Sirmione is one of the best known and most visited places on Lake Garda, a peninsula about 4 km long and its heart, the historic village from the Scaliger castle to the Grottoes of Catullus, are a tangle of alleys and gardens and unique views on the lake.
Defined as “ La Perla del Garda ” is a jewel located on the shore of the lake, Sirmione charms tourists thanks to its historical taste and the typicality and charm that characterize. It is a country with a breathtaking landscape, alleys and promenades embellished with flowers and plants of all kinds, medieval buildings, trendy shops and luxurious restaurants. At the gates of the village, the visitor is screened immediately in a romantic and mysterious environment, enchanting him and making him fall in love like a mermaid singing to sailors.
What to see and what to do in Sirmione, the pearl of Lake Garda
Scaligero Castle of Sirmione
The Scaligero Castle, the best known symbol of Sirmione, welcomes the visitor by constituting the only entrance to the town. It is one of the best preserved Italian castles and one of the rare examples of lake fortification .
As the name suggests, the castle dates back to the Scala era , therefore linked to the most flourishing period of the city of Verona . The construction of the castle began in the middle of the XIII century , most likely on previous Roman remains and its function was always exclusively defensive, of port control and prison.
The Legends of Sirmione Castle
Like any self-respecting castle, Sirmione is also the scene of a legend . It seems that Ebengardo and Arice, two young people very much in love lived here, and lived happily ever after, before the tragedy struck them. During a stormy night a Venetian knight, Elalberto, asked for refuge in the castle. The couple opened their home to the stranger who was enchanted by the beauty of Arice, so much so that he entered his room during the night. The frightened girl screamed, Elalberto stabbed her to silence her. Ebengardo, hearing the cries of his beloved, reached her room and stabbed Elalberto in turn. And since then he found no peace, so much so that it is said that his ghost still roams the castle.
The Grottoes of Catullus
The first settlements date back to the Bronze Age, of which traces of stilts remain, a place that later, in Roman times, became a holiday resort. In fact, on the extremity of the island, there is an ancient and precious Roman villa, called “ Le Grotte di Catullo “, with frescoes from the 1st and 2nd century AD inside, a nearby museum preserves finds. archaeological.
This imposing archaeological site, in addition to representing the most important evidence among the findings of the Roman period in the Sirmione area, is considered the most grandiose example of a Roman villa found in northern Italy. The name of “Grotte” dates back to the 15th century. when chroniclers-travelers discovered the existence of these collapsed “caverns” covered with vegetation.
Caio Valerio Catullo , born around 87 BC and died in 54 BC, he belonged to the rich Veronese family of the Valeri and certainly owned a residence in Sirmione, although it is not proven that his villa was located in this very place. The entire archaeological complex once covered approximately 20,000 km2.
The thermal baths of Aquaria
The Terme di Aquaria are very famous, thanks to the curative sulphurous waters that flow hot from the lake bed, which help heal problems related to the respiratory tract and skin diseases.
Sirmione boasts walks , enchanting beaches, such as the Lido delle Bionde where it is possible to lie down to sunbathe, and the ancient churches of S. somewhat secluded, and of S.Maria Maggiore in the heart of the town.
Crenellated walls dating back to medieval times protect the village and the Scaliger Castle , enclosing the historic center as an asset to hide and keep, in fact the latter is configured as an island since it is located at the northern end of a peninsula isolated by a navigable moat and the only access route is a bridge.
To the delight of pedestrians, the center is a restricted traffic area, anyone wishing to access it by car must be in possession of special permits granted strictly and at certain times.
Shopping in Sirmione
For lovers of shopping , Sirmione is characterized by various and picturesque shops in the center, while outside the town there are several outlets and company stores. Many hotels boast beautiful lakeside terraces for the long tourist season, as well as Bed and Breakfasts and campsites.
Typical restaurants and taverns, cheer up the evenings of neighbors from Brescia and Verona, as well as tourists from all over the world. In the summer there are several events and parties on the beach which often end with magnificent fireworks.
In addition to the historic center there are the hamlets of Colombare and Lugana.
Jamaica beach Sirmione
The most important beach is “Lido delle Bionde” which then leads to the enchanting Jamaica Beach, do not expect it that in a lake location you can find yourself in such an idyllic and wild context: emerald waters, of pebbles and large smooth pink and light gray stones which, in autumn and spring, when the water is lower, emerge, creating pools that act as mirrors, bringing portions of the sky into the lake.
You feel like you are in a corner of paradise and everything becomes fairy, especially when the blue hour and sunset arrive, making you breathless. Jamaica Beach is located just below the Ruins of the Villa Romana delle Grotte di Catullo, on the tip of the Sirmione peninsula.
The boats to and from Sirmione
The boat service takes you in a short time to the ports of Maderno Toscolano, Limone, Riva del Garda (Trentino), Malcesine and Torri del Benaco (Veneto) and allows us to admire the Garda from different perspectives. Look at the timetables of the boats that depart and arrive in Sirmione.
Hotels – Restaurants – Experiences on Lake Garda.
On Lake Garda there are many structures in which to stay, from small and well-kept B&B’s to resorts with wellness centers and beauty services, in the section dedicated to hotels find all the information you need to find the most suitable accommodation for you.
The same goes for restaurants, at this link you will find our selection of restaurants on Lake Garda. Remembering that Lake Garda offers several starred restaurants and the quality of the culinary offer is very high.
There are many activities and experiences you can do on Lake Garda, so we recommend you visit the section dedicated to experiences in our magazine by clicking here.
By car: From the A4 Turin / Venice motorway, exit at Sirmione and follow the road signs.
By train: Sirmione relies on Desenzano which is the most important railway junction of Lake Garda, where all trains stop. The station is in the village.
By plane: Within 30 Km there are the airports of Verona, Bergamo and Brescia reachable by fast roads.
Where to Park in Sirmione
There are many car parks throughout the Sirmione peninsula and most of them are subject to charges. In this map you can see the main ones
All parking is subject to charges.
For any questions about your holiday on Lake Garda, do not hesitate to contact us by commenting on this article or by writing on our social channels (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter , TikTok), we are always available to help you.
See you next time dear Outdoors!