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Need Help Choosing a Lake Garda Town

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I've been at this for about three weeks now. My husband and I will be arriving via train from Venice into Desenzano. First thought was to stay where the rail and boat/ferry service are located, but we're not sold on Desenzano for five nights AR (May 3 - LV May 8, 2014). Peschiera del Garda is out because there is limited boat service, especially into the evening hours.

We have decided to stay in the lower part Lago di Garda, and have narrowed our choice down to two towns: Bardolino or Garda. What we eliminated is Gardone Riviera (too quiet, too removed from the water - not to mention expensive). Also eliminated is Sirmione (too many tourists, too small among other things.)

The terrain in Bardolino and Garda, from what I can gather, is mostly level to hilly. Fine, we don't want to be billy goats. Our wants: Frequent boat schedule, good selection of moderately-priced restaurants, a hotel directly on the water, an active/lively town center and a waterfront promenade. These two towns seem to fulfill our wants.

However, doing all this research on the Internet doesn't really give you the kind of information I'm looking as when travelers have actually spent time in these towns and can fill you in on the details.

Can anyone comment on these two towns considering the parameters I listed?

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