SIRMIONE OLD TOWN: 14 CHARMS IN THE QUIRKY CASTLE TOWN, ITALY

Planning a visit to Sirmione? Super! The historic Sirmione Old Town is a small picturesque village located within the walls of the famous medieval Castle Scaliger in Sirmione, a quintessential Venetian town in Lake Garda situated just a stone’s throw from Verona, northern Italy.

A visit to Sirmione and you will instantly appreciate why it was described as “the pearl of the islands and peninsulas” by the Roman poet, Catullo. The coastal scenic beauty of this little gem is one to behold, that must be experienced.

Today, the Old Town of Sirmione is a luxurious summer resort and is one of the busiest tourist destinations in Lake Garda.

view of Lake Garda and snowcapped mountains in the distance from the shores of Sirmione  | timelesstravelsteps.com
the dreamy view of Lake Garda and snowcapped mountains in the distance from the shores of Sirmione

It can be a little overwhelminng to plan a trip to a tourist hotspot, especially if you are a first time visitor to Sirmione. That is why, I have put together this guide so that you can plan on visiting at the best time of the year suited to you, and do not miss out on the charms of this quirky castle town in Sirmione. I have also included some of the best places to stay where you could enjoy a relaxing holiday. Alongside these are places to eat or drink to save you time from researching.

Most people say they come here for the Castle and the Roman ruins. It has also been said that it takes about 30 minutes to go around the town.

Let me assure you that while the castle and Roman ruins should indeed top your list of things to do, Sirmione Old Town is also worth visiting for the gorgeous view of the peninsula which is incredibly pretty from the waters, the healing thermal baths, the quaint stone alleys dotted with historic gems and the wonderful romantic views that will immerse you in the charms of this ancient village.

In this little castle town of Sirmione, there is plenty to see and do, along with many photo opportunities. It certainly took me a lot longer than 30 minutes, several hours in fact to wander this little gem.

Scaligeri Castle Sirmione, Italy © timelesstravelsteps.com
Scaligeri Castle Sirmione

My visit to Sirmione Old Town

I fell in love with Sirmione Old Town at the first sight of the enchanting castle during one of my off-seasonal trips in November. My love for this picturesque medieval town just grew by the moment and at every step as I explored the maze of cobbled streets, colourful homes with iron-clad balconies, serene sacred buildings and the pebbled beach. Cotton clouds in the distance in an otherwise cloudless blue skies, with the backdrop of the snow peaked mountains and the aqua marine waters of Lake Garda.

Waters lapping at the shore, boats docked sway gently, the sight of ducks paddling around the crystal clear waters and the sight of doves, while the fairy-tale bridge beckons a walk across…

The charms of Sirmione Old Town is one you have to experience, exploring calmly and appreciate every detail. I can tell you that there are lots more to this village than the two highlights and seeing the ancient village from the waters in the glorious sunshine was an added bonus that will forever stay etched in my memory. I am happy to share my experiences with you so you can plan your visit to this timeless marvel for lasting memories.

_a walk around Sirmione old town © timelesstravelsteps.com

HERE IS YOUR GUIDE TO SIRMIONE OLD TOWN

Overview of what is covered in this post:

  • Sirmione, Lake Garda, Italy;
  • How to get to Sirmione, Italy;
  • The Climate and Best Time to Visit Sirmione, Lake Garda, Italy;
  • Places to Stay in Sirmione, Italy;
  • The Unmissable Charms of Sirmione Old Town, Italy;
  • Places to Eat and Drink in Sirmione Old Town;
  • Places and Villages to Visit Near Sirmione;
  • How Much Time is Needed to Explore Sirmione Old Town?
  • Finally…
  • Stay Connected with Our Exclusive Membership;
  • What’s New.
Scaligeri Castle Sirmione © timelesstravelsteps.com

SIRMIONE, LAKE GARDA, ITALY

The town of Sirmione in the Province of Brescia, is perched on a narrow peninsula at the southern tip of Lake Garda between neighbouring Desenzano del Garda and Peschiera in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. A scenic location described as “the pearl of the islands and peninsulas” by the Roman poet, Catullo.

Sirmione has attracted visitors since the Roman times and is a present day tourist hot spot. The incredibly picturesque Sirmione is well-known for its pedestrianised Old Town, thermal baths, the medieval castle of Scaliger and the Roman ruins of Grotte di Catullo.

Historically, due to its strategic position on the peninsula, Sirmione controlled the traffic on the southern part of Lake Garda and was an important centre of power in medieval times. Guarded by the fortified Scaliger Castle, the town was a refuge for the Cathar Christians.

Sirmione Old Town is located within the walls of the medieval Scaliger Castle on the Sirmione Peninsula.

HOW TO GET TO SIRMIONE, LAKE GARDA

Sirmione is conveniently located 45 km (28 miles) from Verona with the nearest airport, Verona Villafranca Airport. The airport is situated 10 km southwest of Verona, Italy, next to the junction of A4 Milan-Venice and A22 Modena-Brenner motorways.

It is also possible to drive to Sirmione. Parking is available but it is located about 10 minutes walk away from the old time of Sirmione. If you are planning to hire a car, get your car from the wide selection offered by Discover Cars.

If you do not want to stay in Sirmione, one of the best ways to experience Sirmione is to opt for a day trip from Verona or from another nearby city. There are several good value tours departing from Verona which you may want to take a look at.

Sirmione harbour timelesstravelsteps.com
Sirmione harbour

THE CLIMATE AND BEST TIME TO VISIT SIRMIONE

Typically, Sirmione has a mild climate throughout the year, making it a popular tourist destination. However, some boating activities are unavailable during the winter months.

Climate

Sirmione enjoys a Mediterranean climate, typically hot summers and mild winters.

In the summer months, between June and August, the temperatures can range from 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F) during the day, with cooler temperatures at night. The water temperature of Lake Garda is also warm in the summer, making it an ideal destination for swimming and water activities. 

The winter months of December through to February sees temperatures from 5°C to 10°C (41°F to 50°F) during the day, with much cooler temperatures at night. Sirmione rarely sees snow, but it can occur in the winter months.

Best time to visit Sirmione

The busiest month for tourism in Sirmione is July, followed by June and August. During these three months, the average temperature is 74.3 °F (23.5 °C).

With the summer months seeing the highest levels of visitors, it is also a time when the Italians have their summer holiday and their schools break for their summer vacation. This also means that hotels are fully booked and highly priced with long queues for activities. You may want to ensure your accommodations and activities are booked well in advance.

Consider a visit to Sirmione in the low season. There are fewer tourists at this time and Italians are back to their routine of work and school schedule. During the low season, you can actually walk around the Old City of Sirmione leisurely, find seating at a restaurant and enjoy a gelato while pleasantly wandering the cobbled streets.

My visit to Sirmione was in November, and it was an absolutely fabulous time with less or no crowd to explore the corners of this lovely gem. Some boat trips around the lake were still available, and many of the restaurants and shops were also open. I didn’t feel that I missed anything visiting during the low season. I’d highly recommend an off-seasonal visit to Sirmione, if you can.

IS SIRMIONE A GOOD PLACE TO STAY?

Sirmione is a good place to stay and makes an excellent base for exploring the neighbouring villages and cities. The town is well-connected by road to Verona, Venice, and Milan.

There is no train station at Sirmione. The nearest train stations are located at Peschiera del Garda and Desenzano del Garda which then connects Sirmione by bus.

The best way to get around the lake region in Garda is by boat. Boat trips run a summer and winter schedule and you can hop aboard a hydrofoil, catamaran or ferry.

Sirmione old town harbour © timelesstravelsteps.com
Sirmione harbour

HOTELS IN SIRMIONE OLD TOWN, ITALY

Sirmione is a charming destination for a relaxing stay. There is a great selection of more than 300 hotels and 200 apartments to choose from along with private villas if you prefer large private spaces. Places to stay here are designed for comfortable experiences, with sun terraces, pools or private beaches.

Here are some carefully selected accommodations that come with excellent reviews. I have spent several hours filtering through the wide range of properties in Sirmione and found the following for you. Ensure you book well in advance of your travel dates, as these hotels do get booked up pretty fast and it is not just in the peak times.

Top Range and Highly Popular Places to Stay in Sirmione Old Town

Hotel Continental Wellness & Spa: Set at the end of the peninsula of Sirmione Old City, the hotel offers beautiful views across Lake Garda from the terrace along with a private jetty. The interior features marble floors and Murano glass chandeliers.

Another top range hotel located within yards of the beach with excellent reviews is Olivi Hotel & Natural Spa which you may want to book.

castle town Italy | timelesstravelsteps.com

Mid Range Accommodations in Sirmione Old Town

Hotel Flaminia is set in the Old City and is well established, one of the first hotels in Sirmione. A family-run property, Flaminia boasts a privileged lakeside position, along with a sun terrace, and tastefully decorated interiors + free WiFi.

You may also like Hotel Ideal, a highly rated elegant hotel set on the beach, surrounded by olive groves with majestic views of Lake Garda.

Budget Accommodations in the Old Town of Sirmione

Corte Regina, set in the historic Old Town of Sirmione and within minutes of the Scaliger Castle, is a family-run property with beautiful architectural style. The property boasts spacious and bright accommodations, cherry-wood furniture and wood-beamed ceilings.

For historophiles, you will absolutely love Hotel Degli Oleandri. Housed in an ancient building and recently refurbished to feature modern facillities, including WiFi. This hotel is ideally situated within 20 yards of the beach, and includes original features such as well, arched ceilings, and beautiful frescoes.

lakefront hotels in Sirmione old town © timelesstravelsteps.com
some hotels in Sirmione with lakefront terrace
terrace seating overlooking Lake Garda

THE UNMISSABLE CHARMS OF SIRMIONE OLD TOWN

Picturesque throughout, the Old Town of Sirmione offers a wealth of panoramic walks, hidden alleys with exceptional ancient places of worship and really nice medieval buildings to ponder over.

On a clear day, you can enjoy remarkable views over the glistening aqua waters of Lake Garda and towards the mountains in the north.

A completely pedestrianised town, navigating its winding narrow streets can be confusing. However, one really can’t get lost here for long as the town is small and you can easily retrace your steps back to the centre of the town.

Sirmione Old Town is an absolute gem, one that you must discover at your every step within the Scaliger Castle walls. Here, I have put together the unmissable charms of Sirmione Old Town not to miss:

Explore The Scaliger Castle (Scaligero Castle)

One of the unmissable charms of Sirmione Old Town is the Scaliger’s Castle, the best preserved medieval fortress in Italy surrounded by a moat.

The Scaliger Castle guards the only access point to the Old Town of Sirmione via a fairytale entrance; an enchanting little bridge.

A 13th century fortification, the Scaliger Castle was constructed on the site of a pre-existing Roman battlement and a small monastery. It was built under the orders of Mastino della Scala, the powerful Scaliger family who were the rulers of Verona at that time. Hence, the name by which the fortification is still known today.

Scaligeri Castle entrance © timelesstravelsteps.com
Scaligeri Castle Sirmione

Featuring a complex of fortified buildings and walls that surround an inner courtyard, the castle looms over the Old Town and its waters with impressive crenellated walls and towers. The castle has undergone several renovations over the centuries, but still retains much of its original medieval character. The typical features of Scaliger architecture, ‘dovetail’ battlements are very much present today alongside ‘spearhead’ structures built at different times.

This magnificently restored fortification has three towers and a 47m high main tower. You can access the top by climbing up the 146 steps for stunning views over Sirmione’s rooftops, the enclosed harbour and Lake Garda. There are various rooms and chambers to explore along with a small museum with exhibits showcasing the history of the castle, Scaliger family, and the town of Sirmione.

Scaliger Castle is a rare example of lake fortification. It exudes centuries of history and a magical atmosphere that is surrounded by the crystal clear waters of Italy’s largest lake, Lake Garda.

Open to visitors all year round.

Scaligeri Castle Sirmione ld Town | the dovetail architecture | timelesstravelsteps.com
the typical features of Scaliger architecture, ‘dovetail’ battlements are very much present today
Scaligeri Castle fortification surrounded by a moat | © timelesstravelsteps.com
Scaliger Castle

Wander the Cobbled Narrow Streets and Alleys in Sirmione Old Town

This quirky castle town is narrow. Completely pedestrianised and is filled with a maze of winding streets and quiet alleys. Paved with dark grey stones, and too narrow for cars. A leisurely stroll is a must-do in this old town. You can totally immerse yourself in the incredibly pretty, and fascinating surroundings and imagine life in the quaint Italian village protected by a fortress, with coffee in one hand, savouring the morning sunshine and an unhurried lifestyle.

Italian homes in warm pastel shades and colourful shutters lined the narrow cobbled streets. Charming iron-clad balconies overflow with bougainvillea and flower pots on windowsills.

bougainvillae Sirmione Old Town houses | timelesstravelsteps.com
balconies overflow with bougainvillea in Sirmione Old Town

With so many streets leading to alleys and stone paths, it is easy to lose track of time and be catapulted back a few hundreds of centuries! Check out the historic buildings, small shops, and restaurants that line the streets. The alleys are full of life, with ice cream parlours, restaurants with outdoor seating and stylish Italian shops.

Take a break at one of the many bars and enjoy a Pirlo, a typical local aperitif or a nice glass of Lugana, a local white wine that goes perfectly well with any dishes.

hidden streets and alleys Sirmione © timelesstravelsteps.com
explore the narrow streets and alleys of Sirmione Old Town
hidden streets of Sirmione © timelesstravelsteps.com
the atmospheric streets and alleys of Sirmione Old Town

Recommended read: Guide to 11 Best Garda Wine

Enjoy the Delightful Parco Maria Callas in Sirmione Old Town

Named after the famous Italian opera singer, Maria Callas who lived in Sirmione for several years, the park is a delightful little corner in Sirmione Old Town not to miss.

A lovely enclosed area, beautifully landscaped with paths, benches and picnic areas where you can spend some time relaxing, enjoy a picnic in the shade of the trees or be totally lost in the breathtaking views of the beaches close-by, snow-capped mountains in the distance across the shimmering blue waters of Lake Garda. 

path leading to Maria Callas Park Sirmione | © timelesstravelsteps.com
the path leading to Maria Callas Park Sirmione Old Town
Maria Callas Park Sirmione © timelesstravelsteps.com
Maria Callas Park Sirmione Old Town

Visit the Church of Santa Maria della Neve (The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore) in Sirmione Old Town

One of the main landmarks in Sirmione is The Church of Santa Maria della Neve (Saint Mary of the Snow), known also as The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore. A beautiful church built in the 15th century and dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

Considered as one of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture in the Veneto region, the church has an antiquated façade decorated with ornate stonework along with a bell tower that rises above the town’s rooftops.

Inside the Church of Santa Maria della Neve, the walls are embellished with graceful frescoes and sculptures from various periods. A stunning altarpiece by the famous Italian painter, Francesco Hayez is a handsome sight.

This simple and serene church is also home to a number of historic relics, including a precious 14th-century wooden crucifix and a baptismal font dating back to the Romanesque period. A wooden statue of Madonna from the 15th century is also housed here.

Santa Maria della Neve © timelesstravelsteps.com
frescoes adorn the walls inside the Santa Maria della Neve Church, Sirmione Old Town

An elegant portico extends from the front facade, characterised by a series of arches supported by pillars and columns. It’s not only beautiful, but also has historical significance. Built in the 16th century, the portico served as a shelter for pilgrims and travellers who visited the church. The local community gathered here to host public events such as markets and fairs also.

A notable column to look out for is at the northernmost of the portico. It features a Roman milestone, with a dedication to the Emperor Julian the Apostate, who lived between 331 AD and 363 AD.

The portico is a lovely place to take a breather from exploring the old town and you can enjoy splendid views of the castle, the beach and the really nice atmosphere that surrounds this area.

portico Church of Santa Maria delle Neve Sirmione timelesstravelsteps.com
portico of Church of Santa Maria della Neve Sirmione
Santa Maria della Neve Sirmione © timelesstravelsteps.com
pictured left: side view of the portico; right: view of the church’s tower

Amble through Spiaggia-Passeggiata delle Muse

The spiaggia (pebble shore) is a small area just off the coastal walkway, but we did see some people enjoying a dip.

The passegiata is a coastal walkway which leads from the back of the Scaligero Caste, as you come off the steps of Santa Maria della Neve Church. The path leads towards Lido Delle Bionde, which is a larger public swimming beach. Along the way, you’ll pass some hot springs at the lakeside which can be accessed from the walkway.

Turn inland at the Lido Delle Bionde Restaurant and find yourself near the entrance to the ticket counter for the Grotte di Catullo.

The walk takes about 20-25 minutes.

TIP: There is little shelter along the way, bring along a hat/cap.

walk along the lakefront Sirmione timelesstravelsteps.com
coastal walkway in Sirmione

Marvel at the Ruins of Grotte di Catullo

An extraordinary archaeological site located on the northern tip of the Sirmione peninsula is the Grotte di Catullo also known as the Grottoes of Catullus. Despite its name, this fascinating large area of several acres consists of ruins of a Roman Villa that was built in the 1st century AD.

The site takes its name after the ancient Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus, who lived in the 1st century BC and was one of the most influential poets of his time. Once owned by a wealthy Roman family, it is believed that Catullus may have visited the villa during his lifetime.

Extending over a large area, the ruins of the villa include a number of different structures. A large central courtyard, a series of baths, a small temple, and a number of other rooms and corridors. Built on a hill, the impressive villa once overlooked Lake Garda, and was used as a summer residence by the Roman aristocracy.

Reputed as the most impressive Roman Villa in Northern Italy, you can wander through the ruins amidst towering three-storey arches and walls.

OPENING TIMES OF GROTTE di CATULLO

Grotte di Catullo is generally CLOSED on TUESDAYS, CHRISTMAS DAY and NEW YEAR’S DAY. At other times, the sites opening times vary.

In summer, from April to September, the site is generally open from 8:30am to 7:30pm, with the last entry at 6:30pm.

During winter, from October to March, the site is generally open from 8:30am to 5:30pm, with the last entry at 4:30pm.

Ruins of Grotte di Catullo
Ruins of Grotte di Catullo
impressive ruins of Grotte di Catullo

Walk on the Pebble Beaches near Maria Callas Park

A couple of small pebble beaches located nearby to Parco Maria Callas that are within walking distance are absolutely worth making time for.

One of the closest beaches to the Parco Maria Callas is the Spiaggia di Punta Grò. This small pebble beach is located just a few minutes’ walk from the park and is a popular spot for sunbathing and swimming in the clear waters of Lake Garda. The beach is surrounded by lush vegetation and offers beautiful views of the lake and surrounding countryside.

The Spiaggia delle Rive is another nearby beach. This pebble beach is located on the eastern shore of Sirmione’s peninsula and is a bit larger than the Spiaggia di Punta Grò. The beach is surrounded by trees and offers plenty of space for sunbathing and swimming.

Both of these beaches are within easy walking distance of the Parco Maria Callas and are popular spots for visitors to Sirmione’s Old Town.

pebble beach Muse Sirmione © timelesstravelsteps.com
pebble beach near Santa Maria della Neve Church

Head to San Pietro in Movino Church

The ancient Church of San Pietro in Movino dates back to the 8th century AD and is dedicated to St Peter, one of the twelve apostles in Christianity . Built during the Longobard era, it was constructed on the ruins of a Roman temple.

Considered as the oldest church in Sirmione, San Pietro in Movino features a unique blend of Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles. Set within a natural oasis of gardens, cypresses and olive trees, this ancient stone church has a relatively simple facade and a small Romanesque bell tower which was remodelled in 1070.

The church was rebuilt in 1320 and has a rectangular layout. The interior of the church is unadorned, with plain walls and a simple nave with wooden roof trusses. However, the church’s real treasures lie in its artwork and artifacts.

One of the most remarkable features of the Church of San Pietro in Mavino is its collection of early Christian frescoes, which date back to the 11th and 12th centuries. The frescoes depict scenes from the lives of saints and apostles and are a rare and valuable example of medieval Christian art.

inside San Pietro in Movino Church
frescoes depicting scenes from the lives of saints and apostles
the altar inside San Pietro in Movino Church
plain walls and simple nave at San Pietro in Movino Church Sirmione

The Church of San Pietro in Movino is home to the valuable 14th century Madonna on the Throne with Child and Saints and also features some stained glass windows.

This simplistic, yet incredible church is worth a few minutes on your way to or from the Roman Villa ruins. Highly recommended for history enthusiasts who can admire its ancient architecture and artwork. The church is open to the public and religious events.

stone church _San Pietro in Movino Church Sirmione
the facade of San Pietro in Movino Church Sirmione

Relish in the Vibes at Piazza Carducci

A lovely square located in the heart of Sirmione Old Town takes its name from the famous Italian poet Giosuè Carducci, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1906. Piazza Carducci is lined with cafes, shops, and restaurants and is a popular gathering spot for locals and tourists alike. The atmosphere is lively and festive, when the town is bustling with visitors.

One of the highlights of Piazza Carducci is the beautiful view of Lake Garda that can be enjoyed from the square. The square is also home to several historic buildings, including the Palazzo Maria Callas, which was once the home of the famous opera singer Maria Callas. Its charming atmosphere, and stunning views, make it a true charm of the town’s historic center.

shops and restaurants in Sirmione during low season
restaurants in Sirmione during the low season
souvenir shops in Sirmione
souvenir shops in Sirmione

Stroll the Lakeside Promenade

Take a stroll along the lakefront promenade for unparallell views of the mountains and the crystal blue waters of Lake Garda.

The promenade is a paved path that stretches for several kilometers along the shoreline, starting from the old town and leading to the tip of the Sirmione peninsula.

The walk is enjoyable at any time of day, but it is especially lovely during sunset when the colours of the sky reflect on the calm waters of the lake. The promenade is dotted with benches and small parks, making it a great spot to stop and relax, take photos, or simply admire the scenery. As you continue your walk along the promenade, you’ll also come across several small beaches where you can take a dip in the lake, rent a boat, or simply soak up the sun.

There are plenty of stunning vistas along the lakefront promenade which makes this, one of the best things to do in Sirmione Old Town.

Sirmione Old Town, lakefront walk | timelesstravelsteps.com
scenic views along the coastal walk

Relax in the Splendour of Thermal Baths at Sirmione Old Town

The thermal waters of Sirmione have been known for their healing properties since Roman times, and the town has been a popular destination for spa-goers ever since. There are several thermal baths in Sirmione, each with its own unique features and treatments offering a wonderful way to relax and rejuvenate while experiencing the town’s rich history and natural beauty.

The highly rated Aquaria Thermal Spa, which is located on the shores of Lake Garda offers a range of thermal pools, saunas, and relaxation areas. The spa also offers a variety of wellness treatments, such as massages and facials, using natural products and techniques. The also incorporate yoga and wellness sessions.

A popular option is the Terme di Sirmione, which is situated in a lush park just outside the old town walls. The spa features several thermal pools, as well as a wellness center that offers a range of treatments and massages.

In addition to these larger thermal spas, there are also several smaller establishments throughout the town that offer thermal treatments and massages. Many of these are located within hotels or guesthouses, making them a convenient option for those staying in the area.

 Italy

Be sun-soaked at Jamaica Beach

Jamaica Beach is a beautiful spot situated just outside the old town walls. The beach is named after its relaxed and laid-back atmosphere, which is said to evoke the spirit of Jamaica. The beach is accessible by car or by a short walk from Sirmione Old Town.

Jamaica Beach is a small, secluded cove with crystal-clear waters and a pebble beach. Surrounded by lush vegetation and the beach is known for its peaceful atmosphere and stunning views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.

Jamaica Beach is great for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing in the sun. You could also try paddle boarding, kayaking, sailing and windsurfing.

Equipped with showers and changing facilities alongside several restaurants and bars nearby where you can grab a refreshing drink or a bite to eat.

Jamaica Beach is especially popular with couples and families looking for a quieter, more intimate setting. A great place to soak up the sun, enjoy a swim in the lake, or simply take in the breathtaking scenery.

Sirmione Italy

Go on a Boat Trip

Boat trips are a popular activity in Sirmione, as they offer a unique perspective of the town and its surroundings from the water. There are several options for boat trips around Sirmione, ranging from short tours of the lake to full-day trips to nearby towns and villages.

One of the most popular boat trips is a tour around the Sirmione peninsula, which takes you along the shoreline and offers beautiful views of Sirmione Old Town, the Scaliger Castle, and the Grotte di Catullo. The tour usually lasts around one hour and departs from the port near the old town.

A popular option among tourists is a boat trip to the nearby town of Desenzano, which is located on the southwestern shore of Lake Garda. The trip takes around 30 minutes each way and offers stunning views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.

When in Desenzano, you can explore the town’s historic center, visit its famous Roman villa, or simply relax at one of its many cafes and restaurants. For those looking for a longer boat trip, there are several options for full-day tours that take you to other towns and villages around the lake, such as Peschiera, Bardolino, and Lazise. These tours typically include stops for sightseeing, shopping, and dining, and offer a great way to explore the beauty and culture of the Garda region.

I personally enjoyed a boat trip around Sirmione. It was a wonderful way to experience the peninsula in all its splendour from a different perspective, from the waters which was somehow surreal at times.

Lake Garda boat trip timelesstravelsteps.com
out in Lake Garda on a boat trip
boat trips Sirmione Italy

Make Time for a Sunset in Sirmione…

The sunsets in Sirmione are stunning and a sight to behold.

Evoking a breathtaking display of colors, the sky turn shades of orange, pink, and red as the sun descends below the horizon,  The stillness of the lake, the colorful sky, and the silhouettes of boats and buildings make for a truly magical experience. 

You can experience the sunset at several places in Sirmione. The Scaliger Castle provides a stunning panoramic view of the lake, and it’s a great place to watch the sunset.

The pier at the end of the promenade  extends out into the lake and offers a unique perspective of the sunset over the water.

For a more natural setting, head to Jamaica Beach. It’s a secluded spot, away from the bustle of the town, surrounded by lush greenery. It provides a peaceful setting to enjoy the sunset.

Finally, if you want to combine the sunset experience with a glass of wine or an aperitif, head to one of the lakefront bars or restaurants. The La Speranzina restaurant is a great place for an unbeatable view of the sunset while sipping your drink or enjoying your meal.

catch a sunset in Sirmione
a sunset by the lake over an aperitif

14 Unmissable Charms of Sirmione Old Town:

  • Explore The Scaliger Castle;
  • Wander the Cobbled Streets & Alleys in Sirmione Old Town;
  • Enjoy the Delightful Maria Callas Park;
  • Visit the Church of Santa Maria della Neve;
  • Amble through Spiaggia-Passegiata delle Muse;
  • Marvel at the Ruins of Grotte di Catullo;
  • Explore the Smaller Pebble Beaches;
  • Head to San Pietro in Movino Church;
  • Relish in the Vibes at Piazza Carducci;
  • Stroll the Lakeside Promenade;
  • Relax in the Splendour of Thermal Baths at Sirmione Old Town;
  • Be Sun Soaked in Jamaica Beach,
  • Go on a Boat Trip;
  • Make Time for a Sunset in Sirmione.

PLACES TO EAT AND DRINK IN SIRMIONE OLD TOWN

Sirmione offers a wide range of culinary delights. Ranging from traditional trattorias to elegant restaurants and cozy wine bars, you’re sure to enjoy the delicious food and beautiful surroundings. Here are some of the best places to eat and drink in Sirmione:

  • Trattoria Al Graspo: This family run traditional Italian trattoria is best known for its homemade pasta, fresh seafood, and excellent wine list. The outdoor seating area is perfect for enjoying the beautiful views of the town.
  • Ristorante La Speranzina: This elegant restaurant, located inside the historic Villa Cortine Palace Hotel, offers gourmet cuisine and a stunning lakefront view. The menu features Italian classics with a modern twist, and the wine list is extensive.
  • Osteria al Torcol: This cozy wine bar and restaurant is located in a 16th-century building and serves delicious local cuisine, including homemade pasta, grilled meats, and fresh seafood. The extensive wine list features many local wines from the Lake Garda region.
  • Gelateria Mancini: No trip to Italy is complete without enjoying some gelato, and Gelateria Mancini in Piazza Flaminia is one of the best places to do so in Sirmione Old Town. The gelateria offers a wide variety of flavors, including many made with local ingredients.

Recommended read: Guide to Traditional Cuisine in the Veneto region.

PLACES AND VILLAGES TO VISIT NEARBY SIRMIONE

There are several places and charming villages near Sirmione that are worth exploring. The villages near Sirmione offer a wealth of history, culture, and natural beauty, making them ideal destinations for visitors to the Lake Garda region. Here are some of the best places and quaint villages to explore that are worth your time.

Quaint Villages near Sirmione

Desenzano del Garda: This beautiful lakeside village is located just a few kilometers from Sirmione and is known for its beautiful beaches, lively nightlife, and charming historic center. Visitors can explore the old castle, stroll along the promenade, and sample local cuisine and wine.

Lazise: A charming medieval village located on the eastern shore of Lake Garda. Lazise is famous for its beautiful castle and ancient city walls. The village is a popular spot for exploring the local wine region and for enjoying the lake’s stunning scenery.

Peschiera del Garda: A wonderfully quaint historic village located on the southern shore of Lake Garda. Peschiera del Garda is known for its beautiful fortress, ancient city walls, and charming old town. Visitors can stroll along the lakefront promenade, explore the historic center, and sample local cuisine and wine.

Bardolino: Located on the eastern shore of Lake Garda, Bardolino is famous for its beautiful lakefront promenade, ancient church, and charming historic center. The village is a popular spot for wine tasting and for exploring the local countryside.

Salò: This beautiful lakeside town is located on the western shore of Lake Garda. Renowned for its captivating elegant architecture, beautiful promenade, and relaxed vibes. You can explore the local museums, stroll along the lakefront, and enjoy the local cuisine and wine.

Borghetto sul Mincio: This charming village is located just a short drive from Sirmione and is famous for its beautiful watermills and picturesque canals. The village is a popular spot for hiking and cycling, as well as for sampling the local cuisine and wine.

Places to Visit near Sirmione

Gardaland: A great place for families with kids. Gardaland is the largest amusement park in Italy and is located just a short drive from Sirmione. The park features dozens of rides and attractions, including roller coasters, water rides, and family-friendly rides.

Isola del Garda: Take a boat trip to this small island which is located just off the coast of San Felice del Benaco. Isola del Garda is home to a beautiful villa and botanical garden which is worth exploring if you have the time and want to do something different.

Verona: This beautiful historic city is located about 30 kilometers from Sirmione. Famous for its ancient Roman ruins, including the Verona Arena and the Ponte Pietra bridge. Verona is also home to several beautiful churches and museums, as well as some of the best shopping and dining in the region. Read the Complete Guide to the City of Verona before your travels.

Verona Arena | Italy: The Ultimate Resource for Travellers | timelesstravelsteps.com
Verona Arena by night

HOW MUCH TIME IS NEEDED TO EXPLORE SIRMIONE OLD TOWN?

The amount of time needed to explore Sirmione’s old town will depend on your schedule, interests and how thoroughly you wish to explore the Old Town of Sirmione. The old town is small, so a quick stroll along the main street and back will not take more than 30 minutes.

However, I’d recommend that you spend around 2-3 hours at the very least wandering the old town’s charming streets, admiring the historic buildings, and taking in the stunning views of Lake Garda.

If you plan to visit some of the popular attractions such as the Scaliger Castle or the ancient Roman ruins of the Grotte di Catullo, you may need to allocate more time. The castle alone can take up to an hour to explore, while the ruins may require around 1-2 hours.

Overall, It is best to set aside at least half a day to a good part of a day to fully immerse in the charms of Sirmione Old Town. In this way you can experience the historic town taking into account time for sightseeing, shopping, and enjoying the local cuisine.

Sirmione Old Town makes a great base as well, so you may want to stay here for a few days and enjoy the healing thermal baths and go on some boat trips.


ITALIAN LAKES

Would you like to visit another famous destination in the Italian Lakes region?

Here’s my guide to places to stay, visit and things to do in Lake Como:

Where to Stay in Lake Como: Guide to the East & West shores, Best Towns, Hotels, Information and Tips;

How to Travel Around Lake Como

A 5-Day Itinerary in Lake Como for a Fabulous Stay

Best 8 Towns in Lake Como You Must Visit

From Milan Malpensa to Lake Como by Train

Argegno: The Perfect Off-beat Charm in Lake Como

Varenna: 10 Best Things to do

18 Best Things to Do See in Bellagio, Lake Como

17+ Best Things to do in Como City, Italy

Complete Guide to Lake Como, Italy

Lecco Lake Como timelesstravelsteps.com
Lecco, Lake Como

finally…

A visit to this quirky little castle town of Sirmione makes for an unforgettable experience that offers a glimpse into Italy’s rich cultural heritage. The town’s narrow streets, ancient buildings, and stunning views of Lake Garda make it a must-see destination for any traveler.

Exploring the town’s historic landmarks, such as the Scaliger Castle and the Grotte di Catullo, provide fascinating insights into Sirmione’s past. You can also enjoy the town’s vibrant local culture by browsing its many shops, sampling its delicious cuisine, or simply taking a leisurely stroll along the lakefront.

A visit to Sirmione Old Town is a delightful way to immerse yourself in the beauty and history of this charming Italian town. Whether you’re a history buff, a culture lover, or simply looking for a picturesque getaway, Sirmione Old Town is sure to delight and inspire you.

I sincerely hope that this guide has provided you with all the answers and more that you were looking for with regards to visiting Sirmione Old Town.

Georgina at Santa Maria delle Neve

I, Georgina at Santa Maria della Neve Church, Sirmione. The sun shone brightly in November but it was a little chilly also.

Have a splendid time exploring Sirmione xx.


Before you go, take a look at some of my other articles about Italy. These are in-depth guides, with information and tips which may support your travels in Italy.

Milan

Where to Stay in Milan: 5 Best Areas

Top 3 Leonardo’s Last Supper Tours

12 Very Best Easy Day Trips from Milan

An Overview of Milan Centrale Station

5 Attractions in Parco Sempione, Milan Not to Miss

Sforza Castle and Museum, Milan

Getting Around Milan like a Local: A Simple Guide to Milan’s Public Transportation

Arco della Pace, Milan

Quotes about Milan that makes the City Irresistible

Milan at a Glance: An Overview of What to Expect

Milan Bucket List Ideas: Best 19 Attractions

How to Enjoy the Best of Milan in One Day

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan

Milan Cathedral: How to Make the Best of Your Visit

The Best of Milan: The Sunset from the Rooftop Milan Cathedral

The Ultimate Milan City Guide

Verona

9 Charming Walking Tours in Verona

3 Best Food Tours in Verona

Verona by Bike: 6 Fun Cycle Tours

Best 7 Places to Stay in Verona

31 Best Things to do in Verona

Verona Wine: 11 Best Garda Wines

Food in Verona: Best 16 Traditional Food to Try or to Know About before you go

Romeo and Juliet in Fair Verona

An Incredible Valpolicella Winery Visit in Verona

Mazzanti Houses, Verona, Italy

Verona Arena

Piazza delle Erbe, Verona

Piazza Bra, Verona

The Lamberti Tower, Verona

Majestic Gran Guardia Palace, Verona

Verona at a Glance

Complete Guide to Verona, Italy



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