You can travel the Bodensee district by boat, venturing into Germany and Switzerland, which share Bodensee with Austria. For a panoramic view of the lake and the town, with Switzerland looming in the background, take a cable car to Pfänder.
The Unterstadt (Lower Town) is Bregenz's shopping district, with traffic-free malls along the shore. In spring, the flower beds along the quays of the Unterstadt blaze with color.
The Upper Town is called both Oberstadt and Altstadt. Once the stronghold of the counts of Bregenz and Montford, this area is great for history buffs. If you're driving from the Lower Town, head up Kirchstrasse, Thalbachgasse, and Amstorstrasse; park; and then stroll back into the Middle Ages as you wander through the old quarter's quiet squares and narrow streets. Even before it was the Roman town of Brigantium, the Upper Town was the site of a Celtic settlement.
The Pfarrkirche (Parish Church), dedicated to St. Gall, stands on a hill south of the Upper Town. This 15th-century sandstone structure has a sunken nave from the 18th century.
The Bregenz Music Festival
Bregenz is at its liveliest during the annual Bregenz Music Festival. This festival, held during a 4-week period in mid-July to mid-August, was established in 1946. Open-air and indoor concerts are given (some at the acoustically sophisticated Festspiele-und-Kongresshaus), but the most appealing productions are the lavish operas, operettas, and musical comedies. The more elaborate shows -- with their ornately dressed actors and singers -- are presented on a stage floating on the Bodensee. The audience looks on from a shoreside amphitheater that seats 6,500. Some of the latest productions have included Death in Venice by British composer Benjamin Britten. Tickets, from 15€ to 280€ ($24-$448), are available at the Bregenzer Festspielhaus, Platz der Wiener Symphoniker 1 (tel. 05574/4076; www.bregenzerfestspiele.com).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.