Bregenz is a special city on Lake Constance in Austria. It is the largest city in the province of Vorarlberg and is becoming increasingly popular among tourists. Here you can take a beautiful walk along Lake Constance, enjoy and relax on one of the many beaches or take a boat trip to the town of Lindau in Germany. But also for art and culture you are in the right place. It is not without reason that the Bregenz Festival has been held here in July and August since 1946. Are you curious about the best sights in Bregenz? Then be sure to read on…
What would you like to know about Bregenz in Austria?
- Sightseeing – 7 x to see and do
- Accommodation – Historic overnight stays in Bregenz?
- Transportation – How to get there?
Sightseeing in Bregenz – 7 things to see and do
If you go to Bregenz for one day, you can already see a lot of the city this way. But if you have the time, plan at least two days for relaxing at Lake Constance or enjoying some of the museums that the city is famous for. And in the evening you can dine here at Lake Constance or in the center. Below you will find 7 attractions that will make your stay in Bregenz truly complete.
1. An evening at the opera? Go to the Bregenzer Festspiele
Austria is the land of classical music, everyone knows that. But did you know that Bregenz is also known for its theater on the water? Performances are held from the stage on Lake Constance and every night the theater is filled with 7,000 spectators. And this has been happening since 1946. The Bregenzer Festspiele is therefore a household name in the city.
Every year a classical opera is performed. For 2020, Rigoletto by Verdi was on the program, but because of Corona, it will be seen in 2021. In the year 2013/2014, for example, Wolgang Amadeus Mozart‘s Die Zauberflöte was performed. And the operas are always accompanied by impressive scenery.
Would you like to attend an opera yourself? Prices for tickets start from 30 euros, but be there early. They will be sold out before you know it. And remember, it’s in the open air. For more information, visit the Bregenzer Festspiele website.
2. Walk to the Oberstadt and visit the Martinsturm
Bregenz has a nice center close to the promenade and Lake Constance. But did you know that there is also an Oberstadt, the oldest part of the city? The Oberstadt is located about 500 meters south of the modern center. Here you will find a lot of history, some of which can be discovered in the Martinsturm. The current tower was built in 1601 and today is a small museum about the history of Bregenz. From the Martinsturm you have a beautiful view over the city. Do not forget to visit the Martinskapelle. You will find this chapel right next to the tower and on the ceiling you will find some beautiful frescoes from the 14th century. In the Oberstadt, don’t forget the old town hall. It was built in 1661 and is quite a striking sight.
The Oberstadt is not large, but it is fun to walk through. The characteristic houses still give you a bit of a feeling of being in the Middle Ages. Near the Oberstadt you can also visit the church of Kloster Talbach or the St. Gallus church. And then walk straight on to the Gebhardsberg…
3. Climb to the Burgruine Hohenbregenz
On the Gebhardsberg you will find a ruin of a medieval castle. The first stones were laid in the 11th century and the castle was mainly inhabited by various counts, including the counts of Bregenz and later the counts of Pfullendorf from Badem-Württemberg. In the 17th century the castle was expanded into a real fortress, so that it could better defend the area against enemies. On the mountain there is also a little church from the 17th century honoring Saint Gebhard von Konstanz (949-995). Although, the current church dates back to 1800, because that’s when the old church burned down.
To visit the ruins, take a nice walk through the forest. This takes about 30 minutes. But once at the top you have a beautiful view of Bregenz and Lake Constance. And who is ready for a break can have lunch in the Burgrestaurant.
Tip: Enjoying a beautiful view over Lake Constance? With the Pfänderbahn you can go from Bregenz to the top of the mountain and enjoy the beautiful surroundings and Lake Constance.
4. Vorarlberg Museum, the oldest museum in Voralberg
The Vorarlberg Museum is located in the center of the city. It was founded in 1857, making it the oldest museum in the Vorarlberg region. However, the current museum has been modernized and dates back to 2007. It houses a collection of archaeological finds from the region and gives a good idea of how people used to live in Bregenz and its surroundings. In addition to the exhibits, there is also a panoramic view of Lake Constance. Admission to the museum costs 9 euros and it is closed on Mondays.
5. Discover modern art at the Kunsthaus Bregenz
Bregenz’s other “great” museum is the Kunsthaus. This museum was built in 1997 by the architect Peter Zumthor. He received the Pritzker Architecture Prize, a high award for architects, for this. The building is a cube formed entirely of glass. Not the inside though, that consists of Terrazzo floors. The Kunsthaus Bregenz is a museum of modern art.
Those who would like to visit the Kunsthaus and the Vorarlberg Museum should buy a reduced ticket for this purpose. Admission to this museum also costs 9 euros, but those who buy a combination ticket will pay 17 euros for it. Count on about 2 hours per visit for each museum.
6. Take a boat trip to the historic town of Lindau in Germany
Anyone going to Bregenz will undoubtedly take a delightful walk along Lake Constance. But an even more enjoyable idea is to take a boat trip on this large lake. There is a boat from Bregenz to Constance. It takes a total of 4 hours. But if you prefer it a little shorter, you can take the boat to Lindau, which takes about 25 minutes. Lindau is a charming German town, the old center of which is built on an island. Here you can spend a few hours strolling through the center or sitting on a terrace by the harbor. But it’s always nice and cozy and it is also called the nicest town on Lake Constance.
7. Visit the Wettingen-Mehrerau Abbey
Just west of the center of Bregenz is the monastery of Wettingen-Mehrerau. The history of the monastery dates back to the year 611, when the Irish monk Columbanus founded an abbey in Bregenz. The present buildings of the abbey date from the 19th century. Mehrerau Abbey is also called a territorial abbey because it has almost the same functions as a bishopric. On the monastery’s website you can find more information about the history and current function of this beautiful abbey.
Accommodation – Historical overnight stay in Bregenz?
If you are making a tour of Lake Constance it is nice to spend a night in Bregenz. The city center is not large and the city has about 40 hotels. Hotel Messmer is the oldest of these and its history dates back to the year 1390. Back then, Bregenz consisted of a number of farms. The hotel is located on the Kornmarkt, the city’s most famous square. By the way, the current hotel is quite modern and prices for a double room, depending on when you book, start from 120 euros.
Transportation – How to get to Bregenz?
Bregenz is located in the west of Austria. Those who would like to make a city trip should fly to Innsbruck or Zurich. From differet cities, like Amsterdam there are a few times a week direct flights to Innsbruck. Then take the train to Bregenz which takes about 1.5 hours. More flights from all over Europe go to Zurich. Then take the train to Bregenz which takes about 2 hours. The train station of Bregenz is located in the center and is therefore easy to reach.
Next destination in Austria or Germany?
Take the boat to Lindau or go exploring in the beautiful Bregenzerwald.
Do you have more tips, comments or ideas about Bregenz in Austria? If so, feel free to leave a comment below.