Constance / Lake Constance, Germany
The German name of the city is: Konstanz am Bodensee
Nestling in one of Germany’s loveliest landscapes, Constance has culture and leisure activities to suit every taste. For visitors it will be a journey through time, they experience world history in the places where it actually happened and discover a city which is young, modern and vibrant right on the edge of Lake Constance and the Rhine.
Constance, Germany — In a nutshell
Lake Constance lies in the south of Germany between the Black Forest and Bavaria (Munich). In the most beautiful part of the lake – where it drains into the Rhine – there was an old Roman fort, which later became the medieval town of Constance. This central medieval part of the town, directly adjoining the shore, still survives today. A mild climate and convenient access to Europe from a lake bordering on three countries including Switzerland and Austria typify the hospitable atmosphere of this old town with its long tradition.
The visual aspect of the town and the superb scenery of Europe’s second largest lake form one harmonious whole, where mysterious relics of medieval days and romantic lakeside walks await discovery. This old Episcopal town is dominated by the impressive structure of the Romanesque-Gothic basilica church. Nearby is “Niederburg”, the oldest part of the town, with its crooked alleyways, alcoves, colourful gables, many wine taverns and students’ pubs. Here can be found palatial mansions of former canons together with the houses of worthy well-to-do citizens with walls dating back to the 13th century.
And always there is the lake: if you walk through the town you will finally reach the harbour, the lakeside promenade and the “Seestraße” with its magnificent panoramic view of the nearby Swiss Alps. The lake boasts its own “white fleet” of elegant pleasure boats: excursions to Switzerland – to the Napoleonic Museum in Arenenberg Castle or to the Rhine Falls at Schaffhausen, for example, or to Austria for the Bregenz Festival – hare highlights of any holiday on Lake Constance.
Keen shoppers will find many attractive opportunities in Constance; it is also no distance to the cosmopolitan city of Zürich with its famous boulevards. There are aquatic sports facilities to suit all ages, including refreshing bathes in the lake. Visitors enjoying a quiet walk by the shore or on the nearby islands of Mainau or Reichenau will soon discover the romantic charm of the lakeside scenery.
There is an air of lively activity within the old town walls throughout the whole year. There is no lack of amenities: opera in the courtyard of the Renaissance Town Hall, Concerts, museums of regional history and natural history, Sea Life Centre, the Municipal Theatre, exhibitions, alls kinds of festive occasions such as the Constance Carnival, wine festivals or open air festivals with firework displays in August.
Traditional hotels and various genuine old inns are renowned for their ambiance and delicious regional cuisine. The Constance casino is one of the main attractions in this hospitable lakeside town.
Close by are the exciting museums and Sea Life Constance, a giant aquarium where visitors can embark on an underwater expedition without getting their feet wet. Those who prefer to stay above the water will love Mainau, the lake’s colourful flower island which is easily accessible from Constance.
Highlights, ‘Must-see’, Top sights
The tourism office of Constance put together to self-guided walking tours for visitors. Stop by in their office (see address and website at the end of this article) and get the tour map and lots of more useful information. It is also the starting point for the walking tours.
Tour 1 is the ‘Full walking tour’ through the historic Old Town. Approx. 2 hours.
Tour 2 is the ‘Short walking tour’ through historic Old Town. Approx. 1 hour.
Major attractions in Constance
- ‘Imperia’ Harbour Statue
- Mercantile House at the Harbour (Kaufhaus am Hafen)
- Rhine Gateway (Rheintor), Powder Tower (Pulverturm) and north-west bank of the Rhine
- Minster of Our Dear Lady (Münster Unserer Lieben Frau)
- Medieval Houses in Constance
Find more details to those attractions on our page: Constance Sightseeing Highlights
Further places of interest
which can be discovered by making the above mentioned walking tours.
- Former Citizens’ Hospital “Zum Heiligen Geist” (“The Holy Spirit”) and former Hotel “Zur Krone” (“The Crown”).
- Former Imperial Post Office Building
- Former Hotel “Zum Goldenen Adler” (“The Golden Eagle”) and collection of buildings on Marktstätte Square
- Imperial Fountain (Kaiserbrunnen) and Haus “Zum Wolf”
- Former Church of St. Jodocus and its Pilgrims’ Hospice
- Northern Kreuzlingerstrasse and Haus“Zur Felsenburg” (“The Cliff Castle”)
- Schnetztor Gateway
- Hus Museum
- Former St. Paul’s Church and Haus “Zum weissen Pfau” (“The White Peacock”)
- Haus “Zum Delphin” (“The Dolphin”)
- Town Hall Buildings
- Obermarkt Square
- Row of houses in Wessenbergstrasse / St. Stephen’s Square / Münzgasse
- The house where Henri Dufour was born
- Former Franciscan Monastery and southern St. Stephen’s Square
- St. Stephen’s Church and northern St. Stephen’s Square
- Constance “Triumphal Arch” or “Lenk Fountain”
- Arts Centre at the Minster
- Former Jesuit College and Church of St. Conrad
- Municipal Theatre (Stadttheater)
- Cathedral Deanery (Domprobstei)
- Zoffingen Dominican Convent
- Former Canon Seminary of St. John
- Haus “Zur Kunkel” (”The Staff”)
- Blarer Canon Seminary
- Tettikofer Hof Palace
- Dominican Convent “St. Peter an der Fahr” and Niederburg district
- Former “Petershausen” Monastery and Art Nouveau houses in Seestrasse
- Former Dominican/Preachers’ Monastery (Steigenberger Inselhotel)
- Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus)
- Main Railway Station
Attractions & sights and excursions close by to Constance
- Sea Life Centre, Lake Constance Nature Museum, “Bodensee-Arena”, and neighbouring city of Kreuzlingen
- Hus Stone, Paradies (Paradise) and Gottlieben (CH), (trail)
- Seestrasse and trail to Mainau Island
- Towards car ferry, Mainau Island and suburbs
- Towards University and Wollmatingen
- Towards Switzerland (St. Gallen/UNESCO World Cultural Heritage, Zurich, Arenenberg Palace, Stein am Rhein, Schaffhausen), Reichenau Island (UNESCO World Cultural Heritage) and Radolfzell
- Ruins of the late antique Roman castle – Underground exhibition located in front of the cathedral, only accessible with guided tours.
There’s always something going in Constance. A prime example is the legendary Badensian carnival.
The Constance ‘Lake Night’ Festival (Seenachfest) is a long-established event with a real buzz. It is Europe’s biggest lakeside firework display and attracts thousands of visitors every year in mid-August. The ‘Seenachtfest in Constance’ always takes place on the second Saturday in August.
Oktoberfest Konstanz, the Swiss-German beer festival in Constance takes place mid/end of September and usually goes into the October.
The people of Constance celebrate the festive season with their delightful waterfront Christmas market (during December).
- Lake Constance Museum of Natural History (Bodensee Naturkunde Museum)
Sealife Center Konstanz
Hafenstr. 9, 78462 Konstanz
- The Rosgartenmuseum (Museum for the arts, culture and history)
Rosgartenstraße 3-5, 78462 Konstanz
- Archaeological State Museum Baden-Württemberg
Benediktinerplatz 5, 78467 Konstanz
- Kulturzentrum am Münster (Cultural Centre at the Minster)
Art is represented by the municipal Wessenberg gallery and the Kunstverein (Art Club) of Constance.
- Hus Museum
Hussenstraße 64, 78462 Konstanz
Food & Drink
You will find restaurants, bars, cafes in many neighborhoods (in German called ‘Stadtteile’) and certainly in downtown. German cities are mostly walking cities.
Popular spots are:
The town center of Konstanz.
Restaurants offer typical food of a variety of regions: Switzerland and Swabia, Vorarlberg and Baden.
Freshly-caught fish from Lake Constance is a specialty as well. Taste also the seasonal vegetables from the vegetable island of Reichenau or from the Tägermoos fields together with wine from the Constance region, e.g. a light-sweet Müller-Thurgau or a dry Pinot Grigio from the Spitalkellerei in Constance.
Konstanz, Germany, Visitor Info & Getting Around
Ca. 83 000
(Source: Statistisches Landesamt Baden-Württemberg 2010)
Nearest larger cities and airports
Stuttgart (170 km): S-Bahn every 20 minutes to Hauptbahnhof Stuttgart; regular rail connection to Constance (2.5 hours)
From Munich (230 km): by train (5 hours) or car (3.5 hours) to Constance
From Frankfurt/Main (345 km): direct rail connection (4.5 hours) to Constance
Friedrichshafen (25 km) with car/bus and ferry (40 min)
Zürich (Switzerland) (75 km): rail connection every hour to Constance (1 hour)
Located in south-west Germany at the border to Switzerland. Constance is situated at the Lake Constance (German: Bodensee) in the state of Baden-Wurttemberg.
Tourism Office (in German: ‘Fremdenverkehrsamt’)
Tourist-Information Konstanz GmbH
Bahnhofplatz 43 / Train Station
D-78462 Constance am Bodensee