Gardens in Lake Constance

Jutting out over the lake and bursting with flowers, the lusciously green islet of Mainau is a 45-hectare Mediterranean garden dreamed up by the Bernadotte family, relatives of the royal house of Sweden.

Around two million visitors flock here every year to admire sparkly lake and mountain views from the baroque castle, and wander sequoia-shaded avenues and hothouses bristling with palms and orchids.

Crowd-pullers include the Butterfly House, where hundreds of vivid butterflies flit amid the dewy foliage; an Italian Cascade integrating patterned flowers with waterfalls; and a petting zoo. Tulips and rhododendrons bloom in spring, hibiscus and roses in summer. Avoid weekends, when the gardens get crowded.

You can drive, walk or cycle to Mainau, 8km north of Konstanz. Take bus 4 from Konstanz’ train station or hop aboard a passenger ferry.