Guide to living and working in Lugano for Tax Expats

Lake Lugano Switzerland

Situated in Switzerland’s Italian canton of Ticino, Lugano is a city that more than meets the eye. The Swiss version of the Mediterranean, this picturesque city has emerged as a hub for business and is considered Switzerland’s 3rd largest financial centre. Aside from its business scene, Lugano is a feast for the eyes in terms of its buildings, cobbled streets and mountainous surroundings. It is also a city known for its rich Italian influenced culture, with Italian being the main language spoken in the city and home to the largest congregation of Italian speakers outside of Italy.
There are lots of great things to do in Lugano, making it a great location to move to for a new tax job that will move you up the career ladder.


The city and region are connected to other areas of Switzerland by the renowned Swiss rail network, with a train to Zurich taking just over 2 hours. There are also services from Lugano that head to Milan. For shorter commuter journeys, a variety of bus companies run frequent services in and out of Lugano to neighbouring towns and suburban areas.


Lugano may be small but this does not mean there is nothing to do. From mountain exploration to laid-back restaurants and bars, Lugano has something for everyone.  Lugano is home to some terrific culinary hotspots, many of which serve the best of the local and Italian influenced Ticinese cuisine. The region is known for their merlot wines and there are many wine cellars in the region for people to have an up-close experience. The city also has a range of bars, allowing you to enjoy some time with friends or just take the weight off your feet.

The Lugano region is surrounded by beautiful mountains, some of which can be explored with the help of a cable car/railway. Monte Brè, Monte Lema, Monte San Salvatore and Monte Tamaro are among the most popular for tourists. These mountains are also suitable for hiking, walking and mountain biking, with over 370 kilometres of maintained terrain making the mountains a cyclist’s dream. All the mountains offer fantastic views across different areas of the Lugano region. Once down from the mountain tops, why not explore Lake Lugano and hotspots on its shores by boat which has an assortment of excursions running along the Lake. These both represent family-friendly activities that are perfect for a summers day.

The city’s cultural hub is a spectacular piece of architecture and is home to the Museo d’Arte della Svizzera Italiana and Concert Hall. The museum houses the finest art of the region and is committed to preserving and extending the regions cultural appeal. The concert hall hosts a range of musical and theatre events, many of which are free of charge.

Lugano is very much a musical city with numerous festivals showcasing different genres of music. For jazz lovers, the Estival Jazz provides open-air concerts in summer free of charge. In the autumn months, the Blue’s to Bop festival gets the town centre dancing with a variety of different music, from pop to soul being played out on stages. Free to enter, this lively festival can be the perfect end to the summer. If food excites you more than music, the colourful and vibrant Festa d’Autunno is the place for you. With a range of different, often unique treats on offer as well as some fine local wines, this festival is perfect to truly get a taste of Lugano.


There is a range of housing options available to expats heading to Lugano. Monthly rates for renting tend to range between 1500-2500 CHF; prices will vary in accordance with location and mountain views. In short, if you desire a spectacular view of the Swiss mountains then you may have to pay a premium for it.  If transport links are important in your choice of living, it is recommended to stay within Lugano’s central areas which offer easier access to the city itself.


Public education in Lugano and throughout the canton of Ticino is carried out in Italian which can prove difficult for children of expats from outside of Italy. Thankfully, International Schools are available throughout Switzerland. Lugano is in close proximity to two international schools; the International School of Ticino and The American School in Switzerland (TASIS). Both offer students the chance to gain international qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate and makes the transition across countries slightly easier. Places may be limited; therefore it is recommended that you apply in advance and make schooling a priority prior to arrival in Lugano.

If you are interested in a move to Lugano or anywhere else in the world and would like to speak to Kingpin International about International Tax Opportunities, please contact a member of the team. Alternatively, please browse our current International Tax vacancies