Lake Constance is so big it is almost an inland sea, and it is framed by impressive landscapes and the majestic Alps. However, going swimming, eating good food and looking at mountains for an entire fortnight? Admittedly, that may sound like heaven to most of us – but if your kids or travel companions disagree, you will find the best tips for day trip destinations around Lake Constance here.
The Lake Constance experience
People visit Lake Constance usually do so above all for the obvious reason: to see the lake itself. However, precisely because it is so huge that in most places, you cannot see the opposite shore, it takes almost two weeks to explore it on foot. You therefore need to consider alternative modes of transport.
The most frequently chosen option is probably boat trip. Cruise ships that will take you across the lake at a leisurely pace constantly depart from and arrive at almost every larger community along its shores. They will reveal Lake Constance’s most hidden corners to you and will of course also take you across to the islands that are all perfect day trip destinations.
The lake and its surroundings can also be admired from the bird’s eye perspective: all you have to do is to travel to Friedrichshafen. You can catch an airship to certain popular day trip destinations like the Lindau promenade from there, or see all of Lake Constance from above on a two-hour round trip. The airships take off several times a day. A more affordable way to enjoy views across Lindau that are almost as spectacular is climbing the nearby Pfänder Mountain.
Islands in Lake Constance
If you’re visiting Lake Constance for longer than a weekend, you should go on at least one day trip to one of the large islands. For a start, so you won’t be embarrassed when people ask you “Did you go to Mainau/Reichenau/Lindau?”
If you are taking a short break in the Lake Constance region, it is therefore a good idea to actually stay in Lindau, as all of the Bavarian district town’s historic town centre is situated on the island of Lindau in Lake Constance, and can be reached either via a bridge or along the railway embankment. It is also a popular day trip destination for visitors staying elsewhere in the region.
Of course, the other two large islands in Lake Constance are also worth a visit Reichenau and Mainau. On the latter, exotic plants usually only found in botanic gardens grow all year round; that is why it is also known as the “island of flowers”.
The island of Reichenau, on the other hand, is also called the “island of vegetables” as it is home to numerous fields where vegetable are grown; they are of a remarkably good quality due to the above-average annual sunshine hours. The island is even a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as there is also a famous Benedictine abbey on it.
Day trip destinations: Castles and palaces in the Lake Constance region
Southern Germany is famous all over the world for its palaces, castles and impressive abbeys and monasteries. A great number of these are situated in the Lake Constance region. Baden-Württemberg has a lot to offer to visitors with a special interest in historic buildings and cultural heritage, particularly the town of Meersburg.
Although it is only a small town with a population of just over 5,500, it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, especially in the summer. One of the reasons for this is Meersburg Castle, the former seat of the Prince-Bishops of Constance. Another is the baroque New Castle, which dates from the 18th century. Both buildings together are a grand sight when viewed from Lake Constance and always worth a visit.
Just like these buildings in Meersburg, the monastery and Salem Palace also have a religious background: Originally built as a Cistercian monastery, the Margrave of Baden converted the grand baroque building into a palace in the 19th century.
Hence, Salem is one of the few places in the world where a severe, visually cold gothic building like the minster is situated adjacent to a building of such baroque splendour as the prelate’s residence. You should certainly set a whole day aside if you want to tour the monastery and the palace.
Culture and history in the Lake Constance area
You’d like even more history and art? No problem! The area around Lake Constance has plenty of museums to offer. These include highlights for technology fans like the Zeppelin-Museum in Friedrichshafen as well as hidden gems for history buffs like the Ehemals Reichsstädtische Bibliothek, the historic library in Lindau’s old town hall.
Local history is brought to life in Unteruhldingen by Lake Constance in the Pile Dwellings Museum. In reconstructed pile dwellings, you can experience how the locals lived 800 to 4000 BC, and admire exhibits from the Stone and Bronze Ages. These were preserved particularly well in the area around Lake Constance and even include burnt porridge and other masterpieces of Stone Age haute cuisine.
Adventures on Lake Constance
However, in between all of these day trips and the cornucopia of culture, visitors usually also want to actually venture out onto Lake Constance itself. Again this poses no problem, thanks to the sheer endless variety of water sports on offer, which include anything from windsurfing to sailing and kayak tours. Whilst you can also pursue these sports on a lot of other lakes, there is one water feature that is unique: the Rhine Falls.
Admittedly, these are located slightly more than 20 kilometres to the east of Lake Constance, but the breathtaking natural spectacle is worth every effort. With a width of 23 metres and a length of 150 metres, the Rhine Falls are Europe’s biggest and most voluminous waterfalls. Thrill seekers can take a round trip to a rocky island nearby to see them up close.