Bregenz has about 28,000 inhabitants and has roots back to Roman times. The city was originally founded by the Romans in 15 BC, when it was known as Brigantium.
Bregenz is located at the northern edge of the Alps, between Lake Constance (the Bodensee) and the local mountain, the Pfänder (1064m). To the southwest lies the Rhine delta, a huge valley divided between Switzerland to the east and Austria to the west. To the south lie the mountains of Switzerland and southern Vorarlberg. To the north, overlooking Lake Constance, are the alpine foothills of the Allgäu Bavaria and the quaint villages of Baden-Württemberg in Germany.
Bregenz is the capital of Austria's most prosperous province. The shore of Lake Constance, one of the biggest lakes in Europe, is minutes from the small downtown. It is highly advisable to go down to the lake in the evening and check out the beautiful sunset. Inhabitants of Vorarlberg are said to be very friendly and open.
Visitor Information Centre
Bregenz Tourismus & Stadtmarketing, Rathausstraße 35a, +43 5574 49590, Fax: +43 5574 495959, [email protected]. M-F 8.30AM-6PM, Sa 9AM-12PM.
Zurich-Kloten: quite a big airport, about 1 hour with train/car (100km). Friedrichshafen: smaller but closer, about 40 km from Bregenz. Approached by some bigger companies like Condor and Ryanair (to/from Stansted London). Munich: Biggest airport around. About 2.5 h to Bregenz. Altenrhein: Switzerland, about 20 km to Bregenz but few connections to Vienna.
The Central station (Hauptbahnhof) is located in the north of the city, close to the lake and the city center. There are several daily connections from Vienna with stops in Linz, Salzburg and Innsbruck. The train takes around 6-7 h from Vienna in general ÖBB-IC trains are the slowest but there is also a highspeed train called RJ (RailJet) for the same price. The price for both from Vienna to Bregenz is around 60€. A few tickets for 29€ Sparschiene are available every day so check the OEBB Homepage .
From direction Vienna: On the A1 via Salzburg via Germany. In Rosenheim/Ger, you have to decide if you drive via Munich (heavy traffic) or via Innsbruck (Arlberg Ttunnel 13€). From Chur/Zurich: about 10 km to the Swiss motorway.
There are a number of buslines in the city.
In summer, bicycles are perhaps the best way to get around, as Bregenz is quite small. Bicycles can be rented from the main railway station.
It is possible to travel along the lakeshore by railway to both Switzerland and Germany.
If you want to visit the nearby Bregenzerwald, a mountainous area south-east of Bregenz, take a bus from the railway station, or take the train to Dornbirn and transfer there.
In summer, Bregenz offers many possibilities. Bregenz is splendid for swimming in the lake (the lake's temperature reaches 26 degrees Celsius in the summer), hiking, cycling, and several other sports.
The Bregenz Festival (Bregenzer Festspiele),  is a famous festival running from mid-July to mid-August and attracting 200,000 visitors each year. The centerpiece of the festival is its main stage built on Lake Constance, the largest floating stage in the world. The open-air production changes every two years, with Mozart's The Magic Flute in 2013 and 2014. The setting - 7,000 seats looking out over the lake, the larger-than-life stage, night falling during the performance, and the cool breeze coming off the lake - is truly spectacular. 29 - 300 EUR. In addition to the production on the floating stage, there is a yearly changing program including an opera in the Festival House, a series of orchestral concerts and other cultural events such as Kunst aus der Zeit (KAZ) and cross culture.
Don't miss the 360° view from the top of the Pfänder mountain : you can either walk (ca. 2-3h) or take the cablecar (6 min). Signage throughout town will direct you to the cablecar station. The cablecar operates daily from 8AM-7PM, with departures on the hour and half-hour. April 1-October 31, 2007: €10.20 round trip (adults), less for children and seniors. At the top, there's a restaurant (Berghaus Pfänder, +43 5574 42184) that is open daily, 9:30AM-6:30PM from May 9 to September 23, 2007. There's also an alpine wildlife park (free admission) and a Birds of Prey show (May 1 to October 3, 2007: daily 11AM and 2:30PM, adults €4.60, children 15 and under €2.30). You can also bike the Pfänder. A guide with suggested routes is available from the bottom cablecar station. The cablecar transports bikes daily from 8AM-10AM and 6PM-7PM for free, else it's €2.90.
The Lake Promenade is a very popular place for residents to stroll and spend the evening. There are shaded paths and outdoor restaurants. The sunsets in Bregenz are beautiful from any place at the lake.
Other things to do:
In general, stores are open Monday to Friday from 9AM to noon and from 2PM to 6PM, Saturdays from 9AM to 4PM.
Wolford, 1-2 Wolfordstraße, +43 5574 690-1458, Fax: +43 5574 690-1651, [email protected], . M-Th 9AM-7:30PM, F 9AM-9PM, Sa 9AM-5PM. The maker of stylish hosiery and lingerie is headquartered in Bregenz. This location includes a boutique, factory outlet and restaurant.
Tokyo Japanisches Restaurant +43 5574 58978, 6900 Bregenz. Serves mid-range Japanese food. More info (in German) here.
Bregenz becomes very busy during the Festival season that runs from mid-July to mid-August. During this time it's advisable to book accommodations ahead of time. Prices posted below are for the high-season summer months.