Situated 20 miles south of Malcesine, and 20 miles west of Verona, lies the picturesque lakeside town of Bardolino. Easily reached by bus or ferry from the lake towns or Verona, Bardolino is the perfect base for exploring the south of Lake Garda. Nearby towns of Garda, Sirmione, Lazise make a great day ferry hopping, and its even possible to get further up the lake on the hydrofoil. Timetables can be found here.The town itself has plenty of restaurants, bars and shops, and has a much more lively feel than some of the towns further north on the lake. The harbour at night is especially pretty as the sun sets over the hills to the west, perfect for a stroll before (or after) dinner and that bottle of Bardolino.
Bike paths run north and south, lakeside lidos dot the shoreline and the vineyards of the famous Bardolino wine are close enough to sample. Plenty to occupy you here for a week at least. Bike hire from Bicicaffe in Bardolino (contact page).
You can visit Venice easily from Bardolino by using the once daily bus service run by the public transport ATV company. It starts in Riva del Garda and calls at the majority of lake towns on the east shore before heading to Venice (without calling at Verona). You get there between 10 and 10.30am and means that you can have an independent day in Venice. If you prefer the ‘comfort’ of an organised tour these can be booked too of course. The service leaves Venice early evening getting you back to Bardolino for about 8pm. Tickets cost €35 return or €20 one way. Further details on the ATV website.
Gardaland Theme Park is close (around 20 minutes by road) and again you can bus it there.
The local bus network runs regular services from Verona to the towns on the lake so getting around is dead easy (if the ferry is not your thing) which makes the possibility of a twin or triple centre trip a real possibility. It’ll take you about an hour on the bus from Verona to Bardolino, and a further hour if you are going further up the lake to Malcesine or Riva.