Golden autumn and festive season in the four-country region
TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF
Mystic atmosphere, multifaceted experiences, golden glow: the combination of exciting and dreamy gives Konstanz, the largest city in the four-country region around Lake Constance, a special flair.
Lake Constance is worth a visit every season. It is unique throughout the entire year and is different every day. But when it becomes quieter, when the fog slowly drifts through the alleyways and across the lake, visitors who primarily seek relaxation and calm come to Lake Constance.
But what exactly can visitors look forward to in autumn and winter around Lake Constance? Discover Germany tried to find out.
Astonishment and relaxation
For the first time this year, autumnal cruises will take visitors on unique discovery tours on the water. Onshore, daily guided tours will take people of all ages 600 years back and onto a lively journey through the times of the Council of Constance. Furthermore, numerous top events will fascinate visitors and the picturesque city centre, with more than 400 specialist shops and the region’s largest LAGO shopping centre, offers a diverse shopping landscape. Last but not least, cosy cafés, restaurants and rustic wine taverns invite visitors to try regional delicacies in front of breath-taking panoramic views of the Alps, the lake or the quaint old town with its romantic alleys.
Cultural enthusiasts will also find their fair share of things to do around Konstanz. For example, Germany’s oldest and permanently played theatre stage, which is still in use, the ‘Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie’ (Southwest German Philharmonic Orchestra) with new staging, the new ‘Bodenseeforum’ (forum of Lake Constance) with numerous events and Konstanz’s nightlife offer an inspiring cultural programme for young and old alike. Furthermore, in the city’s many museums, visitors can learn more about the culture and history of Konstanz, the largest city in the four-country and Appenzell region. Moreover, a new island-hopping experience, hiking on the premium hiking trail ‘SeeGang’, romantic strolls along the waterside promenade, special markets, relaxing hours in the thermal bath, as well as impressive natural experiences on the flower island Mainau, give Konstanz a flair of southern mildness – even in autumn.
Constance Cathedral in winter. Photo: © Achim Mende
100,000 lights and 10,000 gift ideas
For real connoisseurs, Konstanz is the perfect destination in the calm, romantic and festive season. Relaxation in the thermal bath, strolling through the snow-covered old town, enjoying a visit to the theatre or museum and taking a break from everyday life on the flower island Mainau: all of this (and more) is possible in Konstanz in the cold season.
A highlight for many visitors is Konstanz’s Christmas Market. The Christmas ship with its 360-degree panorama bar, a two-storey Christmas tree tavern, the breath-taking panoramic views of the lake and Alps, as well as numerous more highlights distinguish Konstanz’s Christmas market near the lake. No wonder that it belongs to Germany’s top Christmas markets. For example, GEO magazine counts it towards the top ten German Christmas markets and for the Best Christmas City 2016’s public ranking, the market was selected as spot 15.
Here, around 170 dealers and craftsmen invite for relaxing strolls, while 100,000 twinkling lights reflect on Lake Constance. The council rises majestically into the winter sky, fragrant delicacies invite for tasting sessions and the historic old town surprises with unique gift ideas. The market stands with their multifaceted offerings stretch from the historic old town to the harbour and the unique Christmas ship welcomes visitors with additional stands and the unique 360-degree panorama bar on its upper deck. Thus, if you want to experience a special Christmas season this year, filled with high-quality offerings of regional craftsmen, festive music and culinary delights from the four-country region, be sure to head to Konstanz.
Scandinavian Christmas at Castle Mainau
This winter, Scandinavian winter decorations, such as Nordic goblins and colourful, Swedish Dala horses, will welcome visitors to a cosy shopping world on the Mainau island. From 17 November to 11 February, DIY fans can look forward to hands-on activities that will bring them straight to the far north. A subsequent stroll through Mainau’s wintry park rounds off the exceptionally Scandi experience. (mainau.de)
Radolfzell. Photo: © Tourismus Stadtmarketing Radolfzell GmbH, Harald Wochner
Regio Konstanz Bodensee Hegau
z.H. Marketing & Tourismus Konstanz GmbH
Obere Laube 71
T: +49 (0)7531 13 30 0
F: +49 (0)7531 / 13 30 90
Untersee: a special nature adventure
Untersee’s (or Lower Lake Constance’s) rich bird life can be appreciated throughout all seasons of the year. However, the Untersee does not only cater for bird lovers, but also has a great deal to offer when it comes to Christmas and the winter season.
The extensive natural reserves that line the Untersee’s shores are known to be popular habitats for numerous bird species. Great crested grebes, reed warblers and other feathered specialists use the reeds as breeding grounds. Additionally, the nutrient-rich shallow water zones are sought-after wintering grounds for whooper swans, red-crested pochards and tens of thousands of other ducks. Furthermore, numerous migratory birds use the Untersee as a vital milestone. For those interested, the region offers an abundance of guided bird-watching tours and more. (bodenseewest.eu)
Of course, there are also many other great experiences to be enjoyed at the Untersee. Take the Magic Boat, for example. Here, visitors can experience a magical evening on a romantic Rhine cruise, a delicious three-course dinner and fantastic table magic. For the evening’s big finale, the magicians of the ‘Magical Ring Winterthur’ will bring visitors into the realm of magic for an hour. (urh.ch)
Mettnau peninsula near Radolfzell on Lake Constance. Photo: © Tourismus Stadtmarketing Radolfzell GmbH
Advent in Radolfzell
Advent in Radolfzell means the following: Lake Constance’s very first chocolate market, the traditional Christkindlmarkt, as well as daily activities from schools, kindergartens and clubs around the new Advent hut on the town’s Seetor square. Radolfzell’s Chocolate Market on the Untertor square will run from 23 to 25 November and will delight chocolate enthusiasts from all over. Here, chocolatiers will hold workshops and a diverse chocolate offering of pralines, sweets and creative chocolate creations will delight visitors. Another Advent highlight is the already mentioned Radolfzell Christkindlmarkt (7 to 10 December) on the second Advent weekend. On the market square and in the old town’s alleys, it impresses with over 80 stalls and exquisite, predominantly regional handicraft. (radolfzell-tourismus.de)
The Hegau: A great deal going on
Bizarre volcanic formations, enchanting scents, legendary wells, imposing castles and beautiful riverscapes – this combination of a Southern German Tuscany and a mystical wonderland with many interesting events is well worth a visit in autumn and winter.
For example, one of these interesting events will be held from 2 to 3 December. On the first Advent weekend, Engen’s Christmas Market will impress with a very special ambiance. The festive atmosphere of the festively decorated old town enchants visitors from the entire region and also Switzerland. The numerous vendors will sell Christmast decorations and cute gift ideas at their stalls, while the scent of mulled wine and baked goods will get even the biggest Grinch into that much-needed Christmas spirit. Behind the town church, a crib with live animals will delight young and old alike and St. Nicholas and ‘Knecht Ruprecht’ will endow children with small presents. Furthermore, night guards announce “what time it is” at different times and in different places – a spectacle not to be missed. (engen.de)
Another highlight that should not be missed is Singen’s ‘Hüttenzauber’ (cottage magic) from 1 to 23 December. This year, once again, over 50,000 individual lights and fairy lights transform the Hoh garden into a sparkling and bright sea of lights and enchant visitors of all ages. With varied programme focusses and diverse topics, a broad target group can be addressed and an exciting programme and imaginative installations especially impress children. Atmospherically illuminated areas and high-quality worlds of experiences and culinary treats invite for extensive relaxation. (singen.de)
For more information on the many events and the region, please visit the following website.
The Hegau. © Photo: Hegau Tourismus