For visiting Sirmione peninsula
Sirmione is the narrow little peninsula in the south of the Lake Garda - in the northern part of Italy. Hotel Clodia is also a very nice place to accommodate more than one night. From the location you have to walk 15 to 30 minutes (if you walk really slow) to the old center - with the castle - the tip of the peninsula. Other than this it is a nice three star hotel, with all the amenities, and more important, Sirmione being a touristic location, having a decent private parking space, and free, which is also rare in Italy. Nice people at the reception desk also, willing to help you with a map of Sirmione. I warmly recomment Hotel Clodia for a nice stay in Sirmione. The strangest thing that I've encountered in Hotel Clodia is the air conditioning system - meaning that it is working non-stop, and you can only shut it off by opening the window - but this was not a good solution for us as there are many small flying things (not mosquitoes but the smaller flying things that are attracted to light) and we had to sleep in a freezing temperature :) Of course you might ask for the remote and add some degrees on the settings :)
Day 2 - Lago di Garda
Impressed by Venice I've set the compas to Lago di Garda, taking the A4 (Venice-Milano) that passes Padova - Vicenza - Verona. Exiting at Peschiera del Garda was harder than I thought, there were no signs for what road to take to the right bank of the Lake Garda (Lasize, Bardolino a.s.o.). Finally found the road and took the drive - some slow trip because the road is narrow and there were indeed many speed traps on the road - electronically mounted on the right of the road, telling how much speed you were doing. I was not impressed by Bardolino and made the first stop in San Vigilio, a very small and retreated place, very quiet - just a handfull of tourists zipping an espresso on the side of the lake. Then we have reached Malcesine - my favourite place on Lake Garda - nice place to wonder in the city - visit the castle, see the nice lake views and eat at the restaurants on the lake shore. Going all the way North to Riva del Garda, you will find a great scenery, the U-turn of the lake, on the left (west) side the majestic mountains and a very windy weather. This place of the lake is like a sea shore, with waves, an interesting beach - having sand as well as grass to lay on - many people doing wind-surfing and wind-parasailing. I was looking for a tour with a rental bike but it seemed no bikes there. Coming down (south) from Riva del Garda to our final destination of the day - Sirmione - was not as easy as initially thought. On the map the road is shown bigger than the one on the east side, but in reality the road is 80% tunnels, narrow and with a good amount of traffic. So the trip was more than two hours, a short miss of the directions but finally found Sirmione and the nice Hotel Clodia. It is good to rest after a long day :)
Sirmione on Lake Garda
I have chosen Sirmione because it looked like a nice place to stay - on the Lake Garda, north of Italy - being a small peninsula, having read there is a nice castle that is appreciated by tourists. Well, Sirmione proved to be indeed a very nice place to visit, walk into the old city center in which you enter by the gates of the old castle bearing the same name of course. The shore are absolutely fantastic, as well in daytime but especially in dawn - check out the main picture, I made that with a tripod on the pier (quick tip for the photography hobbyist out there). The castle itself is not a much attraction (for me) but is is a very nice landmark. I appreciated more the lovely old city, being small and easy to walk trough. Not so many choices for having dinner, but many places to have ice cream of course - as well as in entire Italy. The smallest strip of the peninsula is the main road, on the side which there are a lot of hotels to choose from. I choose a nice cosy one I can recommend - Hotel Clodia - see my accommodation tip. Ok, check out my Sirmione tips will'ya?! ;)
Like many other cities in Italy, the old city center of Sirmione is lovely to visit, having also wide but short paved streets going to the lake and also narrow winding streets passing the houses. Walking in Sirmione after 5pm seems more relaxing as you are avoiding the sun and the heat of midday.
Unfortunately I came too late to visit the castle - this having a pretty early hour for closure, so I can't tell you what is inside. From the outside though, it surely look like a fairytale castle though modern looking at the same time, I mean a lot of work on the tower, water channel around, entering on a small bridge, nice.