The island of Mainau is a short drive away from Konstanz and has enough magic to keep visitors happy for the better part of a day. In Spring-Summer, over 200 varieties of rhododendron and azalea, almost 20,000 dahlias and 30,000 rose bushes across 500 species burst into dazzling colors and aroma across the island. Alongside, there are palm, bougainvillea, hundreds of deciduous and coniferous trees, a greenhouse, sculptures, fountains and an amazing butterfly garden.
The beautiful harbor town of Lindau lapped by Lake Konstanz simply cannot be missed on a trip to Konstanz. Lindau’s two most famous sights, the 33-meter-high (108 ft) lighthouse and the six-meter-high (19.6 ft) lion, greet you as you pull into the harbor. Follow the romantic cobbled streets to the historic old town of Lindau to be enamored by the medieval merchant residences and a series of Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance architecture.
Meersburg is another jewel on the shore of Lake Konstanz that can be easily accessed by car or ferry from Konstanz. It is mainly known for the hilltop Meersburg Castle (Alte Burg), the oldest inhabited fortress-castle in the country and a museum open to public tours. Also worth checking out are the baroque New Palace and the Droste Museum dedicated to poetess Annette von Droste-Hülshoff. Take some time off to explore the romantic nooks of the town and enjoy a hearty meal by the lake.
Bregenz, a captivating town in Austria only around 1.5 hours by car from Konstanz, is best known for its massive Bregenz Festival held annually in July-August on a stage that “floats” over Lake Constance. Even at other times of the year, the town promises a bustling harbor, panoramic river views and a generous dose of culture thanks to its many awesome museums. A popular activity is to take the gondola to the Pfänder Mountain to enjoy sweeping views of the lake, the Swiss Alps and the Allgäu highlands.
The fairytale town of Lucerne is a perfectly doable day trip from Konstanz. No trip to Lucerne is complete without a lazy cruise across the unbelievably beautiful Lucerne Lake. Take the world’s steepest cogwheel railway to Mt. Pilatus, explore the medieval buildings in Lucerne old town, click pictures of the famous Chapel Bridge, visit the Lion of Lucerne – and you won’t even notice the day whizzing by.
Zurich, the commercial capital of Switzerland, is also a fascinating city to explore. A day is just enough time to catch a glimpse of the famous churches in Zurich old town, enjoy panoramic lake views, cool off in the sprawling Rieterpark and indulge in some retail therapy at the internationally famous shopping street, Bahnhofstrasse.
Titisee is one of the most popular spots in Germany’s famed Black Forest. A day here can be as lazy or active as you wish. While it’s a great idea to take a leisurely stroll around the lake, linger over a meal at one of the lakeside restaurants or simply feast your eyes on the beauty of the setting, the more active can indulge in a multitude of sports.
The picturesque town of Triberg in Black Forest is only around 105 km (65 miles) from Konstanz. A perfect day in Triberg would include hiking to the top of the gushing Triberg Waterfall – Germany’s highest waterfall, a visit to the House of 100 clocks to gape at a huge range of cuckoo clocks and digging into a slice (or more) of the legendary Black Forest cake.
Tübingen, with its cobbled streets, colorful gabled houses and a medieval heart, is straight out of the picture books. Being a university town, its streets and pubs are always buzzing with a young, vibrant energy. When in town, check out Hohentübingen Castle, the Hölderlin Tower and the Bebenhausen Monastery, and take a ride on Tübingen’s unique boat named the Stocherkahn. If you happen to be there in November, your sweet tooth is going to be grateful as this is the time for the Chocolate Festival.
Stuttgart, steeped in culture, and boasting historic architecture, snazzy automobile museums and a series of outstanding galleries and museums, certainly deserves more than a day. With only a day at your disposal, take a pick from its long list of attractions, depending on your interest. If you find yourself there in August-September, don’t miss the huge wine festival.