Just three days at Lake Constance

Some days ago I was asked what to do at Lake Constance when you have only three days left there. Okay, three days don`t last too long: if it`s your first trip to Lake Constance I would recommend to stay at least one week there. But nevertheless, maybe you are doing a roundtrip to discover Europe so that a three-day-stay at one region already is a long-stay.

So what to do during just three days at Lake Constance? (First I think you should buy a Lake Constance Experience Card, “Seebären”-version, for three days. If you rent a car: the "Landratten"-version will work, too.)

My tipps for a short trip:

First: Unteruhldingen - Birnau or Affenberg - Mainau Island

the cute little port of Unteruhldingen, photo from June 2012
Day 1: in the morning you first go to Unteruhldingen, the pile dwelling village, where you visit the famous “Pfahlbaumuseum”. This museum is next to the port so feel free to go there by ship. After you have visited this museum (what will last 1 ½ to 2 hours) there are several possibilities: you can hike from Unteruhldingen to the beautiful basilica of Birnau. Quite impressive if you`re cultural interested! Or – if you are taking your children with you – you can go from Unteruhldingen to Affenberg Salem (mountain of monkeys) where you are able to watch many storks and, of course, small apes that you are allowed to feed with special popcorn that you get at the entrance there. An Affenberg visits lasts about two hours, too. From Unteruhldingen to Affenberg you can go by so-called Erlebnisbus that is interconnecting these (and some other like Salem Castle) places every hour.  

If you own a Lake Constance Experience Card “Seebären” or “Landratten”: the entrance fees for the Pfahlbaumuseum and the Affenberg are as well included as the “Erlebnisbus” bus ticket! (Birnau can be visited for free, of course.)

When you have returned to Unteruhldingen, either from Birnau or Affenberg, take the next ship (from Unteruhldingen just ten minutes to go) to Mainau, the Island of Flowers, where you spend the rest of the day. A visit of Mainau will last about four hours so afterwards, the day will be gone…

Second: Rhine Fall of Schaffhausen or... 

Day 2: If you just want to enjoy nature (or if you are still tired from the day before) you can go by ship to Schaffhausen where you can visit the Rhine Fall. If you want to visit the Rhine Fall you should take the first ship in the morning from Kreuzlingen or Konstanz. The port isn`t located at the Rhine Fall: from the harbor you have to go on by bus.
The ship tour to Schaffhausen is really wonderful but instead you can also rent a car, of course, to go to the Rhine Fall. This will take less time because it is a real long trip by ship from Konstanz to Schaffhausen (nearly four hours one way!). So if you go by car you will have more time left over after your return from the Rhine Fall and you could still do a round trip by ship that brings you around the part of Lake Constance called “Überlinger See”, for example.

... or: Sealife Konstanz - old castle Meersburg - Zeppelin museum Friedrichshafen

Next suggestion: if you aren`t interested in visiting the Rhine Fall, you could first explore the beautiful historic city of Konstanz. Next to the port there you can find “SeaLife”. In this case it is one of the smaller aquariums but it is interesting if you aren`t familiar with the fish in Lake Constance and the Rhine. Although there are also small sharks and cute penguins: SeaLife Konstanz is concentrating on the Rhine that is crossing Lake Constance and the fish you can find here. (Plus: the Lake Constance Experience Card “Landratten”/”Seebären” includes the complete entrance fee.)

Afterwards, you take the ship from Konstanz to Meersburg: you shouldn`t miss to visit the ancient castle of Meersburg that gave the town its name.

old castle "Alte Burg" in Meersburg, photo from June 2012
Hint: The German language makes a difference between “Burg” and “Schloss”. “Burg”: that’s an older castle [often built in the Middle Ages] that was used as kind of fortifications. “Schloss”: that’s a castle for representational purposes. To cut the matter short: a “Burg” is for fighters, knights resp. army, a “Schloss” is for royals to live in.
The castle “Meersburg” is, in this case, often called the “Alte Burg Meersburg” (old castle Meersburg) to avoid misunderstandings between the town Meersburg and the identically named castle.

Meersburg castle is the oldest castle in Germany where still people are living in. Of course, you can`t visit their private rooms but a bigger part of the castle is used as a museum nowadays. You really should visit it! (Plus: if you own a Lake Constance Experience Card you don`t have to pay for entrance here, too.)

Still time left: go swimming in Lake Constance or go from Meersburg to Friedrichshafen. There you can visit the Zeppelin museum that is located just at the harbor. (Once more: the Lake Constance Experience Card includes the entrance fee.) Lake Constance is the home base of the famous zeppelins and during the summer time you can regularly see one of those airships up in the sky, flying across Lake Constance.

(It is quite expensive but also a great experience and if you have got the money you can also do one of these round trips with a zeppelin! The Zeppelin aircraft works in Friedrichshafen offers such sightseeing flights. For more information please *click here*. Unfortunately, the English version of this website is still in development so please use for example the Google translator – although its translations often aren`t the best. If you don`t understand anything you can also contact me and I`ll do my best to help me; in this case please write an email to lakeconstancemansion@gmx.ch!)

Third: Lindau - Bregenz - cruising between austrian Bregenz and swiss Rorschach 

Welcome to Lindau (June 2012)
Day 3: first you should have a walk through Lindau (one of the few Bavarian cities at Lake Constance). Then you go from Lindau to Bregenz: here use cable car that brings you to the top of the “Pfänder”, one of the biggest mountains at Lake Constance. The panorama is amazing!

In the evening you can visit the quite famous Bregenz Festival (“Bregenzer Festspiele”) if it is July or August. The Bregenz Festival is an open air festival showing an opera (this year: “André Chenier” from Umberto Giardano; in 2013 and 2014: “Die Zauberflöte” [“The Magic Flute”] from Mozart). The stage is built into Lake Constance so it is a very special atmosphere.

It is neither July nor August? You don`t like operas? Go on a cruise between Bregenz and Rorschach. That`s one of the Swiss towns at Lake Constance and afterwards, you can leave Lake Constance with a quite good feeling…!

Please have also a look at the following website of VirtualTourist if you are thinking about what to do when you are at Lake Constance! And even if it`s just three days: I think you`ll really enjoy your stay! 

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