Konstanz is a city in southern Germany. It lies on the border with Switzerland and on Lake Constance(Bodensee), exactly where the river Rhine exits the lake. The city is split in two by the Rhine. Although the Rhine is the usual border between Switzerland and Germany, the historic part of Konstanz lies on the south ("Swiss") side of the Rhine and is more or less an enclave.
Konstanz has traces of civilization dating from the stone age and was settled by the Romans in about 50 CE. Konstanz was an important trade centre and a spiritual centre. At the council of Konstanz in 1414-1418, a papal election was held, ending the papal schism. Konstanz attempted to join the Swiss Confederacy in about 1460, but was voted down. Due to its proximity to Switzerland, Konstanz was not bombed during world war II and its historic old town remains intact. It is a historic city with a charming old town, and could be called the jewel of the region.
The tourist information centre is located in the train station. Hours: Mon-Fri 09:00-18:30, Sat 09:00-16:00, Sun 10:00-13:00.
Konstanz has no commerical airport. The closest airports are:
Zurich Airport (Switzerland). By car 1 hour to Konstanz. By train 1 to 1.5 hours to Konstanz. There is a direct train from Zurich airport to Konstanz once an hour, and another train with a connection in Weinfelden once an hour.
Friedrichshafen Airport (Germany). By car 1 hour to Konstanz (take the car ferry between Meersburg and Konstanz). By train approx. 2 hours to Konstanz. By boat approx 1 hour to Konstanz (take the train from Friedrichshafen airport to Friedrichshafen Hafen and get the Katamaran to Konstanz.
Stuttgart Airport (Germany). By car 2 hours to Konstanz. By train 2.5 to 3 hours to Konstanz.
EuroAirport (Basel, Switzerland). About 2 hours by car. By train, 2 hours from Konstanz first to the Basel Bad Bahnhof (in Germany) then about 45 minutes by regular tram/bus to the airport via a transfer at the Basel SBB station on the Swiss side.
Konstanz has multiple train stations. The Konstanz Hauptbahnhof is the main station and is located in the old town. It's the last German stop before the Swiss border, and is therefore served by both German and Swiss trains. Hourly direct trains from Zurich Main Station (1hr 20min) go via Zurich Airport. Zurich Main Station has excellent connections to the rest of Switzerland as well as Italy, Austria and France.
The other Konstanz train stations are located in the city districts of Petershausen, Fürstenburg and Wollmatingen.
Most places around Lake Constance can be reached by train: Romanshorn, St. Gallen, Stein am Rhein and Schaffhausen can all be reached with a change in Kreuzlingen (which is the "Swiss suburb" of Konstanz, just across the border), whereas Friedrichshafen, Lindau and other German places around the lake require a change in Radolfzell and take a long time - the boat can often be quicker. Bregenz in Austria is best reached via Switzerland - change in Rorschach and St Margrethen.
To reach Konstanz from the rest of Germany is time-consuming. There are direct trains to Karlsruhe (3 hours on a scenic route through the Black Forest), but other connections require a change in Offenburg (for Frankfurt and cities further north), Radolfzell (Ulm, Augsburg, München and beyond) or Singen (Stuttgart).
The Münster (Cathedral), (In the old town, at Münsterplatz). Construction completed on the North Tower in about 1100 AD. Built between 1100 and 1854, the church is a magnificent example of architectural styles of the centuries. Climb up the tower for a fantastic view of Konstanz and the Bodensee.edit
The harbour. From the harbour on a clear day, you can see the Swiss and Austrian alps across the lake. The harbour is a great place to see sailboats, catch a boat across the lake, sit in a beer garden, rent a paddle boat or mini motor boat, or relax in the park.edit
Mainau flower island, (by car: follow Mainaustraße; by bus: bus line 4), . Every day from sunrise until sunset. Flower gardens and parks, butterfly house, greenhouse. Mar 19 - Oct 24: €17.00 adult, € 10.00 students, children under 13 free. Off-season is about half-price. edit
Niederburg district, (north-west corner of old town). This charming district is the oldest part of Konstanz. It is made up of narrow streets and old buidings, sometimes more then 700 years old. On the first Friday of each month from May to October, the shops of Niederburg stay open late and there is music, flea market tables, and art in the streets. It's a very cozy atmosphere and worth a walk through.edit
Archaeology Museum of Baden-Württemberg, Benediktinerplatz 5 (City district Petershausen, near bus stop Sternenplatz on most bus lines), . Tue-Sun: 10 - 18.00; Mondays and holidays closed. Particular emphasis on the Bodensee (Lake Constance) region and the middle ages.Adults (14+ years): €4; kids (6-13 years) € 0.50, first Saturday of the month free. edit
Hus Haus, Hussenstraße 64 (In the old town), . Apr 1 - Sep 30: Tue-Sun: 11:00-17:00; Oct 1 - Mar 31: Tue-Sun: 11:00-16:00. Closed Mondays and holidays. Museum dedicated to Czech religious reformer Jan Hus. The museum is all in German and Czech.Free. edit
Rosegarten Museum, Rosgartenstraße 3-5 (In the old town), . Tue-Fri: 10.00-18.00; Sat-Sun: 10.00-17.00; Mondays closed. History and culture of Konstanz and the surrounding area. The museum is all in German.3€; free first Sunday of the month. edit
Sea Life Centre, Hafenstr. 9 (On the lake side of the Lago Centre (mall)), . Adults (15 years+) €16,50; Children (3-14 years) €10,95. edit
Wessenburg Gallery, Wessenbergstraße 43 (In the old town, across from the Munster cathedral), . Tue-Fri: 10.00-18.00; Sat-Sun: 10.00-17.00; Mondays closed. Art gallery with rotating exhibitions€3. edit
Art nouveau houses beside the lake, Seestrasse (on the north shore where the lake meets the Rhine, just east of the train bridge). edit
Bismarck Tower, on 'Bismarksteig' street in the Petershausen district, . There are towers commemorating the first German chancellor Otto von Bismarck all over Germany. Konstanz's Bismarck tower is located at the top of a grapevine-covered hill. There are benches and firepits at the base of the tower. It's a nice place to watch the sunset. There's a good view from the base of the tower and an even better one from the top.edit
Konzil (Council building), (at the harbour). This building was built in 1388 and originally used as a warehouse. From 1414-1417 the council of Konstanz was held here to elect a new pope. It currently contains a restaurant and concert hall, and is undergoing restoration work.edit
Rheintorturm and Pulverturm (Rhine entrance tower and Powder tower), (On the south shore of the Rhine, just downstream from where the lake meets the Rhine.). Remnants of the old city defenses.edit
Schnetztor, (Located at the south end of Hussenstrasse in the old town.). 14th century city gate and tower, next to a bit of the old city wall.edit
Imperia statue, (at the harbour entrance). By artist Peter Lenk. The statue is of a woman holding two naked men--Pope Martin V and Emperor Sigismund--in her hands. The men wear only the papal tiara and the crown, respectively. The statue refers to a short story by Balzac, "La belle Impéria".edit
Sculptures along the German-Swiss border, (Along the border, next to the lake), . Where there used to be a border fence, there is now a series of 22 sculptures representing the trumps of the tarot, the "Great Arkana".edit
Swim. Either in the Rhine near the pedestrian bridge, or at the beach "Hörnle" at the east-most point of Konstanz. (Bus 5 goes to the Hörnle.) The Hörnle has a nudist area (in German: "FKK") at its north end.edit
Go to the spa (Bodensee Therme), Zur Therme 2 (Bus: take bus 5 to the stop 'Therme'. Car: follow the signs to 'Therme'), . 09:00-22:00. Tuesdays (except for holidays and school holidays) are ladies' only in the saunas. The facility includes multiple saunas, multiple pools including an outdoor heated pool and an outdoor 50-m swimming pool, and a restaurant. The saunas are no-clothing areas and the pools are mostly bathing suit areas. Price ranges from €7 for 1.5 hours in the pools only, to €20 for a day pass for all pools and saunas.. edit
Konstanz Theatre, (in the old town), . Konstanz has 3 theatres: "Stadttheater" for classic pieces, "Spiegelhalle" for youth theatre and experimental theatre, and "Werkstatt" for puppet theatre. You can buy tickets in advance at the Stadttheater (Konzilstrasse 11) or at the tourist information centre (inside the train station)edit
Konstanz Philharmonic, . You can buy tickets in advance at the Stadttheater (Konzilstrasse 11) or at the tourist information centre (inside the train station)edit
Organ concerts at the Münster (Cathedral), . For schedules and pricing, see the website or contact the Münster music office at Pfalzgarten 4, or +49 7531 9062 52.edit
Carnival (Fastnacht), (all over Konstanz, but primarily in the old town), . This week-long event involves parades, costumes and parties. It takes place in the week preceding Ash Wednesday. Carnival is an old tradition in southern Germany, made up a mix of pagan and Christian beliefs, whose main purpose is to chase out winter. The secondary purpose is, of course, to dress up in a costume and party.edit
International Bodensee Week, (at/near the harbour), . This festival is all about boats. It takes place in the spring (23-26 May 2013) and features boat exhibitions, regattas, and water skiing shows & competitions.free. edit
Christopher Street Day (LGBT pride parade), . A cross-border LGBT pride parade/demonstration in Konstanz and neighbouring Swiss city Kreuzlingen. It takes place every 2 years (odd years) in the summer (13 July 2013). There are several cultural activities in the week leading up to the parade. The parade starts around 11 am and is followed by some bands playing in the Stadtpark (near the harbour). In the evening there's a party in the Konzil building (€14 entry).edit
Konstanz Wine Festival, (St. Stephan's Platz, in the old town), . End of July (27-30 July 2011): An outdoor festival featuring local wines and live music.edit
Seenachtfest, all along the lakeshore in Konstanz, . 1-day festival in mid-August (10 Aug 2013) with live music and other performances on a few different stages, water shows (e.g. waterskiing), a market. The final event is a big fireworks competition between Konstanz, and neighbouring Swiss city Kreuzlingen. You can see the fireworks for free by watching in Kreuzlingen instead. Kreutzlingen also has a small midway and market during this event (free entry). Adults €12 in advance or €16 on the day, kids under 12 free. edit
Rock am See, Bodensee Stadion (stadium) (the east-most point of Konstanz (on bus route 5)), . 1-day music festival at the end of August (31 Aug 2013). Note: Actually it's cancelled in 2013 :(approx. €60. edit
Oktoberfest, (klein venedig festival grounds, on the waterfront between the Sea Life Centre and the Swiss border), . 11:00 until 24:00 or 01:00. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. The Konstanz Oktoberfest is rather smaller than the one in Munich but is worth attending if you're in town. It features the usual Oktoberfest-style beer, food, and live bands, and has a small midway. It takes place over 3 weekends: the last 2 weekends in September and the first weekend in October. edit
Christmas Market, (harbour and old town main market (Marktstätte)), . An outdoor festival where the main marketplace and harbour are lined with stalls selling mulled wine, food, art and kitchy stuff. It goes for the 4 weekends before Christmas.edit
Market (farmer's market). Tuesday and Friday mornings in St. Stephans Platz (downtown); Wednesday and Saturday mornings in St. Gebhard-Platz (Petershausen district)edit
Old town shops. Mon-Sat 9:00 to 19:00, closed Sundays. Most of the pedestrian zone in the Konstanz old town is full of shops. In particular, there are a lot of shoe and clothing stores.edit
Lago Center shopping mall, (located in the south-west corner of Konstanz near the train station), . Mon-Sat 9:30 to 20:00. Thursdays open late until 22:00. edit
Gigantic cross-border flea market, . This flea market is several kilometres long and crosses the border to Kreuzlingen, Switzerland. The bulk of the market is in Konstanz though. It sells the usual flea market stuff, but is impressive due to its sheer size. It takes place in June or July (2-3 July 2011).edit
Konstanz has a rich variety of all kinds of restaurants, cafes, bistros and bars. Due to the proximity of the Swiss border, prices are higher than in other cities (mentally add 2 Euros to every main dish you are eating in other German cities).
In summertime most restaurants offer outside sitting and eating, in the evening hours it is hard to find a place, occasionally.
A yearly published magazine "Die Seezunge" covers many of the Konstanz eateries and is available in tabac shops and kiosks.
A good start to discover the Konstanz restaurant scene is to start at the central marketplace Marktstätte:
Casablanca, Marktstätte 15 (west end of the Marktstätte, near the fountain). Offers italian food, a great place to sit outside and watch the tourist masses walk by or catch the performances of the street artists.edit
Aran, Marktstätte 6 (east end of the Marktstätte, at the top of the stairs next to the railway underpass). An upscale cafe with great snacks (wood oven bread slices with various toppings, hot wraps, custom made icecream)edit
La Piazza, Marktstätte 2 (east end of the Marktstätte, next to the post office), . Offers Italian food of all different varieties as well as Italian-style coffee.edit
Just north of the "Marktstätte" is the old fish market site Fischmarkt:
Latinos, Am Fischmarkt, . 0:00-01:00 (Saturdays open until 02:00). If you like the idea of Tex-Mex food but hate eating spicy stuff, this is the place for you.edit
Rossini, Fischmarkt 1. An Italian restaurant with a great bistro atmosphere.edit
Other recommended restaurants around the old town:
Döner Kebap. There are lots of very good "Dönerbuden" (kebap houses) in the city center selling this Turkish dish. Ali Baba near the Cinestar movie theater is a special recommendation.edit
Suppengrün, Sigismundstraße 19 (in the altstadt (old town)), ☎ +49 7531 917100, . 11:00 to 21:00, closed Sundays. Fresh and delicious soup and salad. The salad bar is full of fresh selections including many vegetarian and a few vegan options. (Pay according to the weight of your salad.) There are several soup options; some change daily.Soup: €3.40 to €4.20, salad: pay by weight. edit
Elefanten, Salmannsweilergasse 32 (in the altstadt (old town)), . 11:30-14:30, 17:30-24:00, Sundays closed. A restaurant with typical southern-Germany atmosphere, serving typical southern-Germany specialties. Note, closed until 20th Aug.edit
Karma: Touch of Singapore, Sigismundstraße 14 (in the altstadt (old town)), . Mon-Fri 11:30-15:00, 17:30-23:00; Sat 11:30-23:30, Sun 17:30-23:30. Food inspired by Indian, Chinese, Indonesian und Thai cuisine.edit
Taverne Pan, Sallmannsweilergasse 13, 78462 Konstanz (in the altstadt (old town)), ☎ +49 7531 25478. Mon-Sun 12:00-14:30 & 18:00-01:00. Greek taverne with great and most important cheap food. A place with nice music and good service. You should definetely try Gyro and Galactoboureko.edit
Sitara indi (mostinder), Paradiesstrase 7, ☎ 00497531 9189941, . 11:30-24:00. Located in the heart of konstanz, auhthentic indian food with orignal indian ambience. The menu offers fresh unlimited dishes.€ 6.90. edit
Mayura the taste of India, Fishmarkt 1 (Across the lake of Konstanz), ☎ 004975313633766, . Mon-Fri11:30, 17:30-23:30; Sat 11:30-23:30, Sun11:30-14:30 17:30-23:30. Enjoy the lavish food which will include authentic dishes from india soups, salads, kebabs, tandoori(indian grills), biryani and Indian curries.Relish the sumptuous and hearty meal enjoying the breeze of lake of konstanz. edit
Restaurants nearby Konstanz:
Goa Restaurant, Heidengasse 2a (Markdorf), ☎ 0049-7544-9499080, . Delight your senses with the fineness of traditional Indian cuisine edit
VIDA Store Konstanz, Neugasse 20 ((in the altstadt (old town))), ☎ 075312824680, . 10-20, closed Sundays. The VIDA Store is a cafe/bistro that serves 100% handmade and organic foods and drinks. The vegan first policy is completed by a selection of vegetarian dishes an meat. Take away is available as well as outdoor and indoor seating. 3-12. edit
Beach Bar (Strandbar), Webersteig 12 (On the south shore of the Rhine, in front of the college), ☎ +49 (0)7531 - 3804158, . May to Sep, 12:00 to 24:00, opens at 11:00 on Sundays, closed in bad weather. A bar with a nice patch of sand about the size of a beach volleyball court. Lots of seating on beach chairs on the sand, and patio. They often have live music on Wednesdays.free. edit
Beer garden (Hafen Halle), Hafenstraße 10 (At the harbour behind the train station, right beside the sailboats), ☎ +49 07531 / 21126, . every day 10:00 to 01:00. A bavarian-style beer garden. Live music on Sunday mornings starting at 10:30, and they often show "big" sports events (football championships, formula 1) on a big screen.edit
Shamrock Irish pub, Bahnhofstrasse 4, . Mon-Thu 17:00-01:00, Fri 16:00-02:00, Sat 14:00-03:00, Sun 15:00-01:00. They have a pretty full events calendar including bingo, karaoke, quiz nights, live music, and sports on TV. Often good place to go if you want to hear other people speaking English.edit
Brauhaus Johannes Albrecht, In the Niederburg (just to the north of the Munster), . 11.30 - 1.00. Red-painted Brauhaus serving a range of beers brewed on the premises. The beautifully-maintained brewery apparatus is situated in one of the bar rooms and really adds to the atmosphere of the place.edit
Blechnerei, Macairestraße 4 (Industrial area of town; by train station Konstanz-Wollmatingen or by bus 6, 11, 13, 15), . Variety of music genres. Check the events page of their website or simply look for the posters plastered all around town for the next event.edit
Casba, Obere Laube 55 (Just on the edge of the old town), . Cheapest place in town; loud, smokey and sticky, somewhat legendary.edit
Corso Bar, Emmishofer Straße 2 (Just south of the old town), . Former strip club; still has the stage and pole. Usually has bands playing on weekends.edit
Dance Palace, Max-Stromeyer-Str. 33 (Industrial area of town). edit
Hotel Hirschen, Bodanplatz 9 (Just south of the old city centre), ☎ +49/7531/12826-0, . The proprietors speak English and can arrange for nearby parking for a modest fee.Single room € 75 to 85, double room € 102 to 122, triple room € 135 to 160. edit
Hotel Graf Zeppelin, St. Stephansplatz 15 (in the old town), ☎ +49 7531 691369-0, . Single: starting at €70. Rooms for 2, 3 or 4 people starting at €45, €38 and €35 per person, respectively. edit
Hotel Gretel, Zollernstraße 6 (in the old town), ☎ +49 7531 455825, . edit
Bayrischer Hof, Rosgartenstraße 30 (right in the centre of the old town), ☎ +49 7531 1304-0, . Single: €68-€85, double: €100-€137, parking €8 extra. edit
Steigenburger Island Hotel, at the end of 'Auf der Insel' street, . This hotel is located on a small island in a former Dominican Cloister. Accessible by bridge from the old town.edit
Otto-Moericke-Turm youth hostel, Zur Allmannshöhe 16 (north end), ☎ +49 7531 32260, . checkin: From 15:00; checkout: 08:00 to 10:00. Approx. €22 to €35 per night. edit
If you're looking for a hostel, there are also a couple in the Swiss town of Kreuzlingen, which is practically a suburb of Konstanz.
Neighbouring Swiss city Kreuzlingen has a really nice waterfront with large parks and playgrounds and a small zoo. Simply walk south along the waterfront from Konstanz to get there.
Swiss Alps. In the winter, sign up at one of the local sports stores (e.g. Intersport Gruner across from the Lago Center, or Karstadt Sport in the basement of the Lago Center) to join a bus day-trip to a ski resort.
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