We wanted to escape Basel for a weekend and celebrate my birthday in sunny Ticino. We choose Locarno as our destination, as it’s one of the most charming Tessiner towns out there and we’ve never been there before. We’ve stayed two nights at the Hotel Belvedere, located on the hill, overlooking the city. Our stay at the hotel was a perfect mix of romantic gateway, active exploring and pure relaxation.
Here’s my top 10 of the weekend at the Hotel Belvedere and Locarno:
- Waking up to an epic view
Our weekend escape started like a dream: we woke up with the sun, we put on our warm robes and had our morning coffee on the balcony with a view on Lago Maggiore and its mountains. We watched the city wake up slowly and the sun rising above the mountains, covering waters of the lake with glitter.
- Enjoy breakfast and get ready for an active day
The breakfast at the Belvedere is served in a buffet style. They offer a wide variety on breakfast delicacies, ranging from local specialties to Swiss cheeses and Italian pastries (and also a marmalade made out of grapes growing in the hotel’s garden, so delicious!). Brekkie is served at the restaurant and you have a nice view on the garden and its palm trees whilst you’re enjoying your breakfast.
- Head up to Madonna del Sasso
Located right above the Hotel, Madonna del Sasso in Orselina is one of the most famous and most important sanctuary in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. The beautiful basilica’s frescos and ceiling decorations inside it are remarkable and so are the views from the terrace. You can reach it either by walk or by taking the Funicular which halts right at the hotel – from the station “Belvedere”. We took the funicular up there and walked down to the hotel after.
- Get a bike from the hotel
Hotel Belvedere is a great starting point for many cycle routes, not only around the Lake but also for going up and down the valleys and mountains. The hotel has city (e-)bikes available and we couldn’t resist but say yes to a two-wheel adventure. We got the map and few route ideas from the lovely lady at the hotel’s reception and we went texploring! I must admit – I’m not a big fan of bicycle trips, but I think it was the best decision we could’ve made, as the views along the way are stunning and it’s quite nice to just explore the region in such way.
- Explore Locarno
We started with a ride along the promenade and later parked the bikes and wandered through the picturesque Old Town behind the Piazza Grande to get a vibe of the city. I really loved it!
- Go for lunch to Ascona
We got back on our bikes and headed to Ascona. We made a stop at the famous Camellia Park, one of the most beautiful Gardens of Switzerland, but it was already a bit too late to admire camelias in full bloom (best to visit in March).
Ascona itself is true eye candy for Ticino lovers. We chose a restaurant facing the lake for a late lunch. We just sat and looked over the water for hours and after a short stop for gelato, we headed back to the Hotel.
You can find a route similiar to ours here.
- Spa time
After a day full of activities, there’s no better way to relax and unwind than at the SPA. Hotel Belvedere has its own spa with massages, wellness and beauty treatments. We spent an entire afternoon swimming in the heated pool, enjoying the Finnish sauna and the Turkish steam bath and just relaxing with a book in the hotel’s garden, wich is fully surrounded by palm trees and you can have a peak at the Madonna del Sasso. (we could hear its bells ringing while swimming – that was a real fairy-tale moment).
- Apero time by the fountain
When in Rome, do like Romans do. In Ticino, having the aperitif is part of the culture, just like in Italy and what could be better to start the evening than a drink and some delicious local bites? We decided to sit in Hotel Belvedere’s garden by the historic fountain (that by the way, was brought there from an Italian piazza) and enjoy our Spritz and charcuterie board.
- Dinner at La Fontana restaurant
Food in Locarno is rich with history as much as it is in flavour. We got to experience that through La Fontana’s seasonal dishes with local ingredients and its large choice of wine, which you can choose from their wine library. We tried their à la carte menu and chose a burattina salad, then gnocchi with cheese sauce and bacon followed by fish that was served to us at the table. We also tried the local Merlot, which is a pride of the region and oh, we weren’t disappointed.
The atmosphere at the restaurant is super trendy. You can watch its chefs prepare the food in the show kitchen and you enjoy your food in a lively and chic atmosphere. In warmer days you can sit in the garden and have dinner in between beautiful palm trees 🙂
- Just enjoy la dolce vita 🙂
You can see the current offer and other amenities offered by Hotel Belvedere here.
The trip was organized in a collaboration with the Hotel Belvedere in Locarno. Stay at the hotel and restaurant visits were sponsored. All opinions are authentically my own.