Discover another side to Lugano, with a scenic walk along the historical Olive Tree Trail!

July, 19 2018 ( Updated September, 08 2021)


If you’re looking to leave the city buzz of Lugano behind for the day then the Olive Tree Trail (‘Sentiero dell’Olivo’) is for you! This picturesque lakeside walk leads eastwards away from the city and takes approximately 50 minutes to 1.5 hours to complete (depending on your preferred walking pace).

We recommend beginning at the Lugano end in Castagnola, although visitors are welcome to start at the other end, in Gandria. From our starting point in Castagnola, the 3-km route from Lugano finishes in the quaint fishing village of Gandria, which is serviced by a passenger ferry, a bus stop and road links. 

Along the pedestrianised route, identifiable Olive trail logos will guide visitors in the right direction, passing through Scarigiöla and Elvezia al Lago. Complementing the lake view path are 18 education panels, which have been designed to inform visitors about the history and significance of olive tree cultivation in the Ticino region; which enjoys a rich heritage as far back as 769 AD! The multi-lingual panels also provide extra information on the botany, local cultivation methods and varied range of products created from the locally-sourced olive oil.


A beautiful backdrop is also guaranteed, with the tranquil Olive trail route passing by the Lido San Domenico, a selection of fine lake villas, the dramatic Scarigiöla cliff face, the sun-drenched southern slopes and the terraced park of Parco dell’ Olivo, which is richly adorned with typical Mediterranean woodland, flora and fauna. 

By the pier in Gandria, visitors should look out for the 10-metre high ancient olive tree known as ‘Olivo di Carlin’. Those feeling peckish can enjoy a lake view refreshment along the way at the ‘Elvezia al Lago hotel’ (a ferry stop can also be found here, with leisurely links to Gandria). Visitors can also savour a lake view meal and glass of wine later at the ‘Ristorante Antico’, to celebrate having reached their destination!

Visitors to Gandria will be able to immerse themselves in exploring the quaint fishing village, which is set at the foot of Mount Brè and is full of enchantment and history. The ambient village features quaint cobbled streets, pretty townhouses and the renowned ceramicware shop, ‘Ceramiche D’arte Gandria’ alongside a selection of authentic eateries, a passenger ferry-stop with Lugano links, a public car park and a bus stop with Lugano bus links and Lake Como bus links to Menaggio, via Porlezza.

Walking route time: 50 minutes - 1.5 hours Route length: 3km

Difficulty rating: Easy (features steps in places and cobbled, stone and gravel paths)

Starting point: Next to the car park along ‘Via Cortivo’, Castagnola

Finishing point: At the bus stop ‘Gandria Paese’, Bus route 490

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