The Castles of Bellinzona: Back to the Middle Ages

August, 31 2021 ( Updated September, 01 2021)


One of the most famous and visited attractions in Ticino is certainly the castles of Bellinzona located close to the lakeside town of Lugano. In addition to these castles, with their crenellated walls and high towers, you can also stop in the city centre of Bellinzona that is truly characteristic of the city and very pleasant to spend some time in.

The three castles of Bellinzona are such a great example of the well-preserved medieval military architecture that they have been made a part of the UNESCO World Heritage since 2000. Those who want to see all three castles immersed in the atmosphere surrounding them should visit it via the Artù train, which is active from April to November.

So, let us discover the magnificent castles of Bellinzona together!

Castelgrande castle

The first castle, Castelgrande, rises close to the heart of the city. Just take an elevator, and in a few moments, you will find yourself catapulted into an ancient and unique world dating back to medieval times. Those who want to enjoy a walk will have to go through some narrow streets that lead to the castle. Imposing and austere, it is immediately noticed due to its 40 meters of wall. 

As soon as you arrive, you can enter the castle and climb up its ancient towers; it is specifically worth climbing up the White Tower as its height offers a complete view of the city and the other two castles located not too far away. Particularly striking are the crenellated walls; once used as defensive structures against outside forces, and the well-kept lawn, where tourists often lie down to enjoy the beauty that surrounds them.

At the same time, a visit to the castle museum is also worthwhile. Here, you can admire the various testimonies of the presence of man on the hill where the castle has stood from ancient times to the present day. For lovers of challenges, there is also an Escape Room inside the building

For a typical lunch or a snack, a panoramic grotto offers sweet relaxation before visiting the other two castles. There is another grotto, too, named after the castle itself. 

Montebello castle

However, the nearest castle is Montebello, reachable on foot via a fascinating path through the alleys of the old city, but also reached by car or by train all the same. 

Surely, the charm of this castle offering a view extending till Lake Maggiore and Piano di Magadino will not go unnoticed either. It deserves a visit inside as well, where you will find a new exhibition path that traces the crucial stages of human history, thanks to the discovery of findings made in the area and also the various restoration works. 

A nice playground on-site will surely be appreciated by children keen on fun and carefree vacation.

For those with a love of all things sweet, it is possible to watch the processing of salami of the castles of Bellinzona that are seasoned right here!

Sasso Corbaro castle

The last castle is Sasso Corbaro, the most independent and detached of the three. It owes its name to the word crow because it stands on a very dark hill and looks similar to the feathers of a crow. You can surely reach it by car, but for a unique experience it is recommended to set out and walk up to the “peak".

Inside, there is a museum where you can retrace the history of the medieval fortress, taste local delicacies at the tavern, and enjoy an enchanting and panoramic view from the top. As a matter of fact, this castle is the highest of the three and is located 230 meters above the city, with a view of Lake Maggiore and Pizzo di Claro in Ticino. This castle also has an area where you can organise receptions and exhibitions.

Now, are you excited to take a dive inside these castles’ fairy-tale-like atmosphere and transport yourself to the Middle Ages?

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