Sightseeing in Bregenz
Any town tour should start with a lakeside stroll, wandering from the festival stage and out to the jetty along the Seepromenade. In the center along the lakeshore lie three of the main attractions. Farthest west, the Festspiel und Kongresshaus complex anchors the festival’s Seebuhne, or lake stage, the largest of its kind in the world. Farther east, across the main road from the jetty, are the Landesmuseum and Kunsthaus. The Bregenz Landesmuseum at Kornmarktplatz 1 documents the Vorarlberg’s history.
Nearby, the Kunsthaus Bregenz, or KUB, occupies a celebrated architectural landmark designed by Peter Zumthor and draws 60,000 visitors each year. The museum runs rotating exhibitions of contemporary artists. Behind the lakefront and east of Montfortstrasse road lies the modern pedestrian center. It’s lined with shops, cafés, and restaurants with pragmatic rather than tourist appeal and is a good place to taste “real life” in Bregenz.
Oberstadt: Old Town
Bregenz’s old town lies up hill from the center and is here known as the Oberstadt. Although it can be reached by car via Kirchstrasse, the most scenic route up is by foot along the Maurachgasse and the old-world Stadtsteig road, which leads up to the fortified old town. When you reach the walls at Martintor, don’t miss the petrified sea creature dangling above the gate – a delightfully scary sight during a midnight thunderstorm. The Oberstadt remains largely residential, but at the northern corner of the walled complex rises the Martinsturm, Bregenz’s signature landmark. Built in 1601, the tower boasts central Europe’s largest onion-dome; the Martinskappelle chapel next door is home to some interesting 14th-century frescoes.
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