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Cycling through three countries: Germany, Austria and Switzerland

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by Renate Habernass

Friedrichshafen is a small town in the southeast corner of Germany, and the starting point for an easy cycle tour that takes you halfway around the Lake of Constance from Germany to Austria, and finally to Switzerland. These three countries share their borders around this wonderful lake, with the Alps jutting out on the Swiss side.

The whole tour is an adventure in itself, with easy cycling paths that wind their way through tiny, pretty villages like Langenargen, and with cross-cultural input from three German-speaking countries.

In Langenargen, the cycle path winds its way through the village, giving cyclists a glimpse of the lake on the right every time the row of villas is interrupted. Small paths to the shore lead you to the lake, where you to go swimming and enjoy the cool lake water, which can reach temperatures of about 20ºC in summer.

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For those who fancy sailing, sailboats can be rented by the hour from Montfort sailing school.

If you don´t need any rest from cycling, the tour continues along cycling paths which are accompanied by small signs in order to help you find the way through the fields or the forest until the next main point is reached: Lindau, a town in Bavaria.

With its typical stone lion at the entry of the port, Lindau island is a place worth having a rest at. Here you will find a perfect combination of an old town dotted with classic Bavarian architecture with their painted facades, complemented by panoramic lake views.

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From this spot, you may be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the Alps whose snowcapped peaks provide a majestic atmosphere.
Crossing the border into Austria and entering the city of Bregenz, the lake remains a faithful companion in this area of natural beauty, which is now combined with a major city. Here is a good place to try some of its culinary highlights, like a warm applestrüdel with vanilla ice cream.

The prime attraction in Bregenz, and if you’re taking a break from cycling, you can head to Pfänder, a 1,064m high mountain accessible by funicular or a hiking path. The mountain is known for its spectacular views from the top; here you can see how the Rhine River flows into Lake Constance.

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Leaving the Austrian charm behind, the next portion of the bike tour heads towards the Swiss section.

The cycling paths pass Rohrschach and Arbon, typical towns in Switzerland located along the border of the lake. This is a region where Swiss German is spoken, which for those who speak German, has a different dialect from Austrian German and Swabian German (in Germany).

It is another two and a half hours from Bregenz to Romanshorn, where the ferry takes you back to Friedrichshafen in just 45 minutes over the lake.

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