Interesting places- Lugano

Let me start by informing the regular visitors that with this blog entry I go back in time. Namely, 10 days after my failed attempt at Viking Way Ultra and 10 days before Harpagan. 2017 has been quite an intensive year with many races, so I managed to build a backlog of topics to blog about. Now that I’m not racing, I can catch up and write up old stuff.

Lugano, a picturesque town located in the Swiss canton Ticino, near the border with Italy, is probably my favourite work destination. Located by a lovely Alpine lake and surrounded by majestic mountains, Lugano offers beautiful sights. Straight from the centre of the town I have 600 metres of altitude to the top of the nearest mountain, so it’s a no brainer that I have to take advantage of running in the mountains, which is something I lack where I live!

View from Lugano: centrally in the background is Monte Brè; further and to the left you can see Monte Boglia

The first visit (2016)

I visited Lugano for the first time in April 2016. Back then I explored the area and quikcly found out there is agood route to get to the top of the nearby Monte Brè (925 metres above sea level). I set off early one day and got to the top, from where I could relish lovely views. The whole route was 10k, had 702 metres of altitude gain and took me 1 hour and 23 minutes.

Run route to Monte Brè and back down
The elevation profile

During that run, I noticed, that a bit further there is another mountain that looks much higher than Brè. Later I checked it out and found out that it’s called Monte Boglia and is 1516 metres high, so significantly higher than Brè. I thought, that if I visit Lugano ever again, I’d definitely go there.

The second visit (2017)

I had the opportunity to visit Lugano again in April 2017. One day, the conference for which I travelled, was starting after 10 am. I had planned a route to Monte Boglia beforehand; 20k there and back in total. I anticipated I’d need 3 hours, so I’d wake up at 6 am, leave at 6:20 and be back at 9:20. I’d then have tome to take a shower, eat breakfast and have enough time to walk to the conference. Brilliant!

That day I woke up at 6 am, but felt so tired and groggy as though it was 4 am. I somehow managed to crawl out of bed, got dressed, put on my running vest with a water supply and an energy bar and set off.

Going up…

I ran the first 2 flat kilometres through deserted Lugano in the dark: there was absolutely no one out on the streets. After that, the ascent up Monte Brè commenced. I laboured my way up multiple flights of stairs and switchback paths. At one point, still while it was dark, I began to hear a melody. I quickly realised that it was my phone. I took it out of my pack, and it turned out that it was 6 am and my alarm clock was trying to rouse me out of bed! What happened was, that at around 5:15 I woke up on my own and, half-asleep, didn’t even realise that my alarm clock didn’t ring. Funny…

A view of Lugano from the slope of Monte Brè just before dawn

Soon thereafter came dawn and around 6:30 am I reached a quaint village called Brè, nestled between Monte Brè and Monte Boglia. From there, following an onerous switchback path through a forest, I gradually kept going up. Just before the summit the sun was in full force and I could witness how lovely it reflected in Lake Lugano (Lago di Lugano).

The summit of Monte Boglia just ahead of me!

After 2 hours and 10 minutes from setting off, at 7:40 am, I reached Monte Boglia. I felt great, taking in the magnificent sights and relishing not seeing anybody else as far as I could see: just me and the mountains!

Such views from the top

… and back down

I took some rest enjoying the views; I took some pictures and recorded a couple of clips with my GoPro camera. Then, I sprinted downhill, parts of which can be seen in my recording below.

After the initial run, I slowed down and carefully descended a very steep path. Once it became runnable again I ran almost all the way down to Brè and then to Lugano. Back in Lugano I was spent and ground out the last 2 kilometres to the hotel, where I arrived at 8:50 am. The way up took me 2 hours and 10 minutes, while the way down about 1 hour.

The run route
The elevation profile

After a few minutes of stretching, a shower (cold just for the legs, while hot for the rest of the body) and a hearty breakfast I felt tired, but happy and full of energy and anticipation of a productive day.


There is a possibility I’ll visit Lugano again in 2018. A quick look at the map tells me that there is another mountain a bit further than Monte Boglia. It’s called Denti della Vecchia and seems to be quite picturesque. Looks like a good running trip destination, but to make it I’ll probably have to wake up at 3 am ?.

All the best,


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