This Lovely European Island Is A Picturesque Lakeside Getaway Full Of Unique Charm

Do you want to feel like you've stepped right into a fairy tale? Consider a little island in a picturesque lake in Bavaria with a charming city center, water sports, buildings from as far back as 1,000 years ago, not one but two lighthouses, and lots more to do and see. If you want an example, just look at the picture above. This is the city hall, and it resembles a wedding cake! 

This lovely 70-hectare island is called Lindau and is in the Bavaria region of Germany. It sits in the middle of Bodensee, named Lake Constance in English. The lake is right on the border of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, and it couldn't be prettier if you tied the entire thing in a bow. Set against the background of the Swiss Alps, Lindau seems like it was meant to be on a postcard. It's easy to get to, very pedestrian-friendly, and just about perfect in every way. Here's what you need to know about Lindau on Lake Constance in Germany, the top attractions and activities available, and a bonus trip to a nearby island full of butterflies. 

What to know about Lindau, Germany

Lindau is an island connected to the mainland by a bridge, accessible by car nearly two hours from Zurich, Switzerland. Parking can be tough after completing this road trip. You can rent a bike or walk everywhere, or take a train which brings you to the main part of town. Austria is only 3 miles away from Lindau, so you can visit more than one country in a very short trip! In fact, if you want to, you can take a 20-minute ferry to Bregenz, Austria, or an hour ferry to Rorschach, Switzerland, but bring your passport.

The lake is great for water sports, and you can rent boats, kayaks, paddleboards, and canoes or take a boat tour and relax. The harbor is famous for its beauty, with its lion statue opposite the 108-foot lighthouse or Neuer Leuchtturm from 1856, which you can climb. (It has 139 steps, so know that going in.) The Bayerische Löwe (Bavarian Lion) comprises 50 tons of sandstone and has MDCCCLVI, or 1856, carved at its base. This contrasts the Mangturm or "old" lighthouse from the 13th century. Though it's not open that much, from May through September, on Friday evenings, you can go there for Maerchenstunden, or fairy tale hours, where you sit inside and have traditional fairy tales read to you. What's more magical than imagining dragons and fair maidens inside an 8th-century old building?

So much to do on this fairy tale island

Once you get to Lindau, take a walk around Old Town with its cobblestone streets full of Medieval-style buildings. Then, visit Peterskirch, the town's Romanesque church, which is over 1,000 years old (though some parts date to the 15th century). Stroll down the Maximilianstrasse, a pedestrian street that has existed since the 1970s. It's full of charming shops, restaurants, and delicious Bavarian food and beer. 

While you're there, you will be compelled by the spirit of social media clout to take a picture of the Town Hall, which was finished in the mid-15th century. The paintings on the front are from 1885 and by Josef Widmann. If you want to know more about the local history, you can visit the Stadtmuseum Lindau or the City Museum in the market square, which has local artifacts going back to an old Roman fort that was here. If you visit the Lindau Botanical Garden on the outer edge of the city, you can wander around peaceful gardens, a pond, and exhibits. 

Finally, if you want to go further afield (about an hour and a half away), why not do it for butterflies? The nearby little island of Mainau can be reached by car over the mainland, boat, or bike, and it has a butterfly sanctuary. You can wander the gardens of roses and pretty trees and visit an 18th-century castle.