Currently in Germany, temperatures are unreasonably high so all I could think of doing this weekend was to cool down at Lake Constance (Bodensee). As confusing as it may sound, it seems to me that Lake Constance either doesn't belong to any country or it belongs to Switzerland, Austria and Germany all at the same time. No country can agree on what parts of the water define the international border lines between the 3 countries! What's neat is that you can start your morning with coffee and cake in Germany, cycle or hike over to Austria for lunch in Bregenz then end the evening watching the sunset while enjoying some local wine in Switzerland. Although just a day trip, Lake Constance was a great way to beat the heat this weekend. Here's a look at what I did while I was there:
Climb up the Leuchtturm
If you want panoramic views of the harbor and the resorts in Lindau, climb up the 139 steps it takes to the top of the Lindau lighthouse (Leuchtturm) and you won't be disappointed. The lighthouse is only open when the weather allows it so it is best to go on a warm sunny day.
Drink Local Wine
Although I didn't stop by a winery nearby, I did drink some delicious wine made from the Müller Thurgau grapes that were locally grown. You can check out nearby wineries such as Weingut Haug where each Thursday from June to August you can try local grown wine for an hour at only 5 Euro a person. You'll also see signs for obst and brennerei which means local grown fruits and a distillery is nearby. On Maximilianstrasse you can test out some fruit schnapps and liquors after strolling through the shops.
Take a Dip in the Lake
One would think the water would be freezing since this area was once the Rhine Glacier but the water was perfect! You can access the water on the West part of the island where you will find steps leading into the water. Be aware that access to the water is super rocky so it would be best to bring some water shoes. As I went into the water, I almost immediately regretted it because my feet hurt so much from stepping on the rocks.
Ferry Across the Lake to Austria and Switzerland
That's right, you could be in Germany, Austria and Switzerland all in one day! You can plan your journey ahead of time here to maximize your time spent in Lake Constance. I didn't look this up ahead of time so I had to rearrange my day around the ferry ride. There are different options of which journey you would like to take. I noticed everyone was purchasing the 3 country panoramic roundtrip fare (Drei-Länder-Panorama Rundfahrt) so I thought that'd be really neat to do, but I wasn't too impressed.
If you have children and would just like to hang out on the ferry to enjoy the views while your kids run around the ship to tire themselves out, then this would be perfect! Otherwise, if you're wanting to learn or discover and explore, that's not going to happen here. I thought we would be getting off the ferry at each location and then coming back but you don't ever leave the ferry until you get back to Lindau. You just get close to the dock of each country while listening to the "tour guide" share information about the location. Everything was in German so I could understand at least where we were at but the interesting facts that went along with it, I had no clue what they were!
If I could redo the day over, I would have stuck with my original plan which was to take a one way journey to Bregenz, Austria and then back to Lindau after a few hours. I missed out on taking the Pfänder cable car to do some hiking and to check out the Alpine Wildlife Park. I would totally love to go back but next time accompanied by my husband to enjoy our time together.
Other Things to Do
Since I was only in Lake Constance for a day trip, I didn't do the most that I could have done while there if I had more time. Here are some other ideas that you may want to consider while you're visiting the area:
Depending on what part of Lake Constance you want to check out, you can either drive or use public transportation to get to most places around the lake. I ended up taking a train from Nürnberg to Lindau which took about 3.5 hours. The train departed at 7:15am and got back around 9pm. Since I went alone, it was cheaper for me to take the train as I used the Bayern ticket for the train going to Lindau and coming back. If you drive to Lindau, you can park at the Seeparkplatz and then can maneuver by train, bus, or ferry around the lake. Parking at the Seeparkplatz starts at 1.60 Euro per hour and for the whole day is 8 Euro.
Have you been to Lake Constance? Tell me what you did while you were there! If not, would you want to check it out?