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Secret Italian Escape: Sirmione’s Castles & Vivid Blue Waters

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Summer is the time of year to check off bucket list destinations while also giving hidden gems a chance.

Whether it's iconic cities or locals' best-kept secrets you've somehow clued in on, it's time to make use of your well-deserved PTO.

One country that sees gaggles of tourists year after year is Italy, but it's not limited to Rome, Venice, and the stunning Amalfi Coast.

Female tourist visiting Sirmione castle

There is far more to see in this record-breaking country. No matter where we find ourselves, absorbing new environments brimming with attractions we don't have back home simply never gets old.

Some of those are storybook castles and vivid blue waters, where the lesser-known lakeside city of Sirmione holds the ultimate bragging rights as one of Italy's best-kept secrets.

Revealing Local Italians' Secret Getaway

Tucked away in a treasure trove of Lombardy's hidden gem lies Sirmione, a gorgeous resort town along Lake Gorda.

Or if you wanna sound sexy – Lago di Garda. Don't worry, I can't pull it off either.

Town center of Sirmione

Any way you pronounce it, the town is stunning and packed with historic architecture, savory local cuisine, and surrounded by Caribbean-esque blue waters.

Unlike the staples of Italy, Sirmione has yet to catch on, and those fortunate enough to be in the know prefer to keep it that way.

Locals hope you distract yourself with other Lombardy destinations like the fab city of Milan, or perhaps the neighboring region of Veneto with incredible cities like Verona.

But, we're here to spoil the secret. No, not out of spite, but just because it's so awesome travelers should know there are far more options than Italy's most popular cities.

Sirmione castle along picturesque blue water

We're not alone, however. There's a growing buzz around Sirmione as it's been hyped lately as a top summer destination by other publications as well, such as European Best Destinations.

Forget The Amalfi Coast And Sicily! Visit This Blue Water Paradise

Lakes don't always hold the best reputation in the U.S., but many of Europe's lakes rival top beach destinations. If you're concerned about swimming in murky brown water, leave that to America.

Lake Garda is phenomenal, and even as a lake, it has some pretty scenic beaches worth visiting, especially as summertime brings incredible sunny weather with temps averaging 77 degrees, according to Weather Spark.

Gorgeous scenery surrounding Lake Garda

The top beaches are located in:

  • Spiaggia Lido delle Bionde
  • Spiaggia Tifu
  • Limone sul Garda

Italy is home to so many stunning lakes, but since this one is flying well under the radar, you can get your paradisal blue water fix here rather than crowded beaches at the Amalfi Coast or Sicily, as well as Lake Como.

Stunning Historical Sites: Castles, Churches, And Roman Ruins

Aerial view of Roman villa Grotte di Catullo

If there's one thing the U.S. lacks, it's castles. Heck, even the White House is pretty basic, if we're being honest.

Unless a night out at Medieval Times is your jam, then taking a trip across the pond is the way to go.

Sirmione, of course, is not alone in Italy for stunning castles, but the incredible Rocco Scaligera castle may top them all as its preservation is immaculate.

Set along the vibrant blue waters of Lake Gorda, this top-rated attraction is a must when visiting.

Although Rocco Scaligera is not alone, yet in an exclusive club of fascinating historical sites.

San Pietro in Mavino, Sirmione, Italy

The ruinous Roman villa, Grotte di Catullo, is a feast for the eyes, along with the oldest church in town, San Pietro in Mavino, dating back all the way to the 8th century!

Not A Far-Flung Hideaway

Getting around Europe, country to country or city to city, is so much easier and more efficient than in the U.S.

Whether by train or cheap flights, it's no wonder why so many travelers flock to the continent to fulfill their sense of wanderlust.

Sirmione can be reached easily from Milan, often one of Europe's cheapest gateways in terms of airfare.

Reflection of plane at Milan airport

The next best would be Verona, an even closer city but with fewer flights.

There are no train stations in Sirmione, however. Travelers will have to stop in nearby towns of Desenzano del Garda or Peschiera del Garda.

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