How to Get to Sirmione, Italy and What to Do

I was so excited to go to Sirmione that there is a very real risk I built the place up in my head.

With a gorgeous castle and a waterfront setting, it seemed like the perfect town to spend the day in along Lake Garda.

How to Get to Sirmione

Sirmione is found on a thin peninsula that juts out into Lake Garda, near the border of Lombardy and Veneto. 

With a starting point of Brescia, we took the regional Trenord train to Desenzano del Garda for €3.30.  A 15-minute walk downhill and we were at the port where we spent another €3 each on ferry tickets, which can be purchased on the spot for a boat that leaves about every hour. 

When you are done seeing Sirmione, there is a ferry back to Desenzano nearly every hour. The beautiful 10-minute boat trip is a steal at €3 each way.

If you prefer, you can also take an organized tour from Verona or a trip from Milan that stops in Verona, both of which include all transportation. 

Sirmione Italy Ferry

The castle! The water!

This was going to be good, I thought smugly.

How to get to sirmione italy

Things to Do in Sirmione

  1. Visit the Castle. Scaligero Castle is one of the best-preserved castles in Italy and it could not be found in a prettier place. The castle dates back to the 13th century and you can climb the tower for a beautiful view of the old town and the sparkling moat. Sirmione Lake Garda
  2. Admire the Grotte di Catullo. Located on the northernmost point of Sirmione, the Grottoes of Catullus are the ruins of a Roman villa. There is also a small museum with artifacts dating back 2,000 years. 
  3. Take a boat tour. For a unique and more private experience, see the castle, the Grottoes and the beaches of Sirmione from the water. You will start out at the main port and board a small motorboat for a tour around the peninsula. The boat will stop for a swim and take you to the village of Salò. With a glass of prosecco in hand, you can cruise back to Sirmione’s old town in style after zipping around Lake Garda. If you are interested, it is best to book the boat tour in advance because it does sell out. 
  4. Go to Jamaica beach. This rocky beach near the end of Sirmione’s peninsula is one of the best swimming spots in the area. You can arrive by boat or walk out, but be careful of slipping on hidden stones. The trip is worth it for the crystal water. 
    Sirmione Italy Lake
  5. Slip into natural hot spring water. The waters of Lake Garda are perfect for a swim, but for real relaxation you should visit the natural hot water that Sirmione has been famous for since Roman times. The best place to experience the soothing warm water is at Aquaria.

Sirmione Italy Castle

Note that most beaches and all of the hot springs in Sirmione required paid entry. 

Sirmione day trip


Keep this all in mind when you are budgeting your trip. While it is easy and cheap to get to Sirmione, it may end costing you quite a lot if you want to do anything while you are there.

Sirmione Italy Tourist

Sirmione is a huge day trip destination, so if you really want to experience the town at its best – you should stay overnight in order to avoid the tour groups.

Sirmione Beach Lake Garda

Where to Stay in Sirmione

The best way to beat the crowds in Sirmione may very well be to join them. If you stay in Sirmione you will have the gorgeous waterfront setting all to yourself in the mornings and evenings, after the day trippers leave. Plus, because most of the hot springs are privately run, you can select a hotel with a thermal spring to enjoy a quieter spa day included in the price of your accommodation. Ready to go? Here is where to stay in Sirmione, Italy

  1. Hotel Eden: For those who want the best location in Sirmione, Hotel Eden is only a 300 feet from the town’s famous castle. The modern rooms have all recently been redone and many of them have private balconies that face Lake Garda. The hotel also has free Wi-Fi and a private terrace with lounge chairs along the water.
  2. Hotel Olivi Thermae: Hotel Olivi Thermae is one of the best places to stay in Sirmione if you want to experience the town’s famous hot springs. The hotel has its own thermal spa and is set among olive trees in the old part of the city. The overall style is quaint and there is a beautiful garden to enjoy once you are done soaking in the healing waters. 
  3. Hotel Marconi: For the best lake views in a central location, Hotel Marconi is right smack dab in the middle of the centro storico. You can get just about anywhere in Sirmione with a short walk from its cute little doorstep. Guests also get a discount at the nearby thermal spring spa. 
  4. Porto Valentino: If you prefer to stay like a local and have your own apartment, this charming loft is a great option for two people. It is right in the main part of town and has its own little balcony that offers a glimpse of the lake a minutes’ walk away. 

Sirmione Italy Streets

We took our day trip to Sirmione on what is likely the busiest weekend of the year – during August’s Ferragosto holiday.

The crowds were all there for the same reason that I had come – to experience a charming town on the shore of Lake Garda.

I was too overwhelmed by the number of visitors to really enjoy Sirmione itself so it is town best visited outside of the August peak. 

Hugo cocktail Lake Garda

So I ordered a Hugo and resigned myself to reading in the shade.

All in all, Sirmione is not a bad place to be with a drink and book in hand. 

Sirmione Italy-3

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4 thoughts on “How to Get to Sirmione, Italy and What to Do

  1. Nina says:

    Same here. I didn’t like it as much either. Too much people and although I love to walk and everything, but getting back to the parking spaces after a hot couple of hours spent with so many people was making me cranky 😀 It was so much more pleasant driving upwards on the left side of the lake, where we stopped at this little town and fell asleep on the pier with just fishermen fishing and hardly anyone in sight. It was heaven.

  2. Roula says:

    Hello Natalie!
    Nice articles, thanks for the blog… I have been staying in Rome Italy for nearly 2 months and been looking for a local shop that selles handmade dresses for baptism. Do you know where these could be found, as I’m looking for something special but also within a reasonable price ( in Rome mainly but you could also advise if anything out of Rome)

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