Konstanz: A German Gem

Updated: May 4, 2020

This is what I love about traveling, sometimes you go places you never even knew existed. My stay in Konstanz was with my friend Dirk and his wife, he picked me up at Zurich airport and then we drove down across the the border into the small beautiful town of Konstanz.

Konstanz is a well preserved medieval city located by the Lake Constance (also known as bondensee) when I say medieval I mean its street are vibrant with Romanesque architecture. The northern part of Konstanz has residential areas, industrial estates and houses the University of Konstanz. The old town is to the south, which houses the administrative centre and shopping facilities in addition to the Hochschule or the University of Applied Sciences.

So here's what you can do in Konstanz

1. Heart of Konstanz - Marktstätte

With over 1000 years of history, the buildings of its old town of Niederburg are marked with their dates of construction. It is said that Konstanz survived the world war II because the Allies avoided bombing it due to it's proximity to the neutral Kreuzlingen in Switzerland.

A walk through the alleys will leave you admiring the contrast of the old bakeries and new apparel shops. At the very center is the Marktstätte or Marketplace, here you will see the Imperial fountain. While the street is lined with restaurants and cafes, every first Friday of the month from May to October, the party makes it outside. Gassen-Freitag features live music, street food, drinks, and even a traditional flea market.

2. The Harbour & The Statue of Imperia

Like every town on Bodensee, Konstanz centers on the harbor. The promenade starts at the Rhine bridge and follows the harbor. Stroll the palm-tree lined promenade with countless sidewalk cafes, historic townhouses, and buildings like the Kaufhaus "trading house" from 1388. 

The statue of Imperia is hard to miss, erected in 1993, it was controversial at first but has become a landmark of Konstanz. The satirical depiction is of a nine-meter-tall courtesan holding a pathetic Pope Martin V and Emperor Sigismund wearing nothing but their crowns. It rotates on a pedestal every 4 minutes.

Konstanz Cathedral

3. Konstanz Cathedral

The majestic Konstanz münster or Konstanz Cathedral was the church of the Roman Catholic Administration of Konstanz until 1821. It features Romanesque and Gothic design as it has been updated to reflect the current style several times. Its spire pokes high into the sky and can be seen throughout Konstanz. The Romanesque painted wood ceiling from 1637, 15th-century spiral staircase and central doorway, and a thousand-year-old crypt are of great importance. And if you want to look down from heaven, you can climb the tower and gaze at the city and Lake Constance.

4. Go Non-Tropic Island Hopping

Earlier when I thought of island hopping I only thought about south east Asia. I was in for a surprise when I found out that just off the shore of Konstanz are three islands well worth a visit.

The 110-acre garden island of Mainau is renowned for its carpets of flowers and greenhouses. It has nearly 10,000 rose bushes, thousands of butterflies, and a 13th-century baroque palace. The island is open every day from sunrise to sunset, but an entrance fee is required.  I was luckly enough to spend a day here, a big thank you to Dirk & his wife! We visited the Schmetterlingshaus or Butterfly House and boy it was humid! For a moment there I was back home.

To the west of the city is Reichenau Island. Preserved on the island is the remains of a Benedictine monastery from 724 C.E. The churches of St. Mary and Marcus, St. Peter and St. Paul, and St. George illustrate medieval monastic architecture with impressive wall paintings.

On the other side of the lake is Lindau. It also has a magnificent harbor guarded by a Bavarian lion and lighthouse. On the island, the town is full of medieval half-timbered buildings.

5. Find the 3 Remaining City Towers

I didn't really go looking but found one of the City towers while we were headed to the harbour. Schnetztor, located on the southern side of the old town on Hussenstraße.

As I stayed here for almost less than 30 hours I didn't visit a lot of the other places like Planks of the Prehistoric Man or a Thermal Spa or Zeppelin Museum. But I did have an amazing dinner at a restaurant next to a horse stable and visit the old town of Konstanz and it's iconic places mentioned on the list. And I spent almost an entire day at Mainau Island.

I hope to see Dirk and his wife again soon.

Till then, Happy Being Out Of Office!

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