Travel report: The Great Lake Constance Adventure Trip
From our guests Jutta and Jochen
After my wife and I had bought new e-bikes last year, the idea quickly arose to take a "cycling vacation". Since we had already liked Lake Constance with its beautiful lakeside towns and the climate very much a few years ago, this region should be the destination of our tour. It was important for us that we do not have to carry our luggage on the bike every day and that the daily stages are not too long. Because we wanted to have some time and energy for other things besides cycling, since it was supposed to be a vacation after all. After a short search on the Internet, we found what we were looking for at Radweg-Reisen. On telephone demand, we were easily enabled to bring in small variants to the proposed route and finally make it a little more individual.Show more Show less
Day 1: Arrival in Constance
Our "Great Lake Constance Experience" began, of course, with the journey to Constance. Starting from Spessart, we took the A 81, reached our destination around noon and took our luggage by car directly to our first hotel in the city center before leaving our car in the locked parking lot of Radweg-Reisen for nine days. We then biked back to the old town for an afternoon coffee right in front of our great city hotel and a little stroll around the city and harbor afterwards. The special circumstances of the Corona pandemic required me to do a daily quick test at this point, but Constance and also the destination cities that followed later were well prepared and equipped with many test stations.Show more Show less
Day 2: Constance - Steckborn - Stein am Rhein - Gailingen (individual route - length: 39 km)
After a very good breakfast, the first tour of our trip took us from Constance along the southern shores of Untersee via Ermatingen, Beringen, Steckborn, Mammern and a small detour to the monastery island of Werd, first to Stein am Rhein, where we spent our lunch break after driving just under 28 kilometers. The first view of the town as well as the many well-preserved medieval half-timbered houses with facade paintings in the old town and around the town hall square were very impressive. Accordingly, we enjoyed a midday snack amidst this beautiful scenery and then took another walk through the old town and along the Rhine. The last 11 kilometers along the Swiss bank of the Rhine were then no longer a task, even if the climb to Gailingen was a bit steep on the last meters. Here at the hotel, they were well equipped for cycling tourists with a secured shelter for the bikes, so we left our bikes that evening and took a little walk through the streets of Gailingen. On the whole route, if necessary, you could have shortened at any time with the train, but we did not use it for us.
Day 3: Gailingen - Stein am Rhein - Radolfzell - Konstanz (individual route - length: 47 km plus train ride 10 km).
Since we did not want to return the kilometers covered the previous day from Gailingen to Stein am Rhein on the same route, we first drove from the hotel to the banks of the Rhine and across the historic enclosed Rhine bridge to Diessenhofen. By train, we covered the distance to Stein am Rhein in no time at all for a few euros. From here we cycled in glorious sunshine for a short distance along the Rhine and then again along the Untersee to Radolfzell. Here we strolled through the weekly market, refreshed ourselves in an ice cream parlor and strolled a bit through the city center before we started the rest of the way to Konstanz. Part of this otherwise beautiful route led over a very newly built bike path, which unfortunately did not yet have any lush vegetation due to the new construction and also ran along the federal highway for quite a long time, but this did not diminish the overall impression of the day in any way. Since a strong thunderstorm was brewing in the early evening and poured over Constance, we did without another stroll through the city.Show more Show less
Day 4: Constance - Überlingen - Unteruhldingen (individual route - length: 26 km + ferry ride 3 km).
This day should not only stand under the motto of cycling. So we simply shortened the way from Konstanz to Überlingen with a ferry ride from Wallhausen. We used the free time thus created for a visit to the Überlingen Therme, whose outdoor area invited us to linger and relax in beautiful weather. Afterwards we strengthened ourselves in one of the many beautifully situated restaurants directly at the Überlingen harbor. Our further tour led from Überlingen past the Birnau Basilica to Unteruhldingen. We postponed the visit of the basilica and the pile dwellings to the next morning due to the upcoming rain.Show more Show less
Day 5: Unteruhldingen - Meersburg - Friedrichshafen (Length: 28 km + 10 km return/return for the visit of the Basilica Birnau).
First, we cycled from our hotel in Unteruhldingen a few more kilometers back to the Basilica Birnau. This little "detour" was really worth it! Not only the imposing bell tower, which stands out from far away, but especially the interior of the monastery church in baroque style is very worth seeing. You should have seen it in any case. In addition, from the terrace of the basilica you have a beautiful view of Lake Constance. On the further way we stopped again in Unteruhldingen to experience a little time travel in the oldest open air museum in Germany "Pfahlbauten". After a few kilometers we reached Meersburg with its old town, castle and new palace, all of which are worth seeing. Even though the way from the "Unterstadt" to the "Oberstadt" has an ascent of about 50 meters, you should definitely not skip it, because the beautiful old town and the view of Lake Constance from the castle garden alone are worth every meter. The rest of the way to Friedrichshafen was just a short pedal stroke, so we even had time to visit the Zeppelin Museum in the afternoon. We enjoyed our dinner in one of the many restaurants on the lakeside promenade, where we tried the "Bodenseefelchen" (speciality at Lake Constance). We rounded off this eventful day with a short walk through the beautifully landscaped city garden on the shore of Lake Constance.
Day 6: Friedrichshafen - Lindau - Bregenz (Length: 36 km)
After a short loop along the lakeside promenade, today's stage took us via Kressbronn past the beautifully situated Schloss Hotel Wasserburg, first to the Lindau peninsula, which boasts not only the beautiful harbor flair, but also a charming old town, with beautiful architecture, inviting cafes and stores. After this tour, the tour continued around the eastern shore of Lake Constance across the Austrian state border to Bregenz. After arriving at our hotel, we first explored downtown Bregenz and then took the Pfänderbahn up to the Pfänder. The Pfänder (1064 meters) with its unique view of Lake Constance is the most famous viewpoint in the region and definitely worth a trip! We spent the evening on the lively lakeside promenade, where rehearsals of the Bregenz Festival were taking place on the lake stage located directly on the water.
Day 7: Bregenz - Altstätten - Gais - Sankt Gallen (Length: 26 km + 9 km car ride + 23 km)
Today was the mountain stage to Sankt Gallen. From our hotel, we first cycled along the lakeside promenade to the Rhine crossing at Fußach before heading inland along the banks of the Rhine towards Altstätten. On this stretch, we had a little trouble now and then staying on the right bike path, as the signage wasn't always quite so optimal. Arrived in Altstätten, we should normally have taken the cog railroad to Gais, which, however, was not running due to track work. Therefore, a driver from Radweg-Reisen picked us up there at the agreed time with a minibus and bike rack to chauffeur us to Gais, 9 kilometers away. Not having to cycle this distance was a good consideration by Radweg-Reisen, as we covered just over 500 meters of altitude on this short stretch. Full of gratitude for this service, our tour now continued past Appenzell through the mountains to our destination for the day, Sankt Gallen. After checking into the hotel, we explored the city center on foot.
Day 8: Sankt Gallen (The bikes have a break today).
After breakfast, we first visited the baroque collegiate church and the collegiate library (UNESCO World Heritage Site) with exhibition. Afterwards we strolled a bit through the alleys of the old town to admire the many buildings from different eras and all the different oriels. In the afternoon we took the "Drahtseilbähnli" uphill to the outdoor pool area of the "Drei Weieren". During a short walk we enjoyed the beautiful view of the city up to Lake Constance, which is 10 kilometers away. Afterwards, we took a little cooling off in one of the three natural open-air swimming pools before we completed the descent to the city through the Mülenen gorge with a small watercourse on foot.Show more Show less
Day 9: St. Gallen - Romanshorn - Constance (Length: 57 km)
After a very good breakfast, the last stage of our circumnavigation of the lake led us first from St. Gallen steadily downhill to Arbon, from where we were again in the direct vicinity of the lake. Then we went via Romanshorn, where we enjoyed a coffee break at the Seepark, along well-developed bike paths near the shore and also along the railroad line back to the starting point of our tour, Constance. After a short break at the harbor, we made our way to the parking lot of Radweg-Reisen to pick up our car again.
Since we had booked two extra days in Constance, we were able to take a few small bike tours to the flower island of Mainau and the island of Reichenau.
All in all, a successful trip. It was a fascinating feeling to be out in the fresh air all day, exploring a beautiful area, making stops right on the shores of Lake Constance and, despite the day tours, having enough free time for small shopping trips, visits to the swimming pool and coffee breaks.
The bike paths at Lake Constance were very flat except for a few really only minor "climbs" and perfectly suitable for beginners like us. In addition, they were very well signposted, so you always found your way around.
We are thrilled by the organization, the perfect process of luggage transfer and the very nice and well-chosen hotels on the entire trip. Likewise, it was always a very reassuring feeling for us that we had a 24-hour emergency service of Radweg-Reisen in the back of our hand during the whole tour. This meant we could cycle off each day without a care in the world.
This was our first, but certainly not the last cycling vacation.