sea level, literally set among the rocks, offering a unique view of Lake Lugano cut in two by the Melide bridge.

It is located on the summit of Monte Sighignola in Alta Valle Intelvi, about 20 minutes' drive from San Marco Park.

This vantage point is easily reached by car but is also a popular cycling route: the effort of the climb will be well rewarded by the spectacular panoramic view!

 

During your holiday at the Parco San Marco, don't miss the chance to learn all the secrets of climbing.

Experience the thrill of climbing under the guidance of our team. During the ascent you will enjoy an incomparable view of Lake Lugano.

(Minimum age required: 12 years)

The Verzasca Valley, one of the most beautiful valleys in Canton Ticino, is the ideal destination for nature lovers.

The crystal-clear water of the Verzasca River flows through a rocky canyon, creating beautiful landscapes, and the characteristic villages with their stone houses only add to the valley's charm.

The Sentierone della Valle Verzasca is one of the most popular walks, winding through the woods and along the river on the old mule track, past old rural buildings, chapels, bridges, waterfalls and flower-filled meadows.

In summer you can regenerate with a refreshing dip in the river.

Take a moment for yourself and enjoy the experience of a rejuvenating massage and discover a feeling of peace and well-being, to combat stress and improve the overall functionality of our body.

Our practioners are ready to guide you through the wide range of our massages and treatments to choose the one that best suits your needs.

The castle towers over Varenna and enjoys a panoramic position over Bellagio and the exact point where Lake Como splits into two branches.

Admire the medieval tower and the ruins of the fortress. Today the castle is also home to a falconry with daily shows.

Discover this small lake nestled in a 176-hectare protected nature reserve halfway between Lake Como and Lake Lugano.

Once you have parked your car, continue on foot along the path that winds around the lake.

You will admire the local flora and fauna, the water lilies, the reed thicket and the grove.

Coots, mallards, moorhens and reed warblers nest in the marsh vegetation; in autumn and spring we can see many different migratory species, including kingfishers. You can also observe them from the small, characteristic wooden jetty that you will encounter on your way.

Alternatively, you can also reach Lago del Piano by bicycle directly from San Marco Park.

Mount San Salvatore (912 m a.s.l.), the symbol of the city of Lugano, can be reached by funicular railway from Paradiso, which runs every 30 minutes.

The panoramic points on the summit are numerous and well signposted. One of them is on the roof of the church: from here you can admire the city, the alpine circle and Lake Lugano at 360 degrees.

From the summit you can follow various paths suitable for the whole family: towards Carona or Pazzallo and Paradiso, or following the nature trail on the summit ridge. 

The Parco San Marco tennis court also has a spectacular view of the lake. Don't get too distracted during your game!

Private lessons with a professional instructor can also be arranged on request.

Monte Generoso, at 1704 metres above sea level, is the most imposing and panoramic peak in the region. From here, one can admire the city of Lugano, the Lake District (Lugano, Como, Varese and Maggiore), Gran Paradiso, Monte Rosa, the Matterhorn, the Jungfrau, the Gotthard and Bernina massifs.

The summit can be reached on foot from the Italian side or from the Swiss side by an old steam train departing from Capolago. Since spring 2017, the fascinating "Stone Flower", a unique work of art by architect Mario Botta, has towered over the summit. Mario Botta, which houses two restaurants and a panoramic terrace.

Villa Carlotta is located in Tremezzo on Lake Como and is named after Princess Carlotta, whose husband George II, Duke of Sachsen-Meiningen, was a keen botanist and turned the park into a landscape garden. Today, more than 500 plants, including exotic and rare ones, can be found here. One of the special features of the villa is undoubtedly the spring flowering of the more than 150 varieties of azaleas and rhododendrons: an explosion of colours that is not to be missed!

The interior of the Villa houses important works of art by Hayez, Canova and Thorvaldsen.

During your holiday you can take the opportunity to visit the undisputed capital of fashion and design.

Milan is an avant-garde city which is very active from an economic and cultural point of view. Discover its hidden treasures among poetic views, Art Nouveau buildings and small architectural gems ranging from Gothic to Romanesque style. You can start your visit from the heart of the city: Piazza Duomo.

 

Challenge the power of the water: dives, slides and rope descents in an Alpine stream!

Depending on your level of fitness, you can try out various canyoning routes on Lake Como and Lake Lugano. The simplest routes are also suitable for children from the age of 10.

Experienced guides will accompany you and provide the necessary equipment.

This easy 30-minute hike starts directly from the San Marco Park and climbs up through the woods, past an old church, an old washhouse and the ruins of abandoned houses to our Adventure Climbing Park and then up to a wonderful viewpoint: a comfortable bench is waiting for you to rest after the climb and enjoy the view from the highest point.

Along the way you can have fun finding plaques with some of the most beautiful love phrases of famous poets.

A few kilometres north of Lugano, Monte Tamaro awaits you.

The cable car takes you to Alpe Foppa, the starting point for walks and mountain bike tours.

The whole family can find amusement and entertainment: an Adventure Park with different levels of difficulty, a sledge lift and a playground for children.

Following the eastern lakefront you reach the station of the funicular railway for Brunate, inaugurated at the end of the 19th century, which will take you to the small village on the hill above the town - a true belvedere over the lake and the Lombard pre-alps.

The Rescia caves, located in Claino con Osteno on the opposite side of the lake to Parco San Marco, are a natural jewel that are well worth a visit for their uniqueness.

Along the route, you can admire the 70-metre-high Santa Giulia waterfall from a natural opening in the gorge.

Park guests can book a day excursion to the caves, which includes a guided tour and transfer by private boat.

Small cruises along the Ceresio depart daily from Lugano by boat. Be sure to make a stop in Morcote: one of the most beautiful villages in Switzerland.

The characteristic narrow streets, the arcades of the old patrician houses, architectural monuments of great value and lush subtropical vegetation make Morcote the "Pearl of the Ceresio". A steep flight of steps leads to the beautiful complex formed by the church of S. Maria del Sasso, the cemetery and the chapel of S. Antonio da Padova.

The refuge is a panoramic balcony over Lake Como, located at 1380 m above sea level on a grassy slope at the foot of Mount Grona.

It can be reached by foot starting from Breglia, above Menaggio, with a walk of about 1 ½ hours following the mountain path indicated by the red and white marks.

A nature walk suitable for the whole family.

See the lake landscape from a new perspective!

Experienced instructors will accompany you on a tandem flight from 1600 m above sea level at Monte Galbiga. An adrenaline-pumping experience that will make your stay at Parco San Marco even more unforgettable!

The 2500 square metres of the LAC Museum house an artistic heritage of over 14,000 works covering an artistic period from the end of the 15th century to the present day.

The programme also includes major exhibitions of modern and contemporary artists of wide appeal.

Castelgrande, Montebello and Sasso Corbaro: the three castles of Bellinzona with their towers and what remains of the ancient walls are a unique complex of medieval military architecture in the Alps, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They were built at the behest of the Dukes of Milan, around the 15th century, to prevent the Swiss Confederates from advancing southwards. Bellinzona was in fact in a strategic position at the crossroads of the Alpine routes between north and south.

Walk around the crenelated walls and, passing through little doors carved into the walls, visit the secret rooms and imagine what life must have been like in those days.

As well as by foot, the castles can be reached by a convenient little tourist train from Piazza Collegiata.

You don't need waves, you don't need wind, you just need a fast boat - water skiing means speeding lightly across the surface of the water in search of thrills.

The PADI centre instructors await you directly on the Resort's private beach for your adrenalin-packed experience at the water's surface.

The Sacro Monte is located in Ossuccio, during the ascent to the sanctuary you will enjoy a magnificent view of Lake Como and the Comacina Island. The walk is easy, takes less time than walking, and takes place in the midst of nature. On the mule track you will visit the fourteen votive chapels dedicated to the mysteries of the Rosary with life-size terracotta statues and frescoes from the 17th and 18th centuries.

A route between faith, art and breath-taking views recognised in 2003 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.