LAKE CONSTANCE | THREE COUNTRIES, ONE LAKE
Lake Constance, the soul of Europe, is the third biggest lake in Central Europe & is shared by three countries: Austria, Germany and Switzerland. It’s probably one of the only places in the world where you can wake up in Germany, have lunch in Switzerland and spend an evening watching a famous open-air opera in Austria. Lake Constance is a perfect summer destination for a relaxing short break or longer family holidays and we enjoyed every day spent there. Our four-legged family member travelled with us too and I can tell you that it is a great place to go with your pets.
We visited Lake Constance in August 2016 and spent most of our time in Lindau (Germany), watched a famous open-air opera Turandot by Puccini in Bregenz (Austria) & checked out an international sand sculpture festival in Rorschach (Switzerland). So let me show you what I loved the most about Lake Constance!LINDAU | GERMANY | THE BAVARIAN RIVIERA
Lindau is the largest town on the Bavarian shores of Lake Constance, or Bodensee in German, that is split between an island and the mainland, and is linked by the Neue Seebruecke bridge. It is one of the most picturesque towns on Lake Constance with a rich history and its Old lighthouse (Mangturm in German) located at the northern edge of the port & dating back to the 13th century. In the past, the city has been known as a fishing settlement and trading centre. Therefore, you can taste a freshly caught fish in many restaurants around the city centre.By far the best way to get to know this charming old island town is on foot. Most of the time we spent walking around the harbour as well as getting lost between narrow streets, mixing with the locals and their relaxed attitude. If you are visiting Lindau, you must visit the breathtaking harbour which looks even better at night. At the ends of the outer harbour walls stands Lindau’s much-photographed New lighthouse (otherwise known as the Neuer Leuchtturm) and a Bavarian lion (Bayerische Löwe) monument, which is a symbol of Bavaria, dating back from 1856. The lighthouse boasts beautiful panoramic view of the Alps and Lake Constance itself. It’s 136 meters high so take a deep breathe before looking down!Lindau mesmerises travellers with colourfully painted buildings and grand hotels facing the lake. It is a perfect spot for an evening stroll around the shore and a glass of wine while admiring Alpine views and watching the boats returning to the harbour. If architecture is your thing, you will appreciate Lindau with its Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque style houses. The main street of the town, Maximilianstrasse has got a Mediterranean feel with picturesque alleys, fountains, restaurants and cafés.During our stay in Lindau, we spent a lot of time on the boats that take you around Lake Constance. Connections across the lake are quick, easy and convenient if you want to see more in a short space of time. They also serve snacks and drinks on board, so what’s not to like? If you don’t fancy travelling by boat, you can cycle around the lake or even take a train to certain towns that are connected by land. The majority of Lindau is pedestrian-only, therefore, even on a busy day, the town feels laid-back and relaxed, allowing you to wander through the city.BREGENZ | AUSTRIA | FLOATING OPERA ON THE LAKE CONSTANCE
Bregenz is a city of art and a perfect combination of the lake and mountains. The peaceful, calm and inspiring city fascinates people for its natural beauty, relaxed atmosphere, rich artistic background and various experiences on offer. There’s no better place to visit if you want to feel the passion for architecture and art.
With wonderful restaurants and cafes, Bregenz invites you to stop for a minute and enjoy life, sit down and watch the promenade on a summer’s evening. It encourages to stop rushing and start living and is best known for its annual Bregenzer Festival (Bregenzer Festspiele) which showcases the most famous musical works on the world’s largest floating stage. This was our mission during the trip to Lake Constance – to see one of those most-talked about open-air operas and tick it off our bucket list. Throughout the history of the festival, it had some of the most spectacular design set ups on stage. Due to the size of the stage and both time and money it takes to build it, the set up changes every two years. During our trip to Lake Constance Bregenz Festspiele was showing Turandot opera by Giacomo Puccini and the whole set was taking you back to Beijing. For those visiting Bregenz in 2017 & 2018, you will be incredibly lucky to see the very famous Karmen.
Every year Bregenzer Festival attracts huge crowds and tickets are normally sold out even before the festival starts, especially if you want to get a more affordable one with a decent view. So don’t wait until the last minute and get your tickets booked in advance! Open-air auditorium can fit nearly 7,000 people and they normally reach around quarter of a million during the month-long season (that’s a canny number, isn’t it?).If you haven’t been to the Bregenzer Festival, have you even been to Lake Constance? It’s one of those things that people will be talking to you about in the area and it’s worth every penny you spend because how often do you get a chance to watch an open-air opera with a view of the lake and a floating stage?
RORSCHACH | SWITZERLAND | INTERNATIONAL SAND SCULPTURE FESTIVAL
Rorschach will welcome you with beaches and sand. Another cosy town that attracts many visitors due to it’s annual sand sculpture festival that we also went to see during our trip. It is an international festival which attracts professional sand artists from around the globe to build XXL size sculptures that could win them recognition & a cash prize. Every year teams get a theme to work with and they have got 8 days to build extra large sculptures from 250 tonnes of quartz sand. After sculptures are finished, they are left to be admired until the beginning of September (10th of September in 2017). You can visit the festival during the construction phase too which is what we have done. It is great that you get an opportunity to see how these sculptures are erected and you even get a chance to talk to team members to ask questions about the sculpture and techniques they are using.I would definitely recommend this if you are visiting Lake Constance in August or September, as it will be an interesting walk around for all generations.