Switzerland on the sea

Heinz Egli has a goal: Hike around Switzerland, along the border. We are allowed to accompany him on his exciting journey.

What a lovely, sunny, cool morning. And what a gift to walk pain-free. The first stages presented some initial difficulties. After the flat and interesting St. Gallen Rhine Valley I slowly turn towards Lake Constance on my Swiss circular hiking tour. Switzerland is truly by the sea, the Swabian Sea.

Quite idyllic these riverside paths. ©Heinz

Allegedly, Rorschach has one of the most beautiful pools in Switzerland. It does not have a sunbathing lawn, but it is built on piles, just like the pile dwellers in Unteruhldingen. I then arrive in Romanshorn, where I once lived for a short time. Now in the youth hostel. Very well kept and full of memories from my school days.

Lake Constance as a water reservoir

Walking really gives you the opportunity to discover tons. Although I know the area quite well, I see a lot of new things on foot that I haven’t seen before while driving.

A few facts about Lake Constance:

  • Switzerland is not the only country to draw drinking water from Lake Constance; lines reach as far as Stuttgart
  • Just 1/3 of Lake Constance’s precipitation is taken by the lake water works
  • Lake Constance is not the largest Swiss lake only because the national borders have allegedly not been definitively defined to this day

With so much water, a detour in Romanshorn to Friedrichshafen by ferry, which takes only 50 minutes, is an obvious choice. Always a new «seaside atmosphere» and especially recommended at sunrise and sunset (Swiss train season tickets are valid on the ferry). The new restaurants in the harbour area and Romanshorn’s lake and park promenade also evoke Mediterranean feelings.

From the ferry you have a wide view into the Swabian Sea. ©Heinz

Versatility on the road

The lake is great to explore on the national border by boat, e.g. from Romanshorn

to Kreuzlingen. Via numerous stops, such as the almost endless footbridge at Altnau, you then reach the Swiss border town of Kreuzlingen.

If you are travelling by bike or inline skates, you will find magnificent paths along Lake Constance. Leisurely ones following the nose or ambitious ones into the nearby hills. The return journey can then also be made in ultra comfort with the «turbo train».

The Thurbo takes you comfortably from A to B. ©Heinz

Great riverside walk

The section from Uttwil to Münsterlingen especially is ideal for exploring the shore of Lake Constance with its numerous nature reserves, nice bathing houses and swanky establishments – or rather, viewing them from a distance. Numerous campsites and lake access points, some with free bathing areas, invite you to rest. My accommodation is of course the youth hostel in Romanshorn.

Along the shore of Lake Constance, somehow almost a bit meditative. ©Heinz

On this journey, I am once again accompanied by a local friend. I think hiking alone is great, but it’s also nice when there are two of you. We finish the joint section with a beer in Konstanz on the lake. Although only sparsely populated at this time of year, it isn’t called the «Ticino of Germany» for nothing.

Art on the shore of Lake Constance. ©Heinz

Speaking of the border, what’s it actually like in the settlement area? Do people notice it at all? The now widely known «COVID-art border». between Kreuzlingen and Konstanz is truly «green». Between the residential areas, the border sometimes can only be recognised by the colour change of the road markings or a «Grenzketteli» chain shop. Elsewhere, relics of wire mesh fences still remain. Customs stations are partially lifted and mostly unguarded.

What a bread landscape

I stay overnight for the first time in the youth hostel villa in the border town of Kreuzlingen. After the river, lake and mountain landscape, I now also discovered the bread landscape. And this is just one of many specialities in this particular youth hostel.

The bread selection in the youth hostels in Kreuzlingen. ©Heinz

On the following hike along the beautiful Seerhein and Untersee, for me one of the most beautiful lakeside landscapes in Switzerland, I can’t help but seize the opportunity for the supposedly best «Osterchüechli» north of Cape Town. I devour it in the evening with the last remaining Christmas beer – somehow fitting for this particular youth hostel location!

The villa directly on the lake. ©Heinz

Ah yes, and there is the «Blumen & Kaffee» by Marianne in one of the so pretty Thurgau See villages, Ermatingen. Flowers are not exactly suitable for carrying, but coffee and grandma’s XL Mailänderli Christmas cookies give me a fresh boost. And of the life wisdoms on display, I find that I am «on my way» with many of them.

Quite historic

My path next takes me along the Untersee with a view of «Napoleon’s Arenenberg Castle», where you can experience dreamlike sunsets. Then to Arbon, another place steeped in Roman history: Eschenz with the «Golden Cup», known as the most valuable Thurgau find of this period. Then the extraordinary site of the Inseli Werd monastery, with access to the long wooden footbridge over the shallow waters of the Rhine.

Until next time – around the Hochrhein …

If you want, you can also follow my route at www.stadt-land-spirit.ch and www.polarsteps.com/HeinzEgli (which can also be used via app).


Heinz has already completed a part of his border hike. Read more about the start and what he experienced in the first part of the blog series.

Action & adventure Friends On the water

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