Things to Do in Lake Constance (Bodensee)

Lake Constance
Lake Constance | Photo by Luca N on Unsplash
Anwesha Ray

Lake Constance (Bodensee), nestled in the foothills of the Alps, straddles three countries—Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. As the sunniest area in Germany, this gorgeous stretch of water is a favorite holiday destination almost year-round. The lake laps the shores of picture-perfect towns; it also looks out to the majestic Alps and is steeped in culture and history.

Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.

Explore Konstanz town and harbor

Konstanz Port, Konstanz, Germany

The 11th-century Konstanz Minster dominating the skyline of Konstanz is an incredible sight, with an equally impressive interior. The cobblestoned Old Town is a great spot to stroll, thanks to its astonishing architecture, especially the historic Hohenzollernhaus and Rathaus. The Rosgarten Museum, Archäologisches Landesmuseum, and Hus-Haus Museum provide a generous dose of culture. The Konstanz harbor, with its sweeping vistas, is an incredible spot to slow down and enjoy the beauty of nature, and witnessing a sunset from there is an unforgettable experience.

Click gorgeous photos at Mainau

Mainau, the Flower Island, Konstanz, Germany

Mainau, the Flower Island, is a burst of colors off the shore of Lake Constance. The island is home to a million flowers and plants across a mind-boggling number of species. The look of the island changes with the seasons but is consistently mesmerizing, and the air above the island is always thick with the heady aroma of flowers. Mainau Castle, built in the 1700s, provides a fitting backdrop to this incredibly beautiful garden island. Mainau also has a butterfly garden and playgrounds, making it a perfect family destination.

Enjoy the beauty of Lindau’s harbor

Lindau is a town in Bavaria, Germany, known for its gorgeous panorama over the lake and historic architecture from the Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque eras. Lindau’s harbor is guarded by the two most famous landmarks of Lindau—the 33-meter-high (108 ft) lighthouse and the six-meter-high (19.6 ft) lion. The 20-meter-high (65.5 ft) Mangturm Tower with its glazed roof tiles remains an inspiring sight even after it lost its job to the new lighthouse. Travelers willing to climb 89 steps to the top of the tower are rewarded with uninterrupted views over the lake.

Walk down history at Meersburg Castle

The entrance of the old medieval Meersburg Castle

Meersburg Castle (Alte Burg) is the oldest inhabited fortress-castle in all of Germany; its history dates back to the 7th century. The castle, perched high above the lake, poses an impressive sight. The castle museum showcases the Knights Hall, Arms Hall, and ancient rooms. Visitors get to walk the corridors where the guards marched and see the vantage points from where they used to keep an eye on the surroundings. The creepy death chamber and the dungeon are also open to the public. The castle garden is a green oasis in which travelers can relax and slow down before continuing with their sightseeing.

Be mesmerized by the landscape of Allgäu

Allgäu, Germany

Many travelers agree that the Allgäu highland, sprawling over a large part of Bavarian Swabia and spilling over to Austria, is one of the most stunning landscapes in Europe. The area is dotted with mirror-like alpine lakes, swathes of dense forests and unbelievably quaint villages tucked into the lap of majestic mountains. Allgäu has also earned its reputation as a great wellness and health resort. It is also an excellent place to cycle, hike or ski.

Take a leisurely boat ride

Cruise ship on Lake Constance, Lindau, Germany

No trip to Lake Constance is complete without a boat ride. Catamarans, ferries, car ferries and cruise ships operated by multiple companies connect the towns and islands surrounding the lake. Boat trips on Lake Constance not only provide the opportunity to get up close to the lake but also open up an entirely different perspective of the surrounding towns that cannot be imagined from land. Nothing spells romance more effectively than watching the fierce red sun dip into the calm waters, and all from a boat in the middle of the lake.

Visit Salem Monastery and Palace

The Salem Monastery and Castle, a magnificent blend of Gothic and Baroque styles, is the most significant cultural landmark in the Lake Constance region. The massive and richly ornate complex leaves no doubt about the extent of wealth and power enjoyed by the former Cistercian abbey in the 1100s. Today, visitors to the palace get to experience a slice of the splendor that the heads of the imperial abbey were used to. The Gothic church never fails to drop jaws with its stunning alabaster interior designed in the 18th century.

Two countries in one day – Hop over to Bregenz, Austria

Bregenz, Austria

Bregenz, the capital of Vorarlberg, Austria, is perched on the southeastern shore of Lake Constance. This beautiful town is famous for its many excellent museums, vast lakeside summer opera, unique architecture and endless hiking and biking trails. The favorite thing for travelers to do here is to take the gondola to Pfänder Mountain, which promises unforgettable views of Lake Constance, the Swiss Alps, and Allgäu uplands.

See six countries together from the Säntis

Säntis, Switzerland

The 2,502-meter (8,209-foot) Säntis Mountain, on the Switzerland side of Lake Constance, towers over its surroundings. The Säntis Cableway takes visitors all the way up to the peak of Säntis Mountain. Those 10 minutes are usually the highlight of everyone’s holiday, as rarely in life do travelers get the chance to see six countries spread out below their feet! From the terrace and observation deck at the peak, visitors can continue being mesmerized by the views of Switzerland, Germany, Italy, France, Lichtenstein and Austria in all of their glory.

Travel to the Stone Age – Visit the Stilthouse Museum

Prehistoric stilt houses, like these on Lake Constance, open a window onto early agrarian life in Europe

It is now possible to travel back in time to the Stone and Bronze ages, thanks to the Stilthouse Museum (Pfahlbau Museum Unteruhldingen). This unique museum showcases reconstructed stilt houses belonging to the natives of this region between approximately 4300 BC and 800 BC. The museum offers guided tours and a wealth of information on the lives of the original inhabitants and their lifestyles.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,656 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article