A cog railway ride, impressive architecture, wine specialities, hiking trails and a fantastic 360° panoramic view: An excursion to Monte Generoso offers all that and more! Sitting majestically on the mountain’s rugged plateau is the new building “Fiore di pietra” (stone flower) by star architect Mario Botta. For 128 years, the cog railway has made its way along nine kilometres (5.5 miles) of picturesque scenery from Capolago at the shores of Lake Lugano to the summit of Monte Generoso at 1,704 metres (5,591 feet) altitude. This prime scenic outpost of the Canton of Ticino offers a great variety of outdoor leisure activities.

From Lugano, Capolago can be reached by boat across Lake Lugano, or by train to Capolato – rive San Vitale, within 15 minutes. A cogwheel train takes visitors in comfort from Capolago up to Monte Generoso, to the astronomical observatory and to numerous hiking trails and educational paths. Muggio Valley lies to the south of the mountain. The Parco delle Gole della Breggia, a nature reserve, makes up part of the pristine landscape of the valley.

Monte Generoso offers sweeping views of northern Italy and Ticino plus access to various activities ranging from relaxing strolls to more demanding hikes. Your experience can include a vertical sundial, man-made structures for holding water, preserving ice, making charcoal and a scale version of the planets.

Top Attractions

  • New summit building by Mario Botta, including: Gourmet restaurant and self-service restaurant, both with a breathtaking view; Panoramic terrace; Conference room (with daylight).
  • Observatory
  • Self-service and full-service restaurants
  • For an additional fee, visit the Bear Cave; discovered in 1988 and the site of important finds of the remains of more than 800 cave bears that lived on Monte Generoso some 60,000 years ago. Proper attire (hiking boots, hat, clothing) reccommended
  • 51 kilometres (32 miles) of hiking trails. Suggested theme hikes: • Nature trail: with 12 information postings along the route-The Water Holes: to support the once popular mountain farming, water holes (ponds) were built to combat water shortages
    • The Charcoal Kiln Route: see where charcoal was produced in various kilns just off the path of this route
    • Ice Pits (nevere): the route of the ice pits first introduces stone houses from the settlement called Nadigh; a circular construction is one of 10 ice huts to be viewed.
    • Pathway of the Planets: this short stroll starts just east of the Fiore di pietra and reproduces the planetary system, in a scale of 1:10 billion.
  • Fantastic panoramic view from the Apennines to the Alps.
  • Paragliding
  • Nostalgic steam cruises in summer (seat reservation required, no discount with Swiss Travel System tickets).

Good to know

Trains and the mountaintop are wheelchair-accessible. Enjoy spectacular sunrises and sunsets. And there is a selection of wines from Ticino and Switzerland in the restaurant available for purchase.

Operates April to November.

Children from 6 to 15 get a discount, children under 6 do not require a ticket but will share seats with a paying adult. Children under 16 travelling with their parents on a Swiss Family Card, will travel for free.

Discounts for passengers holding a Swiss Rail Pass only.

Seasonal pricing according to time of year travel is made. The voucher must be exchanged within 6 months of date of issue at Capolago.

If a passholder fare is purchased, both the coupon and pass must be presented at the station.

Once travel on the voucher is initiated, no refund will be due.