Lake Constance is a lake on the Rhine on the northern foot of the Alps. It shares its shores with Austria, Switzerland and Germany. We have 4 hotels situated around Lake Constance, the Barbarossa and Steigenberger in Konstanz town, Seehotel am Kaiserstrand in Lochau and Reutemann Seegarten and Bayerischerhof in Lindau. Spreading my time around these different resorts I spend alot of time on the “white fleet”, Constance’s large fleet of passenger ferries that travel between towns and attractions on the lake. There are over 160 different attractions, museums and places of interests to visit on and around Lake Constance, here are just a few suggestions on places to visit during your stay.
“The Island of flowers” – for anyone that has interest in gardening, horticulture or generally just has a love of the outdoors this is definitely a must see! It took a Swedish price to transform Mainau into the floral paradise that we see today. In 1932, Count Lennart Bernadotte began to devote his passion for horticulture to this small island on Lake Constance.
The easiest way to reach the island is of course by boat, Mainau Island can easily be explored by foot, covering 45 hectares in total. The gardens have thousands of varieties of flowers, trees and shrubs. Peering above the tree line you can find the beautiful Baroque Mainau Palace dating back to the 13th century. Mainau also hosts Germany’s largest butterfly house with a selection of thousands of species of butterflies, tropical plants and birds.
The town of Meersburg is one of the largest tourist centres on Lake Constance. The medieval and Mediterranean flair of the town, its vineyards, two castles and many museums are located in the charismatic cobbled streets. I would say the main attraction that draws tourists into the town is Meersburg Old Castle which dates back to 1526, located next to the old castle is Meersburgs new castle which was built in the mid 1700s. After exploring the many attractions of the town, including the wine museum, tapestry studio, bible gallery and churches, head down towards the lake front where you are spoiled for choice with numerous cafes, restaurants and ice-cream shops, which are perfect to rest your legs with a large glass of local wine and enjoy the stunning scenery of Lake Constance.
Date for your diary: 12th August – 14th August
The 40th Bodensee Wine Festival, taste the many different wines from the Lake Constance region and gain an overview of the local wine culture. Also a musical program and marching band.
The largest waterfall in Europe created back in the ice age almost 15,000 years ago! The falls are 23m high and 150m wide, during the summer months 600,000 litres on water cascade over the cliffs.
Getting to Rhine falls is easy, you can either take the boat cruise up the Rhine River which stops at Schifflande Schaffhausen, and from here you take the “Rhine fall bus” to schlossli worth. Another option is of course is to take the quicker journey (yet certainly not as enjoyable) by train. Trains run into Schaffhausen, from here it’s either a 10 minute walk to the falls or jump on bus no 1 which will take you up to schlossli worth.
Date for your diary: 10th July – 20th July
Medieval tournament in Schaffhausen, historical event with jousting competitions, falconry shows, medieval games and authentic music performances.
Friedrichafen unlike the majority of towns on the lake has a slightly newer feel to its streets but is still certainly not one to be missed. It was almost entirely destroyed in WW2 as the metalwork’s and armaments industry in the town made it a target for bombers.
Friedrichafen is of course most well known for the Zepplin museum which is located right infront of the harbour. Inside you can learn about the history and technology of the zeppelins and there is even a partial model of the “Hindenburg” in its original size. A sight that is often spotted in the skies on above Lake Constance is of course the zeppelin, short passenger flights are available over the lake, however these are extremely popular and are near impossible to secure a seat of one of these flights in resort. (Flight bookings and enquiries 0049 754159000)
Date for the diary: 17th July – 21st July
Seehasenfest, traditional city festival at the promenade, jousting competition, live music, great procession.
Pfander cable car- Bregenz
Located on the Austrian shores of Lake Constance the Pfander is a 1064m high mountain north east of Bregenz, the highest point in the region. The ascent and decent can be tackled in various ways; hiking, cycling or taking the pfander cable car. A museum dedicated to the Pfander cable car and mountain is located in the valley. There are often daily falconry shows (11am and 2.30pm) at the summit, and an alpine park where you may spot local fauna including ibexes, wide boar and marmots.
Defiantly worth the journey for keen hikers and those that enjoy the great outdoors, there are well signposted paths that can lead you for an all day hike or just an hour. For those not feeling adventurous it’s defiantly worth a visit just for the views itself, the Austrian Alps and a full view of Lake Constance stretching over 3 countries.
Date for you diary: 29th August – 31st August
Bregenz Harbour Festival. Music performance, culinary delights and special drinks, wide variety of stalls and stands with local products and produce.