Last month, my horoscope suggested I go away on a short trip near water. Since I’m one of those people who listens to their horoscope, I asked my husband where we could go on a short weekend trip. It needed to be somewhere nearby. When he said Lake Constance was only three and a half hours away, I asked “Why haven’t we been there in all this time?” I’ve lived in Germany almost four years and hadn’t even heard about it. I knew we had to take advantage of the summer and the close proximity. My husband agreed and surprised me with a hotel reservation earlier this month.
Lake Constance (or Bodensee in German) is the third largest lake in Europe. It’s located near the Alps and is shared by Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. We stayed in a hotel in the small Swiss town of Kreuzlingen. From there, it was only a twenty minute walk to the German town of Constance and its harbor, where we could take a boat trip to different cities along the lake.
We took a boat trip to the island Mainau. It is in essence a botanical garden featuring a baroque castle, a palm house, and the biggest butterfly house in Germany. Admission to the island costs 19€ and it can also be approached by car. The island has beautiful landscaped gardens and it’s a great way to enjoy nature and take a walk. The best part was the butterfly house, where butterflies jump out of every corner and can even land on you if you’re lucky. Two butterflies landed on my arm and suddenly I was the host for a romantic and intimate encounter (ha ha).
We walked around Konstanz, visited the cathedral, and walked along the lake shore. We wanted to rent a paddle-board and ride across the lake, but we didn’t have enough time. Something for our next trip.
On the way back home, we stopped in the Swiss town of Shaffhausen, to visit the Rhine Falls. When my husband mentioned we would visit a waterfall, I had no idea it would basically be the Niagara Falls of Europe. You can visit from either the German or the Swiss side. The German side offers a more complete view, but on the Swiss side, you can experience the falls close up. We paid 5€ admission to the Schloss Laufen, then walked down the side to see the falls. We kept going down and down until we were almost by the river. You can also take boat rides that take you to the rock in the center of the river that puts you right on the path of the falls.
I really enjoyed our short trip and hope to visit again. There are many other cities to see along the lake, like Meersburg or the Austrian city of Bregrenz, which has the largest floating stage in the world.
Have you visited the Bodensee? Does my trip description and photos make you want to visit? Let me know in the comments below.