On Lake Constance in Germany, the third-largest lake in Europe lays the largest city Konstanz. This city is exceptional and famous because it survived World War II and managed to stay intact. That is because it geographically in proximity to Switzerland, the neutral and unaffected country during the war. All the bombings and destructions were at bay from this beautiful city, which contains architectural charms and other attractions all within the water’s vicinity.
It is one of the most well-liked holiday destinations in Germany. The city has so much to offer, including medieval remains, historical and classical museums, and of course Lake Constance, which can give you the vibes of sitting by a beach. The streets have an array of cafes and restaurants to please your fancy for fun, recreation, and gastronomy. From May to October, every first Friday is a celebration with a party outside that covers street food, live music, beverages, and a flea market.
The history of Konstanz dates back to over 1000 years, with many of its buildings in Old Town or Niederburg. You will notice the buildings’ construction dates across their façade. Take a stroll on old cobblestone streets because that’s where the noblemen and emperors took their leisurely walks. The city boasts of both ancient and contemporary appeal, attracting numerous tourists every year.
If this city is on your travel list, here are some attractions you can’t miss.
17. Herosé Park
There cannot be a better way to complete your visit to Konstanz than the Herosé Park, where an old textile factory stood. Traveling and exploring can be exhausting, and you might need a break to re-energize. The park offers calm and relaxing afternoons. It is one of the most sought-after parks in Constance.
If you are a nature-person and love spending time outdoors, Herosé Park is the perfect place. It prospers shady trees all around, and the well-cared tender grass fills the ground completely. It is an ideal place to sit alone and reflect while you absorb nature. Alternatively, you can bring your family along and enjoy making use of the barbecue and picnic areas. Your children can also have a delightful time at the playground or in the swimming pool.
The Herosé Park also serves as a great place to bike and jog. It is clean and well-maintained with an artificial lake and some wells that used to supply water to the textile factory.
16. Botanical Garden of the University of Konstanz
If you are a plant lover, you can’t miss the Botanical Garden. The University of Konstanz maintains this garden taking care of a variety of lovely blooms and decorative plants. You will come across 1400 unique species of plants thriving in greenhouses, outdoors or indoors.
The garden has an array of flowers with different colors along with fruit trees and other plants from different parts of the world. The garden also has plants that are only native to Lake Constance, which you will not find anywhere else. The regional plants include reed plants and beach grass, among others.
There are also rich wild herbs that serve medicinal purposes and herbs for culinary uses.
The garden spreads on 1.5 hectares of land and situates 250 meters from the campus in the northwest direction. It is open on weekdays, and there is no entry fee to explore the garden.
15. Holy Trinity Church
The Holy Trinity Church was formerly the Augustinian monastery church from the late 13th century. It remained the same up until 1802. The church became to be known as one of the most significant churches in Konstanz.
The church has continued to serve various purposes over the years. The building’s architecture is simplistic yet adorns late Gothic frescoes along with elaborate Baroque plaster ornamentation and artworks.
It was in 1388 that this white, three-story stone building with a hip-beveled roof came into being. It was formerly a warehouse and a granary until the election of Pope Martin V in 1417.
In the present day, this building is a concert and conference hall that can accommodate 600 people. If you arrive at Konstanz from Friedrichshafen by Katamaran, the first building you will see after leaving the boat is the Konzilgebäude on the right.
The historic walls of this building encircle a restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Indulge in gastronomical delight while taking a magnificent view of Lake Constance. It is the largest preserved medieval building in Southern Germany, and the building also serves as a ballroom and conger center since 1912.
13. Hus Haus
The Hus-Haus museum situates in one of the oldest remaining buildings, the half-timbered house, Schnetztor. It reflects the life and works of Jan Hus, a 15-century martyr. The story behind the museum is quite fascinating.
Jan Hus had to uphold his doctrine before the Council of Constance when following the criticism from the church. They sentenced him to death on 6th July 1415 as they deemed him a non-conformist. The museum was once Jan Hus’s hostel before they arrested him in 1414. Since 1980, The Hus-Haus became to be known as a permanent museum for exhibition.
The museum also accommodates the office for the Association of Cities with Hussite History and Tradition since 2007. From this office that 18 German and Czech cities foster lively engagements between their citizens against the backbone of thought and movement of the Hussite world.
12. Kaiserbrunnen (Emperor’s Fountain)
One of the most famous attractions for visitors who come to Konstanz is the Emperor’s Fountain. It situates in the heart of the city and portrays four emperors of different dynasties from Germany. It was in 1897 that the names of all the emperors earned their display on a bronze seal.
There are also other objects in the fountain, including a bust of an empress, a three-headed peacock, a peace document of Constance, and two doves. The fountain runs with water flowing from the mouths of six lake-hares and streams into a round vessel.
The fountain also has a horse statue standing near the vessel. You can take your children to the fountain and let them mount the horse. You can get a majestic view of the lake from the fountain.
11. Konstanzer Obermarkt
What’s a vacation without shopping? Head over to Konstanz Upper Market, or the Konstanzer Obermarkt, for some retail therapy. The picturesque ambiance makes the experience more pleasurable. The upper market has long alleys with an array of pattern-painted houses. Stroll through the market and witness coffee houses, restaurants, and shop hemming the street.
The market offers everything you may need at reasonable rates. Browse to shop for foods, pastries, wine, clothes, dry goods, and shoes. There are also curio shops where you will find fascinating items you can buy as souvenirs.
10. Casino Konstanz
Casino Konstanz may be average-sized or even small, but what it lacks in size, it makes up with the action-packed experience. It is a full-service casino covering everything, be it roulette, blackjack, poker, and all other table games and slots. There are three tables for No-Limit Texas Hold ‘em that run daily. The majority of the games are slots with some jackpots that you can play with local prize pools and progressives.
Men need to comply with a dress code and wear a shirt and a jacket to play table games. If you don’t have a jacket, the casino has a few handy that you can borrow.
The games aside, you can wine and dine in the in-house Italian restaurant. The bar offers beers, mixed beverages, cocktails, and a choice of wines till the time the casino is open.
9. Rosengarten Museum
The Rosengarten Museum is home to the art, culture, and history of Konstanz. It began with a local pharmacist’s aspiration to safeguard medieval artworks and masterpieces. He began to gather all things he considered valuable, from figurines and sculptures to religious art and ancient tools. His hard work paid off when his collection found a constant home in this museum.
The museum exhibits everything ranging from artworks to cultural artifacts from the city. It formerly used to be a guildhall for pharmacists, butchers, and shop-owners. A museum called Leinersaal within the museum showcases fossils, rocks, and glacial discoveries from the Bronze Age.
8. The Zeppelin Museum
Across the waters of Lake Constance lies Friedrichshafen, the hometown of Count Ferdinand von Zepplin. That is the site of the Zeppelin museum of aviation history. The museum opened in 1932 and covers everything Zeppelin along with a recreated segment of the largest airship ever made during the 1937 disaster, namely Hindenburg. The top floor features an exquisite art collection.
If you have an insatiable appetite for flying, book an airship to take you as high as 1,000 feet above. Take an aerial view of the lake and the areas in its vicinity. Gaze through every direction as you walk freely in the ship. You can get a clear view of the picturesque landscape, mountains, and lake at this height. The trips vary between 20-120 minutes.
7. Bodensee-Therme Konstanz
Spa culture is very prevalent in Germany, and they give high importance to taking out time to chill and relax. That said, Bodensee-Therme Konstanz is a thermal spa right on the waters of Lake Constance. The open-air pool is open all summer and spreads across 50 meters with slides to amuse children and adults alike.
You can switch to warm and comfortable thermal baths in winters, which otherwise is also open all year round. The provisions include a steam bath, sauna, plunge pool, sanitarium, and a relaxation room with snacks.
6. The Three City Towers
Out of all the medieval barricades, only three towers remain now in Konstanz. Visit all three as you take a lovely walk from the Rhine River to the old town’s northern tip.
The Jewish citizens of Konstanz built the Pulverturm in 1321. The walls are 2 meters thick, making them sturdy and robust.
The second tower, Rheintorturm, was a bridge gate on the River Rhine. The Constance Carnival Museum now situates there. It is a place of celebration as it provides visitors an all-year-round party place. The tower adorns a red pyramid-shaped roof and 40 life-sized carnival figures.
Lastly, on the southern side of the old town is the Schnetztor. It serves as a photography prop for tourists owing to its lovely half-timbered façade and grey wooden-tiled roof.
5. The Annual Wine Festival
The wine harvest in Konstanz takes place in fall, and if you are there around that season, you are in for a treat. The Komm und See summer wine festival and the annual Weinfest in Meersburg offer you an excellent opportunity to mingle with the locals. The Dornfelder, Müller-Thurgau, and Pinot noir grape wines are supposedly the best wine in the area.
While you are exploring the wine, don’t miss the famous dünnele, the regional pizza delicacy. The toppings are sumptuous, such as bacon, frischkäse, and onion. Another specialty is the whitefish, a product of the lake.
In case you miss the festival, you can always enjoy a few glasses beside the lake anytime in the year you please.
4. Island Hopping
There are mainly three islands off the shore of Konstanz that will make your leisure time worthwhile.
Firstly, the Mainau Island is a garden of 110 acres. The greenhouses and a plethora of flowers make this island famous. There are thousands of butterflies, over 10,000 rose bushes and a baroque palace from the 13th century. The breathtaking beauty of this island makes it one of the most-visited sites. It welcomes over 2 million tourists every year. You can reach this place by boat or bridge walkway. There is an entrance fee, but it is open throughout the year from dawn to dusk.
Head towards the west of the city, and you will find Reichenau Island. It is basically the remnants of a Benedictine monastery from 724 C.E. The island features churches of St. Peter and St. Paul, St. Mary and Marcus, and St. George and their architecture and wall murals.
Lastly, on the opposite side of the lake floats the Lindau Island. A lighthouse and a Bavarian lion guard the excellent harbor. The island also has half-timbered buildings from medieval times.
3. Pfahlbaumuseum Unteruhldingen
The pre-historic stilt houses were ancient accommodations from 5,000 to 500 B.C.E. They are prevalent all around the Alps, with 18 in Germany out of the total 111. The discovery of these stilt houses is due to excavations from the Neolithic and Bronze Ages.
These houses originally stood on stilts above swampy areas, but they appear to be water now due to the rise in water level.
The open museum opened in 1922 to spread awareness about its history to visitors. The houses went through repairs over time. You can take a guided tour to go back to the time on the lives of fishermen, farmers, and the families who lived here. You can also indulge in activities like making fire or ax-making.
2. Konstanzer Münster (Cathedral)
The magnificent cathedral of Konstanz was formerly a bishopric church of Konstanz till 1821. The building adorns Gothic and Romanesque design and continually goes through an upgrade to reflect the present and up-to-date style. Its steeple pierces high into the sky, making it visible to the entire city.
Before you enter the cathedral, pause right there to adore the glass pyramid that shields the Römersiedlung, the remains of Constantia, a Roman fort. The city derived its very name from it. After you get a glimpse of the creation, you can also take a full tour by paying a nominal fee at the tourist office.
The cathedral’s interior has a Romanesque roof that is panted-wood from 1637, the spiral staircase from the 15th century, a thousand-year-old crypt, and a central doorway. Climb the tower to take a heavenly view of the city and Lake Constance.
1. Konstanz Harbor
The Lake Constance, or Bodensee in German, had to top the list. The city’s epic landmark, also the Konstanz Harbor, is a walkway that begins at the Rhine Bridge trails the harbor. Take a stroll along the pine-tree lined boulevard as you witness several cafes on the sidewalks along with famed townhouses and buildings like the trading house, Kaufhaus, from 1388.
You can carry on with the walk all over the lake, taking the Lake Constance Trail, or how the Germans refer to as Bodensee-Rundwanderweg. This trail passes by various nature reserves, for instance, the Wollmatinger Ried Untersee-Gnadensee. There are almost 300 species of birds and 600 distinct types of flora in this reserve.
The starting point of the harbor has the statue of Imperia. It evoked controversies during its raising in 1993 as its satirical connotation was of a 9-meter tall courtesan holding a pitiful Pope Martin V and Emperor Sigismund. But it eventually became the landmark of the Konstanz. The statue turns around from its base and tells Balzac’s short story, La Belle Impéria.
You can also take a boat to the water. The boat trips operate from mid-April to mid-October from the harbor to Überlingen to Kreuzlingen to Lindau.