Best Things to Do in Sirmione, Lake Garda – Sirmione Travel Guide
Planning your trip to Lake Garda and to Sirmione? Then find out about the best things to do in Sirmione – the best attractions and places to visit.
Sirmione is probably the busiest town in the Lake Garda area. It is a real hotspot, and though I think I liked Limone just a little bit better, this was pretty cool as well.
Known as “the pearl of the islands and peninsulas,” Sirmione’s fame comes from its thermal waters that offer healing properties, and writers like Catullo and Goethe that hailed its beauty.
Sitting on the south bank of Lake Garda, Sirmione has a population of almost 7,800 inhabitants and some of the best attractions around. If you’re wondering about Sirmione, what to do and what to see, this lively and fun town has a lot to offer.
Sirmione Travel Information
Here are some travel tips to help you get to Sirmione on Lake Garda and get around the town itself.
How to Get to Sirmione
By plane: Bergamo (Milan) and Verona/Brescia or Verona Airport are popular airports close by. From there, you either head to Sirmione by car or bus.
By car: Sirmione is reachable by car from the A4 Turin/Venice motorway.
By train: You can take the train to the Desenzano station, which is the most popular junction in Lake Garda, where all trains stop.
How to Get Around Sirmione
There are many places that you can walk to in Sirmione. But you are not allowed to drive in the old town. So, if you are driving, make use of one of the (paid) car parks. They do get more crowded the closer you get to town though and it might be impossible to find a parking slot – we had to do some driving until we found a spot.
If you plan to take a day trip and see other nearby cities in Lake Garda, there are boat and ferry services – and, of course, you can get around by bus.
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Where to Stay in Sirmione
I stayed in Limone (a town I totally adored) – however, Sirmione is also a great place to stay in Lake Garda.
The most luxurious hotel in Sirmione is the Grand Hotel Terme – the 5-star hotel has thermal pools, and is located close at the lake and very close to most main attractions in Sirmione. You can check out rates and availibility here.
Degli Oleandri looks like a beautiful mid-range hotel perfectly located and with good reviews – check out rates here.
I you are looking for budget-friendly accommodations, Sirmione will make it hard for you but it is not impossible – check out all accommodations in Sirmione here.
Find my Lake Garda accommodation guide.
More Sirmione Travel Tips
Check out the following posts for more detailed information:
Lake Garda itineraries: 1-7 days in Lake Garda
Here are the most beautiful places in Lake Garda
Best Places to Visit in Sirmione and Best Things to Do
Sirmione is full of lovely attractions and also close enough for some delightful day trips. Here are some of the best things to do and see while visiting Sirmione at Lake Garda.
Stroll the Streets
Wondering what to do in Sirmione first? Take a walk through the old town. Lined with restaurants, small boutiques, and colorful houses, the winding streets have plenty for your eyes to see.
I thought the old town was really nice, and the beautiful flowers that were everywhere I looked were so charming. I’m still a bigger fan of Limone’s old town, but this one was definitely worth a visit.
If you are looking for a bite to eat, there are pizzerias and gelaterias along the walkways. Rest, enjoy the colorful and lively city center, and get a taste of Sirmione.
Visit Scaliger Castle
One of the best places to visit in Sirmione is Scaliger Castle. Built in the 13th century, this is one of Italy’s best-preserved castles.
It is located on the narrow part of the peninsula and surrounded by Lake Garda. There are three towers and the main tower that reaches 47 meters high.
These days, the only way to get to the castle is by crossing a drawbridge and climbing 146 steps. There are stunning views overlooking Sirmione and Lake Garda.
While the views from inside are nice, the cost is about 6€, so if you are on a budget, skip this and just see it from the outside. These views are lovely as well.
Take a Boat Tour
I love boats, and the sunset boat tour on Lake Garda is wonderful. You get some fantastic views from the water, so I highly recommend it. Make sure you book ahead.
In front of Scaliger Castle, before you enter the old town, you will find the boat station where you can hop on. The tour takes you around the peninsula, which takes about 25-30 minutes. This is definitely one of the best activities in Sirmione.
During the off-season, you might be able to just hop on a boat without a prior reservation but in the busy months, I recommend to book your Sirmione boat trip in advance.
Spend Time at the Beach Behind the Castle
There is a cute little beach behind Scaliger Castle, so once you are finished touring the inside and outside, and enjoying the views of Sirmione and the lake, head over here.
While you could swim in the water, I don’t suggest it. But it was a nice place to just relax and get some fresh air. There are some nice views over the water and I saw swans when I was there.
Sirmione can be busy even during the low season, so this is the perfect place to escape some of the bustle and crowds.
Swim at Jamaica Beach
Another one of the tourist attractions in Sirmione is Jamaica Beach. I did not actually visit it because I only saw it while on the boat tour. But apparently, it is a special place.
This beach is very popular and offers clear waters, great views, and warm waves to dip your toes into. This is not a sandy beach though.
There is a tram that runs to the top if you don’t feel like walking. There, you’ll get the best views over Lake Garda.
To get to Jamaica Beach, come in through the old town.
TIP: Don’t have enough time? Then do a guided tour and discover the best of Lake Garda in one day.
Discover the Grotte di Catullo
The Grotte di Catullo is another point of interest in Sirmione, though I did not have a chance to visit it. This ancient Roman villa dates back to the first century, and its ruins are a very well-known and visited landmark.
The villa was reported to be the home of Catullo and his family, a Latin poet who died in 54 B.C. Because of sloping rocks, the building has sunk to different levels, with the main building in the northern part.
If you have the chance, visit the Grotte di Catullo. It is a lovely piece of Italian history and is even older than the Colosseum in Rome.
GardaLand is one of the best things to see in Sirmione if you have kids – and even if you do not. I did not get to see it when I was in Sirmione, but it is extremely popular and a lot of fun.
The park has about 18 different rides to choose from, and there are also activities and other attractions.
If you can, book your tickets at least 7 days in advance – then your tickets will be just 18€ each.
In 2019, GardaLand will be launching a magical theme, including all new attractions.
Take a Day Trip to Verona
If you are still wondering about Sirmione, what to do while here, a day trip to Verona would be a great idea.
Famous for being the setting of Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet, Verona is the biggest city in the area. You can drive from Sirmione and it will only take about 1-1 ½ hours.
Once you arrive in this beautiful city, enjoy the lively and colorful piazzas. Stroll along the side streets and discover the heart of Verona.
If you are looking for a little more history, check out the Ponte Pietra, which is an arch bridge over the Aldige River from Roman times.
You can get to Verona by car or bus but there are also guided tours available. Check them out here.
Boat Tour to Limone
When it comes to Sirmione, Lake Garda things to do, nothing beats a boat tour. Take the boat tour to Limone and enjoy a lovely day trip to one of the cutest villages I have ever seen.
Going to Limone by boat takes some time – 3 hours to be exact – but it is full of picturesque scenery and worth the effort. The cost is 30 € for a round-trip ticket. You can also drive, or take the bus (but it is rather time-consuming).
In Limone, you can explore the harbor and see tons of colorful houses overflowing with beautiful flowers. Find more pictures of this gorgeous town and get some Limone travel tips.
While I totally loved the area of Lake Garda, I suggest a day trip to Venice as well if you are in the area for more than 5-6 days. It takes about 2 hours to get to Venice by car/bus it Venice is probably the most unique destination in the world. No other place is like Venice.
While 2 days in Venice and Burano would be a perfect time to spend there, you can see quite a bit in one day only. If you start your day early and book certain activities in advance, you will be able to get a very good glimpse of Venice.
Find my tips for the best Venice attractions.
As you can see, there are so many Sirmione things to do on your trip, you may have trouble fitting them all in. Hopefully, this list of attractions has helped you narrow down where to go in Sirmione and what to see.