Photo courtesy of swiss-image.ch/Markus Buehler-Rasom
Ascona, on the shores of Lake Maggiore, has swaying palm trees and a mild climate, and is Switzerland's lowest-lying town (643 feet above sea level). The lakeside promenade (Lungolago) offers a Mediterranean feel with streetside cafés, warm breezes, and diners clinking wineglasses—all with a backdrop of historic 19th-century merchants' houses. The town, a former fishing village, has become an upscale resort town—known for its water sports as well as some of the best hotels in the country. Ascona's old town center, the Borgo, is a warren of charming alleyways and chic boutiques.