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Biking Vacation Lake Constance: Germany, Austria & Switzerland​

Activity Level: Easy  |  Daily Mileage: 15 – 35 mi  |  Daily Biking: 2 – 5 hr
Air package plus
10 days from only
Price includes roundtrip airfare.
Land only
7 days from only
Pre-trip Extension:
Munich · 2 nights $345

Post-trip Extension:
Zurich · 2 nights $445
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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Depart U.S. / Fly overnight to Munich

Depart the U.S. for Germany. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary and airline tickets.

Day 2 - Arrive in Munich / Transfer to your hotel

Arrive at Munich airport, where a VBT representative will meet you and help you transfer (approximately 40 minutes) to your centrally located hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore and dine on your own, using the VBT City Information included in your Final Travel Booklet as your guide.

If you arrive early, your hotel room may not be available until 2:00 pm. You may store your luggage with the reception desk.

Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you fly in earlier than the scheduled program dates, transportation from the airport will be at your own expense.

The rest of the day is free for you to discover this city on your own.

Day 3 - Lindau / Warm-up ride / Welcome reception

VBT No-Air Package guests: Meet your VBT Trip Leaders and the rest of the group at 2:30 p.m. in the lobby of our hotel in Lindau (Hotel Bayerischer Hof, Seepromenade, Lindau, Tel: +49 (0)8382 9150) or the sister property Hotel Reutemann Seegarten, Ludwigstrabe 23, Lindau, Tel: +49 (0) 8382 9150 just next door—check your Final Travel Booklet). Your Trip Leaders will be wearing VBT apparel and will be easy to recognize. If your arrival at the hotel is scheduled later than 2:30 pm or if you are delayed, you must travel there at your own expense. A direct train connection from Munich to Lindau can take you there in approximately 2.5 hours for about $70-$100 USD per person. Please contact the Hotel Bayerischer Hof (or the Hotel Reutemann Seegarten) to advise of any travel delays or changes, and the staff will pass your message on to your VBT Trip Leaders.

VBT Air Package guests & Pre-Trip Extension guests: Meet your VBT representative and the rest of the group in the lobby of our Munich hotel at 11:30 am. The VBT representative will be holding a VBT sign and will be easy to recognize. Please plan to have or buy some lunch before we leave. On the way we will make a short stop.

From Munich we transfer to our Lindau hotel, where we meet our Trip Leaders who will provide an introduction and safety talk. Please note that check-in time is 4:00 pm and our rooms will not be ready when we arrive. Later, settle in and join our Trip Leaders for a warm-up ride.

Our 5-star Hotel Bayerischer Hof and its sister property, the 4-star Reutemann Seegarten, are right on the waterfront and lake promenade in the heart of Lindau. They have been operated by the Stolze-Spaeth family for over 150 years and offer lovely gardens, a heated swimming pool, and a wellness center.

Later, gather with the group for a welcome cocktail reception at our hotel and dinner at a small local restaurant serving hearty German cuisine and fresh fish dishes from Lake Constance.

Day 4 - Ferry to Rorschach (Switzerland) / Bike into Austria and Germany / Explore Bregenz Lake Theatre

After a hearty breakfast, we board our boat and leave Lindau harbor past its 100-foot lighthouse and the town's beloved Bavarian lion.  We cruise to the opposite side of the lake into Switzerland. Beautiful alpine vistas mark our way and give us a preview of the beauty to come. We begin cycling in Rorschach and soon enter Austria, where we cross onto the Rhine River delta, a natural wetlands and bird sanctuary. The Rhine feeds Lake Constance with waters collected from the Swiss and Austrian Alps. It continues its famed course from the lake's opposite shore and flows onward to the North Sea. Our bike path gets better and the landscapes that surround us get more stunning as we approach Austria's most easterly city, Bregenz. Shaded bikeways lead us past lovely marinas and fields blanketed with flowers. We'll admire boats sailing on the “Swabian Sea” (as Lake Constance is known to locals) and ride alongside cyclists from all over the world. This beautiful ride sets the tone for a great cycling week!

Upon arrival in the Austrian town of Bregenz, we head to the amazing open-air lake theater, a fantastic stage floating on the water. It is the largest of its kind in the world, and hosts a popular opera and music summer festival. We pause at the Bregenz promenade to admire its manicured gardens and fountains and the modern architecture of its timber-based buildings.

We continue riding along the lake's lovely shore and approach Lindau, passing its ancient customs house of Lochau as we cross back into Bavarian Germany. In the afternoon, we have the option to tour a brandy (Schnapps) distillery and learn about this spirit, produced with regional fruits. Of course, we’ll taste a few samples as well.

Tonight's dinner is on your own in Lindau. During summer months, our hotel offers packages to the summer Bregenz festival if you would like to experience the magic of the lake at night. Contact the hotel well in advance to secure seats!

Day 5 - Cycle to Friedrichshafen and Meersburg / Dinner at our Meersburg Hotel

We begin today's reel along the lake shore past the many impressive villas of Bad Schachen and Wasserburg. Our route on the small peninsula affords lovely views of picturesque houses and a small castle. We continue on to Kressbronn and Langenargen, home to the Monfort Castle, built in an eccentric Moorish style. For a nominal fee, you may choose to walk up the tower in the castle for a spectacular view of the lake and surroundings.

By lunchtime, we coast into Friedrichshafen, a city whose history is tightly linked to World War II. Its aviation industry and strategic location made it an important outpost of Nazi Germany. The city was heavily bombed and largely destroyed in April 1944 by 1,086 tons of bombs. A lighter and loftier side of Friedrichshafen's history can be found in its modern Zeppelin Museum, housing the world's largest aviation collection. The zeppelin airship was born here on July 2, 1900, the creation of the Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin. Zeppelins took to the air once again in 1993. On a clear and quiet day, you're sure to see them drifting quietly through the sky. If you'd like, you can book a flight by contacting our Lindau hotel (Hotel Bayerischer Hof: +49 8382 9150) or www.zeppelinflug.de well in advance.

This afternoon, we ride inland through the countryside of low-lying hills cloaked in vineyards and miles of apple and pear orchards. You may stop to purchase fresh strawberries, delicious cherries and apricots from local farmers. Organic farming is very popular here and the mild climate yields fruit of most any variety. We later arrive at our small and elegant hotel in Meersburg, the “Burg on the Sea.”

This evening we’ll raise a glass of prosecco complements of our hotel in Meersburg. For dinner we stay at our hotel and dine at their highly rated restaurant with a spectacular lake view.

Day 6 - Lake Dwellings of the Bronze Age in Unteruhldingen / Pilgrimage route to Salem / Meersburg

After breakfast we bike to Unteruhldingen to visit timeless lake dwellings from the Stone and Bronze Age (4000 to 850 BC), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These primitive houses on stilts look remarkably modern, which makes them all the more interesting to archaeologists. We learn about how these Celtic people lived a most interesting and sophisticated lifestyle in harmony with nature on the lake.

We will make our way inland through fields and forests on the Prelates Trail, walking like the pilgrims before us to the town of Salem for a special fondue lunch at a local cheese shop. Our route then weaves through the idyllic countryside and back to Meersburg on the lake.

Take some time to swim and relax this afternoon at the public beach and warm thermal spring just outside our hotel. Or explore Meersburg and its charming small crafts stores. Ascend to the upper old city by foot to explore cobbled medieval streets and take in splendid views of the lake and its alpine backdrop. The medieval fortress—the oldest in Germany—was built by the Merovingians in the seventh century. Much later, elegant Baroque buildings designed by the famous architect Balthasar Neumann were added to this cultural community in Baden-Württemberg. Today, Meersburg is one of the most visited sites in southern Germany.

Dinner is on your own tonight. Your leaders will have recommendations for many of the local restaurants and wine bars.

Day 7 - The flower island of Mainau / Reichenau Island / Constance

A short ferry ride this morning takes us across one of the three arms of the lake to Mainau Island, nicknamed locally “Blumeninsel,” or the flower island. This 45-hectare, pedestrian-only private island is a lavish display of plants and manicured gardens, blossoming in tune with the seasons. It is a model of excellent environmental practices in Germany. A Baroque castle with a church featuring notable art works marks one end of the island, and inviting trails crisscross its length. Tulips, orchids and rhododendrons burst in a riot of color in May, followed by 350,000 other blooms, plus potted plants and fuchsias. Dahlias and roses arrive in September. It's a feast for the eyes that will enchant the most novice gardener.

After the visit, we start cycling to the largest island in Lake Constance, Reichenau, via country roads and a lovely causeway lined with spectacular poplar trees. Reichenau is a paradise for bikers and an interesting cultural site, thanks to the three imposing Romanesque churches built between the ninth and eleventh centuries. All are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, testament to the important role of the Benedictine monastery in the Middle Ages.

We continue cycling to our final destination, the city of Constance. Our hotel is right on our biking route and centrally located, making for a perfect stroll into town later this evening. We’ll sample local wines this evening at the Spitalkellerei—one of Germany’s oldest wine cellars dating back to 1225.  Learn about this interesting place as we sample some of Lake Constance’s famous local wines.  Stroll through Constance afterwards and enjoy dinner on your own at one of many local restaurants.

Day 8 - Bike through Switzerland along the Rhein

This morning, a short train ride along the “Untersee” or lower lake, crosses the border between Germany and Switzerland before we reach Stein am Rhein. This lovely, unspoiled region features low rolling hills, a beautiful lake shore accented with little bays, and private lush gardens that look across the water to Reichenau Island. There will be time to stroll after our special picnic lunch along the way.

Later in Constance we have time to explore this beautiful city on our own. You might find this to be the prettiest, most cozy corner of Lake Constance, the perfect place to end our journey.

Our festive farewell dinner is at a local brewery in Constance, where we enjoy traditional German specialties and toast or prost our week with savory German beer.

Day 9 - Constance / Free time / VBT No-Air Package ends

VBT No-Air Package guests: After breakfast you are free to continue on your own. There are many train connections to other cities in Germany and Switzerland. Or, you might embark the catamaran that whisks across the lake to Friedrichshafen and from there continue by plane or train to your final destination.

VBT Air Package and Post-Trip Extension guests: Remain another day in Constance to explore on own. We suggest you to visit the falls of the Rhine River in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, easy to reach from Constance. Many guests enjoy taking a ferry from the harbor in Constance to Schaffhausen, then return to Constance later in the day via train.  These are the largest falls in Europe, sometimes called a mini-Niagara. Hot-spring lovers might want to take to the waters at the Thermalbad. The soothing, mineral-laced water that feeds its pools bubbles up from as far below ground as 5,500 feet.

The alleys and squares of Constance's old town are lively and bustling. Guests have spoken highly of the view from the top of the Constance Münster church.  For a few Euros, you can walk up the stairs and look through the telescope across the lake to many of the destinations where we cycled this week.  You're sure to find myriad keepsake options in charming shops. If you'd like to take in some local culture and history, Constance boasts museums, galleries, and historical buildings. 

Day 10 - Depart for U.S.

After breakfast* this morning, transfer to the Zurich airport (approximately 50 or 60 minutes depending on traffic) for your departing flight. Please ensure you are ready in the hotel reception area at the designated time**.

*For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.

**VBT recommends that you check your transfer time in your “Transfer Reminder.” VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled departure time, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

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