Monte Generoso, Canton Ticino, Switzerland; July 25, 2010

Located some 60 km from Varese, and 10 km south of Lugano, the Monte Generoso rack-and-pinion train (cremagliera in Italian) was inaugurated in 1890, and departs from Capolago.

Lots more at

Briefly, though, the service operates daily from mid-March to the end of October, from 0900 to 1800. The journey takes 40 minutes, with two stops, at San Nicolao and Bellavista.

The round-trip fare to Monte Generoso from Capolago is about 38CHF, or 28 euro.

The Monte Generoso railway terminus is adjacent to the Capolago-Riva San Vitale railway station, so you could come here by train from Lugano. Public transport from Italy is more tricky, but there is a bus from Porto Ceresio on the Italian shores of Lake Lugano to Capolago. For details, see

Savouring the delights of the journey.

Excellent views to be had from either side.

Climbing …

Here we are!

The train starts its journey back down the mountain. We take off to explore.

We’re at 1708 metres above sea level, or did I mention that already? See the Melide promontory across Lake Lugano, with Morcote to the left. That’s Italy on the far left, I think, Brusimpiano or thereabouts.

Although there are quite a few people — the train was packed — there’s plenty of space to spread out. Lots of trails, all very well signposted, so you can pace yourself, the easiest ones centred around the railway station area, where there’s a restaurant, bar and hotel. Pay in euros or Swiss francs.

By the way, that’s Lake Como, top right.

The Italy-Switzerland border runs through here. As this signpost shows, walk one way and you head towards Como; stay this side, and you are in the Helvetic Confederation, or however it is you say it in English — and sooner or later you’ll end up back at the station.

Mike gazes out towards Lake Como, which can be seen from this height. As can a lot more.

According to Vid Pogachnik, who seems to be an expert :

“Monte Generoso is one of the most outstanding panorama summits in Alps. It lies above the east shore of Lugano Lake, in the most southern pocket of Switzerland.

“As the Alps stretch in a shape of a long arc, Monte Generoso lies just close to its centre. I had an opportunity to stand up there on a clear February morning and, having traveled all around Europe, I can’t remember a summit with a wider panorama.”

For his report on climbing Monte Generoso published at, see

Brilliant blue sky, hot but with a pleasant breeze, and nothing like as boiling as 1708 metres lower — as we were soon to find out.

The Cave’s Bear? But the Italian says The Bear’s Cave! Who got it wrong? and why??

Visitors at one of the look-out points. Lots of maps showing what can be seen from this height. Including Milan, Turin, and the Apennines.

These two have their horizons set a bit lower. They are curious to see the stambecco. Or a stambecco: they are not fussy. And what is a stambecco? A mountain goat, or Alpine ibex. No, we didn’t spot one either.

Back on the train, enjoying the views as we descend …

Still lots to see … and ponder …

Quite a few people got on here. They had lunch and took in the views. Some had walked down from the summit of Monte Generoso. Others yet use this as the starting point for a mountain bike ride down the mountain, and back to Capolago. For more on this “rather-you-than-me” kind of enterprise see

Leaving Bellavista behind.

The first glimpse of urban vistas …

That’s it until the next time. And there will definitely be one! Meantime, you may like to have a look at an alternative way of getting down from Monte Generoso