Monte Brè – Tips for visiting this Lugano mountain

Ride a funicular up to this small mountain in Lugano, an easy way to enjoy panorama views over the lake.

Monte Brè is a popular outing from Lugano, an easy way to enjoy panorama views over the city and lake. To reach the top, you ride two funicular trains up the mountain. Then a short stroll to the viewpoint, restaurants and playground. If you want to hike, many trails start from here, including the popular hike down to Gandria where you can catch a boat back to Lugano.

Location:   Lugano, Ticino, southern Switzerland
Address: Monte Brè funiculars – Via Pico 8, 6900 Lugano
Car: Free parking (with voucher): Via Campo Marzio 1, 6900 Lugano
From Zürich 2hr45
Train: Cassarate, Monte Brè bus stop
From Lugano 10 mins, Zürich 2hr15
   
Trail: optional 1.5 k loop at the top
Difficulty: easy
Condition: paved path with stairs, no strollers or wheelchairs
Elevation: highest point 925 m
Open: year round, except short break in Jan/Feb
Prices: funicular return CHF 25/adult, discount with Ticino Ticket and other Swiss travel cards
Extras: restaurants
More info: www.montebre.chwebcamforecast

Location

Monte Brè is a mountain located on the eastern side of Lugano city in southern Switzerland.

Monte Brè Overview

There are series of two funiculars that take you to the top of Monte Brè. Section I starts at Via Pico 8, 6900 Lugano. Section II starts at Via Ceresio di Suvigliana 36, 6977 Ruvigliana.

Here’s a closer view showing where the viewpoints and restaurants are.

How to get there

By public transport:

Note: If you are coming by public transportation, SBB Railway usually has a combo offer that includes a discount for both your train travel and Monte Brè funicular tickets. See details.

Take a train to the main Lugano train station (Lugano, Stazione). Then ride Bus 2 to the Cassarate, Monte Brè bus stop, about a 11 min ride. It’s a short walk from the bus stop to the section 1 funicular as shown below. This bus goes about every 15 mins. Check current schedule on SBB.ch. I would not suggest taking a bus to the Section II funicular, as it takes much longer with multiple transfers.

Alternatively, I suggest walking from the train station through town and along the water to reach the funicular, as shown below. It takes about 45 mins and is a nice way to enjoy the city. See interactive map on Komoot.

By car:

You can park for free at Campo Marzio – Via Campo Marzio 1, 6900 Lugano. But you must request a free parking exit ticket when purchasing your funicular ticket (at funicular section II). It’s a 10 min walk from the parking to the Section I funicular station at Via Pico 8, 6900 Lugano

There is metered parking a bit closer to Section I at Piazza Riscossa 16, 6900 Lugano

Although not recommended, you can drive to the top of Monte Brè on a narrow winding road. There is limited parking next to Ristorante Vitta near the top of Monte Brè (see on map). There is a larger metered parking lot in the Brè village (Brè sopra Lugano, Via al Pozzo, 6979 Lugano), about a 15 min walk up to the top of Monte Brè. Either way, it’s about a 25 min drive from the Lugano freeway exit.

Ticket prices

In 2022, a round trip ticket for the two funiculars costs CHF 25/adult, CHF 12.50/child 6-15, under 6 and Junior Card free. Discounts for Ticino Ticket, SBB GA, Half-fare, Day Pass. Large dogs must have their own ticket, same price as children.

If you plan to hike down, you will only need a one way ticket. If you are hiking down to Gandria, you can purchase a combined ticket for funicular and boat ride – CHF 28.60/adult.

The Section I funicular is automatic. You don’t have to purchase your tickets until you reach Section II, where you purchase tickets at their ticket desk. 

Operating times

Section I funicular (Lugano Cassarate – Suvigliana) runs daily every 15 mins, carrying 30 people. It’s a 4 min ride.

Section II funicular (Suvigliana – Monte Bré) runs daily every 30 mins, carrying 68 people. The journey time is 12 mins. From April – October, section II runs 9:00 – 18:00, until 23:00 on Fridays and Saturdays in July and August. In winter, it runs until 17:00.

Both funiculars run year round, except for a maintenance break from mid January to mid February. Check current schedule.

Hiking options

At a minimum, you should walk from the funicular station down to Ristorante Vetta, which has a panorama terrace overlooking Lake Lugano.

If you want to stretch your legs, you could do this short loop at the top of Monte Brè that visits a second viewpoint to the east. Most of the walk is in the forest with lots of stairs, so it’s not amazing. But the viewpoint is nice.

If you want to hike longer, a popular route is hiking down to Gandria and taking a ferry boat back to Lugano. It’s about 4.3 km, 1hr30, descending 670 m of elevation. See hiking map on KomootSchweizMobil

See more Monte Brè hiking options.

Photo story

Arriving in Lugano

We took the train from Zürich to Lugano, which was faster than driving. You can see Monte Brè from the train station as shown here. You can catch Bus 2 here to the funicular station. But we chose to walk along the lake to the funicular station.

It’s a lovely walk through town, Monte Brè often visible.

If you want a picnic later, I’d suggest picking up sandwiches at Gabbani

   

Nice views of the other Lugano mountain, San Salvatore, which you should visit next time.

Riding up the funicular

Here is the Monte Brè funicular – Section I. You don’t need to purchase a ticket here. You’ll do that at the next station. The automatic gate will let 30 people in. It runs every 15 mins and is a 4 mins ride to the next station.

Here is the funicular car and view of Lugano from the ride up.

   

Exit the funicular and cross the street to the Monte Brè Section II funicular station. There was a long line when we were there, so we had to wait about 45 mins to go up.

You purchase tickets at this booth before getting on the funicular. If you have a SBB Railaway voucher, show it here to get your funicular ticket. There is a toilet at this station.

This second funicular fits 68 people and is a 12 mins ride to the top.

   

Nice views to the northwest as you ride up.

Top of Monte Brè

The funicular drops you here. There is a toilet in the station.

 

If you are hiking, there are many signs point the way. We hiked down to Gandria.

There is a restaurant with a view directly across from the funicular station – Osteria Funicolare Monte Brè

I noticed that most tables were reserved for lunch on a September Saturday. So if you really want to eat here, you might want to reserve.

From the top, follow the paved path down to Ristorante Vetta.

        

Above the restaurant there is a small playground and benches where you can picnic. 

If you want to walk a little more, you can walk out to the second viewpoint I mentioned above. From Vetta, either follow the road or walking path that traverses the mountain to the east. It leads to this viewpoint.

It’s a pretty view but not sure it’s worth the rather drab walk through the forest to get here.

 

When you are done, ride the funiculars back down to Lugano. The funicular leaves every 30 mins, so check the schedule. Have fun out there!

Read also

Where to hike near Lugano in southern Switzerland, most with panorama views of Lake Lugano, the defining feature of this area.
Where to hike near Lugano in southern Switzerland, most with panorama views of Lake Lugano, the defining feature of this area.

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Hi! I’m Tanya and our family has been living & hiking in Switzerland since 2005, collecting dozens of fun hikes and activities for all ages and abilities. More about us…

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