The Upper Lake - orchards and Alpine panorama
At the easternmost end of the lake is Bregenz, the state capital of Austria's Vorarlberg. With a population of about 30,000, Bregenz is a smaller town, but its festivals and Pfänder Mountain are two very popular attractions, also among cyclists. Pfänder Mountain, at 1064 metres, is the town's local mountain. You can go up it by bike if you're feeling athletic, via Pfänderstrasse, or otherwise by cable car. Tip: the Pfänder train transports bikes for free in the mornings between 8 and 10.
The largest town on the lake (with 80,000 inhabitants), Constance, is centrally located. It's ideal for a cycling holiday for several reasons:
First, Constance is a hub in terms of transport - with its "White Fleet" of boats. From here you can go on day trips and get back to Constance from many places by boat.
Second, it's relatively easily accessed by car and train.
And third, Constance, as a university town, has the best infrastructure for tourists: hotels, restaurants, street cafes and shops.
The Upper Lake for Cyclists
For the cyclists, a tour of the Upper Lake is a total of about 140 km, following a relatively level pro-file. The prettiest part is the route between Friedrichshafen and Lindau.
The distance from Constance to Bregenz via Meersburg and back via Rorschach is a total of about 140 km. The sections of the route are as follows:
From Meersburg to Friedrichshafen (almost 20 km, along level ground)
At the beginning, the Lake Constance cycle path takes you through Hagnau to Immenstaad - two lovely towns for wine and holidaying. These 8 km are lovely. When visibility is good you can see the Alps clearly.
From Immenstaad to Friedrichshafen, the cycle path unfortunately leaves the side of the lake and takes you next to the busy main road. Sometimes the path is only one metre wide and not far from the side of the road. Definitely the 8-10 kilometres of Lake Constance we can least recommend. Our tip: from Immenstaad, take one of the “White Fleet” boats.
From Friedrichshafen to Lindau (almost 30 km, mostly flat)
First, the bike route takes you through Eriskirche Ried (nature reserve), then on via the holiday re-sorts of Langenargen, Kressbronn, Nonnenhorn and Wasserburg to Lindau. Orchards, Alpine pano-rama, lakeside promenades, lake beaches. Not quite as flat as Holland, but very level. Conclusion: Wonderful!
From Lindau to Rorschach, via Bregenz, (40 km, flat)
The first section is flat and takes you out of Lindau. The scenery is unspectacular. From the Austrian border, the Pfänder – Bregenz’ local mountain - gets closer. The road narrows. You share the cycle path to Bregenz with pedestrians and swimmers. Leaving Bregenz, the cycle path takes you through the Rheindelta. The scenery to the Swiss border is not spectacular but lovely and peaceful. The section from the border to Rorschach is mostly flat, but because of being quite close to the motorway, not great for cyclists.
A total of 40 very flat km follows with lovely Alpine panoramas and stunning views of the Appenzeller Region.
From Rorschach to Constance (approx. 40 km, level route)
The Lake Constance cycle path follows level ground to Arbon. It might be small, but it's very pretty, especially the harbour area. Now cycle on to Romanshorn .The town has lost a little appeal unfor-tunately in the last few years. Important from a cyclist's perspective: there is a car ferry that con-nects with Friedrichshafen every hour. The last 20 km to Konstanz can be described as nice, but not exactly spectacular. You see the lake frequently, but you don't really cycle close to it. When the weather is bad and the wind is westerly, the train can be a welcome relief!