A Family Friendly Day Trip to Locarno
A Day Trip To Locarno From Zürich
Locarno is a beautiful resort town along Lake Maggiore in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland. Famous for its warm weather and sunny days, we drove down from Zürich on Easter Sunday to escape the cold and rain and enjoy the summery temperatures. Very often in the winter, as the days grow shorter and colder, many people living in Zürich escape to this Ticino canton for the sun and warmer temps. It’s amazing how a 2 hour train ride can take you from winter to summer in the same small country.
I was surprised to find Locarno so busy even on Easter Sunday. All of the restaurants were open and there were so many fun family friendly activities to do along the lake. This is definitely a fun resort town. We will need to come back here and spend more than a day next time.
There are so many places to eat from the train station to the waterfront. Judging from the two places we randomly ate at, the food is really good in Locarno. We wandered along the lake promenade until we found Restaurant Pizzaria Al Torchio. The service was fast and friendly. Our girls ordered a Hawaiian pizza to share, I ordered a vegetable pizza, and my husband ordered lasagna. He can’t say no to lasagna at an Italian restaurant.
For dinner we ate at the prettiest restaurant on a corner called Ristorante Sensi. We ate outside underneath enormous leafy trees. The service was fast and friendly again. They were so family friendly that when my littlest ordered the risotto off the children’s menu and they said it wasn’t 6pm yet (we eat so early), she went and checked with the chef and a few minutes later we had risotto. They served the children’s menu with a small salad which our girls loved. Hadley ordered spaghetti, but I have never seen her love her meal so much, she was dipping everything she could find into the pasta sauce. I ordered the vegetarian spaghettini and my husband ordered the carbonara. At the end of the meal, the waitress brought the girls gelato and chocolate bunnies. Yes, it was Easter Sunday, but the service was very good. Our girls keep asking if they can go back and eat there soon.
As soon as we got to Locarno, we walked down to the water. We saw a playground along the lake and went to it. Parco Giochi Al Burbaglio was the perfect place to spend the afternoon. There were bouncy houses, slides, trampolines, a magician/balloon man, and a great playground. Our girls played here all afternoon.
Across the street from the playground are two gelato shops. We chose the one on the left hand side, the yellow striped one. The gelato was absolutely amazing. I ordered coffee and tiramisu (so predictable that I asked my husband what he thought I ordered and he guessed perfectly the first try). Heike ordered melon and vanilla, and Hadley ordered lemon and strawberry, and my husband ordered whisky. Such good gelato.
There is a lot of parking in Locarno along the waterfront by all the restaurants. We did not know that however and parked right near the train station, following the blue parking signs. Either way, it’s a very small town and easily walkable.
How To Get There
I would highly recommend taking the train. From Zürich HB the train takes 2 hours and 23 minutes. It is such an easy journey from Zürich. The new Gotthard tunnel makes this trip very fast and easy, whereas driving can be tricky with a back up of traffic at the Gotthard tunnel. We drove against our better judgement and will definitely take the train next time. Easter Sunday traffic was not kind to us on the drive home to Zürich through the tunnel. The drive should take the same amount as the train, though it can easily change due to the traffic in the tunnel.
Locarno is a wonderful place for a day trip from Zürich. Family friendly playgrounds, wonderful service, delicious food, and a gorgeous lake to wander along. Next time we would love to explore Lake Maggiore by ferry boat. Lake Maggiore is located in both Switzerland and Italy, so taking the ferry you can easily reach Italy. How cool is that?
Have you been to Locarno?