Is Ascona Worth Visiting?

Ascona has a picturesque old town, a lake promenade, and a hint of an Italian vibe. There are fashion boutiques, galleries, souvenir shops, and more in Ascona. You can find Ascona in canton Ticino, Switzerland. Is Ascona worth a visit?

Is Ascona Worth Visiting?

Is there anything else to do in Ascona besides the waterfront promenade with the colorful buildings? Yes, I do believe that Ascona is worth visiting. Ascona is more than just the pretty waterfront promenade that shows up in travel magazines.

Aside from being one of the most visited places in Canton Ticino today, the entire town itself is on the Swiss Heritage Inventory.

Ascona is not only popular with tourists from abroad. Even locals enjoy a stroll along its promenade. Normally, the Old Town is car-free. Occasionally, you might see a car belonging to one of the establishments driving along the promenade, but this is rare. I highly recommend you check out Ascona. There’s something about this village that you can go back to over and over and not get tired of. 

Here are 7 reasons why you should visit Ascona, Switzerland

7 Reasons Why You Should Visit Ascona

1. Ascona has a well-preserved old town

Many of Ascona’s places recall its medieval and Renaissance roots, like the narrow streets leading to the historic center. The old town is well preserved, with buildings dating from the middle ages to the 18th century. The following are a few of the historic buildings in Ascona: St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church, Casa Serodine, and Santa Maria della Misericordia.

  • Saint Peter and Paul’s Church (Chiesa dei SS. Pietro e Paolo) dates from the middle ages and was renovated in the 18th century. Its interiors are adorned with frescoes, some from the 16th century. Giovanni Serodine, Gabriele Longhi, and Pietro Francesco Pancaldi Mola painted the frescoes. The church is open 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM every day. 
  • Casa Serodine – A few steps away from St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church is the Casa Serodine. One of Ascona’s most beautiful houses is Casa Serodine, formerly Casa Borrani. Giovanni Serodine, the artist who painted the church, is part of this family. The baroque facade was done by Giovanni Battista Serodine, his brother. It’s a three-story house near the lake and the old town. Over the door, in the middle, you can see Madonna with her child flanked on both sides by angels. Furthermore, it shows Eve and Adam, as well as David and Bathsheba. You can see the four seasons underneath. The house was a gallery for Wladimir Rosenbaum between 1938 and 1983. Nowadays, it’s a gallery and a bookstore. 
  • Santa Maria della Misericordia Church was built between 1399 and 1442. The tower dates from 1488. Collegio Papio, Ascona’s middle school, is right next door. 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. 

2. Beauty is appreciated in Ascona

Image from Wikimedia

Ascona is a beautiful city. A lot of colorful shops, art galleries, and antique shops line Ascona’s streets. Beautiful buildings line the lakeside promenade.

If you’re into art, you can check out Museo Castello San Materno and Museo Comunale D’arte Moderna

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

The Museum Castello San Materno is in a restored old castle (Castello San Materno) and hosts the Alten family’s art collection. Among the more than sixty works in this collection are works by Max Liebermann, Fritz Overbeck, Otto Modersohn, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and more. It’s open Thursday through Saturday, March through December.

3. Ascona sits on the shores of Lake Maggiore

Image by marcelkessler from Pixabay

You can take a boat trip on Lake Maggiore from Ascona.  Ascona is a popular stop for boats on Lake Maggiore. 

Along the way to Locarno, the boat will stop at Gerra, S. Nazzaro, Vira, Magadino, Tenero, and Locarno. 

The Brissago Islands are also nearby. There’s a stop at Porto Ronco before getting to Isole di Brissago. 

4. Ascona is near Switzerland’s only island botanical garden

Image of Brissago Islands by Joseph Grunig

Since 1950, the Brissago Islands have been a popular tourist spot. You can get there by boat from Ascona.

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

On the smaller island, Isola Piccola, the vegetation comes from Insubrica (modern-day Lombardy).

Ascona is 15 minutes away from Brissago Islands. There’s also a treasure island hunt around the park for kids. This park is also a great combination with the Botanical garden of Gambarogno (Parco botanico del Gambarogno).

5. Ascona is a certified family-friendly destination

Image of Ascona by adege from Pixabay

Ascona is a great place for families. As a certified Swiss Family Destination by the Swiss Tourism Federation (Schweizer Tourismus-Verband), Ascona offers child-friendly accommodation, organized activities, theme trails, playgrounds (including a big trampoline!), and unspoiled nature.

You can get a treasure map at the tourist office that you can use to explore Ascona’s buildings with your kids. Guests can also try out their summer program. With nearby attractions like Falconeria in Locarno and Cardada mountain, there are plenty of things to do with kids in Ascona.

6. It’s easy to find a good hotel in and around Ascona

Image was taken while at H4 Hotel Arcadia by

With its lakeside location and mild climate, Ascona is a favorite for spa hotels. Here are some hotels worth considering in and around Ascona:

  • Parkhotel Delta, Wellbeing Resort – Only 6 minutes away from the beach, it is surrounded by a big park. Parkhotel Delta also has an indoor pool, an outdoor pool, a wellness area, and a restaurant. They also have an 18-hole mini-golf area, a small football area, and a volleyball area.
  • Casa Berno Swiss Quality Hotel – Located on a hill overlooking Ascona, this hotel has a heated outdoor pool and a beautiful panoramic view of Lake Maggiore. There is a free shuttle bus that runs multiple times per day going to Ascona.
  • Hotel Ascona – Located on Monte Verità, you can enjoy fantastic views of Lake Maggiore and the surrounding mountains. With a heated outdoor pool and a restaurant, this hotel is definitely one worth checking out.
  • H4 Hotel Arcadia – Located in Locarno near Ascona, H4 Hotel Arcadia has a fantastic location, an outdoor pool, a playroom for children, and fantastic views of Lake Maggiore. We have personally already stayed here and can vouch for it.

7. There are many easy hikes that can be done from Ascona

Image from Monte Verità from Wikimedia

Around Ascona, there are lots of easy and moderate hikes. Monte Verità and Pizzo Leone come to mind.

Monte Verità rises over Ascona and Lake Maggiore. Built by a foundation of the same name, there’s a cultural and congress center there. In addition to that, there’s a park where you can walk around, go to the tea house, or admire plants.

With around 1,000 tea plants, Casa del Tè and the garden is one of the northernmost tea plantations that can be found in Switzerland. Those tea leaves will be cultivated, picked, and made into green tea in spring.  Since it’s also up on a hill, you can see the whole town.

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

For a longer hike, you can head to Pizzo Leone. Pizzo Leone is about 13 kilometers from Ascona. From Ascona, the hike to Pizzo Leone takes about 3.5 hours.  You’ll get a great view of Lake Maggiore, the Brissago Islands, and nearby towns if you hike up Pizzo Leone. There’s even a view of Centovalli Valley. You can also see the Vigezzo Valley in Italy from the summit. 

Final Thoughts: Is Ascona Worth Visiting?

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Ascona has it all, from medieval buildings and churches to views of the nearby mountains, and activities on Lake Maggiore. On the shores of Lake Maggiore, this beautiful town has something for everyone.  

No matter where you are in Ticino, Ascona is still worth visiting. You can stroll along the waterfront promenade, take in the scenery, and see some sights. Ascona is one of the most beautiful tourist resorts in Switzerland.

Ascona is a great place for people of all ages, from young kids to retired couples. It is also wonderful to visit all year round. Ascona is an amazing place to visit, and I hope I convinced you why you should go. You will not be disappointed.