As the harbor opens up for ships to pass, each side is guarded by a structure. On one side is the Lindau lighthouse, standing proudly as it lights the way at night. On the other side is a large monument with a lion on top of it. This lion looks out towards the Bodensee as if it stands ready to pounce on intruders who dare to attack this peaceful town.
The lion is the Bavarian heraldic symbol. The sculpture is 6 meters tall and was created by Johann von Halbing. You can walk up to the lion and all around it. For a good photo of it however, you need to be standing a little bit away from the statue as there is not a lot of room on the base to get a good view. One of the best locations to see the lion is from the top of the lighthouse.
The lighthouse and the lion help created the iconic symbol of Lindau that you see in many postcards and photos.
As you look across the harbor, whether from on land or from the top of the lighthouse, you will spot another tower on the restaurant side of the harbor. It is rather colorful and has a fancy roof. This is the Mangturm – the old lighthouse – built in the 13th century and used for many years as part of the medieval defenses. Once the new lighthouse was built, this one ceased to be used, but today you can still climb to the top of the tower for a good view (we have not yet done this – we climbed the new lighthouse on our last visit). It is easily accessible from the harbor and makes a good photo on sunny days.
The colorfully tiled roof is more recent – after the Mangturm was struck by lightning in 1979, the roof was redone in its current style.
Why the name “Mangturm”? Mang comes from the cloth (or mangle) house that was at one time beside the tower and turm means tower.
As you are walking through the town, walk along Maximilianstrasse and keep your eyes open for the old town hall, a beautifully painted Renaissance style building. The façade of the town hall has a clock and a sundial as part of the decorations, along with some very beautiful murals.
Originally built in 1422 in Gothic style, it was renovated in its current Renaissance style in the 1500s, this is the place where the 15th century Imperial Diet took place – this is depicted in the façade paintings. Today the building is still used for conference rooms, a library and the city archives.
This little building set on the corner of the island is one of my favorites. Not only is it set in a beautiful location, but I just smile when I look at it – can you see the face in the building? Once you see the face, the tower takes on a whole new character!
You can walk up to the tower (but not all around it since it is built along the water’s edge) and get a good look at it. This tower is part of the medieval town defenses and dates back to 1508. In those days this part of the island was full of fields and vineyards (as well as a cemetery), so the tower helped protect this side of the island. You can easily find it by following the pathway that leads around the edge of the island.
Lindau isn’t that big and you can easily walk around it in less than an hour – and that is with taking a leisurely pace and stopping to take photos. To me the areas on the lake side of the island (versus the mainland side) are the most beautiful. Looking out across the lake one can see Austria and Switzerland. On warmer days you can see many boats dreamily sailing in the water. Even walking just part of the island will give you a sense of peacefulness as the area can be very serene.
I suggest starting at the harbor; walk towards the lighthouse side of the harbor entrance and continue to follow along the edge. There is a pathway and along the way benches and openings to see out at the lake from the tree lined route. There are also some places where you can dip your feet into the water. As you make your way around the lake side of the island, you will come across a large open grassy area. When we visited in August, this area was very crowded with sunbathers, picnickers, and families just having fun. Our October visit found this same area to be empty, still very beautiful, but more peaceful.
After passing the Pulverturm, continue around the museum and along the path which will begin to bring you back to the mainland side of the island. There is a small playground for children and a public bathroom in the area of the large parking lot.
End your walking tour by coming back through the town itself, enjoying some of the pedestrian only area doing some shopping or just simply looking at the beautifully painted buildings.
We were very excited to climb the lighthouse – Hubby simply because he gets excited about climbing towers and me because I wanted to get some additional photos from a higher vantage point than the sidewalks around the harbor. The day was rather overcast, but it wasn’t raining, so I’m thankful for that!
It cost us only €1,60 per person to climb the lighthouse. Not too many steps (can’t remember the exact number) and it was done in a open manner so those who have problems with small narrow staircases would not have a problem with these steps. There are several levels as you make your way up the lighthouse, each landing having some type of display. Also, there are lots of paintings on the walls – some maps, some charts, and some pictures. There are small windows on each level, providing the opportunity to get some photos of the lion at “eye” level. At the top, you can walk all the way around the lighthouse and see from all directions, including directly down at the harbor and the lion statue.
The lighthouse, Germany's southernmost lighthouse, was built between 1853 and 1856. It stands 108 feet (33 meters) tall and has a clock on the side of the tower.
Overall, it was well worth the climb and something I would recommend to others on their visit to Lindau.
What a beautiful place to visit! The harbor at Lindau is spectacularly set on the Bodensee (Lake Constance) and from the harbor you can look across the eastern side of the lake at Austria and Switzerland. The harbor is lined with restaurants and hotels, outdoor cafes and ice cream shops. The central train station is right next to the harbor as well, making a visit by train very accessible.
The harbor is full of small boats docked and awaiting their owners to take them out onto the lake. At the entrance to the harbor are a lighthouse and a lion statue – a beautiful photo moment for sure! This is a popular place so there are many people visiting, especially during summer holidays. But even on our return visit in October, this was the popular place on the island. Not as many people sitting in the outside cafes (it was a bit chilly), but many people still wandering around enjoying the views.
The lion statue sits proudly on one side of the harbor entrance. You can walk out to it and around it. From that vantage point, you can get some photos of the lighthouse. However, to get to the lighthouse, you need to walk all the way around the harbor (not that far) since there is no way to get from the lion to the lighthouse (it is the opening of the harbor where the boats enter and exit).
The lighthouse balances out the lion statue at the entrance of the harbor; although it has a more utilitarian purpose than the lion. On our first visit to Lindau, the lighthouse was closed; but on the second visit, it was open for climbing – something I highly recommend so you can get a great view of the harbor (and of the lion statue!).
The beautiful streetscapes of Lindau invite even the least athletic of visitors to explore on foot. Although there are a few major tourist attractions, the most attractive aspect of Lindau is the beauty of the whole old town, so walking becomes a pleasure rather than a chore.
Lindau is essentially flat, so unlike Meersburg (which is located on a steep slope), it is easy to negotiate even for people with limited mobility or those travelling with small children. The port is also very close to the centre of town, so within a few minutes of your arrival by ferry, you can be in the heart of Lindau, soaking up the historical ambience!
Despite its rather grim history as a prison, the Diebturm (Robber's Tower) was the building in Lindau that I liked most.
The thin, circular tower with its steep conical roof put me in mind of an illustration from 'Rapunzel' and the tiles on the roof have weathered to a range of different shades of brown and green, which reminded me of the scales of a dragon - or maybe I have just been overdosing on the fairytales of late!
Of all the historic buildings in Lindau, Peterskirche (also known as the Fisherman's Church) is the one that I found most moving.
The ancient Peterskirche is the oldest church in the entire Bodensee region - an area that does not suffer from a shortage of old churches (see my Reichenau page) - and dates back to about 1000 AD. The Romanesque architecture of the building is exquisitely stark, and the interior is a haven of tranquility. One of the interior walls features the only known fresco by Hans Holbein the Elder dating from the 15th century.
Peterskirche has been used as a war memorial since 1928, and there are simple but moving memorials to war casualties from a number of armed conflicts.
We visited Lindau on a very hot day, and found Peterskirche to be a cool oasis of calm amid the onslaught of high season tourists in the rest of town. This is a very special place to retire, reflect and recharge your batteries, if only for a few minutes, and is not to be missed.
Everything about Lindau's harbour is lovely, from the elegance of the lighthouse to the massive statue of the Lion of Bavaria which guards the harbour entrance and the view across the lake to the mountains.
Approaching Lindau from the water is very special, and I would recommend that any visitor does this at least once, even if it means taking a short ferry trip for that express purpose!
When we visited, it was also possible to swim at a Lido on the eastern edge of the harbour - I'm not sure whether it is still possible to do so. This was a strange but enjoyable place, and the waves generated by the ferries as they shuttled in and out of the harbour added an extra, unexpected dimension to the experience. It was a baking hot day, so we lingered in the water as long as possible, and only caught the last ferry back to Meersburg by the skin of our teeth. I can still recall our panic sprinting along the quay towards the imminently departing ferry with our small daughter and her pushchair in our arms as the crew started to draw up its gangplank!
With its intricate stepped profile and ornate murals, Lindau's Rathaus (Town Hall) bears more than a passing resemblance to an ornate lebkuchen (iced gingerbread confection).
It is a beautiful Gothic structure that dates back to the 15th century, and was later extended to include an unusual Renaissance-style exterior staircase.
The picturesque harbour of Lindau was built on the south coast of the island in 1811. At the entrance of the harbour there is a Lion (the symbol of Bavaria) 6 meters tall, and a lighthouse 35 meters tall. Both of them are one of the symbol of the town.
From here departed the ferry to Bregenz (Austria) and Switzerland.
Walking along the promenade of the Harbour you can see the nice Mangturm, one of the best known monument of the town. It was built in 1200 as watch tower of the medieval fortifications of the town. Following it became a lighthouse. During the 19th century was added a steeple cover of green and yellow tiles.
The Old City Hall was built between 1422 and 1436. It was modified several times during the 16th century and in 1865. In 1885 the architect Friedrich von Thiersch rebuild the pediment and the external stairway which were removed in the past years. The facade has got fantastic paintings made by Joseph Widmann.