Lake Constance (Bodensee) is the largest lake in central Europe. It is bordered by Germany on the north and west, Switzerland (die Schweiz) on the south and a little bit of Austria (Österreich) on the east. Near the city of Constance(Konstanz) is Mainau (pronounced my-now) Island. A long line of European royalty have owned the island and built a castle, a church and other buildings on it. The owners since the early 19th century took a particular interest in landscaping, bringing in rare plants and covering the grounds with gardens. The island is currently owned and managed by a Swedish countess, who has opened the island and its spectacular gardens to the public. The island is now the most visited attraction in the Lake Constance region.
The island is about 1˝ hours by car from Bondorf. There is a lot on the mainland where you can park your car. At the main entrance, you buy your tickets, and then proceed over the bridge onto the island. You will receive a map in German, English and French when you buy your tickets. Most of the informational signs on the island are also in these three languages.
Walking paths crisscross the island. The land slopes up, sometimes rather steeply, as you approach the center of the island. The castle is on the hill at the opposite end of the island from where you enter. If you are a little short on time (or on energy) you can take a shuttle bus (€1.50) from the entrance up the hill to a point near the castle, then make your way back downhill. Also on the island are various exhibitions, a butterfly house and, of course, lots of trees and gardens.
You can spend quite a bit of time on the island. In four hours you can see maybe half of what there is to see. Add that to three hours driving time, and it makes for a full day’s expedition.
Tip: There is a nice café in the castle and its adjoining Palm House. It makes for a nice afternoon stop for a drink and perhaps a piece of cake. There all also several other restaurants on the island if you are feeling the need for something more substantial.
|Mid Mar-Late Oct||Late Oct-Mid Mar|
|Opening Times||Daily 7:00am-8:00pm||Daily 9:00am-6:00pm|
|Island bus (one way)||€1.50|
Get on the A81 heading south toward Singen. Shortly before reaching Singen, take the exit to Konstanz and Lindau. After exiting, the road will split again. Follow the signs to Konstanz rather than Lindau.
The road will be a 4-lane motorway (B33) for about 15km and then change to a 2-lane road. A little ways after you pass the town of Hegne (on the left), the signs to Konstanz will tell you to go right. Instead, continue straight, following the signs to Meersburg (via ferry) and Mainau. On the directional signs, Mainau will be printed in a white square. Keep following the signs to Mainau until you arrived at the island parking area. There is a fee for parking. Follow the signs to the island, which will take you to the entrance.