Route 2 (Rhine Route): Section 5 – cycling St. Margrethen to Kreuzlingen, Switzerland

Highlights: Rheineck, Arbon, Konstanz

Overview of the entire Route 2 (Rhine Route: Andermatt-Basel)
The Rhine river starts in Switzerland and then travels north through Germany (Cologne) to finally empty in the Netherlands in the North Sea. It has its source in Lake Toma (Tomasee) near the Oberalp pass, in the Canton of Graubünden. Swiss Route 2 (which shares its path with Eurovelo route 15), starts a bit before, in Andermatt, an alpine valley in the south-central part of the country and a crossroad of several crosscountry routes. It then continues bypassing Lake Toma about 3 km to the north, where it meets the Upper Rhine river. After its initial eastward course to the Bodensee, Route 2 turns westward to end in Basel.  This route has a varied landscape, from the initial Alpine regions (mountain passes, gorges), to lake views (Bodensee), countryside, forests, and cityscapes (Basel). It runs in an arc (east and north), almost entirely through German speaking Switzerland, although a small part is in Romansh area. SwitzerlandMobility.ch (veloland.ch/en/routes/route-02.html) divides Route 2 in 10 sections for a total of 430 km.

Route 2, Section 5 (St. Margrethen 400m–Kreuzlingen 400m)

Stats from SwitzerlandMobility.ch (veloland.ch/en/routes/route/etappe-0926.html): 62km long, basically flat with a height difference of 70m. Their site has the full profile. I actually ended up biking 75km , since I detoured inside several towns at the border of the bike path.

April 2017 (1-day trip)

Today I took the train cross country (4+ hours), before dawn, to go biking the Swiss banks of the Bodensee (or Lake Constance), returning back home past 10 pm. It was a very long day. I biked 75km (without engine since it was flat), crossing 3 Countries: Austria for the first 14km, then Switzerland, and finally Germany, when I entered the city of Kostanz by mistake, at the border with Kreuzlingen.
Although I had brought the passport with me, I was never stopped at the borders.

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The Bodensee area is a very popular bike destination (probably because it is flat and easy) and it is connected to several national bike routes. In addition to Route 2-05, Route 9-10 shares the 25km from St. Margrethen to Rorschach, Route 4-01 has its starting point in St. Margrethen, Route 5-01 starts in Romanshorn, and Route 99 ends in Rorschach.

I have to say that this section of Route 2, although along a lake, is not particularly scenic. In comparison, the part of Route 1 coasting Lake Geneva/Lac Leman is much nicer, more panoramic and more varied.

I started in St. Margrethen, which is a border town important for traffic connections, but without any charm. At the town’s limits, the path crosses immediately into Austria, where it continues for the next 14km. Here, most of the trail runs on the Rhine’s riverbanks and delta, through the countryside and a nature reserve.

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After crossing back into Switzerland, I detoured into the town of Rheineck (also part of Route 99). This town has a small historic center with some charming old houses. Here I stopped at a coffee shop to warm up and indulge in some local treats, as the weather was chillier than I had expected.

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Rheineck

Next, I passed by Rorschach, which did not impress me at all. It has, however, a nice lakeside promenade and an old bathing hut from the early 20th century, built on the lake.

 

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Bathing hut, early 20th century

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Rorschach

After Rorschach, the route becomes nicer, alternating between residential and farming landscapes.

Arbon was the prettiest of the lake towns and I detoured inside its historic center. It has a nice medieval tower and old houses.

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Arbon

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Next up was Romanshor, a harbour town, also with a lovely lakeside promenade.

At last I reached Kreuzlingen/Konstanz. Its vast and beautiful lakeside park and its castle (Seeburg Park and Castle- now a restaurant) are found just before entering the town and offer many activities.
Here, I went off-trail to bike in the park along the lake shore. Since the two towns of Kreuzlingen (Swiss) and Konstanz (German) flow seamlessly into each other, I unknowingly entered Germany and found myself in Konstanz.
Konstanz looked to me a much older, nicer and livelier town than its Swiss counterpart. It had also some beautiful historic buildings. Kreuzlingen instead felt like a poorer sister and a border town.

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After wandering a little through the streets of Konstanz, I crossed back into Kreuzlingen to catch the train back home (this time, going through a proper custom, although they did not stop me).

Below are the Links to Introduction and other sections of Route 2:

6 thoughts on “Route 2 (Rhine Route): Section 5 – cycling St. Margrethen to Kreuzlingen, Switzerland

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