Back in July my friend and I headed off to Lake Garda for a few days holiday. If you’re a longtime reader of my blog you’ll know I lived in Italy for a year and studied Italian for my degree. I like to try and go to Italy at least once a year. Last year I went to Siena for the Palio and Cinque Terre for a few days.
I can’t remember why we chose Lake Garda, but it was easy to get to and flights were pretty reasonable. We flew into Venice and then got a bus to Bardolino, our base for five days. There are plenty of places to stay around Lake Garda, and after visiting a couple of the other towns I’m really glad we settled on Bardolino. The town wasn’t super busy or full of tacky tourist shops, but there were plenty of bars and restaurants for us to chose from.
We stayed at the Hotel Al Sole, which we found on TripAdvisor. I think we made a really great choice on the hotel. It was a ten minute walk from the town centre, clean, had a pool and was fairly reasonably priced when you take into account it included breakfast.
We arrived at the hotel on Wednesday night fairly late so after checking in and freshening up we headed into the town for dinner. As I said before, there’s so much choice in Bardolino we were a little overwhelmed at first, but our first meal was really good. We ate at All’Ancora and shared a starter of bruschetta, pizza, and a litre of wine. The staff were pleasant and as we were eating we were treated to a lovely outdoor concert from a Philharmonic Orchestra. I don’t think we could have planned it any better. The atmosphere with the live music combined with the cold white wine set our holiday off to a good start.
Day two and we headed back into Bardolino early in the morning for a bit more of an explore. Thursday is market day in Bardolino so we wondered up and down the promenade browsing the stalls full of clothes, accessories and household items. I was surprised not to see any food sellers in the market though.
Lunch was an ice cream followed by an afternoon at the pool – reading, snoozing and sunbathing.
For dinner we headed back into town and our first stop was for the typical Italian pre dinner drinks stop and a sample of aperitivo. My drink of choice? Aperol Spritz. Per sempre. We chose to eat at Bar Catullo where I had the most delicious truffle pasta and of course, another litre of wine!
Friday was a packed day for us. In the morning we got the ferry over to Garda, which I’d heard good things about from a colleague at work. It turns out Thursday’s market in Bardolino goes to Garda on a Friday, so we felt it was quite busy with stuff we’d seen before. We wondered around Garda for a while before deciding we preferred Bardolino and hopped on the next ferry back.
In the afternoon we made the pilgrimage walk up into the hills of Bardolino for the one thing we said we had to do on our trip – a wine tasting. After reading reviews on TripAdvisor we headed to Zeni. It was quite a long walk up hill in the heat which made us question our choice at times but we were not disappointed. We chose to do a wine tasting with food and I think we made a great choice! I was surprised at how quiet it was there, but that suited us as it meant we got a lot more attention from our host. We sampled whites, reds and roses, with extra top ups. The food was a selection of meats, cheeses, chutneys and bread. I felt like I was in heaven!
After the wine tasting we were left to our own devices and tried yet more wine. It was safe to say walking back to the hotel we were fairly well hydrated! But it was such a lovely afternoon, I would definitely recommend.
Friday evening we had dinner at Caprice Pizzeria, which had been recommended to us. The pizzas were really tasty, yet another great choice!
And I think this post is now long enough…Stay tuned for part two!