Gandria is a little village at the foot of some mountains on Lake Lugano. If you are visiting Lugano, a town in the Italian region of Switzerland, Gandria is a wonderful place to get away from the touristy city and also get an introduction to what most of the Ticino canton is really like. The easiest way to get to Gandria is by boat, although you could walk there in 1.5 hours (personally, that is a bit too much). You can take a boat from the dock on Riva Albertolli, across the street from the tourist information office in Lugano. The boat (Figure 1) will loop around Lake Lugano, providing gorgeous views of the mountains and villages (Figure 2).
Once docked in Gandria, take the steps up towards the left, and then turn left on the main “street” (more like alley, Figure 3). Walk about 3 minutes, passing all sorts of stairwells, and you will come to a pink building with a sign that says “Locanda Gandriese” (Figure 4). This is a wonderful restaurant to have lunch at. You may want to make a reservation beforehand if you want a seat on the terrace…
In any case, I walked in and was lucky enough to find a seat on the terrace overlooking Lake Lugano and the mountains (Figure 5). I waited a while, and the waitress finally came over to give me a seductive menu of Italian pastas and wines.
I ended up ordering a glass of white wine (Figure 6) from Ticino (it was just called Bianca Ticina). The wine was very crisp and complemented the green salad (Figure 7) starter I ordered. I was a bit disappointed with the salad because I was expecting a salad more like the others I’ve had in Switzerland, with a huge variety of vegetables. Instead, it was just a plate of mixed greens.
Then came with my penne pasta with shrimp, zucchini and a creamy saffron sauce (Figure 8)! It was probably the best pasta I’ve ever had – even better than those I had in Italy... I think the saffron sauce was what gave this pasta its unique, penetrating honey-grass taste! Also, the shrimp were scrumptious! Not only were there the two large shrimp in the center, there were also dried shrimp sprinkled throughout, giving the pasta a bit of a sweet flavor. Overall, this dish was AMAZING!
Make sure you watch your time as you eat at this little restaurant on the lake. Time does fly, and you just may miss your boat (I had to run for mine, which was not a good idea with a full stomach).
- Make a reservation for a seat on the terrace at Locanda Gandriese.
- Get the time schedule for when the boats leave Gandria to go back to Lugano, and make sure you understand it! Not all boats will end up going back to Lugano straight away!!!
- Watch the time as you are in Gandria – time seems to fly past without you knowing it, and you just may miss the boat…