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Bregenz Luftbild.jpg
Coat of arms Location
Coat of arms of Bregenz
Bregenz is located in Austria
Country  Austria
State Vorarlberg
District Bregenz
Mayor Markus Linhart (ÖVP)
Basic statistics
Area 29.51 km2 (11.4 sq mi)
Elevation 427 m  (1401 ft)
Population 27,154  (31 December 2006)
 - Density 920 /km² (2,383 /sq mi)
Other information
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Licence plate B
Postal code 6900
Area code 05574

Coordinates: 47°30′18″N 09°44′57″E / 47.505°N 9.74917°E / 47.505; 9.74917

Bregenz is the capital of Vorarlberg, the westernmost federal state of Austria. The city is located on the eastern shores of Lake Constance, the third-largest freshwater lake in Central Europe, between Switzerland in the west and Germany in the northwest.

The city is situated on a plateau falling in a series of terraces to the lake at the foot of Pfänder mountain. It is a junction of the arterial roads from the Rhine valley to the German Alpine foothills, with cruise ship services on Lake Constance.

Bregenz is twinned with Bangor in Northern Ireland, and various exchange trips take place between the two places. Another twin town is Acre in Israel.

It is especially famous for the annual summer music festival Bregenzer Festspiele.



The Pfänder,a famous lookout point of Bregenz

The first settlements date from 1500 BC. In the 5th century BC, the Celts settled at Brigantion, which was one of their most heavily fortified locations. After battles in 15 BC, the Romans conquered Brigantion and the city became a Roman camp. It was conferred the status of a municipality (Brigantium) around AD 50 and was the seat of the Roman admiralty for Lake Constance. In 259/60 Brigantium was destroyed by the Alemanni, a Germanic people who settled in the area in around 450.

From 610 to 612 St. Columbanus and Saint Gall worked as missionaries in Bregenz. From 917 the castle served as a residence of the Udalrichinger (ruling dynasty of Vorarlberg), who called themselves Counts of Bregenz. The house died out around 1150. The son of the first Ulrich was Saint Gebhard, born in 947. He became Bishop of Konstanz and was later known as the patron of the pregnant women. In around 1170 Hugo of Tübingen (Montfort) founded a town settlement (first documented mention in 1249), enlarged in the 13th and 14th century and from 1650 to 1652.

Sold in 1451 and in 1523 to the Habsburgs, under Bavarian rule from 1805 to 1814; from 1842 to 1850 construction of the harbour (in 1883 and from 1889-1891) enlargement of the harbour, Austrian ship service was set up in 1884), rail communication has existed since 1872 (since 1884 across the Arlberg massif); since then the town has extended to the surrounding countryside. Since 1726 main seat of the Austrian administration in Vorarlberg ("Obervogtei", in 1786 "Kreisamt", since 1861 seat of the Landtag, since 1918 seat of the Landeshauptmann), Rieden-Vorkloster and Fluh were incorporated to Bregenz in 1919 and in 1946, respectively. Bombarded in 1945, 72 houses were destroyed.

Buildings and places of interest

Anton Schneider Street

Landmarks buildings of Bregenz include Martins Tower, St. Gallus Church, the Art House, the Post Office Building, and the Lake Promenade. A well known meeting point for local philosophers, politicians, writers and musicians.

Upper town: (oldest part, remains from the 13th and 16th centuries, town walls still standing), old town hall (1662); the Martinsturm is considered the landmark of Bregenz (late Roman core, chapel with frescos from 1362, from 1599 to 1601 a storey was added, biggest Baroque bulb-shaped steeple in Central Europe, houses the Museum of Military History); Gothic parish church of St. Gall (the Roman-Romanesque foundations date from before 1380, rebuilt around 1480, from 1737 to 1938 altered by F. A. Beer in Baroque style); Herz-Jesu parish church (1905-1908).

Lower town: town hall built in 1686 (façade from 1898) Gothic Seekapelle, Landhaus (built from 1973 to 1982 by W. Holzbauer), the former Kornhausmarkt (built from 1838 to 1940, altered from 1951 to 1955) now houses a theatre, Protestant church of the Sacred Cross (1862-1864), Parish church, church of St. Kolumban (1962-1966), Kunsthaus Bregenz (1991-1997), Tourismushaus tourist centre (1994-1998). District of Vorkloster: Maria Hilf parish church (1925-1931, C. Holzmeister, interior from 1980) and Cistercian monastery of Mehrerau. On the Gebhardsberg rock, remains of the fortress of Hohenbregenz (destroyed by the Swedes in 1647).

Businesses and services

  • Government: Bregenz is the seat of the Vorarlberg provincial government (Landtag), home of most provincial authorities (e.g. school supervisor, police headquarters), department of human resources development (AMS), the police headquarters for the province of Vorarlberg, Office for Environmental Protection, Chamber of Labour, Economics Chamber, Chamber of Agriculture, Chamber of Pharmacists, military regional headquarters, military garrison, one of the main hospitals of the province (Landeskrankenhaus) as well as a sanatorium, farmers' health and social insurance office, VLV (Mutual Fire Insurance Institute).
  • Schools and the arts: 4 Gymnasium secondary schools, commercial college (HAK), technical college (HTL), upper secondary business schools (Höhere Lehranstalt für wirtschaftliche Berufe), 3 Berufsschulen vocational schools, crafts colleges, Academy of Social Sciences, nursing school; adult education centre, school boarding houses, provincial archives, provincial library, provincial museum, Kunsthaus Bregenz (modern arts centre), Künstlerhaus art centre - Thurn and Taxis Palace, five monasteries, Heimatwerk (autonomous institution fostering the manufacturing of traditional craft products, etc.), various newspapers.
  • Public facilities: Festival and Congress centre, Theater am Kornmarkt, casino, harbour for sailing boats and yachts, cable car up the Pfänder mountain.
  • Economic structure: 14,769 employed people in 1991. It is mainly dominated by small businesses in the service, trade and industry sectors: textile industry (Wolford AG), iron-fittings manufacturer (Julius Blum GmbH), glass processing and machine construction. Bi-seasonal tourism, a major attraction is the Bregenz Festival (since 1946, floating stage since 1949, modernised in 1979, Festival and Congress Hall in 1980), winter sports at the Pfänder mountain.
Climate chart (explanation)
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: ZAMG


The annual summer music festival Bregenzer Festspiele is a world-famous festival which takes place on and around a stage on Lake Constance, where a different opera is performed every second year.

A1 Bregenz HB is a handball team.


Notes and references

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Bregenz is the capital of Vorarlberg in Austria.


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 Pfänder (1064m). To the west lies the Rhine delta, a huge valley dividing Switzerland and Austria. To the south lie the mountains of Switzerland and southern Vorarlberg. To the north, overlooking Lake Constance, are the hills of the Allgäu of Baden-Württemberg and Bayern in Germany.

Bregenz is the capital of Austria's most modern province. The shore of Lake Constance, one of the biggest lakes in Europe, meets with Downtown! It is highly advisable to go down to the lake in the evening and check out the beautiful sunset. Austria is the only country to have free access to the lake, a privilege that the inhabitants of Vorarlberg are very proud of and that shapes their way of life. Inhabitants of Vorarlberg are said to be much more friendly and open than the rest of Austria.

Visitor Information Centre

Bregenz Tourismus & Stadtmarketing, Bahnhofstraße 14, +43 5574 49590, Fax: +43 5574 495959, M-F 8.30AM-6PM, Sa 9AM-12PM.

Get in

By plane

Zurich-Kloten: quite big airport, about 1 hour with train/car (100km). Friedrichshafen: smaller, but closer, about 40km from Bregenz. Approached by some bigger companies like Condor and Ryanair (to/from Stansted London). Munich: Biggest airport around. About 2 1/2h to Bregenz. Altenrhein: Switzerland, about 20km to Bregenz; few connections to Vienna, etc.

By train

The Hauptbahnhof, F.-Mayer-Platz 1, +43 5574 93000, [1], is located in the north of the city, close to the lake and the city center. From Lyon/Genf, Strassbourg/Basel, Milano/Luzern via Zurich. From Stuttgart/Ulm and Munich through Lindau. From Vienna, Salzburg, Venice/Italy: via Innsbruck direct or with change in Feldkirch (about 35km). On this line trains leave about every 2 hours. Prices: Vienna to Bregenz ca. 60€ (full price)

By car

From direction Vienna: On the A1 via Salzburg via Germany. In Rosenheim/Ger you have to decide if you drive via Munich (almost only motorway, but sometimes heavy traffic) or via Innsbruck (have to pass the Arlberg tunnel - 13€). From Chur/Zurich: about 10km to the swiss motorway. From Ulm/Stuttgart and Munich via Lindau, motorway tangents Bregenz City.

By bus

Check out f.e. Eurolines from Vienna, Berlin, etc.

Get around

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.

Kirchgasse 29 [Photo: Rolf Palmberg]
Kirchgasse 29 [Photo: Rolf Palmberg]
  • Kunsthaus Bregenz, Karl Tizian Platz, +43 5574 48594-0, [2]. Daily, 10AM-8PM. Adults €10, students €1.50, other discounts for certain groups. Contemporary art exhibitions.
  • Martinsturm (Martin's Tower), +43 5574 46632. Open from Easter to October 15th. July 18-August 19: Daily, 9AM-6:30PM, otherwise closed Mondays. Adults €1, children under six €0.50. Bregenz's most famous landmark, the tower features the largest "onion cupola" in Europe.


In summer, Bregenz offers many possibilities. Bregenz is splendid for swimming in the lake (the lake's temperature reaches 79 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer), hiking, cycling, and several other sports.

The Bregenz Festival (Bregenzer Festspiele), [3] 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. In 2007 and 2008, the floating stage will host Puccini's opera Tosca. 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. €46-€125. In addition to Tosca on the main stage, Benjamin Britten's opera Death in Venice and a series of orchestral concerts will be performed at the Festival Opera House.

Don't miss the 360° view from the top of the Pfänder mountain [4]: 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:

  • Swimming: the bathing complex by the lake has a large outdoor pool and an indoor pool. Early May – early September, daily 9AM–8PM. Approx. €4 for adults.
  • Boat cruises: From April to October, Vorarlberg Lines, 43 5574 42868,, [5], offers a variety of cruises on Lake Constance, including a scenic 'three-country' cruise (daily 2:30PM); cruises to Friedrichshafen, home of the Zepplinmuseum (daily, various times); the "Flower Island" of Mainau (daily, various times); the city of Konstanz, home of the Sea Life Center/Aquarium (daily, various times); and a number of sunset and dinner cruises.
  • Casino Bregenz, Symphonikerplatz 3, +43 5574 45127, [6]. Daily 3PM-3AM, F and Sa to 4AM. Men must wear a shirt and jacket, though the casino will provide jackets for the unprepared.


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,, [7]. 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.


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.

  • Bregenz Youth Hostel, Mehrerauerstraße 3-5, +43 5574 42867, Fax: +43 5574 42867-88,, [8]. Close to the lake and train station. Laundry facilities, meals available, Internet. From €19.20.
  • Ibis Bregenz, Sankt Anna Strasse 11, +43 5574 524500, Fax: +43 5574 52450555, [9]. Located across from the train station. 24-hour bar. Internet. Pets accepted. €49-€76.
  • Mercure Bregenz City, Platz Der Wiener Symphoniker 2, +43 5574 461000, Fax: +43 5574 47412,, [10]. Close to the lake. Two restaurants. Pets accepted. €70-€137, some discounts available.
  • Lindau, [13], is a nearby island in Germany with a picturesque harbor and lots of little shopping streets.
  • Mainau Island in Germany, "The Flower Island", +49 7531 303 0, [14], is known for its warm climate and beautiful botanical gardens. During the season (roughly June 1 - Sep 30), the island is open daily from 7AM-8PM. It isn't possible to spend the night on the island. Vorarlberg Lines, 43 5574 42868,, [15], offers daily boat cruises to Mainau. The trip is about 3.5 hours. Adults €24.80, children €4.00.
  • Liechtenstein, [16], is the fourth smallest country in Europe. Bus and train service [17] is available daily from Bregenz to the capital city of Vaduz. The trip is about 1.5 hours.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

BREGENZ (anc. Brigantium), the capital of the Austrian province of Vorarlberg, as well as of the administrative district of Bregenz. In 1900 its population was 7595, German-speaking and Roman Catholic. It is situated at the south-east angle of the Lake of Constance, and, besides communications by water with the other towns on the shores of that lake, is connected by rail with Feldkirch on the Arlberg line (24 m.) and with Munich. The old town is on a hillock, crowned by the ancient castle, while the new town is built on the level ground at the foot of the hill. The fine parish church (dedicated to St Gall) stands on another mound more to the south. In the local museum are collections of various kinds, especially of the Roman antiquities which have been dug up on the site of the old town. The position of the town on the lake has always made it an important port and commercial centre. Nowadays the main trade is in grain, but much is done also in cattle and in the products of the cotton-spinning factories of Vorarlberg.

We hear of counts of Bregenz as early as the 10th century, their heirs in the early 13th century being the counts of Montfort (a castle north of Feldkirch), who gradually acquired most of the surrounding country (including Feldkirch and Bludenz). But little by little the Habsburgers, counts of Tirol since 1363 bought from them most of their domains - first Feldkirch in 1375, next Bludenz and the Montafon valley in 1394, finally the county of Bregenz in two parts, acquired in 1451 and 1523. In 1408 the Appenzellers were defeated before Bregenz, while in 1647, during the Thirty Years' War, the town was sacked by the Swedes under Wrangel. (W. A. B. C.)

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Simple English

The Chapel to St. Nepomuk was built in the 18th century in Baroque style

[[File:|thumb|The old part of the City]] [[File:|thumb|Looking towards the old part of the city]] [[File:|thumb|Bregenz from the nearby mountain]] Bregenz is the capital of Vorarlberg, the westernmost federal state of Austria. About 27.000 people live in the city proper, its agglomeration has about 60.000 people. Together with Lindau, the settled area (which reaches into the south of Germany, and into Switzerland) has about 120.000 people. The city has a port on Lake Constance and is a railway hub.

Humans have lived in the area since about 1500 BC. During Roman times, there was an Oppidum. Parts of the city are fortified. Bregenz has the right to hold a market once a week since 1330.

The borders of Switzerland and Germany are less than 10 km away.

The main ethnic groups are Austrians, Turkish, Italians, Serbians, and Germans.


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