This was our fourth visit to Sirmione - it is a special place, located at the tip of of a long, narrow peninsular at the base of Lake Garda. Unfortunately, we only had time for a one night stay this time. On previous visits, we've stayed at hotels along the peninsular, this time we decided to stay in the old town, which is the historical centre right at the tip. Access is via a small roadbridge next to the castle. You can only drive into the pedestrianised old town if you have a hotel reservation - this will be checked against a list held at the gatehouse. Driving through the old town is a challenge in itself, negotiating narrow streets filled with herds of tourists (not recommended if you intend to drive in and out on a daily basis).
Hotel Villa Maria is situated at the far end of the old town and is surprisingly quiet and peaceful given its close proximity to the bustling centre of shops, cafes and restaurants. It has a small private car park. Check-in and out is at its sister hotel, the Hotel Continental which is a short walk away, next to the Aquaria Spa. There is no restaurant at Villa Maria, so we used the restaurant at the Continental which was very good, with a great view of the lake. Villa Maria is not a luxury hotel and the decor is a bit dated, but our room was simple and spotlessly clean. We paid 95 euros (B&B) for a lake view room, which was good value given its location. It was a reasonable size with an ensuite bathroom, air conditioning (not the greatest) and a small balcony with a lake view (albeit over the rooftops). Breakfast was ample with nice bread rolls, pastries, cheese, fruit etc. We did notice some cats outside the hotel, but they were neither mangy nor troublesome. The hotel is in a very good location, easy walking distance to the Grotte di Catullo (Roman ruins with museum, well worth a visit) and the Thermal Spa, and maze of shops, ice cream parlours and restaurants. If visiting, be sure to try the local white wine, Lugana, which is only produced in a small region at the base of Lake Garda.
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- Also Known As:
- Villa Maria Hotel Sirmione, Lake Garda, Italy