A top place to get away from it all at any time of the year has to be Mt. Pfänder which overlooks the Bodensee (Lake of Constance) and Bregenz. When I first started traveling to Europe over a decade ago, one of the first hiking places I came across was this beautiful mountain which lies on the Austrian-Germany border. Since my first visit, I have come here on numerous occasions at various points of the year to check out the amazing views and of course, to go for a hike.
To get to Mt. Pfänder, one has to get to the town of Bregenz which lies on the eastern shoreline of the Bodensee. It lies on the main road between Germany and Switzerland, has a train connection to St Margrethen in Switzerland and Friedrichshafen in Germany and also boat connections to other towns on the lake. The nearest airport is Friedrichshafen otherwise the main ‘large’ international airport is Zurich.
There are two ways of getting up the mountain. First is the hike and this can take up to a couple of hours as the mountain is 1,022 meters above sea level. To save time however, there is a cable car known as the ‘Pfänderbahn’ which takes visitors up the mountain in a matter of minutes.
Once at the upper station it is time to hike and there are various hiking trails for all abilities. My favourite hike was during the middle of winter with my best buddy Ollie. It had it all, a good workout, fantastic photography was to be had, some drama when Ollie nearly slipped down the cliff edge and taking in all the amazing views. This one I will never forget.
On the western side of Mt. Pfänder, this is the best place to check out the views of Bodensee. Looking out to the lake, right down below is Bregenz. To the left is beautiful Switzerland and on the right hand side, the towns of Friedrichshafen and Lindau in Germany can be seen. In the summer months I would sit here for hours checking out the beautiful views.
Near the upper station there is a restaurant (which isn’t cheap) where good meals are served (mostly meat). The number one thing for children to do is to visit the Alpenwildpark (which is free) and lots of ibexes (mountain goats), wild boar and red deer to be seen.
This trip can be done in a day, a short hike, a visit to the wildlife park and to grab a meal whilst taking a ride up and down on the cable car. For the experienced hikers, just keep heading eastwards right into the heart of the Austrian Alps where many more beautiful trails and views are to be had. When I need peace and quiet, to get away from the craziness of London urban life, I always come here to relax. This post is the reason I wrote this, to show the world where I go to get away from it all and I wanted to share it with you. However, if you are not a big fan of mountains and hiking, Austria also has some fantastic cities to check out. See our favourites here.
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