The Bodensee Feature
- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
- German Phrases
Biking the Bodensee
The best way to experience the Bodensee area is by bike. In as little as three days, you can cross the borders of three nations, and the only burn your thighs will suffer on the flat landscape is from the sun.
You could start anywhere, but this short Lindau-to-Lindau tour begins at the southeastern corner of the lake. Book a room in Meersburg or Konstanz for the first night; in Romanshorn, Switzerland, for the second night; and in Lindau for the third. Leave your baggage at your Lindau hotel, bringing with you only what you can comfortably carry on your back or in panniers (don't forget your bathing suit). For an easier pace, add more overnight stays and cover less distance per day. A sign displaying a bicyclist with a blue back wheel will be your guide for the bike paths through all three countries. Even without the signs or map, the water is an easy point of reference.
You can rent a bike as a guest at many hotels, at some tourist offices, from bike shops, and from bicycle tour operators.Biking maps are available from newspaper stands, bookshops, and tourist offices, and you can leave your baggage in the long-term storage available at the train stations in Konstanz, Überlingen, Friedrichshafen, and Lindau. You can cut across the lake on a ferry at numerous points.
Departing Lindau, head west along the lake toward Wasserburg, 5 km (3 mi) away. Continue on through meadows and marshland, passing charming villages like Nonnenhorn and Langenargen—9 km (5½ mi) from Wasserburg. Friedrichshafen is another 10 km (6 mi) northwest from Langenargen. Pay a visit to the Zeppelin Museum there. After Friedrichshafen the path runs along the main road; follow the sign to Immenstaad (10 km [6 mi]) to get away from the traffic. Pass through the village and continue to Hagnau. After another 5 km (3 mi), stay overnight in lovely Meersburg, rising early to catch the ferry to Konstanz.
When you come off the ferry, head to the flower island of Mainau to enjoy the blooms. Onward to Konstanz, pass the ferry dock again, and keep as close as you can to the water, which will bring you into Konstanz through the scenic "back entrance." Cross the bridge over the Rhine. Take in the old town, and the buzzing small harbor. When you set off again, you'll be in the Swiss city of Kreuzlingen in a few minutes. After 23 km (14 mi) you'll arrive in Romanshorn for your second overnight.
Leave Romanshorn early in the morning, passing Arbon (after 9 km [5½ mi]), Rorschach (another 7 km [4½ mi]) and Rheineck, on the Austrian border (another 9 km [5½ mi]). After the border there are several paths to follow—keep as close to the lake as possible. Twenty kilometers (12 mi) beyond the border is Bregenz, Austria. Ascend the Pfänder cablecar 3,870 feet for a marvelous view. If you're too tired to bike the 9 km (5½ mi) back to Lindau, you can board a train or ferry with your bicycle in Bregenz.
Copious amounts of fresh lake air and pedalling is bound to trigger your appetite. If the weather is ripe for a picnic, be on the lookout for supermarket chains such as Aldi, Edeka and Lidl, where you can fill your picnic basket.
For Brot (bread), a fresh Brezel (prezel) or a piece of Kuchen (cake), even the smallest village center will contain a Bäckerei (bakery). Don't be shy about venturing into the village Metzgerei (butcher) either, if you want some meat for between your bread, or lunch-to-go. Most meat markets offer delicious Leberkäse or Fleischkäse Brotchen (the name differs between Bavaria and Baden Württemburg), a slice of warm sausage-meatloaf in a bread roll; Wurst Brotchen, cold sliced sausage in a bread roll, and tangy Fleischsalat, sliced sausage-meat salad and pickles with salad dressing.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe