only a few more days an it’s officially spring! Wohooooo!!! And like nature, our town is also slowly starting to wake up. I’m not saying there is nothing to do in winter, but spring is when the tourists start to arrive, the weather gets nicer, you can start to sit outside in the many pretty cafés and there is an event after the other. But what are the things you shouldn’t miss? Here’s my top ten.
go on a scavenger hunt on the Brissago islands. Hop on a boat in Locarno, Ascona or Brissago and get off on the main island. If there are children with you, consider going on the treasure hunt, my niece and nephew loved it! Just ask for the map at the entry and follow the clues left by pirates. Or just visit the botanical garden, alone or with a guide. There’s a restaurant and small hotel on the island too.
go spiritual on Monte Verità. On the “Hill of the Truth” you will find many interesting things to do, there’s a beautiful park, a tea house, and a museum complex that depicts the interesting history of the hill. Consider taking part in the Japanese tea ceremony, going on a guided tour or listening to one of the many interesting conferences that are hosted in the conference centre. In the past different communities lived on the Monte Verità, including a vegetarian and nudist community. Some people can still feel the special power and vibes on the hill, can you?
eat the first ice cream of the year. If you are like me, you probably have your share of ice cream in the winter as well, but that doesn’t even begin to compare with the “gelato da passeggio”, you know, the one you buy in an ice cream parlour and eat while walking through town or sitting on a bench on a warm and sunny day. A few days ago I started seeing the first tourists eating their cones in Piazza Grande, give me a few more days and I will probably join them. Want to know where to get your ice cream? Read my post on our ice cream parlours.
breathe in the scent of 850 varities of camellias in the Camellia Park. Or just visit the Camellia Exhibition held at the Castello Visconteo during the month of March.
discover the beauty of the villages in the valleys. Especially at the beginning of spring it may still be too cold to go hiking in the mountains and you will probably even find some snow on the trails, but it’s a great time to discover the beautiful historic little villages of the valleys that surround Locarno. Vallemaggia, Valle Onsernone, Valle Verzasca or even Centovalli, your pick! They are all wonderful and offer a lot to see. Read more about Vallemaggia, the valley I once called home, on previous posts.
party until the early morning at the Notte Bianca. This is one of my favourite events of the year. In the centre of Locarno the shops are open until late at night, bars and restaurants keep serving drinks and food until the early morning, museums open their doors for free and in the piazzas you can listen to concerts all night long. It’s basically a very big party taking place in the centre of town and there are thousands of people from all generations having fun together. This event usually takes place at the end of May.
laugh out loud at the Artisti di Strada festival in Ascona. Another fun event for people of all ages, usually taking place in late May. During four days about 100 performances from different street artists are shown on the lake promenade. Just go there and stop when you think you see something interesting, if you don’t like what you’re seeing just walk on and stop at the next artist. It’s as easy as that!
eat strawberries with cream, strawberry cake or strawberry ice cream at the Fragole in Piazza. Another May event, the Strawberry Festival is another event for people of all ages. Watch dance performances on the stage, vote for the strawberry miss or just eat your berries while people watching on Piazza Grande.
relax on the lake. Or near the lake. Take a walk on the lungolago, in Minusio, Locarno, Ascona or even Brissago, you choose. Or take a boat and get on the lake. Many public beaches open at the end of spring, so grab your towel, sunscreen, sunglasses and head to the lakeshore. Are you feeling brave? Be one of the first to get into the lake for a swim!
binge on fish at the Sagra del Pesce. Ok, so this event is technically hold a few days before the official start of spring, but for me it has always meant the beginning of the warmer season. Since I was a child, the Sunday of the fish festival has always been the first day that was so warm that I could take off my winter coat and walk around in a T-shirt. This year was an exception, but I bet next year it will be again the first really warm day of t he year ;) But what is the fish festival about? Well, about fish of course! There’s a fishing contest, a fish lottery, a fish auction and of course a lot of fish to eat, polenta e merluzzo for lunch, and fried alborelle at 3 pm.
Enjoy Locarno in spring!!