Although summer doesn’t officially start until June 21st, most people living in southern Switzerland – and those visiting – know that they can enjoy the amazing weather in the country, and water sports, much earlier than that. Every year, come late spring, most of southern Switzerland’s lidos and public pools open up for business and people flock to them to stay active, work on their tan or simply relax. Here are the best lidos and outdoor swimming pools in Ticino.
Vintage atmosphere at Lido di Lugano
A great classic, the Lido di Lugano has been entertaining the local population and visitors alike since 1928. The indoor pools and restaurant here are opened year round but on May 1st, the outdoor pool and bar open their doors for five months of fun by the water. With its vintage vibe, sandy beach and different levels, this lido is ideal for everyone, whether you choose to swim laps, practice diving from various heights or simply relax and dine by the water.
A classic and much-loved spot not far from Lugano, the Lido di Caslano attracts the younger crowd of the region and is known for being the place to be to have fun by the water. The parties here are definitely something to write home about, as the lido is swarmed by a hip crowd looking for good music and cold drinks. This lido doesn’t have a swimming pool, but when you have access to the lake, a large lawn to sit in the sun and multiple bars, who really needs one?
Looking for something a little more low key? Then Lido San Domenico might be the right place for you. Open from April to September each year, this quaint little lido is off the beaten track and you can reach it by taking the Sentiero di Gandria from Castagnola. The patch of lakefront grass here is small but has unparalleled views and guarantees a certain peace and quiet. Bonus: for the whole month of May, you can sunbathe for free and, because of its location, this lido never gets overly crowded, so bring your book and get ready for a few hours of total relaxation.
With its chic, vintage feel, Lido Riva Caccia might be regarded as Lugano’s ‘lesser’ lido, but it has a great atmosphere, which is perfect for relaxing without having to venture too far from the town centre. Every year, Lido Riva Caccia promises a season filled with sun, fun, live music, events, all kinds of surprises and of course, cocktails and food served on the floating platform on the lake. This lido is also popular among yogis, as it offers a number of yoga classes and workshops to start off the day in the best possible way.
Beautifully located right on the lake, with a large lawn and a shoreside swimming pool, the Lido di Bissone sits in a wonderful position and is exposed to direct sunlight until the very late afternoon. The large trees on one side cast their shadow over the playground area, which is popular with young families. In the evenings, the Waikiki bar is the place to be to enjoy a great aperitif, with a different DJ set every night and, more importantly, uninterrupted views over Lake Lugano.
On the shores of Lake Maggiore, the Lido di Ascona is large, beautiful and has a brilliant holiday vibe. Here, you won’t find a swimming pool but there are plenty of lake accesses, including several diving boards for those who want to test their courage and jump right into the deep lake waters. Beach volleyball courts, ping pong tables and stand up paddling are also available, while the two bars, one of which has a fun Caribbean atmosphere, await if you just want to sit back, relax and savour a cocktail while the sun goes down.
If you are travelling with kids, Lido Locarno is the ideal place to choose as it features everything the little ones – and adults – might dream of. This includes four outdoor swimming pools that offer fun for the whole family: one is for diving, one for swimming, one is for younger children to play safely and the last is for older kids to have fun bouncing on trampolines and inflatable toys. On top of all this, four long slides provide even more entertainment, while on the lawn, adults can participate in yoga and gym workshops to stay in shape while on holiday in Locarno.