Sirmione is one of the most beautiful places in the Lake Garda area, between Veneto and Lombardy, very popular with Italian and foreign tourists. Thanks to the poet Catullus, it is also known as "the pearl of the islands and peninsulas" and as thermal destination renowned for the healing properties of its waters.
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, it was incorporated into the Lombard kingdom, and during the Scaligera lordship, in the thirteenth century, the surrounding walls and the imposing fortress were built. Today it houses an international spa and offers visitors a interesting and extensive historical and artistic heritage: the remains of an ancient Roman villa (the Grotte di Catullo), the Rocca Scaligera and the church of S. Pietro in Mavino, as well as a suggestive and romantic historic center, organized beaches where you can also practice water sports, hotels, lodges and restaurants.
In this article we give you some information on what to see, where to eat and what to do in the evening in Sirmione.
- 10 things to see in Sirmione in a weekend
- What to see in Sirmione in one day: recommended itinerary
- Where to eat in Sirmione: the best restaurants
- What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Sirmione
- Plan your stay in Sirmione: info and useful tips
- User questions and comments
10 things to see in Sirmione in a weekend
1 - Scaliger Castle
It is a fortress whose construction dates back to the mid-thirteenth century, in the Scala era, with the aim of preserving the only access point by land to the historic center of the city. The fortress is one of the rare examples of lake fortification but also one of the best preserved and most complete castles in all of Italy.
In addition to the three towers and the forty-seven meter high keep, it is surrounded on all four sides by the waters of the lake: this detail makes the appearance of the fortress really suggestive and almost fairytale. You can also walk the walkways and watch a splendid panorama of Lake Garda by climbing the 146 steps of a wide staircase.
- in Piazza Castello; leave the car in one of the paid parking lots near the historic center, which is closed to traffic and entirely pedestrian. One of the largest car parks is the Monte Baldo Parking, 850 meters from the Castle, about 8 minutes on foot - Get directions
- Tuesday to Saturday from 8:30 to 19:30, Sunday and holidays from 8:30 to 13:30, closed on Mondays
- single ticket € 6,00, first Sunday of the month free admission; joint ticket Scaligero Castle, Grottoes of Catullus and Roman Villa of Desenzano € 14,00
2 - Grottoes of Catullus
Although the name refers to the typical underground cavities, the point of interest is an ancient Roman domus built between the end of the st century BC and the st century AD It is one of the unmissable attractions of Sirmione, an archaeological site of great historical importance as it is the most important example of a Roman villa in northern Italy.
Before the excavations the site was covered with vegetation, the visible parts had the appearance of caves, hence the name of "caves". There are no certain testimonies but it seems that the villa was owned by Gaius Valerio Catullo, which refers to possessions in Sirmione in a poem.
- in Piazza Orti Manara, 4; you can only get there on foot by walking through the center and following the signs, or in the summer months with the electric train that goes from Piazza Piatti to Piazzale Orti Manara at the entrance to the archaeological site - Get directions
- from the last Sunday of March to the last Saturday of October on weekdays from 8:30 to 19:30, holidays from 8:30 to 14:00, closed on Tuesday; from the last Sunday of October to the last Saturday of March on weekdays from 8:30 to 17:00, holidays from 8:30 to 14:00, closed on Tuesday
- € 8,00 full ticket, € 4,00 reduced ticket (for European citizens between 18 and 25 years old), free ticket for children under 18, every first Sunday of the month and on the occasion of special events
3 - Historic center
The access bridge to Sirmione leads directly to the historic center of the village, formed by characteristic alleys and streets.
Walking through the center, perhaps eating an ice cream (there are many ice cream shops), it is possible to look at the windows and buy souvenirs, food and wine specialties, local handicrafts. There are also trendy boutiques and luxury shops. For a more romantic walk there is the road that runs along the lake, from where it is possible to admire a very suggestive panorama.
- close to the pedestrianized historic center there are large paid tourist car parks (via XXV Aprile, Monte Baldo Parking, GrifoParking Parking), some equipped with shuttles to the center (which is still very close) - Get directions
- always accessible
4 - Church of Sant'Anna della Rocca
Close to the walls of the Scaligera fortress, this small church initially had the function of chapel for the small community, for the Captain and about twenty guards on duty. Its construction dates back to the mid-1300s but, over the course of history, it has undergone changes and enrichments: in the th century it was decorated with a cross vault and frescoes.
Inside is located a precious effigy of the Madonna and Child, painted on stone, which also bears the Scaligeri coat of arms.
The church is very popular and is still today a place of meditation and prayer not only for citizens but also for tourists and vacationers.
- in the historic center, near the walls of the Scaligero Castle, in Piazza Castello 1, - Get directions
- there are no precise opening and closing times, they vary according to the season, usually in high season it remains open until late
5 - Church of San Pietro in Mavino
È an ancient church, the first references to this place of worship were found in a manuscript dating back to 756 AD Over the centuries it has undergone changes and renovations, particularly in the period between 1300 and 1400.
The renovations that took place in different historical periods can be seen above all externally, where different architectures can be distinguished, such as the symmetrical lines of the structure and the rounded and wide rose windows, which appear much more modern than the original project.
Kept inside the church are located some frescoes of significant importance, including the trilogy of San Michele and the one representing San Simone.
- in Via S. Pietro in Mavino; it can be reached on foot after a short climb from the historic center - Get directions
- every day from 9: 00 to 18: 00
6 - Church of Santa Maria Maggiore
It is also called Santa Maria della Neve and is the parish church of Sirmione. Like the small church of Sant'Anna, it rests on the fortification walls of medieval origin that closed the village to the north. It dates back to the end of the th century, to access you have to cross a beautiful five-arched portico which was once part of the cemetery adjacent to the church, as evidenced by five tombs visible on the floor.
In the churchyard there is a monument dedicated to Jupiter, later reused as an alms box, while the last column of the portico is a milestone dedicated to the emperor Julian the Apostate, who lived in the th century AD.
- in via S. Maria Maggiore, 21, in the historic center, within walking distance - Get directions
- every day from 9: 00 to 18: 00
7 - Spa
Sirmione is the most famous spa town in all of Lake Garda and one of the most popular and best known in Italy.
The thermal waters of Sirmione have been used for centuries for thermal treatments and beauty treatments, in fact they have beneficial properties that can act on the cardiovascular, osteoarticular and respiratory systems, and are also used in the treatment of dermatological and gynecological diseases.
There are several and numerous spas in Sirmione to choose from, but i more traditional are the Terme di Virgilio and the Terme di Catullo.
- walk from the historic center - Get directions
- Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday from 9:00 to 22:00, Thursday from 11:00 to 24:00, Friday and Saturday from 9:00 to 24:00; reservations are always required on Saturdays and Sundays
- based on the length of stay and the day of the week, starting from € 22,00
8 - Jamaica Beach and other beaches
Just outside the town center there is a unique and enchanted place, a small stone beach called Jamaica Beach. It can be reached via a path that descends into the entrance area of the archaeological area of the Catullus caves.
The beach is particular because, due to the lack of rain, the waters of the lake sometimes drop by about 30-60 cm and the stone slabs of the seabed emerge. Going through them, you will have the sensation of walk right in the middle of the lake! In Sirmione there are also other beaches that are worth a visit for their beauty, such as Lido delle Bionde, characterized by crystal clear waters with a restaurant, bar and the possibility of renting canoes and pedal boats.
- immediately after the entrance gate of the thermal baths, head towards the complex of villas by the lake - Get directions
- always accessible
9 - Walk of the Muses
It is a pedestrian walk that starts right under the walls of the Scaligero Castle and it is easily reachable along the walls of the Rocca.
It is a route recommended for everyone but especially for couples, as the white pebble beach, the clear water of the lake and the abundance of flowers create a particularly suggestive and romantic landscape.
Furthermore, along the entire promenade, you reach the Lido delle Bionde and the tip of the peninsula.
- walking under the walls of the Scaligero Castle - Get directions
- always accessible
10 - Isola del Garda
Moving away from the town center, it is possible to discover an enchanted place, where time seems to have stopped. With a beautiful boat excursion from Sirmione you can get to Isola del Garda, a rocky islet, reachable only by small boats and at set times.
The island is in fact private, but the noble family that still lives there allows visitors to enjoy the beauty of the place. It is possible to admire a lush green park and the sumptuous villa. The island can only be reached with guided tours organized by the Cavazza family.
- the excursions start from piazzale Porto, in the historic center a few steps from the fortress - Get directions
- from the end of March to October, if weather conditions permit the excursion. From Sirmione the boats leave on Tuesdays at 15pm and on Thursdays at 15pm
- adults € 39,00, children from 5 to 12 years € 22,00
What to see in Sirmione in one day: recommended itinerary
As soon as you arrive in Sirmione, leave your car in one of the paid areas near the center, and start the walk in the historic center, where all the points of interest of the town are gathered. You can have breakfast at the Bar della Torre, at the beginning of the pedestrian area, with an average cost of € 5,00.
Continue to the first stop, the famous Scaligero Castle, the fortification that was intended to protect the village. You can also visit the keep and the patrol walkways of the walls.
After visiting the fortress, continue with theexploration of the narrow streets of the center, perhaps dedicating yourself to the purchase of a souvenir, choosing from local handicrafts or food and wine products.
After having lunch at Trattoria La Fiasca, with an average cost of € 25,00, stop at the Church of Sant'Anna della Rocca and then head towards the Grotte di Catullo, one of the main attractions of Sirmione. Once the visit is over, return to the center and, if you have time left before dinner, you can visit the Church of San Pietro in Mavino.
The center of Sirmione is full of typical trattorias and restaurants, we recommend that you end the day at Viandante Mangia e Bevi, with an average cost of € 37,00. After dinner you can enjoy the views of the lake, perhaps enjoying an ice cream by trying one of the many ice cream shops in the town.
One day itinerary at a glance
- Breakfast at Bar della Torre
- Castello Scaligero - opening hours: from Tuesday to Saturday from 8:30 to 19:30, Sunday and holidays from 8:30 to 13:30, closed on Mondays - ticket price: full € 6,00
- Historic center - always accessible - free
- Lunch at Trattoria La Fiasca
- Church of Sant'Anna della Rocca - opening hours: there are no opening and closing times, they vary according to the season - ticket price: free
- Grotte di Catullo - timetables - ticket cost: full € 8,00
- Church of San Pietro in Mavino - opening hours: every day from 9:00 to 18:00 - ticket price: free
- Dinner at Viandante Mangia e Bevi
Where to eat in Sirmione: the best restaurants
- Trattoria La Fiasca: typical cuisine, traditional specialties and lake fish
Average price per person: € 25,00
Address and contacts: Via S. Maria Maggiore, 11 (Get directions) / tel: (+39) 0309 906111
- Wayfarer Eat and Drink: restaurant, pizzeria and bar in the historic center overlooking the Scaligero Castle
Average price per person: € 37,00
Address and contacts: Via Vittorio Emanuele, 2 (Get directions) / tel: (+39) 0309 16336
- La Dolce Vita in Sirmione: traditional Mediterranean cuisine with meat and fish menus
Average price per person: € 30,00
Address and contacts: Piazza Unità D'Italia, 3 (Get directions) / tel: (+39) 389 1097177
What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Sirmione
Sirmione is a quiet town and there is no so-called "movida".
There are no discos or disco pubs to make the evening, but there are many places to enjoy an aperitif or a drink, perhaps at sunset with the view of the lake.
Those who want to spend the evening at the disco must therefore go towards Desenzano del Garda or other nearby locations. The small nightclubs in Sirmione, however, attract many young people and beyond.
The best pubs, clubs and discos
- Cafè Damm Atrà: aperitifs, after dinner, a wide choice of wines and champagne, alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails / Address: Piazza Unità D'Italia, 16 (Get directions) / Facebook page
- Perlage Wine and Cocktail: particular location with a suggestive outdoor space, ideal for aperitifs and happy hours / Address: Piazza Mercato 12 (Get directions) / Facebook page
- Hi ki Beach: luxury bathing establishment with private beach, happy hour with music and aperitif at sunset / Address: Via Benaco, 18 (Get directions) / Facebook page
Plan your stay in Sirmione: info and useful tips
- by car, through the Milan-Venice motorway, exit at Sirmione or Desenzano del Garda. There is no train station in Sirmione but you can get off at Desenzano del Garda or Peschiera station, and then take the bus to Sirmione. From Desenzano you can find the direct bus line LN026, travel time about 20 minutes, ticket cost € 2,00
- Getting around: the historic center, where the points of interest are located, is entirely pedestrian. Cars can be left in one of the paid parking lots near the center, where public transport also stops
- Where to park: Parking via 25 Aprile, Lungolago Diaz parking, Monte Baldo parking. On average, paid parking costs € 2,50 per hour, while the daily ticket is € 18,00
- Hotel and b & b starting from € 62,00 per room -
- What to see in the surroundings: Desenzano del Garda (26,1 km), Gardone Riviera (34,5 km), Bardolino (25,3 km), Lazise (20,8 km), Salò (71,8 km), Verona (34,4 km ), Brescia (53,9 km)