Flatter landscapes and a Mediterranean climate make up the southern shores of Lake Garda. And Bardolino and Garda – known for their buzzing waterfront promenades, local vineyards and closeness to the historic city of Verona – are just two of the resorts that are found here. But which one is right for you?
What’s it like in Bardolino?
Filled with pavement cafés, pizzerias and independent boutiques, Bardolino is one of the most famous towns on the south-eastern shore of Lake Garda. Explore medieval churches and 12th-century city walls, or sample some world-renowned local wines at a nearby vineyard – some which date back to Roman times.
If you feel like stretching your legs, there’s a 3 kilometre-long waterside path which snakes up past neighbouring Garda to the lovely Lazise. There are excellent transport links too, with regular ferry and bus services transporting you to many of the towns that border the lake.
Where to stay in Bardolino
Hotel Bardolino €
This great-value base has an even greater location just steps from the water’s edge. Family-run and homely, the Hotel Bardolino oozes personality, with unique vintage items peppered throughout every room. Each morning you can fill up a breakfast plate from the buffet table to enjoy al fresco on the veranda.
Hotel Nettuno €€
A long-standing favourite, just a couple of minutes away from the bustling centre of Bardolino. Spend your days lounging around the outdoor pool, followed by evenings out on the terrace, sipping on a freshly made cocktail and admiring the yachts bobbing about on the water.
Caesius Thermae & Spa Resort €€€
With an assortment of swimming pools and spa facilities, you’ll never be bored at the Caesius. Found on the outskirts of Cisano, you can stroll into Bardolino in around 30 minutes, or hop on the free hotel-run minibus. Add on sophisticated bedrooms, exceptional service and a panoramic rooftop terrace, and you’ve got the whole package.
What’s it like in Garda?
The capital of Lake Garda sits just a couple of miles up the road from Bardolino, dotted with age-old cypress trees and waterfront villas. This lively town is made up of cobbled, pedestrianised streets filled with gelaterias and pavement cafés, along with an array of street performers to keep you entertained.
There’s plenty of shopping to be had too, from weekly markets to Italian designer shopfronts that grace the famous Via Mazzini. And when dusk begins to fall, head to one of Garda town’s many bars for an evening aperitivo – lots even offer complimentary nibbles to go with your drink.
Where to stay in Garda
Doria Apartments €
These high-quality yet modest self-catering apartments give you the freedom to eat in when you fancy or get out to sample the local cuisine. Each apartment sleeps up to four or five people, and is ideal for exploring Garda and beyond. There’s also a café and bar onsite, if you don’t fancy venturing out too far.
Hotel La Perla €€
The bright and modern La Perla is loved for its huge outdoor pool and quiet yet central location. It’s home to vibrant gardens and a social outdoor lounge space, ideal for warm summer evenings. You can hire bikes here, too, making it even easier to get around the lake.
Hotel Regina Adelaide €€€
Charming, regal bedrooms and excellent mealtime fare are the main focal points of this highly regarded hotel. In the centre of town, just steps from the lake, you can take a dip in the indoor and outdoor pools or take time to yourself in the lush garden, complete with covered walkways and hidden corners. It even houses Garda’s most-loved patisserie – ideal for an afternoon sweet treat.
When’s the best time to visit?
The best time to visit the south of Lake Garda is in June, when temperatures start to warm up but aren’t as high as in July or August – ideal weather for plenty of sunshine and leisurely waterfront strolls. If you’re a fan of local wines, then make sure to holiday during the Chiaretto Wine Festival, which takes place at the beginning of the month. The summer solstice is held on the 21st of June, too, meaning you can spend the longest day of the year on the shores of Italy’s largest lake. And by visiting outside of school holidays, you’ll miss out on the crowds.
Craving sunny southern shores and pizzas in piazzas? Check out our latest Lake Garda deals.