Moving to Lugano

Lugano is located in the southern part of Switzerland, south of the Alps, and with approximately 63,000 inhabitants it is the largest city in the Canton of Ticino. The official language in Lugano and the rest of the canton is Italian. Surrounded by mountains and a beautiful lake, Lugano combines the qualities of a world class city with the best features of a small town.

Procedures and requirements

Moving to Switzerland for study purposes involves a series of requirements that every student must comply with. These requirements are subject to Swiss law and include:

  1. Application for a study visa (only for students who are nationals of countries outside the EU/EFTA)
  2. Compulsory registration with the regional Office for Foreign Nationals and acquisition of a residence permit for study purposes
  3. Compulsory registration with the Inhabitant Control Office at the Comune of residence
  4. Compliance with the Federal Law on Health Insurance

Finding accommodation

Finding accommodation in Lugano requires considerable effort on the part of the student as the local real estate market is very limited. The Conservatorio endeavours to help students find solutions that are as affordable as possible and to suggest strategies and resources that they can use to search for accommodation, but it remains each student's own responsibility to do the research and follow all the necessary procedures to rent an apartment.
More information on how to find accommodation is available on the accommodation page.

Cost of living

The cost of living in Switzerland is very high, with cities such as Zurich and Geneva always ranking among the most expensive in the world. Although Lugano does not usually feature in the rankings of the most expensive cities, the cost of living for a student is still quite high: for a student moving to Lugano and choosing to share an apartment with other students, costs may vary from around 1,300 to 2,000 per month. This calculation, based on an estimate of average costs, includes accommodation, food and personal expenses, health insurance, academic books and materials, and other expenses.

Apart from the above mentioned monthly costs, students should also take into consideration both annual costs (that may vary between CHF 3’500 and 4’500) like tuition fees, study permit for foreign students, and incidental expenses, as well as all expenses related to moving to Switzerland for the first time (transfer costs - between CHF 1’200 and 2’000).

The following table shows an estimate summary of monthly, annual and transfer costs that we estimate students who come to Lugano are expected to have. These take into consideration the diversity of the Conservatorio’s student body  in terms of cultural background, nationality and life-style and are only indicative.


Fixed monthly costs (maintenance, lodging, health insurance and others)       chf 1.300.- – 2'000.-
Fixed annual costs (tuition fees (2 semesters), incidental expenses, radio-television fee, study permit       chf 3'500.- – 4'500.-

Transfer costs first month in Lugano  (Guarantee deposit)

      chf 1'200.- – 2'000.-


Shops are usually open from Monday to Friday from 8:00 / 9:00 am to 6:30 pm. On Saturdays they are open until 5:00 pm and they are closed on Sundays. 
Supermarkets and large stores stay open until 9:00 pm every Thursday. 

Banks and post offices

Banks are usually open from Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. 
Post offices, on the other hand, are open from Monday to Friday from 7:30 am to 6:15 pm and on Saturdays from 8:00 am to 11:00 am. Some post offices are open on Sunday afternoon.


According to the 2012 climate report drawn up by MeteoSwiss for the period 1981-2010, average seasonal temperatures are:


from 3.3 to 4.5°C

March-April-May from 8.3 to 15.7°C


from 19.6 to 22.1°C
September-October-November from 7.9 to 17.5°C

How to get to Lugano

Lugano can be reached easily in various ways: by car, take exit “50. Lugano-Sud” or exit “49.Lugano-Nord” from the A2/E35 motorway; by train, get off at the Lugano FFS station; by plane, fly into Lugano-Agno airport (LUG), Milan Malpensa airport (MXP, 1 hour away by bus), or Zurich airport (ZRH, 2 hours away by train).


Academic Services Office