Konstanz Off The Beaten Path

  • Münster church and old town of Überlingen
    Münster church and old town of...
    by Kathrin_E
  • View of Reichenau Island
    View of Reichenau Island
    by Kathrin_E
  • Inselhotel from the boat
    Inselhotel from the boat
    by german_eagle

Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Konstanz

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    DAY TRIP OPTIONS: Arenenberg Palace

    by Kathrin_E Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Arenenberg Palace among the vineyards
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    The little palace, rather a manor, is located above the village of Mannenbach on the southern, Swiss bank of Untersee. It is standing on a hilltop above the vineyards which offers a wide view of the lake, Reichenau island and the surrounding landscape. The manor was founded in the 16th century but made history in the early 1800s as home of Napoleon's relatives.

    After Napoleon's fall and the reorganization of Europe in the Vienna Congress all those relatives of his who had been married and installed as rulers in conquered territories had to seek an exile home. Hortense de Beauharnais, the former Queen of Holland, daughter of Josephine and wife of Napoleon's brother Louis, bought the manor in 1818. Her son, the later French Emperor Napoléon III, grew up here. The palace became a meeting point of the Beauharnais and Napoleon family. It was redesigned for Hortense in Parisian splendour. She also had a landscape garden planted on the premises. This park has in recent years been reconstructed.

    The palace is a museum about the Napoleon family and their lives. The interior has preserved its original furniture. All details on the museum website lionked below.

    How to get there: Take the Seehas train to either Mannenbach or Ermatingen and walk up. From Mannenbach it is not far, just a short walk uphill through the vineyards. If you get off the train already at Ermatingen you can combine your visit with a pleasant little hike along the lake.

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    • Castles and Palaces
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    Inselhotel

    by german_eagle Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Inselhotel
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    Hardly to visit for the average tourist is the Inselhotel run by the Steigenberg Group, a former Dominican monastery. It is located at the northeastern corner of the old town of Konstanz on a small island, separated from the town only by a small ditch.

    The monastery was established 1235 and closed 1785. It served as cloth factory later and from 1874 on it has been a first-class hotel. Church and cloisters are well preserved but unfortunately only accessible for hotel guests. In case your wallet co-operates you can have a fancy dinner in their restaurant and this way might snatch a quick look into the historic rooms ...

    Quite annoying is that both railway and road that are between old town and hotel are VERY busy. It can take quite a while until you can cross.

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    Petershausen - centre with St. Gebhardt church

    by german_eagle Written Feb 25, 2011

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    St. Gebhardt
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    The centre of Petershausen is the area around St. Gebhardt square. This is totally off the beaten path for tourists, here you can dig into everyday life in Konstanz.

    The dominating building is not St. Gebhardt church but the plain ugly highrise that was erected for telecommunication in 1971 (back then for Deutsche Bundespost, now Telekom). It is 15 storeys tall, 96 m.

    St. Gebhardt church was built 1929/30 and it also is a bit overly large for my taste. The proportions are just not right compared to the surrounding townhouses. Anyway, it is open during the day and worth a short look inside. Quite nice are the mosaic in the apse and the stained-glass windows. The other modern interior is interesting, too, but not overly beautiful IMO.

    Bus stop Zähringerplatz (many lines)

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    Petershausen - former abbey

    by german_eagle Written Feb 25, 2011

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    Petershausen - Baroque former abbey buildings
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    Petershausen is the district of Konstanz that is right north of the Rhine. Right in the centre of Petershausen once had been a Benedictine abbey, founded in 983 and closed 1803. From 1813 on the complex served as garrison. Sadly enough the state of Baden decided to tear down the Romanesque church of the abbey in 1836.

    In 1871 the infantry regiment 114 took hold of the complex. The soldiers put up a monument for the regiment's leader, Emperor Friedrich III in 1892 (pic 4). From 1945 on French troops were stationed here and only after they moved out in 1977 the area could be used publicly.

    Several buildings are used by the city's and county's administration but there is also an archeological museum (no time to go in) and a music school (in the remaining structure of the Baroque abbey along Spanierstraße) - concerts from time to time here. Quite nice is also the small, quiet formal garden in the courtyard.

    Location: right be the Rhine bridge, turn left coming from the old town.

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    • Museum Visits
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    Allmannshausen

    by german_eagle Updated Feb 25, 2011

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    Allmannshausen, former town hall and parish church
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    Allmannshausen is a northern suburb of Konstanz, actually a pretty old village. The church St. Georg looks back at a tradition of 750 years. Its interior appearance is modern, though, as it was destroyed a couple of times. The wooden steeple is a leftover from 14th/15th century, the church itself was rebuilt 1745 in Baroque style and enlarged 1962 (thus the modern interior). Quite interesting is the altar painting in a side chapel (pic 4). Entrance to the church is through a glass passageway between the church and the vicarage - open during daytimes.

    The church, vicarage and cemetery form a picturesque complex together with the former town hall, erected 1903. When Allmannsdorf became part of Konstanz the town hall lost its function and is now home of several local clubs (I guess the carnival club, too).

    Allmannsdorf is right on the bus line to Staad where the ferry to Meersburg departs. Bus #1 from Konstanz old town.

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    University Konstanz

    by german_eagle Written Feb 25, 2011

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    University Konstanz
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    The University Konstanz was founded 1966 but only in 1972 they could move into the completed buildings on Gießberg hill, a few kilometres outside the city. It is a compact campus, beautifully located with great panoramic views of the lake and even the Alps (weather co-operating). On the other hand, the architecture is 1970s ... plain ugly IMO. The students live either in the city or in an apartment complex in little distance below the university right on the edge of the city. Buses frequently connect the university with Konstanz proper (#9A and #9B).

    The campus is freely accessible. I had a business seminar there, thus got an ID card for free use of the library which includes free internet access - a big plus. If you want you can get an ID card, too, but have to pay a small fee (10 Euro, I think).

    I liked the views of the landscape from the university a lot. It hurt the eyes, though, to get to the viewing platforms ... not only is the architecture ugly, it is also in urgent need of renovation (not to say reconstruction).

    Universitätsstraße 10, 78464 Konstanz

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    Convent Zoffingen

    by german_eagle Written Feb 25, 2011

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    Convent Zoffingen
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    The Dominican convent is located in the so called "Niederburg", the northern part of the old town. It was established 1257. Since the nuns opened a school in 1775 the convent was not closed in the 19th century, thus is the only remaining one in Konstanz. The church was built around 1300 and redecorated in Baroque style in the 18th century. You are free to enter the small courtyard and have a look into the church.

    Brückengasse 15, 78462 Konstanz

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    DAY TRIP OPTIONS: Radolfzell

    by Kathrin_E Updated Aug 17, 2010

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    Radolfzell
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    If you happen to change trains in Radolfzell, invest an hour and take the next train to do a quick walk of the town. It is three minutes to Münster church and the main square from the train station, and one minute to the lake promenade. I suppose the people of Radolfzell now wish they had built their railway line and station elsewhere than right between old town and lake, but for short-term visitors this is very convenient. The old town centre is small, so in one hour you can walk round and get an idea of the town, including the interior of the big church and a quick walk along the harbour and lake.

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    More Day Trip Options

    by Kathrin_E Updated Aug 17, 2010

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    Birnau pilgrimage church
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    Due to lack of photos, just a quick list now to give you some names for further research and investigation. This list is far from complete. Konstanz is a great base to explore the lake region and places to visit from here are plenty.

    Birnau - baroque pilgrimage church

    Unteruhldingen - reconstruction of a prehistoric village according to archeological finds

    Lindau - old town on an island in the lake

    Bregenz - at the far end of the Bodensee, Austria's small piece of lake shore

    Kreuzlingen - a quick walk to Switzerland

    Stein am Rhein - the town with the famous painted houses

    Schaffhausen - more than just the Rhine Falls , don't miss the well preserved old town and the castle

    Winterthur - Gottfried Semper for fans of 19th century architecture, and the amazing Sammlung Oskar Reinhart , a private collection of classical modern art with all the big names

    Hegau - the landscape around Singen with its extinct volcanoes and castle ruins like Hohentwiel and Hohenkrähen

    Sankt Gallen - another of the most influential early medieval monasteries, present buildings are baroque. The No. 1 treasure is the library with its collection of medieval manuscrips in a splendid baroque hall.

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    DAY TRIP OPTIONS: Friedrichshafen Zeppelin Museum

    by Kathrin_E Written Aug 17, 2010

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    Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen
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    Friedrichshafen is the hometown of the Zeppelin. The former factory, interesting Bauhaus architecture in itself by the way, has been turned into a museum. If you are interested in technical stuff and how air travel worked 100 years ago, this is very worthwhile.

    The town is not the prettiest highlight of the lake region. The walk along the lake promenade is pleasant, though. At the far end you can visit the former abbey with its baroque church. The two steeples with their "onion" roofs are a landmark in the skyline.

    How to get there: Either by train or by cruise boat.

    Useful weblinks:
    Website of Friedrichshafen Tourist Information
    Website of Zeppelin museum (page in German)

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    • Museum Visits

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    DAY TRIP OPTIONS: Meersburg

    by Kathrin_E Written Aug 17, 2010

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    Rococo pavillon, Old Palce, and lake with ferry
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    The best known destination on the shores of Bodensee is of course Meersburg, known for its romantic old town, the two palaces and the beautiful location on a steep hillside above the lake. If people know about only one place around Bodensee, it's this.

    Meersburg's Old Palace is said to be the oldest castle in Germany, according to legends its origins date back to the times of the Merowingian king Dagobert in the 7th century. Not sure if this is true but superlatives sell...
    In the reformation the City of Konstanz managed to kick out the Bishop. Since then Meersburg was the residence of the Bishops of Konstanz. They lived in the Old Palace but around 1700 it was decided that a more adequate and modern palace was needed. So from 1710 the baroque New Palace was erected next to the old one.
    In 1802/03 Meersburg became property of the Electors, then Granddukes of Baden together with all other worldly possessions of the bishopric. The New Palace was used as summer residence a few times but then sold for other purposes. The town fell into some kind of Cinderella sleep, industrialization and everything hardly reached it. Thanks to this the old town has been preserved unspoilt and is now the town's wealth.

    How to get there: Meersburg has one big disadvantage: there are no train connections. For whatever reason the railway that otherwise runs along the lake takes a detour further inland and skips the town. Train travellers have to change to a bus in either Überlingen or Friedrichshafen.
    From Konstanz, the easiest way to reach Meersburg is a cruise boat. Another option: take the bus to Staad and cross the lake on the car ferry. Car travellers of course take the ferry.

    Some useful links:
    Website of Meersburg Tourist Office
    Homepage of Neues Schloss - New Palace
    Homepage of Altes Schloss - Old Palace (page in German)

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces

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    DAY TRIP OPTIONS: Reichenau Island

    by Kathrin_E Written Aug 16, 2010

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    View of Reichenau Island
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    Reichenau is the biggest island in the lakes. It divides Untersee and Gnadensee and is connected to the northern lake bank by a dam. The name translates to "rich island" and refers to its fruitful soil and mild climate as well as the wealth and reputation of the Benedictine monasteries. The landscape views define the meaning of "lovely".

    In 724 the peregrine bishop and missionary Pirmin discovered the island and founded the first of three monasteries. The Benedictine abbeys of Reichenau - Oberzell, Mittelzell and Niederzell - soon became a cultural and religious centre and were one of the most influential abbeys in Central Europe during the early middle ages. Many of the most famous illuminated manuscripts of that era were written and painted on the Reichenau.

    In 2000 the "monastery island" has been granted the status of Unesco World Heritage.

    Visit the three Romanesque churches. Not to be missed: the treasure chamber of the abbey at Mittelzell with the most precious medieval church art.

    Don't forget to enjoy the landscape. From the ridge of the island you overlook the entire Untersee and the surrounding landscape, the hills of Thurgau and the volcanic rocks in Hegau. The entire island is more or less a vegetable garden. A lot of the greens we find on the markets in the fegion have grown here.

    Reichenau page of the administration of palalces and gradens in Baden-Württemberg
    Website of Reichenau tourist information

    How to get there: Easiest and most pleasant, take a cruise boat from Konstanz and travel along the stretch of river between the two lakes, then over to the island. From the boat landing you walk about 15 minutes across the ridge to Mittelzell. Otherwise it is a bit tricky without a car because bus connections are not as good as one would like them to be.
    Exploring the rest of the island means covering some distances. The island is small but not that small. It can be walked if, and only if you have lots of time and physical ressources. Having or renting a bike would be perfect. Or by car, of course.

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    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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    DAY TRIP OPTIONS: Hike on Swiss Bank of Untersee

    by Kathrin_E Updated Aug 16, 2010

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    Boats at Ermatingen
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    A pleasant and easy hike leads along the bank of Untersee on the Swiss side. Easy because it is entirely flat. Starting from the village of Ermatingen, for example, you can walk to Mannenbach and Arenenberg Palace. The trail fist leads along Ermatingen's 'boat harbour', then through the reeds

    Some stretches of the river bank are private owned so you cannot walk by the waterside everywhere. A general problem around the whole Bodensee. However, there are enough options to enjoy the open view along the way.

    I did the walk in October. In the morning there was mist over the water and hardly any view, but slowly slowly the sun broke through and created a magical atmosphere. In the afternoon we enjoyed brightest sunshine and a glorious Golden October day.

    How to get there: Take the Seehas train to Ermatingen.

    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Hiking and Walking

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    DAY TRIP OPTIONS: Mainau Island

    by Kathrin_E Written Aug 16, 2010

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    Mainau Gardens
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    The garden island in the lake enjoys an almost subtropical climate. Exotic plants grow here, even bananas (these impressed me most when I visited as a child). The entire island is covered in the most beautiful gardens with old trees and flowers, flowers, flowers. The appearance of the gardens changes with the seasons. Additional attractions are exotic plants, palm trees and so on, in the glasshouses, the butterfly house, playgrounds for childrren, art and flower exhibitions...

    The island belonged to the Teutonic Order until 1806, then became property of the Grandduke of Baden. By heritage it went to the related Swedish royal family in the early 20th century. The Counts Bernadotte who own and inhabit the island derive from a younger son of the Swedish king who resigned from his titles and functions, Count Lennart Bernadotte. His daughter, Countess Bettina, is now the 'boss' of the island after the death of both parents.

    Tourism is the base of their economy. Active marketing is done to attract visitors. Every year new attractions are on display.

    The baroque palace was begun in the 1730s. It is inhabited by the Bernadotte family and cannot be visited except a few rooms in the central wing that are used for exhibitions. The church next to the palace is open to visitors, though.

    How to get there: either by cruise boat, or by bus. The bus stops next to the dam that connects the island with the mainland. If you arrive by car you also have to park there and walk over.

    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • National/State Park

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    DAY TRIP OPTIONS: Überlingen

    by Kathrin_E Written Aug 16, 2010

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    M��nster church and old town of ��berlingen

    Überlingen on the northern bank of Überlinger See (the northwestern part of Bodensee) is a hidden gem. The small town is proud of its past as an imperial city. Narrow streets, old houses, hidden paths and stairs up and down the hill offer surprising views. Towering above everything is the Münster church with the big and the small steeple. Stroll around and try the hidden lanes, you won't lose your way since the church is visible from almost everywhere.

    Überlingen's reputation is overshadowed by the fame of nearby Meersburg. I admit that it is not as specatcular as its neighbour with the castles and such. On the other hand, it is far less overrun and less tourist orientated, an authentic South German small town. If you like off the beaten path locations, give Überlingen a try.

    Überlingen has its own entry on my travel map.

    How to get there: Unlike Meersburg, Überlingen can be reached by train. The Seehas trains and also the Regionalexpress trains stop here. From Konstanz you may have to change trains in Radolfzell.
    The cruise boats on the lake are an enjoyable alternative in the summer half of the year, weather permitting.

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