Are you looking to plan a holiday that has you nestled between three countries? Plan your next holiday in Lake Constance. It straddles Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Making this a great destination for those that want to travel to as many countries as they can. It’s also a short drive to Liechtenstein, one of Europe’s smallest countries. That’s why it’s known as the four-country region. Lake Constance, or  Konstanz in German, is often referred to as Bodensee by locals. But it really is just one place.

lake with sailboats and mountains in background

Why Holiday in Lake Constance

As the southern tip of Germany, it tends to be a popular holiday for Germans all year round. Many are attracted to this area because of its mild climate and abundance of nature. Lake Constance is worth visiting for both its winter sports and water sports. The area offers the perfect combination of a beautiful lake, picturesque towns and the majestic Alps. Culture, castles, history, elaborate gardens – there is something for everyone to enjoy. 

timber buildings with red germaniums in window boxes

About the Upper Swabia Region

Lake Constance is the largest lake in Germany. It encompasses 270km of shoreline. It’s separated into 3 parts: Lower Lake or Untersee, Upper Lake or Obersee and Überlingen Lake or Überlingersee. The largest and deepest part of the lake is Upper Lake. It’s so deep that it rarely freezes. In fact, it has only frozen 34 times over many centuries. Upper Lake extends from Bregenz Bay to Lake Constance offering incredible views of the eastern Switzerland Swiss Alps from many old lakeside towns dotted along the coastline. 

Lake Constance Germany is either the starting or ending point on the 450km German Alpine route through the Alps. This trip of a lifetime is not to be missed! 

Read more | Extend your in Lake Constance to the German Alpine route

Things to do in Lake Constance – The Must-See Towns

The Lake Constance Bodensee area has so many wonderful cities and towns dotted along its shoreline. To make the most of your holiday, here are the top five places you need to visit when in Lake Constance. 

1. Lindau

Lindau offers travellers a unique location of being completely lakeside. The impressive harbour entryway to this island features the iconic Bavarian lion on one side and the lighthouse on the other. 

port city with boats and colourful buildings

The town’s lakeside promenade is bustling with activity. Locals and tourists alike enjoy walking, biking and sunbathing along the waterfront. Climb the lighthouse and enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding Alps. Not to miss is a visit to Lindenhof Park. This large park offers a lush green space with its towering trees and beautiful gardens. It’s the perfect respite to the bustling harbourfront. Lastly, visit the small old town with its cobblestone streets and historic buildings. 

2. Meersburg

Meersburg, a name that literally translates to “Castle on the Sea”, is home to two old castles. The oldest of the two is a well-preserved medieval fortress, which can trace its roots back to the 7th century.  

yellow building with white wisteria flowers on side of hill

When you first arrive in Meersburg, either by boat or car, you will be in the lower town. The lower town has a resort feel, with many hotels, pier-facing restaurants and touristy shops. The uptown is where you will find the charming historic old town. 

The old town is impressive. You could spend the entire day getting lost in the maze of cobblestoned streets, admiring the historic townhomes. All of these delightful buildings have been turned into boutiques, cafes, wine taverns, and restaurants. 

3. Mainau

Mainau is known as flower island as it features 110 acres and close to a million different flowers and plants. It’s considered the most popular attraction in the Lake Constance region.  

lush green gardens with stone staircase

The Mainau Castle, built in 1746, makes a beautiful backdrop to all the flower gardens. Germany is well-known for creating beautiful parks and gardens, and this is said to be among the best in the country. 

4. Constance

Constance or Konstanz is the largest city on Lake Constance. It dates back to medieval times and features some great historical landmarks.

lake with ancient tower with red roof

Some of those significant sites include the 14th-century Konstanz Minster Cathedral and 14th-century Kaufhaus (or can be known as Konzilsgebäude). The remaining medieval circular wall with 20 towers, of which only 3 stand today, protects the historic old town. Wander the quiet winding cobblestone streets and gaze upon the well-preserved half-timber houses.

Konstanz is a shopping city. There are numerous shops, cafes and restaurants lining the streets. Take a walk along the waterfront boulevard where elegant and elaborate townhomes look out onto the picturesque lake and the Swiss Alps. 

Experience | Discover the highlights of the city center of Constance on a walking tour with an expert guide, click here.

5. St. Gallen

St. Gallen is a culturally vibrant city just across the border in Switzerland. We arrived on a bike along the Lake Constance Cycle path and headed straight to the charming, traffic-free historic town. 

old timber frame buildings on cobblestone square

The city’s most famous landmark is its baroque cathedral and Abbey library. It’s been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site as it features almost 170,000 written documents dating back over 1,000 years.  

Experience | Take a 1-hour walking tour to discover the most wonderful sights in St. Gallen with your local guide, click here.

Day Trips from Lake Constance

A popular day trip is to Rhine Falls in Switzerland. Only an hour’s drive away visits the most powerful waterfall in Europe. The falls are located in the town of Schaffhausen which you may want to add to your trip. 

Visit Switzerland’s largest city. Konstanz to Zurich is only an hour’s drive. It’s just enough time to explore the old town and enjoy a meal. A nearby destination is the NABU Nature Reserve. The Wollmatinger Marsh is near the city of Constance where the Upper Lake merges into the Lower Lake. This area is known for birdwatching as hundreds of species migrate here to these nature reserves. 

Where to Stay in Lake Constance

The ideal home base to explore this region is Konstanz. It’s centrally located to all of the must-see places featured here, plus it offers great dining and accommodation options. 

White hotel on waterfront with gardens

Recommend stay is at the RIVA boutique hotel just steps from the waterfront. This lux property offers 5-star dining, a spa, a wellness center and a gorgeous rooftop pool. Not to mention the gorgeous interior and spacious rooms. 

Travel Planning | Start your accommodation search here

As a holidaymaker…

Lake Constance region is a wonderfully laid-back and relaxing destination. There is something so calming to see those lake and mountain views. There is also a certain novelty in the fact that you could wake up in Germany, cycle into Switzerland for the lunch and then go to Austria later that afternoon for coffee and a strudel.

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