San Grato botanical gardens are a mecca for park visitors and plant lovers – particularly in April and May, when the azaleas and rhododendrons form a fragrant carpet.
The San Grato gardens are situated above Lake Lugano on the hills of Carona, between Monte San Salvatore and Monte Arbostora. From Lugano, take a bus to relax and enjoy the views up. Or drive for a fun experience on the curvy, narrow streets. A short video of the descent is below:
The park offers captivating views of nearby areas, Lake Lugano and Alpine peaks. You’ll be immersed in an one-of-a-kind garden, expertly created to highlight it’s natural and decorative characteristics. There are delightful trails for children and adults: botanical, relaxation, scenic, artistic and fairy-tale, and a sensory path created on the 60th anniversary. The playground is easily reachable and located in the center of the park. It offers children the chance to play, while the adults relax in a wonderful setting.
The Sensory Trail offers all visitors a more careful and conscious way to explore nature, discovering forgotten sensations. The path, conceived around an experience based on sensory and emotional contact with nature, can evoke strong feelings and perceptions, creating joy and great involvement.
The Fairytale Trail is fabulous in the truest sense of the word, giving children a chance to play as they explore the park. This is a short walk, located near the playground and provides children with an easy, interesting and funny way to learn.
The Relaxation Trail connects the most level and easy paths in the park.
The Botanical Trail features a large number of information boards about the ornamental plants and wild vegetation in the park. Many are labelled with their Latin, Italian and German names, as well as, country of origin.
Visitors who follow the Art Trail can see enthralling pieces by a selection of artists.The path features sculptures of several contemporary artists, among exquisite gardens, including the grassy meadows at the Park’s summit.
The Panorama Trail explores the park’s various lookout points and is suitable for a picnic. Look for signposts to learn about local mountain peaks and the border regions.
Plan to spend the day in this special garden. Bring lunch and drinks, so you can find a shady spot to enjoy a picnic. During our visit on Mother’s Day, we enjoyed a delicious meal, wine and panoramic views at the San Grato restaurant. Ask to be seated on the Wisteria covered outdoor patio to sit overlooking stunning azaleas, rhododendrons and rare impressive conifers. San Grato is open throughout the year and admission is free.
Book a room in Lugano with a lake view and check out these popular nearby attractions: Chiesa di Santa Maria degli Angeli Historic Church, Monte Brè Gondola and Boat Tour, Piazza della Riforma and the Olive Trail.