The borders of Germany, Austria and Switzerland invisibly converge in Europe’s third-largest lake, Constance, locally known as Bodensee, fed by the mighty Rhine. Our Lake Constance Cycle Path tour will take you to Europe’s most popular cycling route and the only place where you can wake up in Germany, cycle across to Switzerland for lunch and make it to Austria in time for afternoon tea and strudel. While riding, the eye beholds shimmering waters, a shoreline fringed with orchards and vineyards, and panoramas stretching towards the mighty Alps in the very heart of Europe. At the end, you will detour to marvel at the Rhine Falls, the most powerful waterfall in Europe.
Spend а week full of pleasant cycling discovering medieval towns like Constance, Stein am Rhein, Meersburg and Lindau. Access to the lake is available almost everywhere so there will be numerous opportunities to refresh yourself with a dip in the water. Visit ancient castles and museums in tidy towns, bike through rolling orchards and vineyards, relax in friendly beer gardens and wine bars.
- Europe’s biggest plain waterfall Rhine Falls
- Lake Constance – Central Europe’s third-largest lake
- The quaint medieval town of Schaffhausen
- Meadows, vineyards, orchards, wetlands, beaches and Alpine foothills
- Baroque churches, Benedictine abbeys, Stone Age dwellings, Roman forts, and medieval castles
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Day 1: Arrival Constance
Welcome to Konstanz (Constance). The largest town on the lake became famous during the Great Schism in 1414 when Europe’s top clergy convened in neutral territory to elect a ‘legitimate’ pope. The original council building still stands and watches over one of Germany’s most controversial statues – a buxom courtesan seen by many as a nod to feminine power. Thanks to the city’s close border with Switzerland, the historic centre is intact and a great place to explore near the cathedral. The two islands of Reichenau and Mainau are easily reached by bike.
Day 2: Constance to Ludwigshafen/Überlingen | 50km
You cycle along the Gnadensee to the former Imperial town of Radolfzell, now a spa resort. From here, you cross the “Bodanrück” range of hills and encounter a very short incline. Arriving at the so-called Überlinger See, part of Lake Constance, you are rewarded for your efforts with beautiful views of the lake. In the evening enjoy a stroll along Überlingen’s pretty promenade.
Day 3: Ludwigshafen/Überlingen to Kressbronn/Nonnenhorn | 50-55km
From Überlingen you cycle through vineyards to Friedrichshafen. On the way, you will pass the Baroque pilgrimage church of Birnau. In Meersburg, take a break to wander around the old town and its castle. In Friedrichshafen, we can recommend a visit to the Zeppelin museum. You continue on through extensive orchards to today’s destination of Kressbronn.
Day 4: Kressbronn to Höchst / Rorschach | 40-50km
On your way today, you soon reach Bregenz, the capital of the Vorarlberg region of Austria and famous for its annual festival on the largest lake-stage in the world. You finally reach Höchst where you cross the border again and then, after pedalling for a few kilometres, reach Rorschach, where the beautiful lake promenade stretches along the length of the city.
Day 5: Höchst to Constance | 60km
Today you will cycle through Romanshorn, which is home to Switzerland’s largest harbour on Lake Constance. This stretch is flat and easy to cycle. You will pass plenty of places where you can go swimming and refresh yourself in the lovely cool waters of the lake. Wander through the old town or enjoy an ice cream down at the harbour.
Day 6: Constance to Schaffhausen | 50km
Following the side of Lake Constance, you pedal to Stein am Rhein with its frescoed, medieval houses. Switching several times between Germany and Switzerland you reach the canton’s capital, Schaffhausen. The town, whose citizens competed with each other in building gables on their houses, is overlooked by Munot fort. Every year, more than two million visitors make the pilgrimage to Schaffhausen to see the roaring waters of the Rhine. That is why Schaffhausen is also called the “City of the Rhine Falls”.
Day 7: Schaffhausen – Rhine Falls – Constance/Kreuzlingen | 45km
After breakfast, cycle the short distance to the Rhine Falls, one of Europe’s biggest waterfalls. To stand high above Europe’s most powerful waterfall, feeling the roar and vibration of the water over one’s entire body – this could be once in a lifetime experience. Cycling up the Rhine you go back to Stein am Rhein and then follow the Höri semi-peninsula. At Gaienhofen you go aboard the ferry (included in the price) which takes you to the island of Reichenau. From there it’s only a few kilometres back to Konstanz for your final overnight.
Day 8: Departure
Departure after breakfast. Optional extra night in Constance.
What to expect
Accommodation is in en-suite double rooms in typical Inns and B&Bs, which are normally of a 3-star standard. We can optionally upgrade them to the best in town 3 or 4-star hotels. All places have been carefully hand-picked by us, and their quality is regularly monitored. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.
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Note that hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel from the ones listed above is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Accommodation is on a bed & breakfast basis. When no restaurant location is available on route lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops or you can pre-order a packed lunch at your hotel. Dinner is available either from the restaurant in your accommodation or restaurants in the village near your hotel.
Difficulty and terrain
This holiday is appropriate for cyclists with some experience and requires an average level of fitness; average cycling distance per day is approximately 50-60km, and the cycling is mostly on dedicated bike lanes with no steep ascents or descents (read more about difficulty grades). If you rent an e-bike, this trip is practically accessible to everyone. The cycling trail is very well way-marked.
We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. There will often be other cyclists around just in case if you are looking for advice or help. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.
When to go
This trip is available from April until October. The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date in the season – so please indicate desired beginning date when booking.
The Bodensee region enjoys a transitional climate between maritime Western Europe and continental Eastern Europe, making this region one of the milder areas at this latitude. The average water temperature is 23C in summer, staying around 17C until October making the region one of the milder areas and therefore a perfect travel destination all year round. However, the best time to visit Lake Constance is from June until August, when you will have a pleasant temperature and little rainfall.
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By train or bus
- It takes an average of an hour and a half to travel from Zurich Airport to Constance by train, over a distance of around 32 miles (52km). There are normally 55 trains per day and tickets for this journey start from €25.20 when booked in advance.
- For up-to-date train schedules visit DB or use the Omio planner above.
- There are public car parks (Fischmarkt, Dammgasse, Lago, Altstadt, Benedikti nerplatz) for approx. 10-20 EUR per day. Free parking on public roads is also available. You can also book car parking in advance for the duration of the tour.
- Train from the UK: Take the Eurostar from London St-Pancras International to Paris (Gard du Nord). Change and travel to Paris-East, from here there are direct trains to Offenburg where you should change to Constance. Total journey time is about 8.5h.
- Drive from the UK: Take the Eurotunnel from Folkestone to Calais (approx. 35min) and then drive to Strasbourg or Zurich and on to Constance (approx. 9h).
- 7 overnight stays in private en-suite rooms as described in the itinerary
- 7 breakfasts
- Boat fee Gaienhofen – Reichenau incl. bike
- Boat fee to the Rhine Falls rock
- Entrance fee to Rosgarten museum Constance incl. 1 cup of coffee
- Luggage transfer on all cycling days (no limit on the number of pieces per person, max 20kg)
- Detailed pre-departure holiday information pack
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Personal expenses
- Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
- Any items not explicitly listed as included
Options, extras and supplements
- If you’re travelling in a group, a supplement applies to group members who would like to have a room of their own
- This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
- Extra nights along the trail are bookable upon request
- Hotel upgrade to the best in town 3 and 4-star hotels
- Bike rental (standard hybrid bike or e-bike)
We offer rental of standard trekking bikes, perfectly suitable for the routes of the trip, and e-bikes for those who would like to take it easy. All rental bikes are equipped with a pannier, handlebar bag, mileometer, bike lock, pump, repair kit, and one repair set per booking included in the bags.