Locarno is located in Southern Switzerland, in the Canton Ticino
. The town is situated on a river delta formed by the River Maggia before flowing into Lake Maggiore. Sheltered by the Alps
, Locarno enjoys an exceptional climate in which hydrangeas, magnolias and camellias blossom as early as in March. It is known that as early as in the Imperial Roman period Locarno was a holiday resort. At the start of 1900's modern tourism started and with it the building of beautiful Belle-Époque-style hotels. The rise of Locarno to the position of a world-famous holiday resort was the meeting of the heads of a number of European governments who signed the so-called "Locarno Treaty" in 1925 which was to guarantee a system of security for Western Europe. It was the most important political event on a world scale at the time and became part of history with the name of the Locarno Peace Treaty carrying the place-name throughout the world and earning it the reputation of the "Town of Peace".
The focus of Locarno is the famous "Piazza Grande", a busy square surrounded by charming old houses and just off the palm-lined lakefront. The Piazza Grande is frequented by locals, who enjoy coming here for a stroll, as well as by tourists, attracted by the shopping arcades, cafes and restaurants. Every year in the beginning of August, film buffs meet in Locarno to attend the International Film Festival, when Piazza Grande becomes a huge open-air cinema screen.
Visitors to Locarno find many interesting, historical sights such as the "Santuario della Madonna del Sasso", on a wooden crag above the town in the village of Orselina, or the "Castello Visconteo" - a castle named after the Visconti, a famous Italian family who ruled over Milan from the 13 -15th century; today it is a Municipal and Archeological Museum. Locarno and the Lake Maggiore region also offer many outdoor activities such as walking and biking along the lake shores, or in the "Centovalli Valley" (100 valleys), and of course all kind of watersports in and on Lago Maggiore. more attractions and activities in Locarno and the Lake Maggiore region.
Locarno is located in the southern-most region of Switzerland, the Italian speaking Canton Ticino. The town is situated on the left bank of the Maggia delta and on the northern tip of the Lago Maggiore at 200 m (656 ft) above sea level. The city is made up of the Old Town (historic settlement center), the new Town (Nuovo Quartiere) toward the lake and the land district (quartiere Campagna) toward Solduno. The area of the municipality includes the mountains above the city (Monti della SS Trinità, Bre, Cardada and Cimetta, with the highest point at 1,474 m / 4,836 ft), and a large part of the Magadino Valley along with the right side of the Ticino River.
Distances to other popular Swiss Destinations:
Getting to Locarno:
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The nearest Swiss International Airport is Zurich-Kloten; approx. 2 hours by car (or 3 hours by train. The EuroAirport in Basel-Muhouse is reached in approx. 4 hours by train (and bus), and the Geneva-Cointrin airport in 5-6 hours (depending on train connections). Travelers to Locarno also want to consider flying to/from Milano-Malpensa, Italy which is within 4 hours by train.
One of the major European north-south axis passes through Bellinzona and the Gotthard Tunnel; thus, the Lake Maggiore region is easily accessible by train from all major cities in Switzerland and Europe. Change trains in Bellinzona; the ride to Locarno takes approx. 30 minutes. Locarno also is reached from the West via the Centovalli Valley. This scenic ride takes approx. 2 hours from/to Domodossola, Italy where international trains from/to Milano and from/to Brig connect.
The Lago Maggiore area can be reached easily in summer and winter via the A2-Motorway Basel - Lucerne - Gotthard Tunnel - Belllinzona - Chiasso (exit at "Bellinzona South"). Locarno also is accessible from the west via the Simplon Pass to Domodossola and the scenic but narrow road through the Centovalli Valley. From Northern Italy, there's a scenic drive along the shores of Lake Maggiore.