Lake Garda and the Bardolino Wine Festival

A drive along the eastern shore of Lake Garda in the Veneto Region of Italy is especially beautiful on a sunny fall day. Stopping in Bardolino during the Cura dell’Uva Wine Festival makes the drive all the more special.

Lake Garda

Lake Garda is the largest and probably most famous of the lakes in Italy. It lies in a valley surrounded by mountains just north of Verona and west of Venice. The lake has a Mediterranean feel with olive trees, grape vines, citrus trees, palms and oleander growing along the shoreline. You can tour along the lake by boat or ferry, getting off and on at the lovely summer resort towns.

Lake Garda Ferry

Bardolino is a picturesque town with a boardwalk along the pretty harbor and pebbly beach.

Bardolino Harbor

Pastel buildings line the busy harbor and traffic free pedestrian streets.

Lakefront Villa
Street leading down to the harbor
Bardolino Pedestrian Street

We were extremely lucky to find a parking spot in town because of the wine festival that was going on. The streets were bustling with people, and the cafes and bars were all very busy.  We enjoyed walking along the boardwalk looking at all the wine and food booths that lined the water. People were walking around with wine glasses inside little bags hung from their necks.

Naturally all the walking made us hungry. After smelling the wonderful aromas filling the streets, we went in search for the perfect restaurant. After going up and down each street at least twice, looking at the menus, staring at other people’s dishes at the outside tables, we finally chose Ristorante San Martino.

Ristorante San Martino

We were warmly greeted with an aperitivo of Orange Campari and Soda to sip while we decided what to order.

Naturally being by the water, my husband chose with warm seafood with mussels for a first course.

Warm Seafood with Mussels

I chose veal tonnato with capers which was delicious but not photogenic. For our main course my husband had fresh tagliatelline with shrimp, scallops and zucchini.

Fresh Tagliatelline with Shrimp, Scallops and Zucchini

I had a wonderful pan sautéed sole with a side of sautéed spinach drizzled with local olive oil.

Pan sautéed Sole

Lake Garda is beautiful. Bardolino is a wonder town to visit for a few hours or a few days. It is a great jumping off point for visiting the Lakes Region of Italy. If you do visit, be sure to try some of their world famous Bardolino red wine.

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I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.

38 thoughts on “Lake Garda and the Bardolino Wine Festival

  1. I was fortunate enough to have spent a few days on Lake Garda several years ago. We arrived late at night and awoke to this beautiful scenery. I will never forget how delightful it was. Beautiful photos and the food . . .

    1. Hi Karen, Thank you for your compliment. Lake Garda is just beautiful…and the resort towns are wonderful. I’m happy that I brought back fond memories.

    1. Hi Judy, Thank you for your comment. I am happy that I have brought back nice memories for you. I agree that Tuscany is wonderful but as you can see northern Italy has so much to offer. Lake Garda surrounded by the mountains is breathtaking.

    1. Hi Greg, So happy that you are enjoying following along on our trip. It is very difficult posting but it is easier doing it now than waiting until I get back home and memories are not so fresh. Right now they have created a spot where I can get WIFI…that is the problem. WIFI is not widely available like at home. All of the seafood has been so good and fresh. We will really miss the wonderful seafood that we are getting now along with the fresh porcini mushrooms that are in season.

    1. Hi Claire,, Lake Garda is so beautiful. I’m so happy that I have brought back good memories for you. I hope you get the chance to revisit the area soon as it is so lovely.

    1. Hi Betsy, Thank you for your lovely compliment. The areas that we are traveling in may not be the first places that people think to see when traveling to Italy. I do hope that I inspire everyone to travel beyond Rome, Florence and Venice. The country has so much to offer in the way of beauty, scenery, food, culture, etc. I am so happy that you are enjoying our visit.

  2. I have never been to Lago di Garda! Your pictures are stunning!! And I understand why you did not take the picture of Vitel Toné…but I can imagine it was to die for!!! I just love it!!! Your entire meal looks so delicious!!!

    1. Hi Ambrosiana, Thank you for your nice compliment. I do hope that you get the chance to visit this area as I know that you will enjoy it. Yes, my veal starter is not pretty but it is one of my favorite starters when I visit Italy.

  3. What a beautiful post – that street leading to the harbour looks just delightful. So warm and colourful. Sole… yum! I love sole, and cooked like that is the perfect way! Nice little squeeze of lemon 😉

    1. Hi Charles, Thank you so much for your nice compliment. I really appreciate it. Bardolino is such a delightful town. The seafood is so fresh…the sole was cooked perfectly.

  4. How wonderful! My family is from the south of Italy, so this is an area I don´t know this area well. It looks amazing, your trip was incredible. Seeing the food reminds me that my mum makes a great Vitello Tonnato (I agree, perhaps it´s not so photogenic!). Will have to ask her for the recipe.

    1. Hi Tanya, Thank you for your comment. So many families are from the south of Italy…it is the first place we think about when traveling. The northern part of Italy is just beautiful. I hope you will get a chance to visit it someday. Vitello Tonnato is so popular in Europe and I love to order it. I hope you get the recipe from your mother.

  5. I so do hope to visit Italy one day and you’ve been to places I haven’t heard of. I love how this town looks so picturesque, the blue water and perfectly manicured buildings! Not to mention, those plates of food are fabulous!!

    1. Hi Linda, Thank you for your lovely comment. Italy is famous for so many cities that Americans always go to but my husband and I like to travel the “back roads”. I’m hoping that this journal of our trip inspires people to travel to all parts of Italy. Italy has so much to offer.

  6. This beautiful post left me with moist eyes, as one of the last European trips I took with my parents included this part of Italy and in fact we spent Easter day that year, strolling around the beautiful little point of Sirmione on the southern part of Lake Garda. My dad passed away last year but he loved nothing more than driving around Europe in a rented car with no reservations, no itinerary and just exploring! We eventually landed that night in a small “mom and pop” motel that we happened upon! It was a great day!

    1. Thank you for such a touching comment. I’m happy that I brought back such lovely memories of traveling with your parents in Italy. We used to travel just like your parents but a couple of times we thought that we might end up sleeping in our car. We now plan everything ahead of time. We still explore by car during the day but know that we will have a nice place to sleep each night. It may not be as adventurous as before but it is comforting to know where I’m going to end each day.

      1. Believe me.. I liked the adventure too but often thought we would stay in the car sometimes! They were doing it well into their 70s and not always with me along on the trips and I was stressed the whole time they were away. At least the last few times they went alone, they were able to keep in touch more easily with email and international cell phone technology!

      2. You are so right about it being nice to keep in touch through email and cell phones. It has been difficult trying to get dependable WIFI…a real adventure getting my posts published.

  7. This is such a beautiful part of Itay. And I’m with your Husband: seafood is the only way to go when you’re in or around Venice. May your next stop be even more wonderful!

    1. Hi John, Thank you for your nice comment. You are right, when you know that seafood is so fresh, you just have to order it. What lies ahead is beautiful.

  8. All the boats lined up made for a very pretty picture! And I’ve always been fascinated with the street scenes of Europe–everything is so clean and tidy. Gorgeous!

  9. Oh, you had a great vacation journey this year! Those alleys and food remind me of Greece, it’s been 8 months now since I left.. Beautiful pictures Karen, beautiful places!

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