Covered in cypress and olive groves is Sirmione. It is situated on a narrow peninsula on the southern end of the lake. It is definitely the lake’s most popular destination but despite the scores of visitors to the region, it has managed to maintain its unique appeal. Cars are kept a minimum on the marble streets of the old town and even those cars that are allowed in have to stick to the strict rules and regulations. Walking, swimming and other holiday-related activities are given a lot of importance.
The closest station is at Desenzano del Garda. Take a bus from there to reach Sirmione. Buses leave every half hour and it will take you twenty minutes to reach your destination. Trains from Venice, Milan, Verona and Brescia travel to Desenzano.
Buses from Verona and Brescia leave for Sirmione every hour. The approximate time to cover the distance is one hour.
You can travel by hydrofoil or ferry from Desenzano, Gardone, Limone sul Garda and Riva del Garda everyday. Navigazione Lago di Garda operates these links. Check their website, www.navigazionelaghi.it, for departure and arrival information.
Sirmione is just off the A4 between Milan and Venice. From Bologna, Florence, Rome, and other points south, take the A22 north from Modena to Verona, and from there the A4 west to Sirmione. The trip from Venice takes about 1 1/2 hours, and the trip from Milan a little over an hour. There's ample parking in the lakeside lots lining Viale Marconi, the broad avenue that runs down the peninsula to the entrance of the Old Town.
Situated on Viale Marconi 2, the tourist office works between 9am and 6pm Monday to Friday. Between November and March the office is open on Saturdays as well between 9am and 12:30 pm.
Exploring the Town
Lakeside promenades, beaches, the countryside and lots of shopping all wrapped up into one small town. All areas of the settlement are easily accessible on foot. To get to the Roman ruins, you can take a ride on the open-air trams that operated between 12:30pm and 2:30pm everyday. Take Via Vittorio Emanuele to reach the Grotte di Catullo. These ruins were once the villa and bath that belonged to the poet Catullus. Whether or not this is true, it is definitely worth a visit for the wonderful rosemary and pines that cover the hilltop. An admission of 4€ is charged.
The Castello Scaligero was built in the 13th century by the della Scala family. This family ruled Verona in addition to many of the settlements around the lake. A moat runs around the perimeter of the castle and the entrance is through the Old Town. Be sure to come here for the most magnificent views from atop the towers. Charging an admission of 4€, the castello is open between 9am and 8pm (9am-1pm from November to March) from Tuesday to Sunday.
The Lido delle Bionde beach is the best place for a swim. You can dive into the pristine waters, go kayaking, pedal boating or simply lounge on the beach on a lounge chair, under an umbrella. All equipment can be rented from the beach concession.