Located just over the Swiss and German borders in Austria, Bregenz is the perfect place to spend a day while traveling around the eastern portion of Lake Constance. The Bodensee (Lake Constance/Konstanz in English) is at the top of many tourists’ lists when visiting southern Germany, northern Switzerland, or western Austria. Bregenz, population 28,000 and the capital of the Austrian state of Vorarlberg, is just one of the many attractions on this beautiful lake.
Major Sites to See in Bregenz
Bregenz Festival: Performances take place on the Seebühne (the “Floating Stage,” literally “Lake/Sea Stage”). The Bregenzer Festspiele, as it is known in German, happens at the height of summer and is home to operas, concerts, dramas, and other theatrical events.
Pfänderbahn: For those willing to pay the fee (at least eight Euro), this cable car ventures to the top of one of the mountains overlooking the city. Flanked by the Bodensee on one side and the Alps on the other, the views over Bregenz are nothing less than spectacular.
Enjoy a Stroll on the Promenade
One of the town’s most attractive features is a path stretching along the lake from one end of the city to another. A park, ice cream stands, restaurants, and the giant Seebühne are features of Bregenz’s shoreline. Those who venture past the theater will discover rocky and sandy beaches, perfect for sunbathing or a relaxing midday picnic.
Check Out the Busy Town Center and Old Town
While some of the town has been modernized, particularly in parts of the center, there is still a significant portion filled with older architecture, specifically the section that winds up one of the surrounding hills. The area away from the water is worth a look, especially when trying to find a nice café or restaurant that isn’t clogged with tourists.
Venture over to Lindau
Across the lake lies the Bavarian town of Lindau, a beautiful island only ten minutes (and two Euros) away by frequently running trains. With brightly colored buildings, distinct towers, and cobblestone streets filled with small shops, seaside restaurants, and hotels, Lindau is a major tourist destination worth checking out while staying on the eastern Bodensee.
Getting to the Bodensee
The closest major airports are Zurich, Munich, Stuttgart, and Innsbruck, and the excellent German, Swiss, and Austrian rail systems reach just about every tourist destination. There is a direct train from Zurich to Konstanz, as well as from Munich to Lindau. Other routes typically involve one or more connections but run frequently. More information is available on the rail systems’ websites, and it’s possible to find reasonable group packages. Day passes for certain areas around the lake are also a possibility, as they include boat, rail, and bus transport. When venturing to this beautiful part of the world, the Austrian corner of the Bodensee is worth exploring.