Ascona boasts an attractive old town, a lakeside promenade and Italian flair. In addition to trendy stores, Ascona is also home to galleries and gift stores. Ascona is located in the Swiss canton of Ticino.
1. The especially well preserved old town
The narrow streets leading to the historic center are just one example of how Ascona recalls it’s medieval and renaissance past. The structures of the old town, dating from the Middle Ages to the 18th century, have been carefully preserved. The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Casa Serodine and Santa Maria della Misericordia are just a few of Ascona’s beautiful old buildings.
2. In Ascona beauty is appreciated
The town of Ascona is beautiful. The streets of Ascona are lined with a variety of lively stores, art galleries and antique stores. The promenade around the lake is lined with magnificent architecture. Many have called this small town the most beautiful place in Switzerland. Because of Ascona’s beauty, everyone who visits the city wants to move there.
3. Art and culture
If you like art, you should visit the Museo Castello San Materno and the Museo Comunale D’arte Moderna. The Museo Comunale D’Arte Moderna, housed in a 16th century building, exhibits many works by Ascona artists. You will find works of art by Jawlensky, Cuno Amiet and Paul Klee.
The Alten family art collection is housed in the Castello San Materno Museum, located in a historic castle that has been restored. The collection includes over sixty works, including works by Max Liebermann, Fritz Overbeck, Otto Modersohn, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and many others.
4. Boat trips around Lake Maggiore
From Ascona you can take a boat trip on Lake Maggiore. There are several harbors around the lake that you can explore or just enjoy the view from the open decks.
Boats stop at Gerra, S. Nazzaro, Vira, Magadino, Tenero and Locarno. In addition, the Brissago Islands and Porto Ronco are nearby.
5. The only botanical island garden in Switzerland
Switzerland’s only botanical garden located on an island, the Brissago Islands are a striking landmark in the middle of Lake Maggiore and just a short boat ride from Ascona.
Some 1,700 species of plants from the Mediterranean and subtropical regions of all five continents grow here.
The Botanical Garden of the Brissago Islands is part of the Gardens of Switzerland, a collection of the most exquisite gardens due to their diversity and uniqueness.
The islands are a popular place for boat trips and families. They are also an extremely popular destination for weddings because of their beautiful setting.
To reach there, easily take a boat from the lake front promenade near Carcani Hotel.
6. Stroll along the lake promenade
The car-free waterfront promenade, called Piazza Giuseppe Motta, is a must-see. Along the piazza, many of the buildings are hotels and restaurants, and in the warmer months, people like to eat outside. Pizza and pasta dishes are plentiful – and they are all delicious! Ferries to Isole di Brissago and other ports depart regularly from the promenade, and every Tuesday from April to October there is a market where you can buy typical Ticino food, handmade crafts, jewelry, and souvenirs.
7. Great restaurants
Ascona is a popular destination not only for its atmosphere and culture – some of the best restaurants with Italian flavor are located here.
Try these top 3 for the best in Swiss quality and Italian flair.
For many, the Albergo Carcani restaurant is an insider tip as the best restaurant in Ascona on the lakefront!
Ristorante Carcani on the Piazza in Ascona is the ideal place to enjoy the spectacular view of Lake Maggiore and the hustle and bustle of the lakeside promenade with a good Aperol Spritz. The menu offers typical Italian dishes, a wide selection of fresh pasta dishes, snacks, salads and sandwiches. Be surprised by the variety of desserts from our pastry shop and don’t miss a cup of the delicious Mövenpick ice cream.
Osteria by Ketty & Tommy
Away from the tourist hustle and bustle, five minutes walk from the center and the lake promenade, lies the friendly “Osteria Ticino”. Its trademark: fantastic pizzas! Pizzaiolo Decio offers over twenty crispy combinations from “tradizionali” to “sfiziose” (delicious). They are all based on a secret family recipe with a dough that rests for 48 hours (you can also get it gluten-free on request).
The view stretches from Bellinzona to Verbania. We are in one of the most charming places of the whole canton, Brissago. On the lake promenade of Brissago, the Osteria “Boato” offers wonderful fish specialties in one of the most beautiful ambiences of the canton. You will be welcomed by Ketty & Tommy, who have been running the restaurant together since 2022.