Even if you haven’t visited Bregenz, you may recognise this city of close to 30,000 in Austria’s spectacular Bodensee-Vorarlberg region. Bregenz is home to the famed Bregenzer Festspiele (Bregenz Festival) where scenes from the Bond movie “Quantum of Solace” take place on and around the lakefront stage during the dramatic opera, Tosca.
Located on Lake Constance, a popular resort area, Bregenz is a fantastic destination for a culturally rich and adventure-filled vacation – even if you don’t live like 007. We visited Austria’s Bodensee-Vorarlberg Region at the height of summer and the long, sun-filled days allowed us to experience a lot of what the destination has to offer. Here are a few fabulous things to do in Bregenz, Austria.
Attend the Bregenzer Festspiele (Bregenz Festival)
For four weeks each summer, world-class operas perform in one of the most spectacular open-air theatres in the world. Plan to attend the Bregenzer Festspiele if you can – it is one of the top things to do in Bregenz, Austria. But don’t despair if you can’t visit during the festival. Even without the opera, the open-air theatre on Lake Constance is incredible.
Explore the Countries Along Lake Constance
Ferries travelling the waters of Lake Constance, also known as the Bodensee, dock in the harbour near the Bregenzer Festspiele and Festspielhaus (Festival House). Because of Bregenz’s location on the shores of Lake Constance, it doesn’t take long to reach Germany and Switzerland by ferry – these countries also border on the Bodensee. Breakfast in Austria, lunch in Germany, and dinner in Switzerland – it’s all possible from your home base in Bregenz, Austria.
If you feel like some exercise, you can rent a bike and ride along the Lake Constance cycle path into Germany and return to Bregenz via passenger ferry. We rode as far as Lindau, Germany (just over 10 km), but there are much longer cycle routes including a 260 km loop around Lake Constance.
Spend a Day at Lake Constance
Choose a sandy beach, lakefront bathhouse equipped with a pool, or a shady spot along what locals call the Old Rhine (Alter Rhein). The mighty Rhine River flows into Lake Constance along the Austrian and Swiss border and flows out near the Swiss town of Stein am Rhein.
Even if you don’t feel like getting wet, plan to visit “Mili”, a former military swimming pool suspended above Lake Constance on wooden stilts – it is a fun spot to photograph.
Ride up Pfänder Mountain
At 3487 feet (1063 m), Pfänder Mountain overlooks Lake Constance and offers a birds-eye view of three countries (Austria, Switzerland, and Germany) on a clear day. Located a short stroll from Bregenz, ride the Pfänderbahn panoramic cable car up to the top – the view is fantastic.
There is an Alpine Wildlife Park at the top of the Pfänder where you will find assorted animals including dwarf goats, “pot bellied” pigs and ibexes. If you are hungry, visit Berghaus Pfänder next to the upper Pfänder cable car station for a meal or snack.
Visit the Vorarlberg Museum
A short stroll from Bregenz Harbour, the Vorarlberg Museum displays the region’s rich history in a modern and interactive environment. The lobby houses a beautiful cafe and interesting gift shop.
Hang out in Hard, Austria
Located a short drive from Bregenz, the lakefront town of Hard is a charming destination and was our base for exploring Bodensee-Vorarlberg. Hard’s expansive beaches, proximity to the Rhine, and the historic paddle wheel steamer, Hohentwiel, are just a few excellent reasons to visit Hard.
Luxe Travel Family Travel Tips – Fabulous Things to do in Bregenz Austria
- The state of Vorarlberg, Austria borders on Switzerland, Germany and the Principality of Liechtenstein making it an accessible destination from many countries. Vorarlberg extends approximately 100 km from north to south and contains six diverse and delightful regions, including the Bodensee-Vorarlberg region where you will find Bregenz. Visit the Vorarlberg Tourism website for more information about the state and the Bodensee-Vorarlberg website for information about Bregenz, Lake Constance and surrounding area.
- Be sure to purchase a Bodensee-Vorarlberg Freizeitkarte (Leisure Card) for the best deals on all of the fabulous things to do in Bregenz, Austria.
- There are numerous hotels in Bregenz, Austria, but we decided to stay at hotel am see in the nearby lakefront town of Hard. It is an excellent hotel! Hotel guests can charter a skippered sailboat to explore Lake Constance – the sunset cruise was spectacular.
- You might enjoy reading about Vorarlberg’s Bregenzerwald Cheese Road and culinary hikes through scenic alpine trails.
Have you been to Bodensee-Vorarlberg or other parts of Austria?
Our recent visit to Vorarlberg, Austria was in collaboration with the Vorarlberg State Tourist Board. As always, if I don’t enjoy a destination or experience, I won’t recommend it.