Let the bus take the strain!
The excellent Island Bus is a fantastic way to explore Reichenau if you don't have your own transport. The route circles the island, and because it's so small, it's never too far a walk from the stop to where you're heading. The round trip takes 30 minutes, and you can get on and off at will.
Unexpectedly, this service operates using a double decker, so the views from the top floor are great and those used to single deckers will enjoy the novelty!
At the time of writing (2010) the service operates from 1 May to 3 October, and a day ticket will cost 5 Euros for an adult, 4 Euros for a child and 12 Euros for a family ticket (valid for a maximum 3 children)
A ferry good way to get to Reichenau!
Apologies for the shameless pun, but I just couldn't resist the temptation!
There are a couple of options for getting to Reichenau, but by far the nicest is to catch the ferry from Konstanz - the trip takes just under an hour and is very scenic as the ferry navigates through the narrow western section of Bodensee. If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can see a lot of white shapes on the water - these were swans, and there must have been several hundred on this stretch of water the morning we made the trip. There are also extensive reedbeds along portions of this channel, so if you are a birdwatcher, it would be well worth coming armed with field guide and binoculars!
The weblink below shows the BSB ferry timetables for summer 2010 - unfortunately this is in German, but should be pretty self explanatory (the website promises that English translations will be available in 'a few months', although I don't know when and if this promise will be delivered on).
In 2010, the fare for this trip was 8.80 Euros one way. However, if you are staying around Bodensee for a few days and planning to take a few ferry trips, I would recommend considering one of the passes on offer - for more information, consult www.bsb-online.com
If you don't want to go by ferry, it is possible to catch a bus from Konstanz to Reichenau, which is faster but probably nowhere near as much fun!
Due to the heavy rain that set in after I visited the second of the churches I decided I needed to take the boat back to Konstanz instead of cycling.
There are two boat lines that run to/from Reichenau. One connects the northern side of the island with Allensbach on the mainland. It is operated by Schifffahrt Baumann, a small German company. The boats only run April to mid October, four to eight (peak season weekends) times a day. See website below!
A Swiss company operates the boats that run from Schaffhausen via Stein am Rhein along the Rhine river and Reichenau to Konstanz and back. This is the one I took. The landing is on the southern side of the island. You can pay the fare in Euro or Swiss Franc. Bikes cost the half fare of a person. I don't remember the exact fare but it sure wasn't outrageous. See fares and schedule on the website below.
I enjoyed the boat trip very much despite the ugly weather. The excellent hot chocolate definitely made my day :-) And watching the picturesque Swiss villages from the boat was a plus.
The most enjoyable way to get to and around the island is IMO cycling. I rented a bike (see my Konstanz page) and cycled from Konstanz to Reichenau. The bike trail runs (separate) along the road B33 and the Wollmatinger Ried (reed) until you can take the turn left on the dam that connects the island with the main land.
On the island itself there is little car traffic. The rolling hills make the cycling not too exhausting but interesting. A round trail for cyclers is signposted. It leads mostly along the lakeshore and hits all the sights.
- Budget Travel