Carona and San Salvatore
With May 1 being a holiday, we had long planned a weekend to southern Switzerland in hope of finding some sun. Just like last year, when we spent the long weekend in Ascona. We were actually very lucky with the weather. While it was rainy and foggy in Ticino on Friday, we had the most beautiful and warm weather on Saturday before is started raining again on Sunday. The rest of Switzerland wasn't as lucky. There were rain and wind storms which resulted in major flooding and landslides.
We had planned to hike San Salvatore (912 m) twice but had to cancel both times due to snow. Our plan to hike up from Lugano on Friday was also dismissed when we saw that it was raining and the fog was so thick we could barely see. So after a short walk around Carona, we decided to spend a leisurely afternoon in the hotel drawing room reading.
The next day we woke up to blue skies and chirping birds. After breakfast out on the patio we donned our hiking boots were were off. Up to San Salvatore and views of Lake Lugano.
When in Switzerland, take the train... So we rode the funicular back down to Lugano and after eating a gelato, we took the boat from Lugano to Morcote, a picturesque village I have always wanted to visit. After lunch on the lake we continued our hike.
From Morcote we hiked back to Carona. We walked up what felt like 1000 never-ending steps to Alpe Vicania. From there the path back to Carona was relatively flat. The Parco San Grato sits above Carona and boasts, amongst other plants, many azaleas and rhododendrons, most of which were in bloom. From there, we had a beautiful view of San Salvatore.
We stayed at our 18th Swiss Historic Hotel, the Villa Carona. The hotel is a comfortable and very friendly family-run hotel. We felt very welcome and enjoyed our room which overlooked the beautiful garden. In the garden there is a wooden hot tub which we used twice. Once in the thick fog before dinner and once under the stars after dinner. We had dinner at the hotel restaurant and thoroughly enjoyed both meals we ate there. Chef Luca Somaini's creations were absolutely delicious.
When the sun came out on the second day, I went crazy photographing all the lovely tulips in the garden before settling down for breakfast on the patio.