Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy that’s often overlooked due to its famous cousin – Lake Como. I have to admit, I never heard of it until I saw in Instagram a photo of the amazing “castle” surrounded by emerald water – Rocca Scaligera in Sirmione. Since then, I started to research Sirmione and Lake Garda and found out it has a lot of picturesque towns that I adore. Logistically getting there wasn’t as hard or complicated as I thought, we flew nonstop from Budapest to Milan BGY, picked up our rental car, and drove to Sirmione within an hour. That was easy right?
The historical center of Sirmione is closed to outside cars so we had to park at a parking lot outside the castle. We contacted our hotel, Hotel Flaminia, in advance and they sent us the parking voucher and information. However, Google Maps gave us the wrong direction so it took us some time to locate the correct parking lot. Once we got there, they have a staff to drive us and our luggage via a golf cart to the hotel. It was a short 5-minute ride and when I tried to tip the driver, he said: “no, thank you, it’s a free service”. Wow talking about being professional and service! The staff at the reception was also very friendly, we loved small Italian towns, people are just so honest and friendly! That’s what I called a hassle free vacation!
Our room wasn’t ready yet so we left our luggage and explored the town a little bit prior to having lunch. There are so many wonderful seafood restaurants in town but many open at noon so only limited restaurants open at 11:30 AM. We went to Trattoria La Fiasca. Our appetizer, of course, was mussels and it a big bowl of freshly steamed mussels yum! We missed Italian seafood so much!
We both ordered the seafood spaghetti but unlike the mussels portion, they were quite small and not much ingredient. The taste was good.
Our lunch cost €46.
After lunch, our room was ready! The room was spacious but the decors didn’t feel like a 4* hotel; it was very minimum.
The view from our room:
We didn’t have a balcony but the view of the town was nice:
And a partial lake view:
The bathroom looked dated but nevertheless, clean.
We quickly unloaded our bags and started exploring the beautiful lakeside town. Rocca Scaligera, the centerpiece of Sirmione.
The admission was €4 and at the entrance, we saw this huge wood:
We climbed those flights of stairs for the best panoramic view of Sirmione.
The castle is quite small and you can walk around 360 degrees around its wall. The views from up the castle:
There are boat tours around the castle and Lake Garda.
We spotted a nest floating on the water, the mom protecting her nest?
Once we walked out of the castle and the entrance gate and turned to the pier where those boat tours depart, that is the postcard-perfect spot to take the castle on the water. It’s so unique and the reason that took me all the way here!
The post office was nearby so we stopped by to see if they have collectible stamps for Jason. Luckily, they have one left that’s special for Lake Garda! We were super happy 🙂 When we walked back in the historical town, we saw a crowd gathered there so we were curious as to what’s going on. It was a gold Rolls-Royce! I waited for my chance to take a photo with it haha.
More photos with the castle.
We walked to almost every streets and corner in the historical center of Sirmione to make sure we didn’t miss any hidden gems 🙂 Another tourist attraction is Grottoes of Catullus; it is a Roman villa ruin located at the very end of the peninsula. It was a long walk to get there. The entry is €8. The ruins:
I think the rows of trees looked prettier.
It wasn’t spectacular or anything so I don’t think it was worth the long walk to get there.
Once we walked back to the center, we explored more of its side streets. The back of the castle where there’s a restaurant right on the little access to the beach.
A locked garden right next to the castle, maybe part of the castle?
The castle is so prominent that you can see it at almost every street in town.
Sirmione is famous for its gelato and it also has ice cream for dog!!!
Right on the main street, there are so many gelato shops with huge spreads of flavors….so much that it tested my selective disorder. Finally, we picked Gelateria Mirkoz and got the biggest gelato I have ever seen at €9 for 3 flavors. We picked the mango, peach, and melon. The mango and peach were very creamy and fruity but the melon somehow has a taste of sourness. I was hoping for the sweet refreshing melon but nevertheless, it was very good. Ready to look at this huge size??? It was so heavy too!
I took it outside to the postcard-perfect spot to enjoy the super-sized gelato and the view. It was perfect!
I couldn’t eat it fast enough before it started to melt haha and it attracted the swan and ducks!
I was super happy even though it cost €9 hehe.
I couldn’t finish it all by myself, no way before it totally melted so Jason had to help out while I took more photos of this beautiful view.
We finally finished the gigantic gelato 😀
We had some time to spare before our 6:30 pm dinner reservation so we walked around the town once again.
This building is nearly covered by the Bougainvillea so it really stood out!
Our dinner at Il Girasole, luckily, we made a reservation online as it’s a popular restaurant in town. We were seated on the patio and we didn’t factor that in so we dind’t bring the insect repellent spray. I got like 2 big mosquito bites!
Complimentary to start off our dinner: a chrunchy tart like.
We ordered the scallops and those were huge! The sauces were very interesting flavors.
Look at how huge they are perfectly cooked.
My seafood spaghetti, I love how they decorated the plate with flower petals. The homemade spaghetti has a little crunchiness to it and the sauce was infused with seafood flavors and chuncks of lobster.
Jason ordered a black noodle:
Both the spaghettis were very delicious.
We even got the free dessert at the end of the dinner! The satisfying dinner cost €63, it was very good value for the quality of seafood we had.
The paying part was super slow and time was ticking for sunset so Jason run back to the hotel to grab our tripod while I waited for the waitress. We made it in time for the Lake Garda sunset.
The tour groups departed and it was more quiet. We waited there till the blue hour for night photos. The castle wasn’t lit up as I thought….
Afterwards, we headed back to our hotel where we passed by many gelato shops. Just to show you how many flavors they have!
Sirmione is lovely as well as its food and gelato! Looking forward to explore other beautiful towns around Lake Garda!