There are some similarities between Lugano and Como. Both are small towns, with Como surprisingly having the bigger population (80,000 plus, compared with Lugano’s 53,000). Both have lakeside promenades, boat rides and funicular railways.
The main difference between them is that behind the promenade at Como lie the tourist attractions of the old town, separated from the commercial area and manufacturing suburbs. In contrast, the promenade at Lugano is backed by a small, modern financial centre, including streets of boutique shopping. This gives Como a picturesque quality that is missing in Lugano and Lugano a small slice of urban chic that Como doesn’t have.
The busiest shops are a delicatessen with cheeses and cold meat hanging like the corks on an Aussie hat and a sweet shop with varieties of chocolate you never knew existed.
You can catch the C12 bus to Lugano from Menaggio. Remember that the journey involves a border crossing between Italy and Switzerland. The bus may well be waved through in both directions, but you must have your passport with you, just in case.
Making your way back to the bus for the return journey, you might want to pay a visit to what might be the most beautiful public toilet in the world, with luxury multi flush functionality. It’s in the corner of the car park adjacent to the bus stop. Transported to Tate Modern, it would be a serious contender for the Turner Price.