"Next Stop: Lugano, Switzerland"
Lugano is the largest town in Southern Switerland. It lies alongside Lake Lugano, which is located northwest of Como, Italy. Lake Como has summer homes for many celebrities including: George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Sting, Richard Branson and Donatella Versace. Lugano is Italian-like in both character and appearance. The population is close to 56,000 Italian-speaking people and is largely Roman Catholic. Among a sea of Swiss faces, I discovered a relatively large group of brown-skinned inhabitants from Brazil, due to migration. People were generally friendly but most didn't understand English, causing communication to be very difficult.
Lugano dates back to the Stone Age. It has many historical monuments, churches, museums, hiking trails and an amazing Funicular (cliff railway), which runs 3,500ft parallel to Monte San Salvatore. The lake is roughly 18.8 sq. miles and is surrounded by mountains. It's a great place to relax and enjoy the 70.2 degrees water. Many Middle Eastern tourists flock here for summer vacation. Foxtown Mall houses designers such as Guess, Gucci, Armani, Louis Vutton and Levi at discounted prices. During the month of July, there is an amazing Brazilian and Jazz Festival at the Piazza della Riforma. Streets are blocked off Downtown Lugano and you can party all night. There is music, food and lots of cultural gift shops. I had
the opportunity to attend the concert series by "George Clinton of Parliament Funkadelic," featuring Eric Burdon, the Yellowjackets and Yuri Buenaventura.
Although it's far removed from the shores of the U.S, there wasn't a McDonald's, Burger King or night club that didn't have the sounds of Young Jeezy, Beyonce and Ne-Yo permeate the air. Their music selection tends to fall six months behind what is heard on the American radio stations. The fashion scene is heavily influenced by the Italians: fitted jeans, high heels, form-fitting clothes for nighttime and a casual beach wear for daytime (i.e. khaki shorts with polos, tanks and v-necks).
Lugano is a beautiful place to visit; however, it's not cheap. The currency is the Swiss Franc. One Franc is equal to about 88-cents US. Traveling around the city is easy, most places are in walking distance and/or easily accessible by taxi. Most restaurants serve steak or pizzas with no poultry on the menu. Also, there is an abundance of delicious chocolate and cheese shops to indulge in. I stayed at the Splendid Royal Hotel, which is a 19th Century palace turned hotel. Depending on the amenities, the rooms range from $500 to $5000 dollars per night. There were other modestly priced hotels such as the Hotel Dell Angelo, Dependance Dell Angelo and La Locanda Del Notaio, ranging from $129 to $200 dollars per night.
There are no direct flights into Lugano. The closest Airport is 30 miles away in Milan, Italy -Malpensa Airport. Depending on departure dates, Flights can range from $417 to $1000 dollars round trip. It's about a 15-hour flight from Los Angeles, CA.
If you're looking for a romantic and/or peaceful getaway, I would highly recommend Lugano, Switerland. Its scenic mountains and lakes are breath-taking; and thus, would serve as a great backdrop for any wedding and/or honeymoon.
*Most of the clubs are located within the Hotels but here are a few of the hot spots:
1.) Titanic - is the largest dance club in the area, attracting a young
hip crowd with 3 dance floors.
2.)Bar Motta - features a full bar with food.
3.) Caffe Bar Golf - this small bar is frequented by business people and Bohemian types .
4.) Casino Kursaal- Restaurant, bar, disco, casino and live entertainment.
5.) Cecil - a cabaret featuring showgirls, striptease artists and live band.
6.) Capo San Martino Night - this Pizzeria doubles as a bar and dance club.
1.) Foxtown - a discount designer outlet.
2.) Media Market - an electronics store which sells TVs, phones, DVDs, appliances and cameras.
3.) Town Square - tons of specialty shops within the Downtown area.
1.) Principe Leopoldo - has an international cuisine and specializes
in Scottish Lamb.
2.) Ristorante al Portone - has an intimate Italiana dining area.
3.) Caffe Caruso- has an indoor/outdoor dining with cafe
favorites and great desserts.