Meride is situated at the foot of Monte San Giorgio, in the mountainous zone of the Mendrisiotto. Here you will find innumerable paths and trails, that cross fields and woodlands to reach the peaks of San Giorgio, Poncione d’Arzo, Monte Generoso, the apex of Serpiano and the Alpe di Brusino with its thousand-year-old chestnut trees.
Others choose to descend towards Lake Lugano or stroll across the little mountain hamlets. These walks, clearly marked by yellow markings, are so numerous that whenever you feel like a walk you’ll have dozens of options at your fingertips.
With short car-rides, you will also be able to reach nearby valleys including Val di Muggio and Val Verzasca, now renowned for being called ‘Milan’s Maldives’ in a viral video, each with its own fantastic views. Near Bellinzona, in Curzut, you will find a Tibetan bridge, perfect for those that long for a little adrenaline.
Monte San Giorgio: since it became a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2003, this mountain is most commonly visited due to the variety of perfectly conserved fossils that it is home to, as well as the countless trails that its 20 square kilometres of untouched natural beauty offer to both walkers and cyclists. There are over 20 different trails that set off from Meride, with breathtaking views over the lake or under silent woodlands or across the clearings full of deer and foxes. From there, you’ll be able to walk all the way down to the shores of Lake Lugano for a restorative swim and make your way back up to the top using a little red cable car, the oldest in Switzerland.
Cave di Arzo: a place where for centuries people have been mining the earth. An imposing and spectacular area, whose exquisite red marble used in churches and palaces across Europe continues to be extracted today. In the main quarry, a great amphitheatre has been carved out for concerts and events. The area also includes an outdoor museum.
Tremona Archeological Park: a hill that has been inhabited since prehistoric times, with the structures of a medieval village still visible. This park can also be visited with 3D glasses which will allow you to immerse yourself in the past as if living in the village itself, enjoying the ancient walls, over 50 homes, the tower, the church, and the blacksmith’s workshop.
Monte Generoso: 51 kilometres of trails to do with hiking boots and rucksacks. This is the region’s tallest mountain and is also reachable on a little cog railway. Walking, you’ll be able to discover these valleys’ stories: the ‘Bolle’, artificial ponds created by previous generations of Alpigiani (the region’s inhabitants), the ‘Spiazzi’, where charcoal is produced, the ‘nevere’, from the word ‘neve’, meaning snow, which are constructions that were once used to keep milk cool before today’s technology came into usage, and antique water mills that continue to be used today.
Its vicinity to Lake Lugano makes Meride the perfect place to experience water. From Serpiano, the cablecar will take you down to the lake by Brusino, where you’ll be able to take a ferry to Lugano or any of the other little fishing villages on the coast, with their twisting side streets and local shops and restaurants overlooking the water. It is also very easy to reach the ‘Lido’s in Melano, Maroggia, Riva San Vitale and Lugano where you will be able to enjoy the sunshine, to refresh yourself with a nice swim, or to try out various water sports.
For our river-loving guests, we recommend the many streams that surround the Locanda, always full of surprises with their crystalline cool waters that offer a reprieve from the summer heat. Just a short ways from the Locanda are a couple of gorgeous secluded pools in which to refresh yourselves and watch the setting sun, maybe after a day of walks or visits. Nearby is also the ‘Parco della Breggia’, a park that rises up around the valley carved by the river that gives the park its name, with its wide and striking pools.
For those with a passion for fishing, it is also possible to organise fishing day trips with guides that can lead you to spaces in which to experience a deep rapport with your surrounding nature. You will even have the option to bring your catch back to the Locanda and include it in your evening meal if you choose not to return it to its home.
Boat Trips on Lake Lugano: the lake is a perfect place for an evocative boat trip that stops at little fishing villages or just to admire the majesty of the mountains that surround the lakes. For those interested, there is also a historic boat from 1927 that also offers tours of the traditional fishing villages on the coast of the lake.
Morcote, Lakeside villages: here, time seems frozen in 1800. Antique fishing hamlets with narrow cobbled streets, traditional porticos, and viewpoints overlooking the lake are waiting for you to immerse you in the feel of the lake, to offer you excellent dinners of freshly caught fish, to open up their churches for you, even some from the early 5th-century Christianity.
Water Sports and Lidos: relax, nature and enjoyment. If you love relishing in sunshine, swimming and waterspouts, this is the place for you. Discover the lake by renting paddle-boards, windsurfs or even a sailboat, or even by trying out a local aperitivo at sunset
Pools in the Streams: just 10 minutes from the Locanda, or further away if you wish, you’ll find little corners of untouched natural paradise in the shape of crystalline river pools carved out by the area’s streams and rivers. With just a brief car journey, you’ll be able to reach the ‘Gole della Breggia’, a series of coves, almost a canyon, carved out by the stream that will allow you to experience a primordial area that tells the tale of 200 million years of the earth’s history. You can also visit the ‘Valle Verzasca’, now renowned as ‘Milan’s Maldives’ because of its crystal clear waters, where you can relish in the surrounding natural beauty.
Meride is part of the Monte San Giorgio Unesco World Heritage Site. Before the town was born, the region was inhabited only by volcanos and seascapes. Over time, natural forces shaped the territory into what it is now. The powerful work of land and fire over the centuries, starting from deep within the earth’s core, is told today in the rocks, the fossils, and in the great volcanic rock formations that are still visible today.
The nearby Museo dei Fossili di Meride (the fossils museum) collects this marvellous history. Meride’s surroundings are very much an outdoors palaeontology museum in their own right, and there are numerous walks that, alone or with a museum guide, can take you through our own personal “Triassic Park”.
Monte San Giorgio Fossil Museum: an absolute must-see. It is the only place in the world built on Triassic foundations from 240 million years ago. Over 20,000 fossils, from which 35 species of reptiles, 50 fish, and over 100 invertebrates, a museum designed by the architect Mario Botta, just opposite the Locanda San Silvestro which narrates the story of the living beings that inhabited Ticino’s land and sea millions of years ago. The ‘enhanced reality stations’ and the 3D room where you will be submerged into the sea are sure to guarantee an exciting experience. The museum also organises guided visits, events, digging expeditions and seminars (see programme).
Geo-Paleontological Trail on the Monte San Giorgio starts from Meride, just in front of the Locanda. It is a circular trail through woodlands with centuries-old chestnuts, that connects various excavation sites that are protected by Unesco, with many info points that explain the history of this incredible place.
Grotta dell’Orso (The Bear’s Cave) on Mount Generoso: can be visited with a short walk from the little cog railway. 50,000 years ago bears inhabited this region, and recently a cave was discovered containing the remains of over 800 of the animals. This area was also the home of Neanderthal tribes – little flints and finds make this one of Europe’s most important archaeological sites.
Energetic Places: the canton of Ticino is rich in energetic places, and even in the Mendrisiotto there are many natural sites, antique churches, monasteries and baptistries that are deemed important energetic spaces. Herman Hesse, fascinated by this aspect of the region, chose these areas to live in during the 60s. With simple autonomous walks in the woods around the Locanda, you will be able to experiment with the area’s particular energy, or if you prefer we will help you organise a guided tour to help you experience this profound and ancient aspect of the region.
Climbing up Mounts San Giorgio, Generoso, San Salvatore and Poncione will take up into the sky amongst the clouds. From there, the views over the lake and surrounding mountains reveals a breathtaking sight. You will enjoy a unique perspective over the region, one that usually is only enjoyed by the region’s falcons and countless other bird species.
But if sharing their views is not enough for you, if you really want to fly like them, then you will have the option of trying out hang-gliding from some of these peaks. If that is something that might interest you, we will provide any necessary assistance to help you spread your wings.
Views for 100 kilometres: The incredible panorama that you’ll be able to admire from the heights of Monte Generoso extends from the Apennines to the Alps, and includes Gran Paradiso, Monte Rosa, Cervino, Jungfrau and the massive Gottardo. You’ll be able to make your way up in a little cog railway, and reaching the peak feels like entering the sky.
Paragliding: you will be able to rent your own paraglide, or do a joint dive with an instructor. Descending over Lake Lugano and flying over Meride’s untouched valleys, or even seeing Milan’s skyscrapers lit up by the setting sun. It is a unique experience flying on the borders of Italy and Switzerland.
Seaplane: you will be able to organise a tour over Lake Como, flying over renowned areas such as Bellagio, or over the villas of many film celebrities. We offer a full package that sets off from the Locanda and will bring you back in the evening, ready for a delicious and relaxing dinner.
San Salvatore: this can be reached by the cog railway that sets off from Lugano Paradiso. It offers an extremely wide view over the three arms of the lake and over the mountains that surround it. The roof of the church and the Capodoro terrace are viewpoints offering a 360° panoramic view. From the peaks, there is the option to descend along a beautiful trail that ends up in Carona and on the lake towards Morcote