The Region of Lake Constance - In recent months we’ve seen some epic cycling events take place with the world’s finest competing for glory at the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Ride London Surrey Classic and most recently the Olympic Games Rio 2016. So this year, why not take to the road and explore one of Europe’s most international cycling hotspots, Lake Constance.
As a location for a cycling holiday, the region of Lake Constance, lovingly called ‘Bodensee’ by local residents, offers visitors the unique opportunity to cycle through four countries; Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein. The popular 273km Lake Constance cycle route allows you to circumnavigate the lake through Germany, Austria & Switzerland while the 64km detour from Lake Constance takes you on a picturesque route along the Rhine to the Principality of Liechtenstein. A period of between 4-7 days is recommended to complete the route and with the terrain being mostly flat with some rolling hills, it is perfect for beginners, families and keen cyclists alike.
A second route worth mentioning is the incredibly scenic Danube – Lake Constance route leading from the world’s highest church spire to the banks of Lake Constance. Beginning in Ulm on the southern edge of the Swabian Alb, the route passes through the hilly countryside of Upper Swabia and finishes among the orchards and hop fields of Kressbronn on the banks of Lake Constance. This ride will certainly test fitness levels and the climbs might well be challenging for some, however there are plenty of opportunities to relax on the way. There are numerous lakes, perfect for a refreshing swim, health resorts and thermal spas including Jordanbad in Biberach or the Waldsee-Therme and if you want to really extend the route, enjoy spending time exploring the beautiful towns on the Upper Swabian Baroque Route.
There are plenty of other cycle paths and routes, e.g. the Lindau panoramic cycle tour, to choose from with something suitable for people of all ages and abilities. With some routes guiding cyclists along the shores of the Lake itself while others offer a chance to explore the idyllic hinterland and with no pre-determined start or finish, you are free to begin and end at a location to suit.
This year round destination is a landlocked paradise with a mild climate and plenty of sunshine. Enjoy panoramic views of the lake with the backdrop of the Alps, charming towns and villages such as Lindau, Konstanz, Bregenz and St. Gallen scattered en route with some wonderful places to stop and indulge in some delicious, traditional food from all four countries. There are also some wonderful sightseeing opportunities to enjoy and see along the way including Mainau Island, Zeppelin Museum, UNESCO World Heritage site of Reichenau Island, the spectacular Rhine Falls and numerous castles and beautiful gardens.
For over 40 years, thousands of cyclists have joined together for an unforgettable days cycling around Lake Constance. The annual Bodensee-Radmarathon offers experienced, intermediate and beginner cyclists the chance to participate in a fun and picturesque ride around the beautiful Lake Constance. There are 5 starting locations and 3 different routes available taking riders through Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The event offers fully catered rider support including sign posted routes, breakfast and 6 food stops.
For further information on the region visit The Tourist Board of Lake Constance’s official website: www.lake-constance.com. NEW for January 2017, The Tourist Board of Lake Constance will launch their new cycling brochure detailing all the fantastic routes and tours in the Lake Constance and Upper Swabia regions.
A number of UK Tour Operators offer self-guided, family friendly, group and singles cycling holidays to Lake Constance including Saddle Skedaddle, Explore, Wheel 2 Wheel Holidays, Hf Holidays, Freewheel Holidays and Headwater. For those keen to book locally, there is a German Tour Operator, Radweg Reisen, based in Konstanz. All operators offer cycle hire, luggage transportation, book cycling friendly hotels and also organize bespoke tours. Here are just a few highlights of some of the itineraries/trips available:
Lake Constance Cycle Path
The Lake Constance cycle path is one of Europe’s most popular cycle routes. Cycle round the entire lake pedaling through three countries as you do so. This varied tour will take riders through charming countryside, orchards and the medieval towns of Konstanz, Stein, Meersburg and Schaffhausen.
Radweg Reisen (www.radweg-reisen.com) offer an 8 day tour from £430pp.
Self-Guided Family Cycling Holiday
This family friendly route takes in Austria, Switzerland and Germany and follows the shores of Lake Constance through quaint villages, vineyards and orchards on a mix of flat, traffic-free cycle paths and roadside cycling lanes. Enjoy picnic lunches on the banks of Lake Constance and take a dip to cool off at the end of the day, stop off for a visit to the Zeppelin Museum, Sea Life Centre or visit the gardens and Butterfly House on the beautiful Mainau Island.
Saddle Skedaddle (www.skedaddle.co.uk) offer a 7 day self-guided family cycling holiday to Lake Constance from £555pp.
Cultural Self-Guided Cycle Route
This particular itinerary will offer between 30-50km of cycling daily and plenty of opportunities to explore the beautiful surroundings. Starting in Konstanz, enjoy a stroll around the old town and harbor area before setting off to Reichenau, a Monastic Island and UNESCO World Heritage Site. From there, you’ll take in places and sites such as Schaffhausen, the Rhine Falls, Werd Island and Mainau Island. Visit Birnau Basilica and Meersburg on the way to Friedrichshafen and in Nonnenhorn you’ll reach the old Bavarian border. Towards the end of the trip, you’ll cycle to Lindau and Bregenz, famed for its annual festivals on the biggest outdoor stage in the world before crossing the Rhine delta, through Romanshorn Lake and back to Konstanz.
Wheel 2 Wheel Holidays (www.wheel2wheelholidays.com) offer a 7 night self-guided cycling holiday from £499pp including breakfast staying in 3* & 4* guesthouses, daily luggage transfer, detailed travel documents and maps and two boat tours.
Luxury by the Lake
Headwater’s Lake Constance cycling itinerary offers easy, level cycling on lake side paths taking in daisy-strewn meadows, billowing wheat fields, Bavarian vineyards and picturesque marinas. Guests are provided with detailed cycling notes to take you from each hotel to the next and they offer good flexibility should you wish to shorten or lengthen the route at any point. Accommodation en route varies and includes an old coaching in, a grand riverside hotel and luxury lakeside mansion. Most evening meals are included however there are a couple of nights where guests can head out and explore some of Konstanz’s many restaurants.
Headwater’s self-guided cycling holiday (www.headwater.com) starts from £1,099pp for 10 nights including all accommodation, continental breakfast daily and 8 evening meals.