Favorite thing: There are marked walking paths all over the place, from the Castle of Scaligeri to Grotte di Catullo and back to the place.
On the left of the castle starts this main city promenade which take you deep into the peninsula.
Fondest memory: On the eastern part of the peninsula there are main public beach resorts, while the western part is not that approachable.
- Family Travel
Non traffic area
Favorite thing: The area of peninsula is strictly non traffic area, except for the hotel guests and local residents. In that case, the speed limit is under 10 km which is strictly monitored by the police.
The bike is not recommendable here because the distances are very short, besides, there are no marked bike-paths in the place.
There is also a small electric train which takes you from the Aquarium to Grotte di Catullo, and the price is one euro only.
- Family Travel
The streets of - Part 2
Favorite thing: The first three photos show ceramic/enamel wall plaques that we found in several places in the old town of Sirmione, they may have been like personalized signs for homes or mailboxes, not sure.
The fourth photo shows the entrance square just off the castle, the crowds of people and the cars trying to drive in crowd conditions, quite fun actually if you have a permit to bring your car into the old town.
The last photo shows the archeological site of the "Grotto di Catullo", a Roman villa on the northern edge of Sirmione that we unluckily missed seeing since it was closed on the Sunday we went.
- Hiking and Walking
- Castles and Palaces
The streets of - Part 1
Favorite thing: Take the time to wander off the main street where the tourists congregate, there are some wonderful cozy and intimate spots to enjoy.
The first photo of the ice cream shop was actually taken from our car as we drove to our hotel, the streets we had to navigate were VERY narrow.
The second and third show some of the foliage that seemed to take over many of the structures and occupied more space than the people sometimes.
The fourth and fifth photos show some of the lakeshore where we found few people.
- Hiking and Walking
Hotel Broglia, just GETTING there....
Favorite thing: Probably one of the things that everyone does when visiting old cities is wander the old, narrow winding streets. Well here in Sirmione, we stayed at the hotel Broglia and it is located in the northern end of old town. This meant that first of all we required a permit to let us past the guard station at the entrance, no permit, no entrance. So having our entrance permit in hand we proceeded to cross the narrow drawbridge shown in the first photo.
You can see just how close everything is in the next photos.
The last and fifth photo shows an arch that leads through a building and YES, that is the road we drove every day to and from our hotel.
Interesting it was to see the looks on people (tourists most likely) as they looked at these people who were allowed to drive into and through these tiny passageways. ^O^
- Road Trip
- Castles and Palaces
Sirmione and something to live around...
Favorite thing: Six days, Sirmione and so on...
Well, from Bergamo Airport rent a car and take A4 (Venice direction). If you arrive with RyanAir there could be some interesting rates with Hertz Car Rent. Second choice could be the train, but I think it's not a good idea.
I suggest you to take Bed and Breakfast (there are many in Sirmione area) some are cheap, other one expensive. I know two, visited by my sister last year; she says they are very good: take a look to www.hotelbolero.it and, with Google, search for "B&B Sandra" in Lugana (near Sirmione). An other option could be staying in Soave or Illasi (take a look to http://www.sportingsanfelice.com). Soave and Illasi are eastern from Sirmione but in a strategic position if you decide to visit something as Palladian Manors, trekking in Dolomiti Alpes, visit interesting small towns as Asolo, Castelfranco Veneto, Treviso, Bassano del Grappa, Marostica, taste the "Conegliano Valdobbiadene PROSECCO superiore" in wineries on "Prosecco Hills" and... ...don't miss to taste the SPRITZ aperitive before lunch or dinner!
Not so far from Sirmione I think you could visit Gardaland and Sigurtà Park (near there don't miss "La Cantina" restaurant located in Borghetto, Via Tiepolo 4). Other restaurants and pizzeria... My sister suggests "Il Grillo" located in Cavalcaselle (Via Venezia, 40) and, near Sirmione Castle, "al Porticciolo" restaurant.
Contact me if you need more info.
Feel you welcome in my lands,
feel you welcome in Veneto Italian Region!
- Food and Dining
Weather forecasts in Sirmione and Veneto Region
Favorite thing: "we just want to get away and forget about everything": Garda Lake is a good choice (you could dedicate more than one day to visit Bardolino and so on); it's better you avoid Gardaland but do not miss Verona! Take a look on "http://www.tourism.verona.it"
It does not rain in July on Garda Lake but keep attention about sudden summer thunderstorm, sometimes with medium tornadoes. Anyway the top of weather forecasts in Veneto Region is given by ARPAV! Take a look on "http://www.arpa.veneto.it/bollettini/htm/meteo_veneto_en.asp". Veneto Region has a "dog shape"; remember Garda Lake and Verona are on the left side (tail zone of the dog).
An other way to keep information on Virtual Tourist web site: on search rectangle in right upper side of your browser, maintain "Destination" search type, write "Sirmione" (or your destination) and click "Go!". A lot of info about destination you are searching for will appear!
Some transports in Garda Lake area
Favorite thing: First of all one VT suggest: you have your own free VT mail box (take a look on right upper side; link "Email"). Sometimes I use it to have "perfect info" searching and contacting by VT mail Virtual Tourist members living in places I plan to visit. I tell you this also about Sirmione because I'm trying to do my best to help you but, not living there, sometimes I could give you good info but not the best.
Anyway let's now take a look to some questions.
About BOAT TRIP. Unproperly I wrote "boat trip". I mean there are boat services and with them you can plan your trip on Garda Lake. About that, I have this useful link!
Searching in same web site I also found prices and some interesting things! One example: http://www.navigazionelaghi.it/eng/gar/tar_2009/nlg_tar_lb.html
TRAIN TICKETS: Remember to OBLITERATE. Welcome in my "crazy" Country... I think obliteration is not necessary buying your train ticket on web because date, time and train you use are indicated. Instead it's USUALLY different when you buy tickets in a train station. This is because in train station they sell you tickets (single way or round trip) you can use only one time but when you prefer: today, tomorrow or next week; if I'm not wrong they expire in a month. WHEN to obliterate? Before get in the train. WHERE to obliterate? There are automatic machines in train stations (usually near platforms). These machines are small and "egg yellow" coloured. You insert your ticket into black slot and machine prints actual date and time. Be careful because you are in Italy so it can happen: 1) machine is out of order; 2) date and time are not so correct (I mean more than one day wrong). In these case, try to reach an other automatic machine or search the conductor on your train and indicate him that print is not correct (tell him: "machine problem" indicating with your finger the wrong or missing print); it's sufficient to avoid nasty fines: welcome in Italy...
GARDALAND has many different rides but it's not a theme park. It is the most important in Italy so I suggest to visit it being not so far from Sirmione.
I'm very glad you'd "love to eat in a family run café where all the locales go and watch life go" because it is the way of tourism I always search to live. About that I'm very sorry I'm actually blocked at home (left metatarsus bone broken during vacations in Alicante during this June). I live less than 100 km eastern from Sirmione so it could be great to guide and make you live a weekend with locales (spritz in square, pizza or restaurant, go to dance or walk in a town with pubs, café, meeting local people, enjoying!).
If you plan to come back in Veneto Region (Venice, Dolomiti Alpes and so on; you can not miss them!) we can organize ourself or, why not, organize a mini VT-meeting!
Letty, I continue to answer you about Chester by VT mail because this area has to be used to post proper info about Sirmione! Remember, link "Email" on right upper side of your web browser.
Sirmione and around beginning from Bergamo Airport
Favorite thing: Ok Letty now I understand better. First of all I don't laugh because I experienced your same situation when I studied: I did my travels with limited budget.
Your question about hiring: for me is better because you can travel in freedom, without watching the clock and saying: "It's time to go, we have bus, we have train".
Anyway let's schedule again your possible travel!
First: take a look on this web site "http://www.ferroviedellostato.it/" because it gives you all the time tables and prices of 90% of trains in Italy. Sometimes you can also buy tickets on line (English version is available).
You have to reach Bergamo railway station from Bergamo Orio al Serio Airport: about that search "ATB" on website "http://www.sacbo.it/" (you will find a link on the left "Orioshuttle, click and bus!"). From Bergamo railway station you need to arrive in Sirmione by train (search your favourite time on http://www.ferroviedellostato.it/). Remember to obliterate your tickets to avoid nasty fines! You will arrive to Desenzano station (this is because Sirmione has not train station). Anyway don't worry about because the area is touristic so it is sufficient, arrived in Desenzano train station, to get info in a tourist point or go to lake and find boats to Sirmione (it is not difficult).
Prices: I wrote you about "il Porticciolo" restaurant in Sirmione: my sister and her boyfriend paid 42 euro for pasta, desserts, water, a quarter of wine, one bottle of water and two coffees. It's a sample about prices. Anyway, as always, avoid too touristic places and you could keep good food with a reasonable price. Usually pizza is cheaper but, I'm honest, sometimes I save some moneys going in a McDonald! Don't exclude to find in Sirmione a backer and a butcher's shop, buying there all you need to prepare your self-made sandwiches (sometimes I used also this way to save some moneys, but only for lunch!).
Now, what to visit.
One day in Sirmione but keep in mind to take Desenzano train station as base to begin your movements to visit: Verona (1 day), Soave (1 day). A tour by boat to visit Garda Lake is a must, expecially I suggest to visit Bardolino, Lazise, Torri del Benaco, Malcesine. On west side there is Limone sul Garda. Salò is important for Italian history but you could skip it.
Try to dedicate a day to visit the funny Gardaland (http://www.gardaland.it/en/home.php). Sigurtà Park (http://www.sigurta.it) is very beautiful, if possible dedicate a day. To reach it: by train from "Desenzano" to "Peschiera del Garda" and, from "Peschiera del Garda" to "Valeggio sul Mincio" using APAM bus line.
Ehm... I have reached the six days!
OK, these are my suggests.
Keep attention: no autostop in Italy, Veneto Region is not so dangerous but also not so extremly safe.
If you need more info you can contact me also by VT mail or with this one: firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome in Italy!
- Budget Travel
Beautifull, yet overcrowded
Favorite thing: When arriving you must leave a car about a kilometer from the entrance to the city. If your budget is on the limit, you should take something to eat&drink with you - the prices in Sirmione are skyhigh...Try to make your visit off season because the crowd I witnessed last may ( was it the 1st of May?) was unbelievable. And so was the beauty of this really charming little town.
- Wine Tasting
- Spa and Resort
Brush up on your Italian
Favorite thing: My mother lived in Italy for 7 years and had never been to Lake Garda. She was completely enchanted with Sirmione, which I had picked myself. The shopping was very reasonable and the food as well. Service was excellent and very attentive. They were just nice, friendly people. You do need to use your Italian, which I wanted to have a chance to practice anyway. Many people asked us how did we discover Sirmione. There were almost no Americans there. There seemed to be a good bit of Germans.
Fondest memory: The beautiful flowers all over the buildings and how clean it was. Like it was the perfect Italian town.
Also we loved the Aquaria spa and laying out by the lake at the spa in the beautiful surroundings enjoying our summer cocktail. We paid $32 Euro to stay for 5 hours which was well worth it. Make sure you get a sun bed, a chair to lay out in.
Gelato - Sirmione
Favorite thing: As soon as you enter the town thorough the castle, “gelato ally” is straight ahead on Via Vittorio Emanuele. Immediately on both sides of the pedestrian road are about 6 different Gelaterias, selling maybe 20 flavors each. We didn’t sample all, but it all looked good. Some of these places also sold panini (flat bread sandwiches) and pizza. A cheaper alternative to the towns’ generally high priced restaurants, and perfect to grab and eat along the water.
- Historical Travel
Walk to the Grotto Catullo
Favorite thing: I would have loved to walk to the utter point of this peninsuala, but my kids preferred to take the electric train.
Must be great to walk along the beach first and then follow the road to the end.
But as said, temperatures were close to 40 degrees C and part of the walk would have meant walking in the sun .. and as my kids already were against it in the first place ;) haha, who knows, another time!
Fondest memory: Getting away from the crowd by not following the beaten path was the best idea. Thus we saw the real beauty of Sirmione .. and I found a public toilet! haha
- Family Travel
- Historical Travel
Hotels & Villas
Favorite thing: The western side of the peninsula is turned into the hotels area. Mainly, this are four or five stars hotels with pools,huge terraces towards the lake-shore, cafe-bars and own restaurants.
There are also a couple of three stars hotels on that side, but its standard is much lower then the usual one.
Fondest memory: More north, towards the Grotte di Catullo, there is residential area with beautiful Villas to rent. It is the most better accomodation in Sirmione in case you can afford to pay up from 200 euros.
- Family Travel
Favorite thing: The beauty of the place, it is so small and everything is "just a foot from". Besides it is non traffic area, the only exceptions is for hotel-guests when arriving and leaving the place.
Fondest memory: This square, Piazza Corducci, is a meeting point for boat tours around the lake, you starts from here and you arriving here.
- Family Travel
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