What could possibly be better than exploring a lake that acts as a border to not one, not two but THREE European countries?? Exploring beautiful Lake Constance means taking a peak at Germany, Austria and Switzerland and tiny old Lichtenstein is so close to the lake that you can easily visit four countries in one weekend. These beautiful destinations also work together to create a very unique tourism experience that I will never forget. Below are a few great reasons to visit this region this summer and some highlights of the best things to do around Lake Constance.
Looking for things to do in Switzerland? Check out these beautiful towns and villages!
Lake Constance Travel Guide
Where else can you say this:
We had breakfast in Austria, lunch in Liechtenstein and dinner in Switzerland!
It’s also incredibly easy to navigate the countries around the lake. You don’t need your passport and if you don’t want to get the 30 minute ferry across you can also drive around the lake. Along the lake there is an abundance of things to do. Though they are all so close together each country has a wonderful unique identity to it.
Here are 9 of my favourite things to do near Lake Constance, in this absolutely beautiful part of the world:
A hotel with a view
On the north side of the lake sits the beautiful Hotel Bad Schachen. It’s a four star hotel that has been operating since 1752. Yes you heard me right, the hotel has been operating for 265 years! Not too shabby!
It really is a beautiful, rustic hotel in the most glorious of locations. Sitting out on the lakes edge you can look across the water to Austria and can see the Swiss Alps off to the right…home to some of the most beautiful villages in Switzerland! Here’s the view from my window:
The breakfast is a smorgasbord of delicious teas, meats and cheeses. It was by far the best breakfast I had on my trip.
This would be a perfect location for a quiet, refined stay by the lake if you enjoy sitting out of an evening with a bottle of wine and some good company. The German town of Lindau is also nearby which brings me to my next point!
Cheese and wine tasting in Lindau
Lindau is a German town and an island on Lake Constance and it is absolutely lovely. I was surrounded by quaint, colourful buildings down winding streets. It was a pleasure to get lost in Lindau. As you walk through the streets you will find most of the houses are older than the USA! To this day they are still standing and haven’t changed all that much since the day they were built.
In the heart of the town is a cheesemongers that specialises in local produce and we had a wine and cheese pairing event there. I absolutely LOVE wine and cheese and here we had an expert advising us. Heaven! There were some new additions I hadn’t tried yet that paired really well with the cheese such as pickled walnut, apple and berry mustard and special dried pear. Alongside the cheeses this made for an excellent combination.
The wines were all locally sourced and were delicious. One of the cheeses, Appenzeller cheese, had been made the same way for over 600 years. To this day the exact process remains a secret. The show-stealer for me was brie that had a truffle cream in the middle of it. It was one of the richest cheeses I have ever tasted. Not for everyone but if you are brie and truffle fan then you will LOVE this.
Dining in Valentin Restaurant, Lindau
Valentin is a breath of fresh air when it comes to eating in Germany. It is organic restaurant owned by a couple who will go above and beyond to give you an excellent dining experience. If you are vegetarian or vegan then this is the place for you, though they cater for everyone.
Most dishes come out with edible, floral garnishes and I swear I’ve never better wild garlic flowers before like these… Absolutely divine. I chose the homemade pasta with wild garlic flowers topped with thinly sliced truffles (see a pattern here?), it was rich and delicious. We sat out in their garden and tried a number of different starters. Have a look at some of these:
As well as that they have an extensive wine list and some lovely desserts. It is certainly one not to be missed!
Zeppelin flight in Germany
I know they got a bad reputation over a hundred years ago but Zeppelin tourism is a very unique and interesting experience to do and there are very few places left to do it around the world to do it! One such place is in the South of Germany, near the lake. It is a MASSIVE hanger that houses two fully operational zeppelins. You can get a tour of the hanger but if you’re feeling adventurous you can even go for a 30 minute flight in a zeppelin!
They are filled with helium and extremely smooth to fly in, using propellers to help with lift and direction. It feels completely different to flying in a plane or helicopter and is a much gentler flight.
See the floating opera in Bregenz, Austria
A 30 minute boat ride from Lindau, Germany is Breganz, Austria. It is home to one of the most famous stages in the work, the floating stage! This place truly has to be seen to be believed. It was built directly after WW2 and is an outdoor stage built directly on Lake Constance. When these massive stages are outdoor and on a lake it offers a lot of range to be as creative as possible with fire and water alike. They redesign the set every two years as it takes a whopping 10 months to build. Here’s one of my favourites:
This year they will be putting on the opera Carmen. The set is designed to look like a stack of cards falling out of two massive hands. It is gorgeous.
The festival season in Bregenz lasts throughout July and there are bars and restaurants set up on the edge of the lake and it really is the most vibrant place to be in Austria!
Taste wine in the Prince’s winery in Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein is a beautiful little principality in between Switzerland and Austria. The whole country is only 160 km squared and most of that is incredibly rocky terrain.
The Prince of Liechtenstein’s castle is perched up on a mountain, looking over the entire town with the Swiss Alps in the background. I couldn’t think of a better place to be situated; overlooking your kingdom.
As we walked through the streets of Vaduz we heard an almighty rumble and prepared for the incoming thunderstorm. The guide laughed and told us not to worry. To drive into the prince’s castle, one has to cross over a wooden bridge. The bridge rumbles and the noise echoes into the valley, sounding like thunder. Which means that whenever the prince is home late at night, an entire town knows about it!
Now onto one of the more interesting parts of the city. The Prince’s winery. It is a winery owned by the prince but open to the public for wine tasting. We walked through the princes vineyard where we were told that one square meter of land in Liechtenstein can cost as much as $22,000! The region is more alpine than Mediterranean so the grapes that grow there are more hardy. We drank some Pinot Noir which is traditionally a red wine but up here the Pinot Noir is white! There was a lot of interesting flavours to discuss. In Liechtenstein they have begun making their own spirits too. So you will always be drinking local produce while there, whether you like beer, wine or spirits. After the wine tasting we went to the Prince’s treasure chamber where we saw his diamond and ruby encrusted crown and a Fabergé egg. Very interesting stuff!
Visit St. Gallus town and library
St. Gallen is a Swiss town near the south tip of Lake Constance. It is a town with an extremely rich history. It was actually founded by Irish monk, Gallus. Legend has it that he could command bears and there are an abundance of statues in his honour around the town. Gallen is also very famous for having one of the oldest collections of books in the world. More specifically, the oldest COMPLETE collection of books with some dating back as far as 500AD. During this period if anyone wanted a copy of a book they like they would have to hire someone to transcribe it for them so these massive, ancient books were lovingly transcribed by hand and they looked so unbelievably ornate.
Another interesting feature of this library is the mummy they have residing in the corner. She was gifted to the library back in the 1800s and has looked out over the visitors since then. Chilling stuff.
The town of Gallen is an interesting place. Everything closes at 5pm and the place goes silent until 9 or 10 when people are out socialising on the weekends and there is a very vibrant nightlife to be found. It is a beautiful town to visit. We ate some traditional Swiss Spätzle and it was delicious!
Kartause Ittingen monastery
This truly is one of the most idyllic, serene places I’ve ever been to. It is an old Carthusian monastery nestled between an abundance of vineyards in Switzerland. Nowadays the monks are gone but the gardens are always open and the monastery is also very interesting to tour. There are rooms there if you want to overnight. On a sunny day there really isn’t anywhere nicer you could be. There is a restaurant in the monastery and it was one of the most delicious meals I had on the trip.
There are also gardens filled with different types of plants. The monks who stayed there took a vow of silence and had very little way of expressing themselves. The Abbot of the monastery wrote that he could tell a monk’s personality by the way he kept his garden.
My favourite was the medieval garden where there were some curiosities to says the least! There was a plant called ‘Monk Pepper’ which the monks ate to reduce their libido. There was also the Bella Donna plant aka nightshade plant which women would put drops of in their eyes to make their eyes beautiful and big…. But would make them unable to see!
This is a real gem. Mainau is an Island on the west side of Lake Constance. It’s what’s known as a ‘garden island’. The entire island has been designated as one big massive garden. They don’t just have local German plants… Rather they have trees, plants and flowers from all over the world. They even have palm trees that they have to shelter every winter.
The island came about when a Swedish prince fell in love with a common woman. He decided to abdicate his title and be with this woman. The king of Sweden was unhappy about this but asked his son if he would like to move to his castle on Lake Constance. So the ex-prince moved to Mainau Island and devoted his life to creating a beautiful garden for people to enjoy.
When we went it was the season of rhododendrons and there were colours everywhere. Each month a different group of flowers are in bloom.
There is also an AMAZING butterfly house that has hundreds and thousands of gloriously coloured butterflies everywhere. It’s an absolute treat for the eyes.
So there you are folks, my favourite 9 things to do Lake Constance – a destination that lets you visit 4 beautiful countries at once! There are so many more adventures to be had but regardless of where you go around Lake Constance you will have some beautiful experiences and meet some of the kindest people in your life.
Special thanks to Tourism Bodensee for organising such an incredible trip. For more informations on the region check out their website here.
This article was written by Journalist On The Run writer Oisin Feeney who was invited to participate in a blogger trip to Lake Constance. As always, all opinions are our own!