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Bregenz – Seaside fun in the Alps

© by Arnold Weisz

Seaside fun is the essence of a visit to Bregenz – idyllically located on the shore of Lake Constance. We enjoyed strolling around the historic quarter, watching the sunset from the pier, and taking a boat trip – to mention some.

Situated on the banks of Lake Constance, the town of 29.000 inhabitants is a world away from Vienna at the other end of the country. The westernmost state capital of Austria – Bregenz, is best known for its annual theatre festival. However, the city also offers visitors seaside escapes, mountain hiking, and innovative architecture. Nonetheless, there is a sophisticated international flair to the port town of Bregenz, which is connected by ship to Germany or Switzerland.

The Seaside promenade

One of the main highlights of Bregenz is the promenade along lovely Lake Constance. It’s an excellent place for seaside fun, such as basking in the sun, romantic evening strolls, or simply sitting down and contemplating life. We enjoyed experiencing what seemed like a favourite pastime for many Bregenzians, watching the sunset from the pier. You find eateries and cafés along the promenade, perfect for a rendezvous with friends. There is a small but well-tended park, great for chilling out and winding down after a busy day. West of the festival area, there is a public seaside waterpark that is perfect for a day out with the kids. Although you’re far from the ocean, Bregenz is the place for having seaside fun – in the Alps.

< Click on the images to enlarge >

Lake views and hiking

Even though Bregenz has a natural seaside feel, it still embodies a distinct Austrian sensation. The eastern end of the lake is almost embedded in the Alps and very near the mountains. You can take the cable car from the city centre to the summit of Pfänder at 1,064 meters (3590 ft), the nearest mountain to Bregenz. Within a few minutes, you can enjoy the magnificent views of Lake Constance to the west or the Alps to the east. From Pfänder, there are ample hiking opportunities, either on the mountain, heading inland, or back down to Bregenz. For the kids, there is a small zoo at the summit with local animals and a playground. Moreover, you will also find a few choices for food and beverages on the mountain.

Seaside fun

There are, of course, ample opportunities for swimming and sunbathing along Lake Constance. Bregenz has 5 public beaches and pools; Strandbad Lochau with a pebble beach, “Mili” (a former army wooden swimming house on the lake), Strandbad Bregenz (also with swimming pools), Wocherhafen and Strandbad Hard.

On the water

A cruise on Lake Constance is a must when visiting Bregenz. You can do short excursions along the shores of Bregenz with a pedal or electric boat or take a more extended cruise on a ship. Furthermore, if you are staying for a few days, we recommend a day trip to the historical town of Lindau in Germany, which is just 30 minutes across the lake by ship. During the summer, the commercial shipping lines connect Bregenz with several ports around Lake Constance.

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Bregenz Festival (Bregenzer Festispiele)

Every summer, an outdoor theatre stage, spectacularly set directly on Lake Constance, attracts 200.000 spectators to opera performances. The 2023 Bregenzer Festspiele show “Madam Butterfly”, an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini on the Seebühne. Notwithstanding, this is not the only cultural spectacle in Bregenz during the summer months. Different venues stage almost 100 performances around town during July and August. There is also the possibility of taking a guided tour behind the scenes of the Bregenz Festival.

Madam Butterfly on the big stage in Lake Constance (Seebühne) at the Bregenzer Festspiele 2023.
This year’s highlight is the opera Madam Butterfly on the big stage in Lake Constance (Seebühne) at the Bregenzer Festspiele 2023. Photo: Bregenzer Festspiele / Ralph Larmann ©

For all ages and any interests

We have just scratched the surface of what is on offer in the seaside capital of Vorarlberg, the westernmost state of Austria. You can easily spend a week here without boredom and enjoy various activities catering to most tastes and ages. Despite its small size, Bregenz is one of Austria’s most delightful and diverse holiday destinations. Bregenz is all about having seaside fun in the Alps!

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Written by Arnold Weisz

Globetrotting multilingual communications specialist born in Vienna, Austria – with passion for scuba diving, golf and culinary delights! 15 years of experience as a scuba- and travel reporter for among others: X-Ray Dive Magazine and Dykking.