Grenzen | Borders

Borders #1-3: Switzerland, Austria and Germany

Border #1: Switzerland – Austria

Coming from: Oberriet, Kanton St. Gallen, Switzerland
Going to: Meiningen, Vorarlberg, Austria
Documents needed: none (Schengen)
Waiting time: 0 min
Distance from Bern: 250 km
Crossed on 02/06/2017, 07:40 a.m.
Rating: n/a (being from the area, I am biased)


The first 19 years of my life, I used to live a mere 5 km from the Swiss-Austrian border, and I have crossed it on a regular base for all my life. So it was appropriate to start my trip with this border, eventless as it was on this quiet Friday morning, when my dad brought me by car to the railway station of Feldkirch in Austria, the starting point of so many great trips.

Border guards on both sides tend to be friendly and sometimes even talkative, to the point that they communicate with each other when one side gets the information of a passer-by transporting a bigger amount of goods, for which customs must be paid. The locals consider this when smuggling, which they do a lot – on a very small scale, though, such as bringing 300 grams of minced meet more than allowed across the border.

Even though located in a very peaceful corner of Europe, the stories of this border could fill up a book, which they hopefully will one day. For the purpose of this blog, however, I will just share a couple of thoughts:

  • The area enjoys on of the highest border densities in Europe: From my village Rebstein, I can reach four countries in 30 minutes by car, including two different states of Germany (Bayern and Baden-Württemberg) and four cantons of Switzerland. A hike from my village to the top of the hill behind it involves crossing three cantons (St. Gallen, Appenzell A.Rh., Appenzell I.Rh.).
  • You can easily swim across this border. In Diepoldsau/Lustenau and St. Margrethen/Höchst, there are swimming baths in ponds which used to be part of river Rhine and which still design the border. It is an undemanding 20 meters to swim over to Austria, and since the Swiss accession to Schengen even totally legal. A fun thing to do with guests from abroad – they are always impressed.
  • Talking of guests – there are no tourists. Almost. Just some Chinese businessmen who are dealing with the local industry. There is just one exception: Vaduz. Besides looking like any other villages in the area, it happens to be the capital of one of the tiniest nations in the world: Liechtenstein. This makes it a tourist attraction. Or at least a toilet stop for the busses on the way from Vienna to Lucerne.
  • For the locals, it is totally normal to go to shops, restaurants, the cinema or clubbing on the other side of the border. During Kantonsschule (~high school) we even went regularly to eat lunch in a Chinese restaurant in Austria, because we did not like our canteen.
  • To the north is one of the oldest and most peaceful border disputes in Europe: The lake of Constance, shared by Switzerland, Austria and Germany. The three countries do not agree on the border inside the lake, so it has never been designated. And no one seems to care.



Border #2: Austria – Germany  

Coming from: Kufstein, Tirol, Austria
Going to: Kiefersfelden, Bayern, Germany
Documents needed: none (Schengen)
Waiting time: 0 min
Distance from Bern: 497 km
Crossed on 02/06/2017, 11:00 a.m.
Rating: 1/10
Description: See Border #3


Border #3: Germany – Austria  

Coming from: Freilassing, Bayern, Germany
Going to: Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria
Documents needed: none (Schengen)
Waiting time: 0 min
Distance from Bern: 601 km
Crossed on 02/06/2017, 12:00 a.m.
Rating: 1/10


The so called “Deutsches Eck” (German corner) is a short hop across the German border and back to Austria in order to shorten train rides between Western Austria (Vorarlberg, Tyrolia) and the mainland in the East. No passport party here since ages: Even before Schengen, trains did not stop and passengers were not checked, since the Austrian railways operated on a corridor regime with no stops in Germany.


Early Friday morning in Rhine Valley

Oberriet (Switzerland) border post

Meiningen (Austria) border post

Vienna’s legendary Tychy ice cream café

Raspberry and Abricot ice cream balls at Tychy

Attractions of Vienna’s 10th district, right behind the main train station

1 Kommentar

  1. Hallo Daniel,
    Saugeiler Blog! Schön zu sehen, dass es noch andere Leute gibt, die solche Dinge wie Grenzübergänge interessant finden. Ich bin Deutscher und habe die letzten Jahre in Neuseeland gelebt, jetzt bin ich auf meiner ersten großen Reise (derzeit in Vanuatu – ich habe nach Infos zur Big Sista gesucht und so Passport Party gefunden) und hoffe, selbst einer solchen Party beizuwohnen.
    Gestern und heute habe ich nahezu alle deine Einträge hier gelesen, derart faszinierend ist deine Reise. Um nicht zu sagen, inspirierend! Vielleicht trifft man sich ja eines Tages mal an einer außergewöhnlichen Grenze – Hyder, Alaska (USA)/Stewart, British Columbia (Kanada) z. B.!
    Beste Grüße von Tanna,


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