Monte Generoso is one of the most outstanding panorama summits in Alps. It lies above the east shore of Lugano Lake, in the most southern pocket of Switzerland. As the Alps strech in a shape of a long arc, Monte Generoso lies just close to its centre.
I had an opportunity to stand up there on a clear february morning and, being all around Europe, I can't remember a summit with a wider panorama. Far on SW the Alps around Monte Viso were clearly seen. The long arc streched over the Gran Paradiso group towards central massifs of Wallis. Monte Rosa with its huge east wall stands high above its surroundings. Sharp peaks of the Mischabel group can be clearly seen and north of them some of the highest peaks of Bern Alps. Tessin and Adula Alps are on NW and N. Towards NE the Bernina group is clearly appearing and only towards east the not so prominent Bergamask Alps are preventing to see further towards east. Toward south the plane of Po river lies and, I could swear, beyond above it white spots were not clouds but the Apenines. Most fascinating, really!
The mountain itself stretches in a N-S direction, along the Lake Lugano and the highest peak lies some 1400 meters above it. The west slopes of the mountain are steep and rocky, other slopes are grassy around the top and below soon sinking into broad forests.
Monte Generoso is great for hiking. Many marked paths reach there from all sides. The north ascent is quite a difficult hike, as the path climbs over a few steep and rocky parts where it is secured with steel ropes and pegs. The mountain is also great for other sports, such as mountain biking, parachute gliding etc.
From Switzerland By the Lake Lugano the main road Milano - Lugano - Bellinzona goes. Near the south-east bay of Lake Lugano the town Mendrisio lies. In the town a good road starts towards north, reaching the altitude of 1150 m, just below the Bellavista hotel. From there you take a marked hiking path further towards N and reach the summit in an hour and half. Even more easy ascent is, of course, by the mountain train. It starts near the main road, between Mendrisio and Capolagio and climbs all the height difference almost to the top of the mountain. The end station lies on the altitude of 1600 meters and towards the summit you have only a short, easy walk. Keyser Soze from Switzerland adds: Check out also: "Guida delle prealpi ticinesi" by G.Brenna/M.Brandt (Editions SAC, available in Italian and in German). The authors describe some 30 routes to the summit, some of them are demanding and/or spectacular. There's also a Via Ferrata (now closed for maintainance and dangerous).
From Italy From Como, along the SS 340 (Regina) to Argegno, almost at the end of the town a road on the left (Val d'Intelvi) up to San Fedele; just passed the inhabited, on the left a road leads to Casasco di Intelvi and at the beginning, a very narrow turn on the right gives access to the road that leads up to Orimento (small car parking - 1276m) Starting from here 2 main routes to the summit (with many variants):
The summit can be reached in any time of the season. In winter the ascent is quite long, everything depends of the snow conditions on the road. The train starts to operate when the snow is cleared. It is highly recommended to climb Monte Generoso when the visibility is best. You can hike or climb up there for fun any time, but if you go only once, take the most clear day. As I said, panorama is breath taking! Our member Massimo - mamo is adding this information: Monte Generoso is also an easy, short but fine, Ski-mountainering tour from Val d'Intelvi (Italy - Co) From Casasco d' Intelvi reach by car "la Bolla" 1050m. slm. From "la Bolla" to Bocchetta di Orimento and to the ski-top in 2 hours. Nowadays you can drive to Bocchetta di Orimento where the road (normally open all year long) ends. More info: here
Near Lake Lugano there are many hotels and camps, on the mountain you can use the Bellavista hotel / mountain hut.