The Top 10 Things to See and Do in Konstanz, Germany
Mainau Island | © Harke / WikiCommons
Konstanz is one of the most popular destinations on Germany’s border with Lake Constance. Medieval remnants, historical museums and a picture-perfect Old Town are only some of the things worth exploring while you’re here. We compiled a list of the top ten things to do and see, so you can start planning your trip.
’ most imposing church dates back to 600 AD and was awarded the honorary title Basilica Minor in 1958. The authentic 17th-century cross-ribbed vault still spans across the ceiling, and the rest of the interior is composed of beautiful frescoes, a gold-and-marble chancel, wood carvings and two huge organs. The minster served as a bishop’s seat for more than 12 centuries and was used as a boardroom for the Council of Constance. Today, both the beautiful interior and the viewing platform up to the tower are among the city’s most popular attractions.
Restaurant, German, $$$
Between the neo-Gothic train station and the leafy city park stands the massive Konzilgebäude. The stone building with the hipped roof was constructed in 1388 and initially served as a warehouse before it was the conclave during the Council of Constance between 1414 and 1418 and the setting of the election of Pope Martin V. Today, the historic walls hold a restaurant
that is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and grants stunning views of Lake Constance
In the Middle Ages, a city wall with more than 20 watchtowers and gates protected Konstanz from invaders. The Schnetztor is one of three remaining fortifications and has marked the southern end of the Old Town since its construction in the late 14th century. Now, the landmark’s half-timbered facade and grey shingled roof serve as a photo prop for touristy holiday snaps.
The Emperor’s Fountain sits at the heart of the city and depicts four of Germany’s bygone emperors from various dynasties. The original 1897 bronze statuettes were dismantled at the height of the Second World War and donated to an arms factory. In 1990, Gernot Rumpf, the sculptor who is also responsible for the monkey statue that guards Heidelberg’s Old Bridge
, revealed the new caricatural statues.
Another iconic statue oversees the pier at the harbour. The Imperia soars nine metres high and rotates around its own axis. Sculptor Peter Lenk created the sparsely clothed woman to commemorate the Council of Constance
which took place between 1814 and 1818. In her palms, Imperia holds two miniature and nude men who are believed to depict Pope Martin V and Emperor Sigismund, the religious and imperial manipulators of the time.
Isle of Mainau
If you have half a day to spare, it’s well worth getting on a ferry across Lake Constance to Mainau Island
, also known as Flower Island. The nickname of this little gem is owed to the incredible amount of flowers and trees that cover the vast meadows and gardens. While the look of the island changes with every season
, the views are simply stunning, no matter what time of the year you come here. If you decide to visit, don’t miss out on the Baroque Mainau Castle, which was built in the 1700s and hosts all kinds of cultural exhibitions throughout the year.
In an attempt to preserve medieval artworks and treasures, a local pharmacist began to collect everything he deemed important, ranging from sculptures and statuettes to ecclesiastical art and prehistoric tools. In 1870, his collection found a permanent home in the former guild house and was continuously expanded. On display are all kinds of artworks and cultural artefacts from the region.
The maze of winding cobblestone alleys and timber-framed houses of the Niederburg neighbourhood is without a doubt the most picturesque part of the city. The district stretches between the Konstanz Minster and the Rhine River
and is virtually littered with wine taverns, antique shops and speciality shops. You can easily spend an afternoon, if not all day, meandering around the historic Old Town.
Located in of the city’s oldest remaining buildings, the Hus-Haus Museum explores the life and works of the 15th-century martyr Jan Hus
and is a great stop if you’re interested in history, particularly the Reformation
period. The exhibition follows the Czech professor and theologian from his time in Prague to his conviction of heresy and public execution in Constance.
Holy Trinity Church
The Holy Trinity Church was built in the 13th century for the local monastery which it remained part of until 1802. Over the years, the church served different purposes, and the simplistic look the mendicant order brought with it was enhanced with late-Gothic frescoes and intricate Baroque stucco ornamentation and artworks.