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Where is it most beautiful on Lake Constance? The most beautiful best places on Lake Constance take you on a fascinating journey through time, to magnificent buildings, idyllic lakeside promenades and enchanted flower paradises. These magical places should definitely not be missed.
Turquoise water, World Heritage Island, paradisiacal vegetation and countless excursion destinations where holiday feeling comes up like at an Italian lake. Lake Constance, the Swabian Sea beloved by the Swabians, is Germany’s largest lake with 536 km² on German soil. It borders on the three-country corner and is located in an enormously scenic area in the foothills of the Alps between Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Beautiful towns with historic old towns, picturesque harbours, charming lakeside promenades and lovely beaches nestle on Lake Constance. Some of the best places to visit on Lake Constance recommended here are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are unparalleled anywhere else in the world.
Culturally, there is an infinite amount to discover at Lake Constance and the landscape, which is almost Mediterranean due to the warm Lake Constance climate, cannot be found anywhere else in Germany. During my studies I spent many weeks in Constance and since I was a child I have spent many holidays at Lake Constance and got to know and love it.
These 17 magical places are a varied mix of my personal highlights among the many destinations on Lake Constance. All are perfect for a relaxing or exciting day trip with the family or as a weekend getaway with friends or as a couple to unwind and enjoy. Most of Lake Constance belongs to Baden-Württemberg, but Bavaria also borders it. On Abenteuer Freundschaft you will find even more recommendations for places of longing and destinations in Baden-Württemberg and tips for activities in Bavaria and other federal states.
For me, Lake Constance is closely linked to two passions of my childhood and youth: sailing and the discovery of my fascination for (art) history and the early history of mankind. For it was here that I experienced my first journey back in time to a forgotten, enchanted world that slumbers at the bottom of Lake Constance and can be experienced in Germany’s oldest open-air museum: the Bronze and Ice Ages. Later, I was enthralled by the unique paintings in St. George on the Reichenau and the many magnificent castles, monasteries and patrician houses in the old towns. Some of my favourite best places on Lake Constance take us on a journey back in history.
For years, every spring and summer I went sailing to Lake Constance with my boat on the trailer. This is how I closely connect the harbours of Constance, Überlingen, Friedrichshafen, Lindau and Bregenz and I experienced Lake Constance in the most beautiful way: from the water without a car! I recommend everyone to go to most of the destinations on Lake Constance by ferry or boat – it’s usually quicker anyway and even getting there is fun!
Fascination of history. Touch, experience, marvel and discover on 800m of trail. Germany’s oldest archaeological open-air museum is a highly recommended excursion destination on Lake Constance and takes us on a journey back in time to the Stone and Bronze Ages. The tour first takes us through a lakeside forest, as it was everywhere around Lake Constance around 10,000 years ago. This is followed by Stone Age villages on the beach and the famous reconstructed 23 pile dwellings, which are modelled on a Bronze Age settlement on the water and can be explored via footbridges on Lake Constance.
In the museum, in stations and on the Stone Age Trail, history becomes vivid and tangible. More than 1000 original finds from the World Heritage Sites on Lake Constance are exhibited there. We learn fascinating facts about illness and medicines from the Ice Age and can take a look into Uhldi’s kitchen: an activity area that demonstrates what the Ice Age people ate and how they prepared it. This one of the best places on Lake Constance is worthwhile for everyone, and there is also enough to keep children excited.
The best way to reach the Lake Dwelling Museum in Unteruhldingen is by boat: the landing stage of the Lake Constance Navigation Company is only 5 minutes away.
The magnificent Birnau Monastery is beautifully situated between vineyards on Lake Constance. On a leisurely hike of around 7 kilometres from Uhldingen to Mühlhofen and back to Uhldingen, you can experience the beautiful surroundings with the vineyards and magnificent views over Lake Constance particularly well.
The hike takes you a little way along the historic prelates’ path, which was once used to bring goods from Salem Monastery to Maurach. From the panorama terrace of the Birnau Monastery, you can then enjoy a magnificent view over Lake Constance. You should definitely take a look inside the magnificently decorated church, it is one of the most magnificent churches of the Swabian Baroque.
Tours of the Birnau Monastery are possible on weekdays from 9.15 am and on Sundays from 12.30 pm.
Once upon a time, the former 12th century Cistercian monastery of Salem was one of the wealthiest and most powerful imperial abbeys in southern Germany. Today, the ensemble with its beautiful courtyard garden, the former pharmacy, the idyllic rectory, abbey and minster, long building with stables and farm buildings is still largely preserved. Here the journey takes you back to the Middle Ages and the Baroque period, when the Salem monastery complex was splendidly furnished.
Today, craftsmen work in the former stables and barns and you can look over their shoulders as they work.
A boarding school has also been housed here for 100 years. The buildings of the impressive complex house a glass distillery, a distillery museum and a fire brigade museum with beautiful historic fire engines. A trip to Salem Monastery is a visit of one of the best places on Lake Constance where there is also plenty of excitement for children.
“The magnificent ruin Montfort situated on a headland-, the most beautiful I have ever seen.”
This is what the famous poet Anette von Droste-Hülshoff wrote in a letter about the ruin that once stood on the spot where Montfort Castle now rises. Today’s fairytale castle, which Wilhelm I had built there in the 19th century, looks oriental.
Montfort Castle with its grandiose location is one of the most beautiful photo motifs on Lake Constance. Today it houses a restaurant where you can have brunch in the style of the castle.
It is possible to climb the tower of Montfort Castle. From the top, you have a magnificent view from this one of the best places on Lake Constance across the lake and the countryside to the Alps.
The small town of Meersburg lies directly on the shore of Lake Constance. Travel guides praise it as the most beautiful town on Lake Constance – that’s debatable, but Lindau with its beautiful harbour is definitely on a par with it for me. Meersburg is picturesquely nestled in vineyards and its small town centre with its historic old town can be easily explored on foot in one day.
Sights that should not be missed in Meersburg are the castle, the new palace and the beautiful alleys in the old town. The castle’s most famous resident is Anette von Droste-Hülshoff, a fascinating poet who once adorned the 5-DM note and was friends with the great poets and thinkers of her time.
No holiday on Lake Constance is complete without a boat trip. A nice boat trip by ferry takes you from Friedrichshafen across the lake to Romanshorn on the opposite side in Switzerland. Around the lake this trip would be 70 km long, across Lake Constance the crossing takes 45 minutes, during which you have wonderful views over Lake Constance.
On the ferry you can enjoy a piece of cake and a cup of coffee while the wind blows around your nose.
The Romanshorn – Friedrichshafen ferry runs every hour.
Reichenau is famous for its three Romanesque churches, which belonged to the Reichenau Monastery. Vegetables, wine and herbs are grown on the largest island in Lake Constance, offering good restaurants with regional specialities and an idyllic setting for a lovely day trip.
For all those interested in culture, it is worth visiting the three Romanesque churches on the Reichenau, which were built between the 9th and 12th centuries. The Ottonian or late Carolingian wall paintings in the church of St. George are famous. The paintings are uniquely well preserved and one of the only churches north of the Alps to give an impression of how a sacred space was painted before the turn of the millennium.
The best way to reach Reichenau Island is by ferry from Allensbach near Constance.
Are we in the tropics or in Italy? After the short crossing from Constance by boat, the first palm trees and exotic flowers soon catch your eye. Mediterranean, subtropical and tropical plants grow on the island of Mainau and a blooming paradise awaits us there at any time of year.
The island is home to historical buildings worth seeing, such as the baroque Teutonic Order Castle with its castle church, the picturesque Gardener’s Tower and Swede’s Tower and Germany’s second-largest butterfly house.
But above all, visitors come to the flower island of Mainau for the plants: the arboretum with 500 rare tree species, the orchid show from April in the palm house and the sensational spring avenue with its splendour of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths in spring. In May and June, rhododendrons and azaleas bloom luxuriantly, and in summer, over 500 different types of roses blossom in the Italian Rose Garden. In the South Garden, some 20,000 dahlia bushes bloom from autumn to October. A sea of flowers awaits you here at any time of year!
The view from the zeppelin over Lake Constance is a dream when visibility is good. From below, some people will certainly ask themselves: What does the Zeppelin have to do with Lake Constance? Time and again, you see the majestic airship hovering over Lake Constance.
The inventor of the Zeppelin – Ferdinand Adolf Heinrich August Graf von Zeppelin was born in Constance and founded the Zeppelin-Wohlfahrt GmbH in Friedrichshafen in 1913. In Friedrichshafen, it is worth visiting the Zeppelin Museum, which has 1,500 original exhibits and many historical sound, film and image recordings and brings the history of aviation to life through multimedia.
Or you can go on a zeppelin journey on the Zeppelin Trail, which leads to important places with themed panels. Zeppelins have been built again in Friedrichshafen since the 1990s.
Constance has a beautiful old town with lots of cute little shops for shopping, strolling and sightseeing. You can explore it on foot in a relaxed way. Sights that you should definitely visit in the old town are the Kaiserbrunnen (Emperor’s Fountain) and the Constance Cathedral of Our Lady with the beautiful alleyways around it. From the tower of the cathedral you have a great view over the city to Lake Constance!
On the promenade in Constance is the town’s landmark: Imperial, the world’s largest monument to a courtesan. Constance’s “Statue of Liberty” stands at the end of the walkway and rotates once around its own axis in about 4 minutes. There is also another popular photo motif in the water: the old ferry Konstanz.
It is worth walking to the Rhine bridge. From there you have the best view of Seestraße, where some of the most beautiful historic houses in Constance are located.
Überlingen is a pretty little town right on the shore of Lake Constance with a beautiful 5-kilometre-long lakeside promenade with lots of cafés and restaurants. The old town is also worth a visit. Historic patrician houses, the imposing town hall with its late Gothic council chamber and St. Nicolaus Minster characterise the townscape. The former city fortifications form a green belt around the old town of the former Free Imperial City.
The city garden, which was laid out in 1875, is impressive. There are impressive giant trees, Mediterranean and exotic plants, and narrow paths wind through rocks and lead to enchanted, flower-covered arbours. The best way to explore the garden city is on the signposted Garden Culture Trail, which runs for 4 kilometres through the most beautiful gardens and parks.
Lindau is situated on a harbour island. The town has a charming old town with narrow alleys and colourfully painted houses. Maximillianstrasse leads through the old town with Bismarckplatz square, the Gothic town hall, which is well worth seeing, and some of the most beautiful patrician houses from the Middle Ages.
Lindau harbour offers one of the most beautiful photo motifs. Ships enter the harbour here between the New Lighthouse and the Bavarian Lion. Lindau’s harbour with its two landmarks is fantastically beautiful in the blue hour when dusk falls and, for me, is one of the most beautiful harbours in the whole of Germany.
Eye to eye with monkeys without fences and bars, that’s what you get at Affenberg near Salem. The main attraction in the zoo is its 200 Barbary macaques that live freely in the natural forest. Germany’s largest monkey enclosure is around 20 hectares in size. Lake Constance offers climatic conditions similar to those in the monkeys’ original homeland of Algeria and Morocco, and the monkeys live and behave there exactly as they would in their original homeland. Barbary macaques are threatened with extinction; there are only about 10,000 animals left worldwide. The Salem Monkey Mountain is more than just a tourist attraction. Research is also carried out there and about half of the total knowledge about Barbary macaques comes from the Affenberg.
Salem Ape Mountain is also home to a free-flying colony of white storks and a herd of fallow deer.
Salem Monkey Mountain is open from 10:00-17:30, depending on the season, and costs 9 euros admission for adults and 6 euros for children up to 14 years.
Who doesn’t have a Ravensburg board game in their cupboard? Ravensburg is known as a city of games, but it is also known as a city of towers and gates. Ravensburg became rich through trade, has beautiful houses, museums and towers. The most famous tower is the 51-metre-high Blaserturm from the 16th century, which offers a great view over the roofs of Ravensburg from its top.
If you look down on Ravensburg from the Veitsburg, you can see the many towers wonderfully. From there you have a great view over the city.
Rainy days fly by in the Ravensburger Museum. There are not only interesting facts about the history of Ravensburger games, but you can also try out many of the games yourself. Admission costs 10 euros for adults.
Bregenz is famous for the Bregenz Festival, which takes place here from June to August. Everyone who has experienced one of the spectacular opera performances right on Lake Constance is as impressed by it as I am. But a day trip to the capital of Vorarlberg is also worthwhile, because it has an old town worth seeing and an enchanting lakeside promenade.
Above the lakeside promenade is the upper town with its pretty winding lanes and half-timbered houses. From Bregenz’s landmark, the Martinsturm, you have a great view over the town.
On the lakeside promenade, sip a Prosecco in the white pavilion on the Fischersteg and take a look at one of the most beautiful photo motifs. This is where the famous Seebühne is located. Bregenz is one of the must-see destinations on Lake Constance for fans of opera.
Tip: On the lakeside promenade in Bregenz you can look north-west and experience sensational sunsets! Take a walk to the sunset steps, which the locals call Moll, for the best view.
The Pfänder, Lake Constance’s local mountain, rises on the eastern shore of Lake Constance. For the most beautiful view over Lake Constance, you can either put on your hiking boots or take the Pfänder cable car up to the top in comfort. The ride on the Pfänderbahn goes up to 1000 metres and takes only about 6 minutes. Once at the top, you can hike or stop for a drink with a fantastic view.
Several hiking trails lead up to the Pfänder on foot. You should plan 3 to 4.5 hours for the hike, depending on which tour you choose.
Tip: The sunset from the Pfänder is spectacular! However, the Pfänderbahn doesn’t go down into the valley that late in summer and you have to hike downhill. Or you ask in advance and pay 68 euros for a special descent at a later hour.
Water roaring, foaming spray and fine water mist spraying your face: the Rhine Falls are a natural spectacle. Europe’s largest waterfall is located 10km from the German border in Switzerland near Schaffhausen and is an ideal day trip from Lake Constance. The water falls 23 metres into the depths over a width of around 15 metres and you have a magnificent view of the natural spectacle from both banks.
On the south bank, where Lauf Castle also stands, there are viewing platforms at different heights from which you can experience the Rhine Falls at close quarters. A circular path with steps and a lift connects the plateaus. Admission costs € 5.
The north bank offers the most beautiful view of the Rhine Falls from a distance. It is the main spot for most of the photo motifs known from this worthwhile excursion destination.
Ah Lake Constance, you beautiful Swabian sea. You have many more sights and lesser-known places of longing than these 18 popular excursion destinations on Lake Constance. Enough for another article that takes you off the beaten track to favourite places. We go exploring all over Germany all year round and write about our highlights on Abenteuer Freundschaft. On our blog you’ll find lots of ideas for leisure activities and recommended excursions as well as all kinds of activities with friends, activities for two or with the family.
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