Locarno on Ice, a winter village to melt the heart

Enlivening the Piazza Grande, the heart of Locarno, for six weeks are glass igloos, garlands of lights, a huge festively decorated Christmas tree, colourful little wooden huts exuding heavenly fragrances – and an ice rink.

The daylight hours are short, the evenings are cool and, believe it or not, Christmas is just around the corner. The onset of winter signals the arrival of Locarno on Ice, enchanting the town with dancing lights, a cosy ambience, smiling faces and Christmas scents. A place of encounter that warms the heart.

Who would have thought that the Piazza Grande, summer home of concerts and a major film festival – complete with award-winning actors and directors walking the red carpet – would host an ice rink in winter? Penguins and pandas show off their skating prowess in the centre of town, while everyone from toddlers to grandparents pirouettes to his or her heart's content on the ice. Towards evening, the Piazza Grande starts to sparkle and turn into a winter wonderland. People meet to spend the cool evenings together in good company over a warming drink or two accompanied by live music. More hardy members of the throng stand outside at small bar tables next to the giant Christmas tree and soak in the cheerful ambience. There's also music to dance to – perfect for warming cold toes. On the other hand, if you prefer a warm to a cold nose, and sitting to standing, why not make yourself comfortable in one of the heated igloo bars?

There's so much to choose from in the drinks menu – from punch to mulled wine, and locally produced beer to the legendary Gazzosa. Not forgetting all those regional wines. Choosing something to eat is no easier: pizza, savoury tarts, crêpes, fritto misto, pizzocheri – the list goes on and on, and all of it is delicious.

One way to sample at least some of the offerings is to forego the aperitif and wander from chalet to chalet around the rink. If you don't find something to your liking despite the large selection, or if you prefer a more formal restaurant setting, you're sure to find what you're looking for in the immediate vicinity. That said, Locarno on Ice, which is on every day, is about far more than eating and drinking: its programme includes children's entertainment, figure skating shows, New Year's Eve festivities, live music and much more...
There's only one condition: immerse yourself in this mesmerising world and turn cold winter nights into heartwarming moments. Still casting around for ideas for a corporate function or Christmas dinner? Why not hire an igloo bar and treat yourself and your team to drinks and canapés? Someone might even feel like braving the ice under a clear starry sky.

Pro tip: Pleasant hours on the ice rink of Locarno on Ice, partner with the my Ascona-Locarno app. If you’re staying in the region, you can enjoy a 20% discount on admission!

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