Interesting places- Lugano (2018)

At the end of March 2018, I again had a chance to visit the Swiss town of Lugano. As per my previous blog post about Lugano it was obvious that I’d want to take advantage of the mountains and do a bit of gentle running, or, in other words, thrash my quads. Back in 2017 I thought that my target for 2018 should be the mountain Denti della Vecchia and indeed I planned a route of about 24-km-long. I’d need about 4-4.5 hours for that.


On my first afternoon in Lugano I set off for s short run aiming to scale a nearby Monte San Salvatore. I am very proud of my reasonable planning. San Salvatore is 912 metres tall, so there is about 600 metres of altitude to gain to get to the top from Lugano. It wouldn’t be a particularly long or arduous hike but running down would adversely affect my legs. Consequently, the next day my muscles would be sore and the long trip would be much harder, slower and less pleasant. Therefore, I hiked up just to about 600 metres above sea level and then gently trotted down.

San Salvatore viewed from Lugano

After a sumptuous dinner of salad, a glass of wine and a delicious pizza I prepared everything for the next day and set my alarm clock for 4:45 am. The plan was to set off at 5 am and return no later than 9:30 in order not to miss the hotel breakfast served until 10 am.

The excursion

I woke up at 4:45 quite well-rested after 6 hours of sleep. I quickly got dressed, prepared my water bottles (took 1.5 litres of fluids) and set off a few minutes after 5 am. After 10 minutes an easy run through sleeping and deserted Lugano I started going up Monte Bre. I haven’t seen anyone. Only in the forests on the slopes of Monte Bre I could hear some game running away from a weird intruder with a headtorch on his forehead.

Dawn on the slopes of Monte Boglia

After an hour or so since leaving the hotel I reached the village of Bre. From there, following a route tried last year, I continued up towards Monte Boglia. At about 800 metres above sea level it became significantly colder, so I put on my jacket and continued. At around 6:30 am the darkness started to give way to the light and just before 7 am, maybe 10 minutes before the summit of Monte Boglia, I swapped the headtorch for GoPro and made some shots. At about 1300 metres above sea level I started to see some old snow and ice, while nearer the summit there was a lot of it.

Atop Monte Boglia
A view from Monte Boglia towards Denti della Vecchia

I topped Monte Boglia in about 2 hours from Lugano. I stopped there for a while to take some shots and a little bit of rest. Then I started running downhill towards Denti della Vecchia. That was a short-lived effort. The northern side of the mountain turned out (obviously) to be much icier. Instead of running I had to hike carefully watching out for cornices that could break away below my feet. I was also careful not to slide down on frozen snow- this could have been a long and treacherous slide! When it became less steep I was able to jog down following someone else’s footsteps. After 20 minutes and about 300 metres lower it was spring time again and I could pursue a lovely trail.

A sight along the way

The trail winded its way through forested slopes and between picturesque rocks. After 50 minutes since the Boglia summit I reached a humongous rock and assumed that was Denti della Vecchia. I even found a special trail, apparently leading to the top of the rock, but I decided not to go there. There was a lot of snow and ice and I couldn’t see what was just a thin layer of ice and what was an overhang above an abyss.


At 8 am I retreated from Denti della Vecchia the same way for about 2 km. Then, rather than climbing Monte Boglia again I took a gentle downhill trail where I ran the whole time. I reached the village of Cureggia where my legs started to feel quite heavy. With a mix of running and jogging down I reached Lugano, where I gently ran the last 2 km. I reached my hotel at 9:15 am. The excursion took me 4 hours, 9 minutes and 30 seconds. Garmin showed a total distance of 24.85 km (15.5 miles) and 1634 metres of altitude gain, so good effort.

Some stats

Here’s a short movie I made of my trip. Enjoy!

I totally love such excursions. Despite the tiredness and muscle soreness I felt satisfied and happy that I had the opportunity to do a beautiful trail in the mountains and to relish a sunrise- just me high in the mountains with no one around. And the best thing was, that it was just the beginning of the day!

All the best,


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