Lake Constance is almost an inland sea, so large is it, and framed by impressive landscapes and the majestic Alps. But two weeks at a stretch just swimming, feasting and gazing at mountains? Admittedly, it also sounds heavenly – but if your children or fellow travellers don’t see it that way, you’ll find the best tips for excursion destinations around Lake Constance on this page.
Experience Lake Constance
Most people who travel to Lake Constance want one thing: to see the lake itself. But because the lake is so huge that you can’t see from one shore to the other in most places, it takes almost two weeks to explore it on foot. So alternatives are needed.
The most common option is certainly a boat trip. From almost every major shore community, excursion boats take off and land all the time to take you across the lake. They will show you the most hidden corners of Lake Constance and of course take you to the islands, all of which are wonderfully suited for a day trip.
If you want to admire the lake and the surrounding regions from a bird’s eye view, look to Friedrichshafen: a zeppelin takes off from there several times a day, comfortably taking you either to specific excursion destinations such as the Lindau shore or showing you the entire Lake Constance from the air in a two-hour tour. Less expensive and with a direct view of Linda, however, you have a similarly great view from the nearby Pfänder.
Islands in Lake Constance
Anyone who visits Lake Constance for longer than a weekend must set off at least once for one of the large islands. If only to avoid having to look sheepishly at the ground when asked “Have you been to Mainau/Reichenau/Lindau?”
If you are really only going to Lake Constance for a short holiday, Lindau is therefore recommended as a holiday destination. The Bavarian district town has its entire old town on the island of Lindau in Lake Constance, which you can reach either via a bridge or the railway embankment, and which is also often visited by guests from other Lake Constance towns.
Of course, the other two large Lake Constance islands, Reichenau and Mainau, are also worth a visit. On the latter, you will find exotic vegetation all year round that is otherwise only known from large botanical gardens, which is why the island is also known as the flower island.
The island of Reichenau, on the other hand, is known as the “vegetable island” because of the many cultivated areas where amazingly good vegetables grow thanks to an above-average number of sunny days. Thanks to the Benedictine monastery here, which is well worth seeing, it is even a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Attractions: Castles and palaces on Lake Constance
Southern Germany is known throughout the world for its castles, fortresses and impressive monasteries, and the Lake Constance region is home to some of the most beautiful. If you are particularly interested in ancient buildings, you can expect a lot of culture in Baden-Württemberg, especially in Meersburg.
Although the small town has just over 5,500 inhabitants, it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors, especially in summer. One of the reasons for this is Meersburg Castle, where the prince-bishops from Constance used to reside. It is also home to the baroque New Castle from the 18th century. Both buildings are a magnificent sight from Lake Constance and are always worth a visit.
Just like the buildings in Meersburg, the monastery and castle in Salem also have ecclesiastical origins: originally built as a Cistercian abbey, the magnificent Baroque building was converted into a castle by the Baden market counts in the 19th century.
The grounds in Salem therefore combine like no other austere, visually cold Gothic buildings such as the cathedral with Baroque splendour as in its prelacy. If you want to visit the monastery and Salem Castle in their entirety, you should definitely plan a whole day.
Culture and history at Lake Constance
Want more history and art? No problem! Around Lake Constance you will find a wide range of museums. Among them are highlights for technology fans like the Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen, but also small historical treasures like the Former Imperial City Library in the old town hall of Lindau.
If you’re looking for history you can touch, head to the Lake Dwelling Museum in Unteruhldingen on Lake Constance. In the reconstructed pile dwellings, you can experience how people lived in the years 4,000 to 800 BC and marvel at exhibits from the Stone and Bronze Ages. They have lasted a particularly long time in Lake Constance, so you can even see ancient burnt grain porridge and other masterpieces of Stone Age cooking here.
Adventure on Lake Constance
Between all the sightseeing and the vast amount of culture, however, at some point you also want to go directly into and onto Lake Constance itself. But that’s no problem thanks to the countless water sports on offer: from windsurfing to sailing to kayaking, everything is available here. While you can do all this on other lakes, there is one attraction only here: the Rhine Falls.
Granted, it is a little more than 20 kilometres east of Lake Constance, but the breathtaking natural spectacle is worth every trip. The waterfall in the Rhine is the largest and most water-rich waterfall in all of Europe, 23 metres wide and 150 metres long. Adventure-seekers can take a round trip here to get very close to the waterfall and be dropped off on a nearby rock island.