The Bregenz Festival began on July 20th. Giacomo Puccini’s opera “Madame Butterfly” will be performed on the lake stage in Lake Constance for a month. We take this as an opportunity to explore the region.
Culture in the water: Bregenz Festival
Lake Constance is located in southern Germany. On the other bank are Austria and Switzerland. The Bregenz Festival is a tourist highlight on the Austrian side. Every summer you can marvel at a spectacular opera set on the water. This time a crumpled, oversized piece of paper. It is the setting for “Madame Butterfly” by Giacomo Puccini.
Constance: Largest city on the lake
Celebrity on Lake Constance, through which the Rhine flows, is Konstanz on the German side. The beautiful old town has an important history. In the 15th century, all eyes were on Constance. Because three popes who were reigning at the same time were deposed here, and a new one was elected in a department store on the shore of Lake Constance. This still stands today at the port, from where excursion boats now start.
Mainau: the flower island
Mainau, an island, is in the vicinity of Constance. It belongs to the Bernadotte family, who created a small paradise there. For an entrance fee, you can admire the changing flower shows. Mainau is at its most beautiful in spring. Over a million spring flowers then transform the island into an impressive sea of color.
Reichenau: Vegetable island with UNESCO seal
While flowers grow in abundance on Mainau, vegetables grow on Reichenau. But that’s not why the largest island in Lake Constance is part of the UNESCO World Heritage: In the Middle Ages, Reichenau was a spiritual center of the West. The murals in the Church of St. George and the treasury in the Minster are particularly worth seeing.
Lindau: the city island
Alongside Mainau and Reichenau, Lindau is the third island with the ending in “au”, which is so typical of Lake Constance. Here the visitor will find a pretty little town, a harbor, and a promenade along the water with numerous cafes and bars. Easily accessible by boat: ideal for a day trip!
Sailing fun: water to the horizon
Lake Constance is so large that, due to the curvature of the earth, you can never see Konstanz from the east bank of Bregenz to the west bank. So sailors can go straight for hours here. However, the weather changes very quickly: That is why anyone who wants to sail on Lake Constance always needs an additional patent, despite extensive sailing experience. Dog Tina has probably already passed hers.
Meersburg: half-timbered houses, poetry, and enjoyment
The town of Meersburg has a lot of flairs: It is almost idyllic with its half-timbered houses, cafés, and wineries. Especially recommended: a glass of white wine from Meersburg Müller-Thurgau. A visit to the Old Castle is also worthwhile. The well-known German poet Annette von Droste-Hülshoff once lived here.
Unteruhldingen: A look into the past
In Meersburg, it is best to rent a bike to cycle along the lake to Unteruhldingen. There is not only a beautiful bathing beach – right next door you can visit reconstructed stilt houses from the Stone and Bronze Ages. There are underwater finds in several places: In 2011, UNESCO recognized the pile dwellings around the Alps as a World Heritage Site.
Birnau: Baroque gem on Lake Constance
It is worth continuing by bike to Birnau, a baroque pilgrimage church with a wonderful view over Lake Constance from the forecourt. Entering the small church, one is completely overwhelmed by all the baroque splendor. The “Honigschlecker”, a figure made of plaster by the sculptor Joseph Anton Feuchtmayer, is particularly well known.
Star magic: the Konstanz Lake Night Festival
Constance also likes to stage Lake Constance: every year in August, the Lake Night Festival transforms it into a spectacular backdrop. The city becomes a party mile. Tens of thousands of visitors come to see the big fireworks. Matching the music, the people of Constance and their Swiss neighbors, the people of Kreuzlingen, shoot over a ton of fireworks into the air.