All you need to know to plan a trip to Sirmione, one of the most popular towns on Lake Garda, Italy, famous for a breathtaking castle and pleasant thermal baths.
Sirmione is one of the most beautiful towns on Lake Garda and one of the most popular.
It is perched at the top of a thin strip of land stretching onto the lake and it is almost entirely surrounded by water, a position that makes the town unique and very atmospheric.
People come to Sirmione attracted by two prominent landmarks: the Scaligero Castle and the town’s thermal baths, among the most famous in the area and Italy.
If you are planning a trip to Lake Garda, Sirmione is a must see. This is all you need to know to plan a visit.
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Where is Sirmione + how to get there
Sirmione is on the southern shores of Lake Garda in the Lombardia region. It is located at the very end of a thin peninsula stretching into the lake and the lake surrounds it on three sides.
The closest airport to Lake Garda is Verona and, from there, you can reach Sirmione by bus or car.
Buses connect Sirmione with Peschiera, Desenzano del Garda and Verona, the three main getaways towns to the area and they are also one of the most convenient ways to explore the area.
If you prefer to drive, please be advised that Sirmione is closed to traffic and you will have to leave the car outside of the city at the designated car parks. These can be pricey: if staying the night, ask your hotel if they have special deals or if they can recommend arrangements for the car.
The best things to do in Sirmione
Sirmione is a small town but it packs a punch in terms of beauty of its natural position and landmarks.
Visit the Scaligero Castle
The most famous landmark in Sirmione and the most scenic, is Sirmione’s Scaligero Castle. Have you ever seen photos of a castle in Italy inside the water, with turreted walls raising from a blue lake? That is Sirmione’s castle!
The Scaligero Castle is medieval and dates from the XIII century AD. It takes its name from the person who ordered it built: Leonardino della Scala aka Mastino della Scala (Scaligero = della scala in Italian).
The castle is breathtaking. The building is surrounded by water but doesn’t have a standard moat: the waters of this castle are those of the lake so that the whole building seems to come out of Lake Garda itself!
You access the castle through its main gate and you can climb to the top of the bastions: the walk is not suitable for people with a fear of heights but, if you can take it, it will reward you with a fantastic view of the lake, framed by the ancient castle’s battlements.
Learn about the castle’s ghost
The castle of Sirmione is said to be haunted! Local stories tell us that, in the Middel Ages, the castle was inhabited by a young couple, Arice (wife) and Ebengardo (husband).
One night, a man called Elaberto went to the castle asking for shelter for one night and the young couple agreed.
Elaberto got a glimpse of Arice, felt an irresistible attraction for this young woman and assaulted her during the night. Arice screamed for help but before Ebengardo could safe her, Elaberto had stabbed her to death.
Ebengardo vindicated her death killing Elaberto with the same knife but spent the rest of his life locked in the castle, feeling guilty for being too late to save his wife.
His ghost is still said to haunt the castle!
Explore Sirmione town center
Sirmione is very pretty and perfect for a stroll. The town is closed to traffic by nature of its geography and layout and is a delight of small streets and piazzas.
The best way to explore it is to wander, admire the hidden courtyards and balconies, catch views of the lakes and stopping at the many souvenir shops.
Visit stunning Grotte di Catullo
‘Grotte di Catullo’ is the best preserved ancient Roman villa in northern Italy, located in Sirmione!
The villa is at the very top of the Sirmione peninsula, it overlooks the lake and it is beautiful: the ruins, the greenery around them and the views of the lake behind them make this one of the most spectacular spots in the area!
Go to the beach
Sirmione has some of the best beaches on Lake Garda, perfect for sunbathing and swimming.
The most famous Sirmione beach is called Jamaica and is indeed very beautiful and another famous beach is Spiaggia delle Muse, that offers nice views of the castle.
In Sirmione you can also enjoy Lido delle Bionde (another beach) while, if you love windsurfing, you should head to Spiaggia Galeazzi, at the base of the peninsula.
Relax in Sirmione’s thermal baths
Sirmione is a famous thermal destination and has lovely spas to relax and unwind. The most famous are Aquaria (wellness and thermal spa), Terme di Catullo and Terme di Virgilio, offering thermal baths, massages and and rehab packages.
Take a boat tour
one of the best ways to appreciate and admire Sirmione’s position is by getting a boat tour that lets you see the town from the water. There are several to choose from, at different price points: you can try your luck on the day or, better, book one you like in advance.
You can have a look at a couple of options:
- 25 mins peninsular and Sirmione boat tour
- 25 min motorboat tour around the Sirmione Peninsula
- Lake Garda Tour from Sirmione with pizza and prosecco
Where to stay in Sirmione
Sirmione is in high demand and this means prices for accommodation in town are at a premium, especially if you look for the area closest to the castle. Advance booking is essential.
Some addresses you may enjoy:
Luxury Suite Sirmione Town Center – pretty rooms in central location, close to the beach, some with lovely balconies.
Hotel Meridiana – hotel in central location with a nice garden and views of the lake
Villa Paradiso – Romantic rooms in a beautiful property in Sirmione town center
I hope you enjoyed this quick travel guide to Sirmione and it helped you plan a visit. Safe travel planning!