Konstanz (or some people may be more familiar with the name Constance) is a smallish university town of around 80-90,000 people situated on the western shore of Bodensee (Lake Constance) in the south west corner of Germany that borders Switzerland.
Boasting the start of the River Rhein (Rhine), which splits the city in two, Konstanz is easily divided into three distinct zones. North of the river lies the residential area and industrial estate; while south of the river is the old town, which houses the administrative centre and shopping facilities.
Konstanz was the place were the Council of Constance (1414-1418) took place, and where Jan Hus was burned at the stake (1415). It was also the birthplace of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, constructor of the famous Zeppelin airships.
Things to see: Although it is popular as a tourist destination, mostly with other Germans, the pace of life in Konstanz is somewhat akin to cycling through fudge. If you're looking for a wild time, go to Munich. If you want to spend some time relaxing in some amazingly beautiful scenery then this is the place to be. The lake is surrounded by high rolling hills covered with evergreen forests. The view of the lake from one of the small villages in these hills is fantastic, and made breathtaking by the usual early summer morning mist.
You should be able cover most of the sights and attractions in around a week. These are mostly buildings and monuments of historical interest. Konstanz was the home of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin. There is a monument to him in the park by the harbour, and his former home is now a hotel and restaurant.
Most of the interesting buildings are in the "Altstadt", which is quite small if a little twisty and disorienting. There is a majestic cathedral, a couple of churches and some towers, one of which marks the starting point of the Rhine. Outside the Altstadt, take a bus to Bismarcksteig and walk up the hill to Bismarcksturm (the tower at the top of the hill that can see from most of the town). This spot is favoured by romantic types and/or drunk people as a place to sit and watch the sun set, with a nice view (again) of the lake and town.
Beyond this tower, further north, lies the university. This sprawling establishment is some kind of weird architectural acid trip of a building. The library itself is worth seeing (if you can get in) just for the fun of trying to get out again. Colditz escapees had it easy in comparison. There is a ten-minute walk to the halls of residence down which you can expect to have any attempt at conversation drowned out by the constant croaking of thousands of frogs desperate for a shag, but only in the early summer mating season.
Towns and cities next to Konstanz:
- Mainau Island
- Reichenau Island