The Swiss travel app that will persuade you to ditch the rental car

For once I was staying, but around the corner from Locarno (10 minutes by bus) in Ascona, at the plutocratic Eden Roc, which has imperious spas, swimming pools, gardens, saunas, treatments and a gem chalet right by the lake where the Nazis first called for peace with the Allies in March 1945. I had the best spaghetti alle vongole of my life in the supposedly lesser Eden Roc restaurant, Marina, then j took my aged oak grappa and watched the stifling lights of Lake Maggiore towns and villages pour into the dark waters, as if the kilometer-high basalt slopes had been dotted with a billion gold jewelry.

The next morning I was back in Lucerne before we could say Alplermagronen (a kind of cheese-macaroni-apple mountain dish; much better than it looks). At this point, I wandered – without the help of the app this time – three minutes from my hotel to the Rosengart Collection, one of the great little museums in the world. I will just say these words: Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Modigliani, Seurat, Miró, Calder, Chagall, Dufy, Renoir, Monet, Cézanne, Paul Klee. They are all there, and it’s amazing.

My trip ended with lunch by the river, in the middle of Lucerne, at the Hotel des Balances, which looks calmly across the Reuss to the high 18th century volutes of the church of the Jesuits. The salad this time was radish, lettuce and egg, and simply delicious. The fried golden fish was accompanied by shiny and buttery new potatoes. The wine was crisp, white, fresh and Swiss.

I did not know that Switzerland makes such a good wine. But it might not be that surprising. Until this trip, I barely knew Switzerland.


Getting There

Sean traveled as a guest of Switzerland Tourism ( and flew with SWISS (


You will find the SBB Mobile application at

The eight-day Swiss Travel Pass costs £ 330 / CHF 418 for second class travel included on all trains, buses, boats, etc., as well as entry to over 500 national museums and discounts on day trips. Mountain. See

stay there

Hotel Wilden Mann, Lucerne ( offers double rooms from £ 197 / CHF 250 including breakfast

Hotel des Balances, Lucerne ( offers double rooms from £ 185 / CHF 234, breakfast included

Castello del Sole, Locarno ( offers double rooms from £ 355 / CHF 450 including breakfast

Eden Roc, Ascona ( in double from £ 462 / CHF585 breakfast and spa access included

Corina C. Butler

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