Monday, February 25, 2013

(Driving in) Sirmione, Italy

Mike and I took a two-week road trip through Italy, Monaco, France, Spain,
England, and Belgium this past September.
You can read our other road trip posts here.
Or, see all our travel posts here.

Sirmione was the last stop on the road trip we took last fall. Nestled on a peninsula that enjoys panoramic views of Lake Garda, Sirmione is the loveliest little Italian town.

And an ansbolute nightmare to drive through.

Pictured above is the most white-knuckled part of our road trip through western Europe - a trip that spanned six countries and over 4,000 kilometers (3,000 miles) of roads.

Driving through that crowd of tourists, along that teeny rickety bridge (a part of it is actually made of wood) and through the winding streets of Sirmione to our hotel was the stupidest decision we made during our road trip (almost as stupid as driving across the lawn of a chateau and through Zaragoza's main [pedestrianized!] square).

Smarter tourists leave their cars at one of the large parking lots outside of Sirmione, and wander along its tiny alleys by foot (the way all Italian towns are meant to be seen). But our hotel had free parking, and when you're stretching every last Euro, driving through crowds of oblivious tourists seems like a reasonable course of action.

This is where I publicly thank Mike (again) for being our calm, collected driver during our road trip (I don't blame you for cursing like a sailor during that last bit, and thanks for not running anyone over).
view down the peninsula of Sirmione, towards the lake shore
Crazy driving aside, somehow - even when packed with tourists determined to soak up the last bit of summer -  Sirmione turned out to be the most peaceful little corner of Italy. I'm not a lake person, but Annecy and Sirmione are slowly converting me. Throw in a stunning castle, Roman ruins, olive groves, and grassy parks, and Mike and I were two happy campers.

We only spent a day and a half here before boarding a plane in Bologna back to Malta, but it was long enough to know we'll return again someday. You can take ferries and private boats around Lake Garda, and I could easily spend another whole day wandering around the Grotto of Cattalus (with lots of breaks for salty crisps and bitter Spritzs). The town is also known for its thermal baths, so we would shack up here and indulge.

And, when we return to Sirmione, I'll need to go shopping too. Because the food there was so good (the best pizza and pasta of our whole trip) I could easily go up a pant size after a few days' visit.

This week we'll be sharing more of this magical little town and its attractions. And before you start planning your trip, remember: ditch the car. 

- Jess

date: september 15
weather: sunny, warm
distance travelled from annecy, france to sirmione, italy: 462 km/287 mi (4.5 hours)
distance travelled to date: 4,802 km/2,983 mi (52 hours)


  1. We made the driving mistake in Granada although I'm not sure we were the picture of calm & collected. I can only imagine the language coming out of our mouths but thankfully Joe pulled us through and we even found our car 2 days later in the random parking lot down a random winding side street when it was time to depart (something we were legitimately worried about!)

    1. Haha, I've made a mental note not to drive in Granada :)

  2. I can't imagine the stress of that driving situation, ahh! I hear you about lakes - I used to not be a lake person but over the past year (and after seeing many beautiful lakes across the US) they've definitely won me over! PS - I love, love that top photo with all the roofs.

    1. Thanks! And learning to like lakes opens up so many more possibilities about where to travel (and live!)

  3. just out of curiosity, would you ever considered being hired as a travel agent/planner? because I would like to do this too please :)

  4. So so lovely. You've opened my eyes to so many little places in Europe that were never previously on my radar in the slightest. When we plan a trip to Europe, I know where I'll be coming for ideas :)


  5. So picturesque. I got nervous just looking at those pictures and thinking of driving!

  6. What a gorgeous place!!! And I love your dress. I've driven in some places like this before and it's so intense!


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