Bellinzona is an idyllic Swiss city that sits on the outskirts of the Swiss Alps and features a strong historic heritage, unique culture blend, delicious food, and much more. Lugano Prealps and Leopontine Alps surround this unique and historic city making it one of the best-toured cities in Switzerland. The city is characterized by a strong Italian blend of culture and the architecture modeled in Italian style.
Bellinzona is known for its numerous festivities and friendly people sought by anyone across the world. The city has more than just charming, beautiful views of Switzerland. The traditional town offers an amazing destination for fun, luxury, and food, often called Bella Bellinzona.
You can easily get confused about your Bellinzona itinerary, but don’t worry. I’ve visited beautiful Bellinzona numerous times, and here are my recommendations about family-friendly things to do in Bellinzona, and much more. So let’s start with our journey through Ticino canton.
How to Get to Bellinzona
Bellinzona is one of the most tranquil villages in Switzerland that you can easily reach from the city. It is just away from the freeway and has a direct train connection to Milan and Zurich. Once you are in this region, you can simply take a shuttle or stroll to the castles. It is imperative to get a free Ticino ticket from your accommodation. It includes discounts to various destinations and free public transportation around the entire Ticino region.
If you choose to hop on the train, there is an easy connection from Lucerne or Zurich (get your train ticket on time). Time your train trip accordingly as during the day (usually from 10 am – 3 pm) there is a huge traffic jam around Gotthard tunnel. Oh, did I mention that Gotthard pass is one of the most epic drives in whole Switzerland?
My preferable way to get to Bellinzona from Zurich or surrounding towns is by car. If you’re going from Zurich, simply connect to A2 highway and take the exit 45 (Bellinzona entrance). Parking is considerably cheaper than in Zurich or bigger towns, but don’t get surprised if you can’t find a spot. Bellinzona is an extremely touristy city, so I recommend finding a parking spot on the outskirts of the city as everything is very close.
What to Eat in Bellinzona
Just like administrative capitals everywhere in Europe, Bellinzona suffers from a stunted entertainment scene. However, it offers numerous places to eat and drink, and you are sure to sample some of the finest cuisines in Switzerland. You can enjoy some self-service dishes at Inova, which is Ticino’s version of Manora.
Castelgrande has two eateries, and they are both closed on Monday, so be sure to plan accordingly. The grotto san Michelle spreads over the panoramic center, and it offers you a chance to enjoy some of the best Swiss food with ease.
In the interior part of the building, you will be able to get some of the unique cuisines in Switzerland, and for 60 CHF, you will get Ticino inspired cuisine. The atmosphere is excellent, and with shady patios, you can have a sumptuous meal with your family. There are also café bars around where you can take some coffee or latte if you want and get some warmth.
What to Do in Bellinzona
You can enjoy many activities in Bellinzona, and you will enjoy your time in Switzerland by visiting some of these unique places. Here are my favorite things to do in Bellinzona, Switzerland so let’s dive into it.
#1- Explore the Castel di Bellinzona
One of the marvels of European history is the castles that date back to numerous centuries ago. The castles in Bellinzona are listed in the UNESCO world heritage sites, and they are gems of history that you should check out.
You should visit the castle di Bellinzona and get to know the history of Swiss people and their inspiration to do built structures of this nature.
You can hop on a free ride from Montebello to Castelgrande which comes handy if you’re short on time. On top of that, you’re going to get stunning views of surrounding mountains.
p.s. if you’re into exploring the history and learning about the cultures, visiting Swiss castles is an awesome activity. These unique architectural wonders offer huge information on the way of life in the past.
Castelgrande is the second castle and it overs the best views in Europe. The castle is an ancient structure, and it dates back to the first century. Histories indicate that the castle was fortified in the 13th century. You will be surprised to learn that the views of the city from these castles date back to the 13th and 16th century and they are a multitude of renovations that have taken place since the castle was built and all of them have made it better.
There is a museum that will help you understand the history and culture of the Swiss people. The entrance of the castle takes you to the beautiful monument, and this is where you will get to understand the main structures of this location. You can also reach the top by climbing the narrow streets from the city center via the city wall.
The collections in this location depict history from an ancient age, and over time they represent the authentic culture of the Swiss people.
Get more information on the official website.
#3- Visit Castello di Montebello
It is the third castle, and it is rich in culture and diversity because it has a heritage that dates back to the 14th century. The castle was originally built for the Rusconi family, and this family occupied it for a very long time.
Records indicate that the Rivellino, which is a walkway that opens up to the castle was constructed in the 14th century. The original name of the castle was Castello di Svitto.
It was later renamed after the numerous renovations as well as the changes that it has since undergone to make it better looking and preserve culture well.
Get more information on the official website.
#4- Castello di Sasso Corbaro
The Castello Sasso Corbaro was constructed within a half a year in the year 1479, and it was during this period that the castle gained its name for the unique features and architecture that it possesses.
Benedict Ferrini was the engineer who brought the vision of building this castle in the region where it is located. It has a vantage point where you can explore the city and get to know its unique destinations.
There are exceptional views of the Swiss Alps from the region that engulfs the town and over time, this monument was renovated to encompass modern features. Here is a picnic between the parking spot and the castle and the children can have fun while relaxing in the area.
Get more details about this beautiful castle at Ticino’s official tourist website.
#5- Get to know more history at Palazzo Civico di Bellinzona
The municipal palace in Bellinzona is the town hall, and it was constructed in the year 1922. The construction featured some of the unique modern designs coupled with existing features that make the palace a place that you can never miss to visit.
The castle’s entrance is beautifully arcaded with flowers and some of the sculptures which make this location the right place to visit. The Swiss Italian patriotic style takes you to the renaissance ages and it is a beautiful monument that will give you the right vibe to understand the Swiss culture and architecture.
#6- Explore the San Bernardino Pass
The San Bernadino pass is one of the best high altitudes passes in the Swiss Alps. It is a perfect connection between the Mesoclina and Hinterrhein. The route first became popular in the 15th century, and during this period, the pass was developed to feature modern designs and experiences.
The journey through this pass will give you the best experience, and you will miss visiting the place because it is delicious.
It is imperative to note that the San Bernadino pass is only accessible during the summer period. The verdant green valleys are incredibly welcoming, and it is a perfect destination where you can explore some of the Swiss technology and architecture.
#7- Visit The Collegiate Church of Saints Peter, Paul, and Stephen
This ancient building is accessible not only for its architecture, which is associated with the renaissance period. The church belongs to the parish of Ticino. You will be amazed to see how futuristic ancient architectures were and the exhilarating artwork.
The triangular tympanum, which forms part of the church, has three statues that mirror two angels and Madonna. Sculptures are depicting King Solomon and King David. The statues of the saints and exceptional architecture will leave you wowed.
Please share your favorite things to do in Bellinzona in the comment section. 🙂