Situated in Bavaria, in southern Germany, and surrounded by the clear waters of Lake Constance (Bodensee in German), Lindau is a picturesque medieval town well worth a visit.
Consisting of two parts - one based on the mainland and the other, the historic centre, on Lindau island - the two are connected by the Neue Seebrücke bridge and railway dam.
If you’re planning to visit Lindau, you’re in for a treat. The pace here is best described as unhurried, but there’s an abundance of things to do in Lindau and the surrounding area.
Let’s take a look at the best things to do in Lindau.
Wander around Lindau Harbour
The entrance to the harbour at Lindau island is an attraction in its own right and, if you happen to be arriving in Lindau by boat, you’ll really appreciate the grandeur of it.
Standing proudly at over six metres high is a Bavarian Lion statue that has stood guard overlooking the lake since 1856. Created by Professor Johann Von Halbig, the lion is made from sandstone and weighs approximately 50 tonnes.
Just across from the lion sits the “new” lighthouse (which actually dates back to 1853). This unique building stands at 36 metres, features an unusual clock, and has a viewing platform with stunning views. It is the southernmost lighthouse in Germany.
The “old” lighthouse (13th Century Mangturm) is situated at the edge of the port and is easily recognisable by its yellow top and brightly coloured roof tiles. Around the base of the tower, an alfresco restaurant operates during the summer and makes the perfect location to enjoy a cool drink and a meal or a slice of delicious cake.
Aside from the imposing Bavarian Lion and the lighthouses, around Lindau’s harbour you’ll find numerous hotels and restaurants, with alfresco dining popular during the warmer months.
It’s also close to the harbour that you’ll find Lindau train station.
If you happen to be visiting Lindau prior to the festive season, the harbour area is where you’ll find the Lindau Christmas Market. The market is held from Friday to Sunday from the end of November until the Sunday before Christmas Eve from 11am to 9pm.
You’ll find beautifully decorated stalls selling items such as Christmas decorations, baked goods and mulled wine.
Water activities at Lake Constance
With a surface area of 541 square kilometres, Lake Constance is Europe’s biggest reservoir and it has shores in three countries - Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It’s also home to three islands - Reichenau, Mainau and Lindau - and offers plenty of opportunities for all manner of water-based pursuits on the lake.
Lindau makes a great base for enjoying the many water activities on offer.
Boat trips on Lake Constance
You can’t visit Lindau without enjoying a boat cruise on Lake Constance and there are plenty of options to choose from. Get a feel for the size of the lake aboard a relaxing scenic cruise or jump aboard a boat and visit some of the other towns situated around the lake (usually available from April to October).
The Lake Constance Shipping Company (BSB) offers regular services to many of the lakeside towns including Friedrichshafen, Langenargen and Meersburg in Germany, Bregenz in Austria, and Romanshorn in Switzerland.
The lake isn’t just for cruising or getting from A to B: you can also hire a rowing boat and float around in a more leisurely fashion. Alternatively, opt for something a little more active such as windsurfing, sailing, or paddle-boarding. There are plenty of water-based activity companies dotted around. You can hire your own equipment, organize lessons, and book canoe tours.
Lake Constance is also home to several marinas. Time your visit well, and you might get to witness a thrilling sailing competition or regatta.
Swimming, Diving and Fishing
Visitors to Lake Constance can also laze on the sand and pebble beaches sprinkled around the lake. Dip your toes in one of the many lidos or swimming areas in the vicinity. Hintere Insel and the mainland lakeshore area provide easy access to the lake.
You can even explore what lies beneath the surface with a spot of diving, or how about hiring a rod, putting your feet up, and enjoying a laid-back afternoon of fishing?
Savour the flavours of Lindau, Bodensee and surrounds
Foodies will be in their element in Lindau. The town offers an eclectic mix of culinary delights influenced by Switzerland and Austria as well as the German regions of Bavaria and Swabia.
Expect regional specialties that will make your mouth water, such as fresh whitefish and spätzle noodles.
If you have got room, you must try a local dessert – we highly recommend the Apfelstrudel, a traditional pastry packed with apples and cinnamon.
Wash it all down with a delectable local wine; the vintners of Lake Constance are renowned for making fine wine.
If you’re fortunate to visit Lindau at the right time, you might be able to visit an authentic Rädle (seasonal tavern). These taverns are permitted to open for just four months of the year, but when they do, visitors are invited inside to savour the home-produced wines and rustic fare.
There are two seasonal taverns in Lindau. When they are open, you can sample wines from the Ringoldsberg vineyard and apple juice that’s guaranteed to tickle your taste buds like no other.
Stroll Around Altstadt – The Historic Centre
Stroll along the narrow cobblestone streets of Lindau Island, weaving their way through the historic town center. Here, you will find pretty baroque and medieval half-timbered houses and the Maximilianstrasse (a promenade especially for pedestrians).
There are eateries and shops galore, along with a market, pretty green spaces, churches, and plenty of historical buildings.
Lindau is also well known for its beautiful architecture and frescoed buildings. Some of the most impressive buildings to look out for include:
Haus Zum Cavazzen
Described as the most beautiful house on Lake Constance, the baroque style house of Cavazzen sits handsomely facing onto Lindau Marktplatz.
Everything about this place is stunning - from its roof to its facades - and it proves to be a fitting home for the municipal museum. There are special exhibitions that regularly change. In the past, these have included shows featuring paintings by renowned artists such as Matisse and Picasso.
Old Town Hall
Home to the Imperial City Library, which boasts approximately 13,000 tomes (some of which are available to view), the Old Town Hall can be described as nothing less than grand. The façade is decorated with ornate paintings - we defy you not to stand outside and marvel at the artistry on display!
The Old Town Hall is still used to host meetings and receptions, and tours are available to those who are keen to take a look inside.
The Peace Rooms Museum is situated in Villa Lindenhof in Bad Schachen. The museum provides an immersive and interactive experience to visitors, showcasing the concept of peace in a variety of mediums.
You can reach Bad Schachen via the 19th-century Lindenhofpark – a pleasant stroll that will allow you to absorb the stunning landscape dotted with ancient trees.
Relaxation and Wellness in Lindau
Lindau also offers plenty of scope to get away from the stresses and strains of everyday life. There are plenty of venues offering tranquil spa treatments. Sit back and enjoy the warmth of a sauna, inhale the soothing essential oils, and feel your body and mind ease.
Alternatively, book a massage and allow an experienced therapist to help you loosen up.
Check out the Vitalbad Limare (located on Bregenzer Strasse) with its impressive sauna complex and fun pool that will keep the whole family amused. There’s a jungle paradise area for little ones, and a lazy river - who can resist a languid float? You will also find jacuzzi beds and a thrilling waterslide.
Alternatively, visit one of the hotels featuring day spas accessible to non-residents as well as hotel guests. Many have pools and gyms too (if you’re feeling inclined to work up a sweat).
Day trips from Lindau
Visit the Fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle
A visit to Neuschwanstein Castle makes for a lovely outing from Lindau. The 19th-century castle sits above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria. Commissioned by Ludwig II and built in honor of renowned composer Richard Wagner, the castle is stunningly beautiful.
The fairytale castle might look familiar to you; that’s because Walt Disney drew inspiration from the design to create Cinderella’s famous palace. You could check out the Disney reproduction, but why not visit the real thing?
If you want to explore Neuschwanstein, you will need to buy a ticket and book a guided tour (buy online or from the onsite ticket center). You can take a horse and carriage ride or walk up to the castle – a 1.5 kilometre hike uphill, but certainly worth the effort!
To reach Hohenschwangen from Lindau it takes around 1.5 hours by car.
Located near the city of Günzburg in Bavaria, LEGOLAND Deutschland offers a first-class experience you won’t forget in a hurry. The park is described as great fun for children aged two to twelve, but the whole family will have a wonderful time exploring the park.
Enter into a world of endless possibilities, ride the attractions, watch the shows, immerse yourself in the 4D films and get hands-on as you participate in a LEGO workshop.
It takes less than 1.5 hours to reach LEGOLAND Deutschland from Lindau via the A96 and A7 motorways.
Getting to Lindau
The closest international airport is Zurich which is 85 kilometres (just under two hours) away. Other international airports worth considering are Stuttgart (132.4 km), Basel airport at 161.6 km, and Munich airport (180.4 km away).
Lindau is serviced by its own train station and receives regional and Euro trains on a regular basis. Many trains travelling between Switzerland, Austria and Germany travel via Lindau.
There are also bus services to Lindau.
Zurich to Lindau
You can drive from Zurich to Lindau via the A1. The distance of 138.8 km can be covered in around 1 hr 40 minutes.
If you prefer to travel by train, Swiss Railways operate at least three services per day from Zurich to Lindau (2 hours duration), whilst Deutsche Bahn operate services at least once per hour which take around 3.25 hours.
Eurobus offers three services per week between Zurich and Lindau. Journey time is just under 2 hours.
Munich to Lindau
It takes around 2 hours to drive from Munich to Lindau via the A96 motorway.
Deutsche Bahn offers regional train services between Munich and Lindau at least every two hours. The journey time is approximately 2.5 hours.
Flixbus offers five services per day between Munich and Lindau with a journey time of 2 hours and 10 minutes.
With pleasant summer weather and chilly winters, the best time to visit Lindau is late June to early September. During these months, you can expect average temperatures of 20°C to 25°C / 68°F to 77°F.
Where to stay in Lindau
Choosing the right accommodation for your trip away is an important decision. If you’d prefer to stay in a hotel, Lindau has plenty of options but there are also a good range of apartments and camping options to suit all budgets too.
Below are some of the most highly rated accommodation choices in Lindau.
Hotels in Lindau
> Hotel Bayerischer Hof
Located directly on Lake Constance and opposite the Lindau ferry dock, Hotel Bayerischer Hof boasts large rooms, individually furnished rooms with Satellite TV and a private bathroom. The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool (open in summer months), a bar and restaurant, a gym, and wellness facilities including saunas, steam room and a spa. There is free WiFi throughout the hotel and wonderful views of the lake. Family rooms are available.
> Boutique Hotel Adara
Just 500 metres from Lindau train station, Boutique Hotel Adara is located on the scenic island of Lindau. The fully renovated Boutique - Hotel Adara retains its medieval charm on the outside whilst offering luxurious, modern fittings on the inside. All rooms feature private bathrooms, cable TV and a mini bar and there is free WiFi throughout the hotel. Family rooms are available. On site there’s a restaurant which prides itself on using local produce wherever possible.
> YachtHotel Helvetia Spa und Wellnessdomizil
Perfectly situated on the harbour promenade on the island of Lindau, this 4-star-superior boutique hotel offers superb facilities. A range of rooms and suites are available and all feature comfortable furnishings, private bathrooms and flat screen TVs. Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel. The hotel’s spa centre is located over three floors and features pools, saunas and a beauty lounge. The Swiss Restaurant serves up a delicious buffet breakfast as well as evening meals using the finest local produce.
Apartments in Lindau
> Ferien-Lodge Lindau
This ground floor apartment, 5 kilometres from Lindau harbour, features 1 bedroom, a well-equipped kitchen with a dishwasher and a microwave, a living room, and a flat-screen TV. The apartment offers a garden and a terrace, free WiFi and free private parking.
Camping in Lindau
> Camping Gitzenweiler Hof
Just 10 minutes from Lake Constance, Camping Gitzenweiler Hof is a great base for families or couples. Chalet-style cabins feature a kitchenette with a refrigerator and kitchenware, a dining area as well as a private bathroom with a shower. Extras include a sofa, bed linen and an outdoor seating area on a small terrace. The well-maintained campsite features an outdoor pool and a restaurant and WiFi access is available. Also on-site are BBQ facilities and a mini mart.
As you can see there are many things to do in Lindau. Whether you prefer to sit and relax by the calming waters of Lake Constance, stroll the beautiful Old Town on Lindau Island, get active on the lake or use Lindau as a base for visiting other nearby towns, it's a wonderful place to spend a few days.
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