Story: Kayaking on Lake Lugano

Cutting across the lake from one shore to the other

Discovering hidden corners by kayak, from Lugano to Gandria.

When setting out from the Bay of Lugano, one paddle stroke at a time, there are all sorts of fascinating hidden corners to be discovered that tourists would otherwise miss. Eva guides us towards Gandria and then to the other side of the lake, with its inviting grottos. She also regales us with interesting facts and recollections amid the waves.


Paddling with Eva Antonini, art, panoramas and emotions

Paddling with Eva Antonini, art, panoramas and emotions
Early in the morning or in the evening the lake is calm and flat, free from waves created by boats or the wind, and nature relaxes.

“Hey, stop! Yes, you in the canoe! I’d really like to have a go. What do I need to do?” This is how Eva’s passion for kayaking began six years ago, with a whistle and a question.

She was at the Lido in Lugano, sunbathing on the jetty near the lifeguard’s yellow and blue chair and parasol, and they were heading back, just a short distance out on the waves, after a long paddle over the calm waters of Lake Ceresio.

She just had to try that tranquil, regular and rhythmic movement, which captivates the mind while relaxing you at the same time. Eva has now become a real enthusiast and never misses an opportunity to talk about it.

Eva is an artist. Her sculpture studio, where she creates earthenware bodies and faces, is in Lugaggia, a hamlet in the municipality of Capriasca, surrounded by green countryside. She has a strong, almost instinctive link with the land and region that she loves and provides her with inspiration.

She always wanted to create art, but the turnaround came in the early 2000s when she realised she could transform the material, filling it with strength and passion. It was a revelation.


However, it’s not just a question of ‘food for the mind’. Together with her husband, Eva draws inspiration from Ticino, but she also lives it to the full.

Mountain biking, running and kayaking in the summer, crosscountry skiing in winter (“I don’t go canoeing during the cold season: my hands and feet get too chilly,” she says smiling). They’re all demanding sports, even kayaking, “especially when we have to ‘launch’ the canoe from the boathouse to the jetty,” Eva says with a grin.

It can be a bit difficult, but once on the lake, the tranquillity of it all means everything else is forgotten. And so we set off on a voyage of discovery!

Thanks to kayaking you can know many hidden corners of Luganese and see the world from another perspective, with other eyes.


Kayaking is the perfect way to do this. Comfortably ‘sitting on the lake’, one paddle stroke at a time, you can discover a little harbour dating back to 1900, one of Gandria’s wine cellars that hasn’t been turned into a grotto, a rock wall with chamois, the stunning garden of a private villa on the lake or the mouth of the River Cassarate.

When seen from the lake, Lugano is truly extraordinary: the fast-paced city of shopping and lights makes way for the gentle billows of the water that rock the kayak, cradling you beneath the warm rays of the evening sun...

...while the lights reflected on the water create a surreal spectacle. 

Pro tip
Some of Eva’s works have been picked for display in the Carrousel du Louvre, linked to the Paris-based Société Nationale des Beaux Arts.
The inhabitants of Gandria are known as “Tor” (bulls). This nickname is apparently linked to the huge effort involved in getting anywhere from their town.
Since 1932, the Lake Lugano Traversata swimming event (2.5 km) crosses the 46th parallel, from Caprino to the lido in Lugano.

“Early in the morning or in the evening the lake is calm and flat, free from waves created by boats or the wind, and nature relaxes”: this is the best time of day for a peaceful and harmonious experience on the water. The swans and other inhabitants of the lake are also more relaxed and draw close to your vessel … sometimes they even overtake you, throwing you a challenging glance.

They’re right: they’re the masters of the lake! Thank you and goodbye.

"An experience of complete peace and harmony on the water."