Easily the biggest annual event in the capital of the westernmost state in Austria, the Bregenzer Festspiele, or Bregenz Festival, features performances of famous operas on the largest floating stage in the world. You may have noticed this iconic structure in 2008’s Quantum of Solace. In any case, it is truly a sight to behold.
Adventurous architecture combines with beautiful natural scenery to create a unique performance venue and an exciting festival that you won’t forget. During this popular month-long event, the city’s modest population of less than 30,000 swells to a staggering 200,000. Needless to say, you’ll want to make hotel reservations a good deal in advance. If it is peace and quiet that you’re after, steer clear of Bregenz from mid-July to mid-August.
The festival features more than 100 performances each year, with works by Verdi, Puccini, Bernstein, and countless others. This year’s festival begins July 18th. Highlights from the program include operas by Umberto Girodano and Detlev Glanert (Andre Chenier, and Solaris, respectively), as well as a chamber opera titled The Diary of Nijinsky (also by Detlev Glanert) and guest performances by the Schauspielhaus.
While visiting Bregenz, make sure to check out the city’s most famous landmark, Martin’s Tower, which is situated on the summit of the Pfänder. Essentially a lookout tower, the structure features panoramic views from an elevation of 3,500 feet. Thankfully, it is easily accessible by cable car. Also popular with cyclists and strollers is the promenade emanating from the downtown core along the shore of Lake Constance (note the many pleasant, outdoor restaurants along the route).