Drive around the lake and you will go in and out of both Switzerland and Italy. The lake's footprint straddles the Swiss-Italian border with 67% of its surface area falling within the Canton of Ticino, Switzerland, and 33% of it in the Lombardy Region of Northern Italy with unspoilt nature all the way.
The Mediterranean climate makes this a popular destination all year round, and it lacks for nothing in the sense of its charm, beauty and atmosphere. The lake takes the form of a twisting river and this is emphasised by the fact that it is only 3 km wide at its widest point. Follow the shoreline and you will pass through many picturesque Venetian style villages.
The eastern and the western part of the lake is located in Italy, while the central portion, and thus the majority (about 63%) is located in Switzerland. Sea (in Italian: Lago di Lugano) is very branched and tortuous - but can be passed along the A4 motorway at Melide dam where Campione d'Italia is located. The landscape is predominantly mountainous and dramatic, but some places have fine lakeside beaches, such as Porlezza for example.
You will find that Porlezza is the lake's most charming town on the Italian side. It is an overgrown village where there is a bit of everything but it is not too big with an intimate atmosphere, beaches and fine historic centre. In addition, Lake Como is just about 10 km away so you can easily hop across.
Lugano is the lake's main city and has given its name to the lake. Lugano is located in Switzerland and is lively and well-attended. Here there is a wide variety of shops, flowering parks, a charming promenade and in general an atmosphere reminiscent of the 1960's.
The list is endless, you can rent bikes and cycle around the trails with over 300 km of marked trails, and hike of course on the same trails or the mountain roads that traverse the shores of the lake. Opportunities for water sports are also abundant including windsurfing, sailing, canoeing/kayaking, stand up paddling and fishing.