The Scenic Historical City on Lake Constance
The beautiful lakeside town of Konstanz, located on the German- Swiss border, offers several tourist attractions and a unique past that will intrigue history buffs.
With a defined mix of modern and historic on opposite sides of the Rhine River, Konstanz is a fascinating city with cultural and recreational offerings. Much of the old city center is located right on Lake Constance, known in German as the Bodensee.
On the Bodensee in Konstanz
A promenade runs along the shore of the lake, dotted with plenty of benches and unusual-looking trees. From the promenade it is possible to cross the bridge over the mouth of the Rhine river to the northern side of town. The northern section is characterized by more modern architecture, due to the destruction caused by Allied bombings during World War II.
The southern part of town, which shares a border with Switzerland, still retains much of the older architecture because the citizens of Konstanz left the lights on during air raids, causing Allied planes to think that it was a part of neutral Switzerland and spare it from attack. Visitors can catch a scenic panorama of the old city center when out on a paddle boat, or when crossing the Bodensee by ferry.
The Main Square: The Marktstätte
In addition to shopping, this main pedestrian area opposite the docks is full of cafes, such as the chain Aran, several bakeries, and gelato stands. This area is full of brightly-colored buildings, renovated but retaining much of the older architecture from various artistic periods, including baroque and rococo.
Bars, such as Rossini, are also in the center of town, and provide an ideal place to unwind after a day of biking, boating, or simply soaking up some sun along the water. For travelers looking for a nice dinner, the Hotel-Restaurant Barbarossa is a somewhat pricey but quality choice. Right on the water, there are the restaurants SeeRhein and Restaurant Konzil.
Restaurants and cafes located slightly off the beaten path, outside of the city center, take a bit more effort to find (just walk away from the lake and the cobblestones and toward the paved roads), but they have the advantage of being frequented by more locals than tourists.
Other Historical Sights in the City
The tower of the Münster, or Cathedral, is a distinguishing feature of the Konstanz skyline. Visitors can climb the stairs to the top to get a view of the town and the sea. On a clear day, it is possible to see the Alps. Opposite the Münster are several cafes and restaurants, and the town’s main theater stands next door.
The Rosgartenmuseum, located just off of the Marktstätte on Rosgartenstrasse, is Konstanz’s history museum, with artifacts and information that include the medieval period and the Second World War. Konstanz’s situation as a town bordering neutral Switzerland during the war is highlighted in particular. Several people were arrested by the Gestapo trying to cross over into Switzerland, including a man named Georg Elser, who was responsible for planting a bomb in a Munich beer hall in 1939 in an attempt to kill Adolf Hitler.
With breathtaking views of the Alps and surrounding hills, a beautiful old city center, various recreational offerings, and easy access via train and boat to other points of interest around the lake, Konstanz is a don’t-miss city on the scenic Bodensee.