Hi Wendy -I just ran across this thread, with some information about hiking near Lugano:
Next year -
Looking ahead - next year, you might consider the Emmental. ;-)
<<"It will be for 5-6 nights, we don't need much in the way of
restaurants, and no night entertainment. We will be totally reliant on
public transport so we need to be in an area that can give us access to
5-6 days hiking, we would most likely hike around 7-8 hours a day
including rest stops. We also like to bike, so we would need access to
bike rental if we were in an area with good bike trails. We don't do big
towns, we found Lucerne a total waste of time when there was so much
beauty in the countryside waiting to be explored, but as I said we need
access to transport and accomodation that either gives us full board or
somewhere we can buy food.">>
It certainly meets those criteria, in abundance. There is an abundance of inns of all degrees of size and kitchen quality, usually family run. And, May is a good time to hike in the area. Trails are all open and in good condition.
The only thing that it lacks....which may be critical for you? - is really high mountains.
However, they pop up on the horizon often, as seen in images throughout this long thread:
Some of the links are obsolete. Landgasthof Sonne Affoltern is now apartments. The pictures are still relevant. Some specific hikes are described.
This link is still good:
Here is a newly refurbished and still relatively cheap inn in the heart of the Emmental -
There are added comments about that inn and, toward the end, some images of a particularly nice Emmental village (Trub) here:
This following very long thread describes a lot of the detailed planning that eventually led to that trip report, and the section about the buses in the Emmental may be useful. In contrast to the Ticino, the bus and train network is very strong.
There are other parts of Switzerland discussed as well.
That's a bit of a digression, but I did include one link about the Ticino. ;-)