Locarno is a small town situated on the north end of Lake Maggiore. It’s easy indeed to lose one's heart to this picturesque little town. One of the most attractive spots is the Piazza Grande and right behind it lies the old part of town, "la città vecchia." Built in the Middle Ages, it holds great architectural and cultural treasures. Open-air concerts, disco-nights on lake cruises and beach parties are but some of the offers geared to please a backpacker. It is free to swim in various convenient spots around the lake. During the International Film Festival (August 3st – 13th ) the town will be crowded and accommodation is difficult to find! Most striking of all Locarno’s sights is the Franciscan Santuario della Madonna del Sasso church, an impressive ochre vision floating above the town. The twenty-minute walk up is atmospheric in itself, or you could take the funicular from just west of the main train station.
How to get there: Half hourly trains from Bellinzona(takes 20 minutes).
Tourist information at Largo Zorzi 1, in the same building as the casino (091 791 00 91).
Locarno Youth Hostel, Via Varenna 18 (091 756 15 00)
Hotel Casa DaVinci, Via Bartolomeo Rusca 6 (091 751 30 64)