Swissminiatur brings back memories from my childhood. Imagine my sister and I bugging our parents constantly to take us to miniature Switzerland while spending our summer breaks in Ticino. (We succeeded once or twice.)
Many years later, I decided to go down Memory Lane and visit Swissminiatur again. Not much has changed in this outdoor theme park: It is still Switzerland, squeezed into a small lot between Lake Lugano and the train tracks.
"But why should Swissminiatur have changed? Switzerland hasn't changed much...", you ask. Surely, you are right. However, my visit was a slight disappointment for another reason. But more on that, later.
More than 120 model houses at a scale of 1:25 are scattered among the park. Plus castles, churches and monuments.
In the center, there is an unmissable mountain which can be spotted as far away as from the trains passing by!
Given the rotary gondola, it is a replica of Mt. Titlis in Engelberg.
Notice the tiny red gondolas?
And how about the even tinier skiers coming down the mountain?
There is even a proper "Heidi Village"! This is Switzerland, hello?!?
Get this: A miniature replica of the Lucerne Lion Monument!
Chateau Chillon (including the lake)...
One of many churches...
And a pretty realistic Bundeshaus Capitol in Bern.
Intermission: Lizard attacks freeway rest stop!
Not to be missed: A base for the popular flying medics at Rega.
Love trains? Swissminiatur is train galore with 18 running compositions covering 3.5 km of tracks!
There are intercity trains...
And even the famous Glacier Express is snaking all over Swissminiatur.
I left the park feeling that Swissminiatur needs a major touch up. Due to its attractive proposition ("Switzerland in miniature") and easily accessible location, it appears to be quite a cash cow. But for those spending a week or two in Ticino, this attraction might be a welcome change for all the beautiful rivers, mountains and southern villages...
As we walk back to the train station in Melide, heaps of tourists are getting off tour buses, 19 francs and their cameras in hand and ready to see Switzerland in one hour...