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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.