It’s not just about size, but also the recreational opportunities! And in that respect, the vast Lake Constance is second to none. Anyone who finds Lindau too full-on can retreat to its hinterland, full of secluded ponds and lakes. Text: Christian Haas
Lake Constance and beyond
The small town of Lindau is often referred to as “Germany’s loveliest Happy End”. And rightly so. Its location alone on the Bavarian shores of Lake Constance enchants all visitors. Especially magical: the 68-hectare Altstadtinsel, or Old Town Island. Surrounded by water and almost within touching distance of imposing mountain scenery.
Then there are its inner qualities: with its centuries-old buildings, lively squares and picturesque streets, the largely intact centre radiates more than its fair share of charm. Nowhere more so than the harbour, lined with welcoming cafés.
The harbour entrance is marked by the Lindau Lighthouse and the Bavarian Lion, a six-metre high sandstone statue. There’s no denying it: this Lindau landmark is a real showstopper.
Twice as beautiful, twice as good
The city has a number of other successful double acts: island town and mainland town, Alte Rathaus and Neue Rathaus, splendid facades and Glockenspiel, or city stroll and delicious refreshments.
For example, in the “Restaurant Engel”, one of the city’s oldest inns. Not far from the Fishing District on Schrannenplatz, guests in this venerable building with the decorative bay window can tuck into beautifully prepared fresh fish (preferably up on the roof terrace!).
Top of the to-eat list is the local white fish, and the same is true of neighbouring restaurants. If you develop a taste for this delicacy, you can even try your luck at a spot of angling. You stand a good chance of catching something, including eel, perch, pike perch and around 30 other species. Licences are issued in both Lindau and Wasserburg, as well as elsewhere. Good luck!
But be careful where you cast your line. Between these two towns there are some very popular bathing places, such as the Parkstrandbad of the Bad Schachen Hotel. This stylish facility includes an outdoor pool, lake access and unique Jugendstil architecture. Motto: Vintage Swimming!
Another place to swim “like in the good old days” is the ”Aeschacher Bad”. Built on stilts more than 100 years ago, it is still well used today. Like at the Baltic Sea resorts, visitors get to the historic lime green bathhouse via a wooden jetty.
Staying overnight on the lake
Lindau can be both modern and sophisticated: in the Wellness area of the “Yacht Hotel Helvetia”, which is partly located on the roof, guests can enjoy a sauna, a “Lake Lounge” and an infinity pool. Laid-back: Anyone wishing to lull themselves to sleep on the waves can book a bed on one of the hotel’s boats in the harbour opposite. Quite literally a “Yacht Hotel”.
Apart from by (sailing) boat, the most popular way of getting around the lake is by bicycle. The circuit around this tri-nation body of water enjoys cult status. However, not everyone chooses to spend their holiday unwinding over 260 kilometres. The "Panoramarunde" (=panoramic tour) is a popular short loop.
Panoramic tour for leisure cyclists
This route runs for 26 kilometres from Lindau’s Lotzbeckpark past orchards and vineyards to the towns of Wasserburg, Nonnenhorn and Bodolz. On the way (back), it’s well worth calling in on organic winemaker Teresa Deufel, if only to sample her “Seewein” (Lake Wine).
Those averse to the idea of drinking and driving can simply stay the night there. This is especially to be recommended when the young Bavarian Ambassador invites you to a tasting in the “Degelstein Rädlewirtschaft”. This may be as part of the two-day “Komm und See” wine festival, which she organises with great enthusiasm together with a dozen other winemakers from the region.
Small but mighty: the ponds in the hinterland
There’s definitely something to be said for size and expanse, but smaller bodies of water can be just as appealing. And the nearby Württemberg section of the Allgäu is a shimmering mass of enchanted ponds, including those in the Wurzacher Ried, one of the largest nature reserves and most important moorland areas in southern Germany. You can also find ponds and lakes of all shapes and sizes across the Bavarian-Swabian hinterland.
The Eschacher Weiher belongs in the category “modest and cute”, with fantastic panoramic views of the Allgäu Alps.
Lake Öschlesee and Lake Weissensee
Next size up is the Öschlesee, a lake near Kempten (with a lovely beach bar!), or the charming scenic setting of the Niedersonthofener See. Meanwhile, the Weißensee offers optimum wind conditions for surfers to skim across the waves.
Those who prefer to do their sport sitting down can attend “Kanu-Kini” on the large Lake Forggensee in Füssen and learn to paddle a kayak, a Canadian canoe or a dragon boat, ending up by taking part in one of their guided tours. Included in the price: the priceless view of Neuschwanstein, the castle built by the Fairy Tale King Ludwig II.
Cool tips in our Wild Bathing Listicle