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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 Activity
  • Perfect for those trying a bike vacation for the first time.
  • Airfare Packages Available

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Lake Constance: Germany, Austria & Switzerland

A vast lake fed by the Rhine River, the resplendent Lake Constance offers a microcosm of history and culture, with its medieval castles, aristocratic villas, seaside promenades, and prehistoric ruins. It’s also a wonderland of nature, host to hundreds of birds, flocked with vineyards and orchards, and bejeweled with a flower-filled island. You’ll experience it all up close, by bicycle, ferry, and train. With the spectacular Alps in full view, you will enjoy cycling that is as gentle or as challenging as you wish. You’ll also savor local favorites like chocolate and fondue as you mingle with the fortunate people who call this region home.

Cultural Highlights

• Experience the unique crafts and culture of Bregenzerwald
• View the fabulous floating stage at Lindau
• Savor regional delicacies over lunch at a local farm
• View Monfort Castle on your reel along the lakeshore
• Sample the juicy products of an organic farming region
• Discover an archaeological site dating to the Stone and Bronze Ages
• Enjoy cheese fondue and a wine tasting with a local host
• Inhale the fragrance of an island bursting with blooms
• View the Romanesque churches of Reichenau
• Delight in authentic Swiss chocolate at a local shop
• Toast your discoveries with a glass of German beer
• Take advantage of your hotels’ ultra-convenient locations

What To Expect

This tour offers flat to gradually ascending and descending terrain on bike paths and 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 High/Low Temperature (°F) – Friedrichshafen
May 65º/46º  Jun 70º/52º  Jul 74º/55º Aug 72º/54º  Sep 65º/49º  Oct 54º/42º

Average Precipitation (in.) – Friedrichshafen
May 3.5  Jun 4.5  Jul 5 Aug 4.5  Sep 3.5  Oct 3

What’s Included:

Bicycle Vacatin 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 $445* • Post-trip: Zurich – 2 nights for only $495

Both Vacation Options Include

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2016 Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $545 | 2016 Land Only Single Supplement: $395 | 2017 Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $595 | 2017 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. 2016/2017 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
Or, Expand All Days
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 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.

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 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 p.m. in the lobby of our hotel in Lindau (Hotel Bayerischer Hof, Seepromenade, Lindau, Tel: +49 (0)8382 9150). 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 p.m. 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 your Munich hotel at 11:30 a.m. The VBT representative will be holding a VBT sign and will be easy to recognize. Please plan to have or buy some lunch before you leave. On the way, you will make a short stop.

From Munich, you’ll transfer to your Lindau hotel, where you’ll meet your Trip Leaders, who will provide an introduction and safety talk. Please note that check-in time is 4 p.m., and your room will not be ready when you arrive. You will be able to leave your bags with the reception desk. Later, settle in and join your Trip Leaders for a warm-up ride.

Your 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 more than 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 the 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 miles (20 km)

DAY 4: Bike into Bregenzerwald (Austria)

After a hearty breakfast, shuttle 45 minutes to the bike path in the town of Schoppernau, located on the upper reaches of the Bregenzerach River. Life is different up at 2,500 feet (762 meters) in the Austrian Alps. You will see firsthand the sophisticated country life of the mountains high above Lake Constance. Expect high mountain scenery and flat to mostly downhill cycling on a paved path for bikers that is well-marked. Along the way, you’ll pass small family farms, meadows of wildflowers, forests, villages, waterfalls, wooden troll bridges, and the region’s famous architecture—a unique blend of the traditional and the über-modern. You’ll also experience the traditional crafts of the region, including fine lace, woolen textiles, and especially wood crafts, such as toys, shoes, carvings, and carpentry. Cows, sheep, and goats are also important to the local economy—which explains why it’s called the “Cheese Road.” A special lunch awaits you in the home of a local family here, who will fortify you with a selection of regional delicacies from their farm.

After lunch, you’ll leave Bregenzerwald and continue riding to Lindau, crossing into Bavarian Germany. Tonight’s dinner is on your own in Lindau.

(From July 19 to August 20, 2017 the Bregenzer Festspiele floating stage features the play “Carmen.” 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
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 18.5 or 36 miles (30 km or 58 km)

DAY 5: Cycle to Friedrichshafen, Meersburg, and Überlingen

Begin today’s reel along the lakeshore, passing the many impressive villas of Bad Schachen and Wasserburg. Your route on the small peninsula affords lovely views of picturesque houses and a small castle. 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, you’ll 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 visiting 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 Überlingen hotel at the end of the day. This is best done by taxi, which can be organized through our Lindau hotel. You will miss today’s bike ride.)

This afternoon, 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 almost any variety. Later, you’ll arrive in Meersburg, the “Burg on the Sea.”

The final leg of your ride takes you on a scenic path along the lake to your hotel in Überlingen, where you have a free night and many excellent dinner options within a short walk from the hotel.

Hotel: Bad Hotel Überlingen
Meals: B
Daily Options: 15, 27 or 39 miles (24 km, 44 km or 64 km)

DAY 6: Überlingen / Unteruhldingen / Bodman(Germany) / Fondue dinner in Überlingen

In the morning, you’ll ride to the Stone and Bronze Age “Pile Dwellings,” a UNESCO site. Here, you’ll see how these prehistoric cultures built their stilt homes over the water, and how they lived, fished, and crafted tools. Then, retrace your route back to Überlingen.

Lunch today is on your own. You have the choice of relaxing in town, soaking at the thermal spa (located next door to the hotel), or going on an easy afternoon ride along the far western end of Lake Constance, passing lovely waterfront cafés to Bodman—the lake’s ancient namesake. The fortress ruins on the cliffs high above are a reminder of ancient ties with the Carolingian Empire. On this ride, you’ll also explore the lake’s hinterland, an idyllic patchwork of fertile fields and fruit orchards woven into a lovely tapestry with streams, bike paths, and church spires.

Tonight’s festive dinner is hosted by Regina Moser, farmer, cheese-maker, bon vivant, and owner of the Käseschmiede restaurant. She’ll share stories about local life in Überlingen and teach you the fine art of cheese fondue as you enjoy a wine tasting in her renowned shop set in the oldest medieval building in town.

Hotel: Bad Hotel Überlingen
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 16, 28  or 41 miles (26 km, 46 km  or 66 km)

DAY 7: The flower island of Mainau / Reichenau Island / Constance

A short ferry ride this morning takes you across one of the three arms of the lake to Mainau Island, nicknamed locally “Blumeninsel,” or the flower island. This 111-acre, pedestrian-only private island is a lavish display of plants and manicured gardens, blossoming in tune with the seasons. A Baroque castle with a church featuring notable artworks marks one end of the island, and inviting trails crisscross its length. Tulips, orchids, and rhododendron 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 even the most novice gardener.

On return to the mainland, you’ll 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.

Then, continue cycling to your final destination, the city of Constance. Your hotel is right on your biking route and centrally located, making for a perfect stroll into town later this evening. Explore the city and enjoy dinner on your own at one of many local restaurants.

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

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 to Diessenhofen, Switzerland. Your morning ride through Switzerland takes you to Stein am Rhein, where you’ll 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, you’ll have more time to explore this beautiful city on your own. You might find this to be the prettiest, most cozy corner of Lake Constance, the perfect place to end your journey.

Tonight, we toast or prost our week during our festive farewell dinner.

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

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 returning 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: 47 Grad
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.

**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

Lake Constance Bike Tour Map

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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 of 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.

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 a 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 cafés, 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 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 more than 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 lakefront terrace café and bar, with fresh breezes coming off the lake. Rooms are non-smoking and spacious, with free WiFi connections.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel 47 Grad

The beautiful Hotel 47 Grad is located in the blossoming neighborhood on the north side of the Rhine. The hotel looks out over the Rhine River as it flows out of Lake Constance and is located directly on VBT’s bike path. The interior of this brand-new property has a decidedly modern atmosphere with an excellent breakfast spread. Just outside the hotel’s doors, the bike-and-pedestrian path takes you over a small bridge and into the heart of the Old City.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel Opera

This private 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 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. Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel.
Free WiFi Included

Bad Hotel Überlingen

The Bad Hotel, whose name in German translates into English as “Spa Hotel,” is located on the shores of beautiful Lake Constance. This 4-star hotel in historic Überlingen offers fantastic views from its sun terrace. Lavishly renovated in 2013, each room is comfortably furnished with luxurious oak flooring. Some groups will also stay at the stately Art Nouveau Villa Seeburg, situated on the lakeshore and just a short 328-foot (100-meter) walk through the garden from the Bad Hotel. The hotel also offers a restaurant with regional dishes and breakfast buffet. Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel and in your room.
Free WiFi Included
Photos

Lake Constance Bike Tour Photo Gallery
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Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With LOw-Cost Trip Extensions

Lake Constance PreTrip Munich

Pre-Trip Extension - Munich

2 nights for only $445*

Lake Constance PostTrip Zurich

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2 nights for only $495

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