Bicycling and Walking Vacations Since 1971 Call a VBT Tour Consultant: (800) 245-3868

Lake Constance: Germany, Austria & Switzerland

Easy bike paths guide us through charming towns framed by soaring, snow-capped peaks and a vast glistening lake that connects three countries in this overlooked corner of Europe.

  • 10 Days
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Daily Mileage: 15 - 35 mi
  • Daily Biking: 2 - 5 hr
  • Small Groups: 20
  • Biking
  • Easy
  • Plane

2016 departure dates now available below!

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Lake Constance: Germany, Austria & Switzerland

Three countries converge at Lake Constance—Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. VBT invites you to explore them all as we follow easy cycling paths along emerald shores. Charming villages, gorgeous gardens, an island of flowers, and beautiful castles mark our way. And organic farms offer up the bounty of the earth as wines, fondues, and fruit brandies. Along the way, we pedal with ease along gently rolling hills and through the stunning beauty of the Rhine River Delta, surrounded all the while by magnificent snow-capped peaks and pristine alpine beauty. Join us as we cycle this seldom explored pocket of Europe.

Cultural Highlights

  • Taste organic fruit brandy and Germany's famed beer
  • Learn the history behind this lake that connects three countries
  • Marvel at Reichenau’s Romanesque churches
  • Cycle three countries on a network of bike paths
  • Cruise across Lake Constance aboard a ferry with breathtaking views
  • Waltz through the riotous array of flowers on the island of Mainau
  • Swim in pristine waters after a day of riding
  • Savor hearty German breakfasts every day
  • Stay at 4-star hotels right on our cycling routes

What To Expect

This tour offers flat to gradually ascending and descending terrain on bike paths, bike lanes and on roads in the neighborhoods and countryside surrounding Lake Constance. Some days require more navigation than on other VBT tours.  The bike paths consist of both paved and gravel surfaces.  Longer optional rides and some rolling hills on a couple of days offer fun for more avid bikers. Our VBT support shuttle is always available for those who would like assistance. Average Daily Mileage: 15 - 35 miles Average Cycling Time: 2 - 5 hours

Climate Information

Average Daily Temperature (°F) – Friedrichshafen Apr 55°  May 65°  Jun 70°  Jul 74°  Aug 72°  Sep 65°  Oct 54° Average Rainfall (in.) – Friedrichshafen Apr 3  May 3.5  Jun 4.5  Jul 4.9  Aug 4.6  Sep 3.6 Oct 2.7

What’s Included:

Bicycle Tour Only – without Air

  • 6 nights in 4-star hotels
  • 11 meals – 6 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners

Air Package Plus

  • Roundtrip international airfare
  • 8 nights in 4-star hotels
  • 13 meals – 8 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners
  • Transfers
  • AND the option to add our Low-Cost Trip Extensions: Pre-trip: Munich– 2 nights for only $395 • Post-trip: Zurich – 2 nights for only $495

Both Vacation Options Include

  • FREE use of our custom VBT bicycle and helmet
  • Service of two bilingual VBT Trip Leaders
  • FULL VAN SUPPORT
  • Daily route directions and maps
  • Welcome reception with local wine and hors d'oeuvres
  • Sightseeing and cultural activities
  • 5% Frequent Traveler Credit to use on your next VBT vacation
  • Special Good Buy Discount
Dates & Prices

2016 departure dates are available! Click on 2016 under "Departure & Return Dates" and start planning your 2016 vacation today!


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2015 Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $495 | 2015 Land Only Single Supplement: $345 |2016 Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $545 | 2016 Land Only Single Supplement: $395

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. 2015/2016 Prices include all airline surcharges and Government taxes and fees. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What’s Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

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Itinerary & Map
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DAY 1: Depart from home / Fly overnight to Munich

Depart from home for Germany. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

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. If you arrive early, your hotel room may not be available until 2 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 explore and dine on your own, using VBT City Information as your guide.

Hotel: Hotel Stadt Rosenheim

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 2:00 pm 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).

A direct train connection from Munich to Lindau can take you there in approximately 2.5 hours for about $70-$100 USD per person. If your arrival at the hotel is scheduled later than 2:00 pm or if you are delayed, 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. You will be able to leave your bags with the reception desk. 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.

Hotel: Hotel Bayerischer Hof
Alternate Hotel: Hotel Reutemann Seegarten
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 12.0 km (7.4 miles)

DAY 4: Bike into Austria and Germany / Cable Car / Explore Bregenz Lake Theater

After a hearty breakfast, we saddle our bikes, departing from the island of Lindau and onto the mainland. We cruise on a bike path along Lake Constance, leaving Germany and cycling into Austria. Beautiful alpine vistas mark our way and give us a preview of the beauty to come. In the Austrian town of Bregenz, we cycle past 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.

From Bregenz, 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 loop through the Austrian countryside brings us to our secluded picnic lunch stop, where we sample local specialties. Shaded bikeways lead us back into Bregenz past lovely marinas and fields blanketed with flowers. We park our bikes and board the Pfänderbahn cable car for a trip to the top of Pfänder Mountain with spectacular views of the “Swabian Sea” (as Lake Constance is known to locals) and distant Alps. We continue our ride home alongside cyclists from all over the world. This beautiful ride sets the tone for a great cycling week!

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.

Tonight’s dinner is on your own in Lindau.

[From July 22 to August 23, the Bregenzer Festspiele floating stage features the play “Turandot.” Tickets can be purchased at www.bregenserfestspiele.com/en and should be made months in advance. A ferry to the show can be booked from Lindau to Bregenz at www.bsb.de/schiffstransfer.html or through our Lindau Hotel. Please note that this can be a late night and guests will not return to Lindau until after midnight.]

Hotel: Hotel Bayerischer Hof
Alternate Hotel: Hotel Reutemann Seegarten
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 36 km (22 miles) or 56 km (35 miles)

DAY 5: Cycle to Friedrichshafen and Meersburg / Dinner at our Meersburg Hotel

We begin today’s reel along the lakeshore 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 Zeppelin flight by contacting our Lindau hotel (Hotel Bayerischer Hof: +49 8382 9150) or www.zeppelinflug.de months in advance. Should you choose to organize a Zeppelin flight, you will be responsible for getting yourself from our Lindau hotel to the airport and then to our Meersburg hotel at the end of the day. This is best done by taxi, which can also be organized through our Lindau hotel. You will miss today’s bike ride.]

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 enjoy a wine tasting in our hotel’s beautiful garden with our hotel’s sommelier. For dinner we stay at our hotel and dine at their highly rated restaurant with a spectacular lake view.

Hotel: Hotel Residenz am See Romantik
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 27 km (17 miles) or 53 km (33 miles)

DAY 6: Lake Dwellings of the Bronze Age in Unteruhldingen / Überlingen / 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.

Our scenic ride continues on a bike path following the shores of the Bodensee, the German name for Lake Constance, to Überlingen. A beautiful seaside promenade leads us into the historic old town and port. Behind Friedrichshafen, Überlingen is the second largest town on the north shore of the lake. Regina Moser, owner of the Käseschmiede restaurant, awaits our arrival. She shares her stories with us about local life in Überlingen and teaches us the fine art of the cheese fondue. Of course, we enjoy a festive fondue lunch with Regina in her renowned shop.

After lunch, choose to explore the narrow pedestrian streets of Überlingen before riding back along the lake back to our hotel in Meersburg, or embark on today’s long option, which takes us around the northwestern corner of the lake and through the town of Bodman, from which the Bodensee gets its name. This afternoon’s ride offers some hilly terrain, but rewards us with breathtaking vistas. Of course, the van is available for cyclists looking for a lift. The ride is especially satisfying when we take the ferry back across the lake to Meersburg and we can see where we’ve ridden from the perspective of 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 historic community in Baden-Württemburg. Today, Meersburg is one of the most visited sites in southern Germany.

Dinner is on your own tonight. Your Trip Leaders will have recommendations for many of the local restaurants and wine bars. Hotel: Hotel Residenz am See Romantik

Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 30 km (19 miles) or 60 km (36 miles)

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. Explore the city of Constance and enjoy dinner on your own at one of many local restaurants.

Hotel: Hotel Halm
Alternate Hotel: Hotel 47 Grand
Meals: B
Daily Options: 17 km (10 miles) or 36 km (22 miles)

DAY 8: Bike through Switzerland along the Rhein

This morning, a short train ride along the “Untersee” or lower lake, follows the border between Germany and Switzerland before we reach Diessenhofen, Switzerland. Our morning ride through Switzerland takes us to Stein am Rhein. In Stein am Rhine, we stop into a Swiss chocolate shop to sample some of their local chocolates, perhaps bringing a favorite bar home to share with friends. 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.

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 in the heart of Constance. Here we enjoy traditional German specialties and toast or prost our week with a glass of savory German beer.

Hotel: Hotel Halm
Alternate Hotel: Hotel 47 Grand
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 45 km (28 miles)

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. From Constance, 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. If you still have not had enough cycling this week, a small bike shop across the street from our hotel rents cruiser bikes by the day and can suggest routes to suit your desire

Hotel: Hotel Halm
Alternate Hotel: Hotel 47 Grand
Meals: B

DAY 10: Depart for home

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.

*Please note: 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 Post-Trip Extension guests: After breakfast, transfer by private minibus (approximately 1 hour) to our beautiful and centrally located hotel in Zurich. We arrive at approximately 10:00 am and have the entire day to explore. Perhaps you’ll join an optional city walk to help you get acquainted with the city. The cost will be shared among the number of participants.

**Please note: 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.

Meals: B

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Accommodations

Hotel Halm

The beautiful Hotel Halm is located at the center of Constance. The interior of the hotel, and the hotel’s restaurant “Le Marrakech” have a decidedly Moroccan atmosphere—a tribute to the Moors who influenced the region during their exploits during the 8th century. Just outside the hotel’s doors, the pedestrian zone of Constance, the lake promenade, train station, and our bike route are all at hand. Hulking century-old wood beams frame tasteful modern furniture, giving the hotel an atmosphere that reflects the character of the city. Rooms are comfortable, simple, and pure. Please note: If you would like to use WiFi the cost is €5 for 24 hrs.

Hotel Stadt Rosenheim

This design hotel in Munich is across a park from the Ostbahn, the metro stop that whisks you to the Marienplatz, Munich’s main square, in just five minutes. Built in an historical building, the Hotel Stadt Rosenheim underwent total renovation in 2010, with many of its Art Nouveau features retained. It rests on the beautiful and vibrant Orleansplatz, lined with cafes, restaurants, art studios, and shops. Each room is elegant and stylish, mixing a traditional sensibility with a modern touch to create a warm welcoming feeling. Throughout, guests can access free WiFi. However, as the building is listed in the city as a cultural monument, it is not equipped with air conditioning.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel Reutemann Seegarten

The 4-star Reutemann Seegarten and its sister property, the 5-star Hotel Bayerischer Hof, are right on the waterfront and promenade of Lake Constance, in the heart of the historical city of Lindau. Operated by the Stolze-Spaeth family for over 150 years, each offers generous amenities to make the close of each day truly rewarding. Stroll the lovely gardens, take a dip in the heated swimming pool, relax in the wellness center, or unwind with a drink on the terrace café and bar, situated right on the lake front. Rooms are non-smoking and spacious, and are naturally cooled by fresh breezes coming off the lake.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel Residenz am See Romantik

The Hotel Residenz am See Romantik is a member of the Romantik Hotels & Restaurants International chain, as well as of the famed Jeunes Restaurateurs d’Europe. This chic and charming property is managed by its owners, whose keen attention to details ensures you a memorable stay. It’s a simple 5-minute walk from the city of Meersburg in a very quiet location on the waterfront. The Therme of Meersburg and the public lake beach are just across the street. Enjoy carefully prepared cuisine in its gourmet and casual restaurants and pause a spell to admire the small, relaxing garden. Each spacious bedroom includes a balcony. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel and in your room.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel Bayerischer Hof

The 5-star Hotel Bayerischer Hof and its sister property, the 4-star Reutemann Seegarten, are right on the waterfront and promenade of Lake Constance, in the heart of the historical city of Lindau. Operated by the Stolze-Spaeth family for over 150 years, each offers generous amenities to make the close of each day truly rewarding. Stroll the lovely gardens, take a dip in the heated swimming pool, relax in the wellness center, or unwind with a drink on the terrace café and bar, situated right on the lake front. Rooms are non-smoking and spacious, with free WiFi connections and fresh breezes coming off the lake.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel Ambassador a l'Opera

This neo-baroque boutique hotel has been exquisitely decorated by the well-known Swiss interior designer Roland Schön. It is ideally situated in Zurich’s city center next to the famous Opera House. The nearby lakeside promenade makes for a lovely morning jog or a leisurely stroll. Just a five-minute walk away, the glamour of the world-renowned Bahnhofstrasse unfolds, the most attractive and exclusive shopping mile in Zurich. The Old Town is also nearby, with its pastel-hued guild houses and historic buildings. For an unforgettable meal, indulge in the gourmet Restaurant Opera, awarded with the “golden fish” for its exquisite fish specialties. Elegant paintings from the young baroque artist Tatjana Tiziana adorn its walls, inviting you into Zurich’s opera world. Beginning in April 2014, the Hotel Ambassador a L’Opera will be honored as a member of the “Small Luxury Hotels of the World.”
Free WiFi Included
Photos

Lake Constance Bike Tour Photo Gallery
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  • Lake Constance Bike group
  • Lake Constance Historic Lake Dwellings
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The heart of Central Europe is revealed on an itinerary that touches three distinct countries as we bike through scenic landscapes from Sumava National Park to the banks of the Danube. We’ll also discover the rich history of Cesky Krumlov—a UNESCO World Heritage site—Prague and Passau.

10 Days
Take Me There

Slovenia, Austria & Italy

From only $3,645

Join us as we cycle easy bike routes through three spectacular countries where alpine splendor, pristine lakes such as Lake Bled and Worthesee Lake, and a tranquil mountain lifestyle converge.

10 Days
Take Me There

Berlin to Dresden: Hidden Gems of Eastern Germany

From only $3,645

Gently pedal along easy bike paths through a beautiful region of Germany you never knew existed. We’ll take in the wonders of this area from Sanssouci Park and the Meissen Porcelain Factory to the UNESCO wetland ecosystem of the Spreewald and the breathtaking Karst mountains in Swiss-Saxony.

10 Days
Take Me There
Xanterra

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VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, 614 Monkton Rd., Bristol, Vermont 05443-0711
Talk to a VBT Tour Consultant: (800) 245-3868