Best Ascona Activities and Attractions

The village of Ascona, near Locarno, is incredibly charming and picturesque. It has a beautiful waterfront promenade and a historic old town. Ascona can be found in canton Ticino, Switzerland.

Ascona was once a fishing village. It is one of the most visited places in canton Ticino today.

Tourists from abroad are not the only ones who enjoy Ascona. Even locals enjoy strolling around their promenade. The old town is supposed to be a car-free zone. On rare occasions, you might see a car belonging to one of the establishments driving along the promenade, but this is more of an exception than a rule. Guests must park their cars in one of the communal parking lots away from the old town in order to maintain this car-free zone.

The entire town of Ascona is listed on the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites. 

Is there anything else to see in Ascona besides its beautiful waterfront promenade with colorful historic buildings? You will find here a list of Ascona’s best activities and attractions. 

Ascona’s Best Attractions

1. Chiesa dei SS. Pietro e Paolo

In Ascona’s old town, St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church (Chiesa dei SS. Pietro e Paolo) is well worth visiting. The church was built in the middle ages and further renovated in the 18th century. Various frescoes adorn its interiors, some dating back to the 16th century. Pietro Francesco Pancaldi Mola, Gabriele Longhi, and Giovanni Serodine painted the frescoes and altar walls. 

The church is open from 8:00 AM until 7:00 PM every day. 


2. Casa Serodine

Casa Serodine, previously known as Casa Borrani, is one of Ascona’s most beautiful houses. The artist who painted the church, Giovanni Serodine, is one of the members of this family. And it was his brother, Giovanni Battista Serodine, who created the baroque facade for this house. 

This beautiful palazzo is a three-story house near the lake and old town. Just above the door, in the middle, you can see Madonna with her child flanked on both sides by angels. Additionally, it shows Adam and Eve, as well as David and Bathsheba. Under these, you can see the four seasons.

From 1938 to 1983, the house served as a gallery for Wladimir Rosenbaum. Currently, it serves as a gallery and a book shop.

The Serodine House is a few steps away from St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church.


3. Lake Maggiore

Image by marcelkessler from Pixabay

What better way to enjoy the lake than on a boat? Boats on the Lake Maggiore stop in Ascona multiple times per day. 

In the direction of Locarno, the boat will stop at the following places: Gerra, S. Nazzaro, Vira, Magadino, Tenero, and Locarno. 

It is also possible to go in the direction of the Brissago Islands. It will stop at Porto Ronco before reaching Isole di Brissago. 


4. Santa Maria della Misericordia

There are trees lining the way to Santa Maria della Misericordia. Collegio Papio, Ascona’s middle school, is right next door.

Santa Maria della Misericordia Church was built between 1399 and 1442. The tower dates from 1488.

You are greeted by an elaborate wooden front door. Inside, you will find beautiful frescoes. Additionally, you will find an organ by Mathis Orgelbau here. 


5. Museo Comunale d’Arte Moderna

Image from Wikimedia

Ascona’s art museum is called Museo Comunale D’arte Moderna. The museum is housed in a 16th-century building. This museum contains works by artists who lived in Ascona. Paul Klee, Cuno Amiet, and Jawlensky’s works are shown here.

The museum lies in Via Borgo, near Ascona’s center. The museum is open from Tuesdays to Sundays from March until January. 


6. Monte Verità

Image from Wikimedia

The hill of Monte Verità rises above Ascona and Lake Maggiore. Currently run by a foundation of the same name, the building serves as a congress center and cultural center.

Moreover, there is a public park right here. The park is great for walking around, visiting the tea house, or admiring the many plants. As it is also located on a little hill, you will have a great view of the town below. 

A restaurant is also open for lunch between 12:00 PM and 2:30 PM and dinner from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM.


7. Isole di Brissago

Image of Brissago Islands by Joseph Grunig

Brissago Islands (Isole di Brissago) are a pair of islands in Lake Maggiore close to Ronco sopra Ascona and Brissago. Isola Grande is a big island with many subtropical plants native to both the northern and southern hemispheres.

Open since 1950, the big island has been a popular tourist spot since then. It is possible to reach them by boat.


8. Pizzo Leone

Image from Wikimedia

Pizzo Leone is about 13 kilometers away from Ascona. A hike up Pizzo Leone will give you a spectacular view of Lake Maggiore, the Brissago Islands, and the nearby towns. Even Centovalli Valley can be seen from here. Views of Italy’s Vigezzo Valley are also visible from the summit. 

In total, the hiking trail to Pizzo Leone will take around 3.5 hours from Ascona. As for starting from Porera near Ronco sopra Ascona, it will take you around two hours to get to Pizzo Leone. 


Summary

Image by TouringSwitzerland.com

Ascona is a beautiful and relaxing place in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland. Several buildings and churches from the middle ages line its historic old town. Those who climb the hill are rewarded with spectacular views of the nearby mountains and Lake Maggiore. If you ride the boat, you can see the coast around Ascona as well as the Brissago Islands. 

If you’re already in Locarno, you can also make a day trip to Ascona. The trip to Ascona is still worth it, no matter where you are located in Ticino. The place isn’t really busy or bustling. You can enjoy the slow pace, the beauty, see a few sights, and have a nice meal along the waterfront promenade. 

If you are planning a trip to Ascona, I hope you found some ideas here for your next trip.