Weekend Getaway- Bellinzona Medieval Festival
Our Family Friendly Weekend Getaway to Bellinzona
Bellinzona is a town in the Italian part of southern Switzerland best known for its three UNESCO world heritage site castles. One big reason to take the train 1 hour and 45 minutes south of Zürich is the famous warm weather of Ticino, not to mention the Italian food that comes with being in the Italian part of Switzerland. There are palm trees, blue skies, and many more sunny days than we get in Zürich. We went to this part of Ticino for the weekend of their annual Medieval Festival, held every year on Whitsun (or Pentecost) weekend. Our friends go every year and absolutely love all the fun and festivities, so we knew we had to go with them this year and experience it together.
The Medieval Festival
After breakfast in our hotel, we walked straight to the town square (where there is a big Migros) and take the elevator or stairs up to the first of the three castles. We walk along the castle wall, up the two towers of the first castle, and enjoy the medieval festival. There were knights and horses jousting and people making their historical wares like leather handbags, bows and arrows, paper, and our girls favorite realistic baby dolls (I’m not sure what realistic baby dolls have to do with the medieval times, but my girls were certainly fascinated). Then we walked along the wall to the river with a playground. During the festival there were many things to eat, but we were too busy watching the horses or wandering along the castle walls to stop to eat. We had breakfast and dinner at our hotel each day. Bellinzona is a small town. We don’t do a lot while we are there, we take it easy, enjoy the Italian food, hospitality, the warmer Ticino weather, and the castles.
How To Get There
We took the train 1 hour and 45 minutes from Zürich to Bellinzona through the Gotthard tunnel. This is such an easy train ride with beautiful views of Lake Zug and Lake Lucerne as it travels south to Bellinzona.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at the family run Hotel Croce Federale in a quadruple room (Room #21). It has a bunk bed and two connected beds to make a European queen bed. The room is very simple and small, with a gorgeous view of the first castle from the window. We ate breakfast and dinner at our hotel. The walk from the Bellinzona train station to the hotel is about 10 minutes with kids.
(The view from our hotel bedroom)
Bellinzona is fun to explore anytime. They have a Saturday farmer’s market every Saturday and a nice café right in front of a church square. It seems the weather is always slightly better in Bellinzona than in Zürich. If you wake up one dreary Saturday morning and are searching for sunny skies, take the train to Bellinzona. Here is our last visit to Bellinzona.