Cycle tour from Constance around Reichenau Island
This tour round Reichenau Island is a highlight on a bike on Lake Constance! Well signposted, hardly any inclines, this cycling tour takes you from the bicycle bridge in Constance round Reichenau Island and back. You cycle a total of approx. 26 km. As the route is almost entirely away from busy roads, children will have great fun on this cycle ride.
There are lots of places to go swimming and get an ice-cream on the island. People interested in culture will appreciate the museums and churches; the water rats will love the swimming and the bon vivants will enjoy the sundowner on Sandseele campsite - not just my personal favourite place for a break on a cycle ride on Reichenau Island.
Arrival and start of tour
This tour starts on the bicycle bridge in Constance. This is the middle bridge of Constance' three bridges. It is for pedestrians and cyclists only and part of the Lake Constance cycle path. From the harbour, station and ferry terminal, it's easy to find on the Constance network of cycle paths.
If you're arriving by car, you can best park on the Park & Ride car park on the Seerhein. Bike signs show you the way from the car park to the Lake Constance cycle path and Reichenau Island.
Signs and route
The route to the island takes you along the Lake Constance cycle path to Reichenau station and is well signposted. As it runs along the railway tracks, you can hardly lose your way. At the station, the cycle path to Reichenau turns left. You get to the island over the island dam, with its famous avenue of poplars. Reichenau Island has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.
On the island, you follow the Reichenau Radrundweg which has signs in both directions round the island. The signs mostly consist of a bike icon and arrows painted on the road and are visible at almost all junctions. That's why this cycle tour is very easy to find even for cycling tourists and other cyclists not from the area.
Cycle tour from Constance around Reichenau Island
With great weather forecast for Sunday evening, the plan was to bike round Reichenau Island - and I was not disappointed!
While the cars on the island dam are stuck in a jam and only creeping forwards, I'm able to enjoy incredible views of the Lower Lake from my bike. The Lower Lake is the lower arm of Lake Constance. I personally think it's the most beautiful part of the lake. It's between the Swiss canton of Thurgau and the volcanic craters in Hegau. In the evening, you get wonderful backdrops for cycling tours of simply amazing sunsets.
I must confess, the cycle path to Reichenau is not that spectacular, but very easy to find. The Lake Constance cycle path runs alongside the railway tracks out of Constance. The advantage of this route is that you're away from the track, which tends to get busy around Constance.
At Reichenau station, which is still on the mainland, the Lake Constance cycle path divides. Arrows to the right point cyclists towards Radolfzell via Allensbach. I follow the other arrow to the left, to the island.
I'm soon on the artificial island dam and under the poplars on this famous avenue. You see it practically whenever Constance makes an appearance on TV, for example the Constance "Tatort" thriller series. Not many people know though that it marks the southern starting point of the German Avenue Route (Alleenstraße). After some great cycling at speed for three kilometres, I pass the statue of Saint Pirmin and am already on Reichenau Island, the biggest island on Lake Constance.
Today I'm cycling in an anti-clockwise direction so that I always have the lake on my right.
The island is particularly known today for its fruit and vegetables. Because of the especially mild climate on the lake, almost all of South Germany is supplied with the islands fresh vegetables. You'll see by the many fields that crisscross the island like patchwork. And then there are lots of vegetable stands, where you can buy fruit and veg fresh from the field. The island was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its monastery. This small island was once one of Europe's intellectual centres. The three churches are witness to this past: Saint George, the Münster and Saint Peter and Paul.
The arrows on the cycle tour first point me in the direction of the catholic church, Saint George. The wall paintings inside have been much praised.
But today, I'm keen on heading somewhere else: to Sandseele campsite at the other end of Reichenau island. The campsite restaurant attracts a lot of visitors. It enjoys a wonderful location! You get simply wonderful views here: Lake Constance below the volcanic craters of Hegau and the green hills of the Swiss side, round the Lower Lake. I'm a bit early though for the famous sunset.
The sundowner cycle tour to the Sandseele is a must!
It's not just the views that attract people to the Sandseele - there's also a beach and a playground for children here, and the restaurant serves delicious meals.
Next stop on the cycle tour is Reichenau jetty. The Lake Constance "Bodenseeboote" take cyclists and pedestrians to Constance, Gaienhofen on the Höri peninsular or to the Rhine Falls, to Schaffhausen or to the opposite side of the lake - to Swiss Mannenbach.
I continue my bike tour of Reichenau Island and follow the signs that are painted right on to the road. You really can't miss them. And cycling is such fun! It's not far now to the island dam. After I've said goodbye to Reichenau Island and Saint Pirmin, I cycle along the Lake Constance cycle path back to Constance.
If you don't want to cycle back to Constance along the same route you came, you can take a boat from Reichenau jetty over to Mannenbach in Switzerland. Bikes can be taken on the boat if you purchase a bike ticket.
The signs for the Lake Constance cycle path will show you the way from the Swiss banks back to Constance. The cycle path from Mannenbach to Constance is about 10 km.
Timetable and rates: www.urh.ch