Now that my holiday has (sadly) ended and I have left a warm Switzerland summer behind for the cold windy southern highlands of New South Wales, Australia, please see below my final trip report.
Tuesday, 10th July - a free day to catch up on some rest and take in the lovely views of Lake Maggiore from our hotel balcony in Orselina, we decided to have dinner at the hotel rather than travel to Ponte Brolla (about a 10 minute train ride from Locarno) to dine at Ristorante Da Enzo www.ristorantedaenzo.c h. Unfortunately the hotel's food was very disappointing but given this was the only really bad meal we had throughout our holiday, we counted ourselves quite fortunate. Another early night in preparation for our trip to Lugano the next day.
Wednesday, 11th July - headed off to Lugano in the morning via train, only one change of train and we were in Lugano in just over an hour. Instead of taking the funicular down to the old city, we elected to walk and it was lovely as we walked down a series of stairs that led us into the cobblestone streets with their many lovely shops, cafes and restaurants, after exploring the piazza and side streets, we ventured to the waterfront promenade, very different to Ascona but equally as lovely. As we were planning on taking the Magic Tour www.luganoregion.com/e n/detail/id/10274/magi c-tour (a 3 hour boat trip), taking in the sites of Lake Lugano, we decided to have an early lunch and settled on the Spaghetti Store spaghetti-store.ch/contattaci.ht ml (which I think is a restaurant chain), after pizza and a couple of beers to wash it down, we headed back to the waterfront and boarded the tour boat. It was a nice trip but I think we could have used the time better, potentially a trip to Morcote which looked particularly appealing from the view we had of the town from the lake, once the tour had concluded we jumped on a bus and headed back to the train station, ultimately arriving back at Locarno around 6.15pm. As we had a dinner reservation at 6.45pm, we headed into the old town of Locarno and after having trouble finding the restaurant - Locanda Locarnese www.locandalocarnese.c h (we asked about 3 shop owners and got 3 different responses to the location of the restaurant), we finally managed to locate it and enjoyed a relaxing 3 hour, 5 course meal with matching wines. For those of you looking for a high quality restaurant in Locarno, you can't go past this place (it was booked on recommendation), it is owned by a husband and wife team (he is a local from Orselina and she is orginally from Portgual) and the service and food could not have been better. After a long day, we headed back to the hotel via the funicular up to Orselina for a good night's rest.
Thursday, 12th July - having discovered that the Moon and Stars Festival set-up was happening in the Piazza Grande in Locarno (this was one of the issues we had in locating the restaurant the night before as certain areas along the Piazza were blocked off from pedestrian traffic), we decided to skip a trip to Locarno and instead headed out to Zurich for our overnight accommodation. The train route took us via Bellizona and through the newly constructed Gotthard Tunnel to Arth-Goldau where we changed trains to reach our final destination of Zurich. We decided to have a relatively early dinner (6pm), at the same restaurant that we dined at when we arrived in Zurich on the 22nd June - Cicchetteria Da Rosa, after a walk around the waterfront in pursuit of rum and raisin ice-cream, we headed back to the hotel for our final night in Switzerland.
All in all it was a great trip and this now being my 6th holiday in Switzerland since 2011, I can honestly say I never get tired of the scenery and all the great things Switzerland has to offer tourists (hospitality, transportation, did I mention the scenery - lol). It is very hard to beat as a holiday destination and though I have visited other countries, I always find myself drawn back, so no doubt, I will be travelling back to Switzerland in the not too distant future.
I hope you enjoyed reading about the trip, I will be putting together a summary of do/don't/lessons learnt as even though I have been to Switzerland many times there are always things you learn and experience with each visit that helps with planning the next visit or helps others get the most out of their own travels.
Signing off for now, all the best with your current and future travels.
Other parts of this trip report: