A few months ago we heard of this town in Switzerland called Locarno and we were blown away by its beauty. Mainly because it was so unlike the rest of Switzerland, or at least what I think Switzerland looks like.
Locarno is an Italian speaking city in southern Switzerland. It sits on Lake Maggiore and has palm trees! (one of the things that surprised me most) While most of Switzerland is known for its mountains, snow, skiing etc. This town is known for the Locarno Film Festival, which is one of the main reasons we went! This year was the 70th anniversary. They set up chairs and a giant screen in the Piazza Grande and everyday something new is happening. While we were there, we got to see Adrien Brody win the lifetime achievement award!
We quickly realized that the film festival was not all this city had to offer.
(Photos are a mix between film/digital/iphone. Some by JOE GREER)
We flew (Swiss Air) into Zurich, which from NYC was only 6hr and 50min! From Zurich we took a train straight to Locarno. Once there, we checked into our hotel where we were met with champagne and an incredible room. We had a balcony that overlooked the pool + the lake + the mountains! It doesn't get any better than that. We unpacked, grabbed some espresso and headed to explore the town. It was everything I've ever dreamt of.. Colorful buildings lined the old streets, sailboats on the lake, and the most amazing gelato.
After a good nights sleep, trying to beat the jet lag. We took a cablecar ride up to Cardada. From there we took a chairlift to Cimetta! And from there we could see a 360 view of the lake, the mountains, and several Alpine peaks. Instead of taking the chair lift back down, we walked about 10-15 min to a restaurant on the mountain that was almost in a secret spot! They make traditional Polenta! We had a creamy polenta with gruyere cheese. From there we made our way back down and stopped at the Franciscan Santuario della Madonna del Sasso church to take in its beauty. From there we took old cobblestone stairs all the way down to the old city.
After resting a few hours and tending to a pretty bad sunburn (story of my life) we made our way to the festival! This was the night that Adrien Brody was receiving his award and we were able to have passes for the red carpet to photograph him! I'll add some photos down below that Joe got from that night!
This was the day I think we were most excited about. We went to a spot that a lot of people were telling us about, Ponte Dei Salti. It has the most beautiful bridge, that you most likely have seen photos of. The beautiful clear water runs underneath it and those who are brave enough can jump from the bridge into the water! (none of us were brave enough) Not to mention the water was FREEZING! But this is one of the biggest tourist attractions, so if you go, I recommend going pretty early.
After that, we kept heading up the mountain to explore different villages. And I truly have never seen anything like them! I felt like I was in a fairytale/Disney movie. Most houses were made from stone or painted a beautiful color. We found our way walking through small alleyways that eventually opened to the giant mountains that surrounded the village.
From there we headed back to Locarno to catch a ferry to The Brissago Islands where there is a botanical park. We spent an hour or two exploring and reading the history.
That night we headed back to the festival! We grabbed some drinks in the Locarno Garden. (Gin + Tonic for me please.) Got some pizza and sat for the showing of Sparring.
Okay you guys.. This day. We started at one of the most beautiful spas I have ever seen. Termali Salini & Spa is gorgeous. This was our last day and we were pretty exhausted, so it was the perfect ending. Their pools are salt water, where you can swim from outside to inside. They have plenty of options for a sauna. Not to mention their private suits were you can get an incredible massage. This place was so dreamy.
We ended our day with a bike ride by the lake (with a full moon) and it was magical.
This is not something I would usually include in the post, but I definitely feel like I need to because I had the best flight experience of my entire life this day. We took a train back to Zurich where we checked in only to find out that our flight was delayed by three hours. We were a little bummed until we walked into the Swiss Air lounge and it was the most beautiful/amazing thing. Comfy couches, relaxation room, showers, chef making food, and every drink/coffee you can think of. We basically had a blast waiting for our flight. We flew business class - which looked a lot like first class in comparison to other airlines. Lots of room, amazing service, chair that has a massage function + turns into a bed. It was amazing and we will definitely be flying Swiss air again.
If you're heading to Switzerland or looking to plan a trip, I highly suggest Locarno! It was such a unique place that I didn't even know existed in Switzerland. Warm climate, palm trees, and so much character.