The Sentiero di Gandria (Gandria Trail) is a "must" for those vacationing in the Lugano Bay. It is a trail that runs along the lake framed by natural beauty, with an incredible panorama on the lake and surrounding mountains. Tranquility and silence characterize this walk that unfolds through typically Mediterranean flowers and shrubs on the way to one of Ticino's most charming villages. A detour from the main trail leads to the "Parco degli ulivi" (olive park), with century-old olive trees and educational panels that illustrate the history and characteristics of the plants.
Itinerary: Gandria Trail (1.5h, see map)
The departure point is the parking area San Domenico in Castagnola, accessible by car or, even better, by boat from Lugano. Shortly after passing under the picturesque arch that marks the beginning of the trail, at the level of the Fischer Hotel, you can choose whether to continue along the main trail to Gandria or rather take the detour that goes up to the "Parco degli ulivi" and back to trail on the lakeshore further ahead.
The large "Parco degli ulivi" (olive park) is located on the slopes of Monte Brè and, because of its southern exposure and protection from the winds, it benefits from a mild climate even during the winter. In fact, aside from the olive trees, cypresses, myrtles and laurel oaks the spring presents multi-coloured fields filled with flowers in bloom. The land's steep incline can be overtaken thanks to a stairway and trails that clamber up until they reach the beautiful terracing with views on the lake and the mountains, among which Monte San Salvatore stands out in the distance. A few educational panels in four languages illustrate the history, botany, cultivation and interesting facts about the olive tree.
Once again, you reach the main trail that runs along the lakeshore with a spectacular view on the Ceresio and the surrounding mountains. Gandria is a fascinating village that mirrors on the lake. With its collection of houses, small and large, leaning one against the other, it is worth a visit but not in a hurry. Between alleys and stairways you can discover charming little corners, miniscule terraced gardens and old walls decorated with some frescos. Bearing witness to the importance of the olive tree in the past are many clues: the coat of arms of the family Verda de Olivetis with olive trees and lilies (in the Arcovia store), the imposing olive tree (ulivo del Carlin) next to the small port and the grindstone that was once used to grind the olives and extract oil, now located next to the City Hall.
Every Thursday, from 25 June to 22 October, guided walk from Lugano to Gandria and return by boat. For information and reservation please contact Lugano Tourist Office (phone 058 220 65 05 - firstname.lastname@example.org)