Italy Flower stairs and bed of flowers, Mainau Island, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, Europe
Italy Flower stairs and bed of flowers, Mainau Island, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, Europe
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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.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Lake Constance attractions

1. Insel Mainau

0.11 MILES

This pleasantly green islet has 45 hectares of Mediterranean-style gardens, including rhododendron groves, a butterfly house and a waterfall-strewn…

2. Pfahlbauten

2.11 MILES

Awarded Unesco World Heritage status in 2011, the Pfahlbauten represent one of 11 prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps. Based on the findings of…

3. Pulverturm

2.79 MILES

Standing sentinel above the Rhine is the squat 14th-century Pulverturm tower, with 2m-thick walls.

4. Rheintorturm

2.82 MILES

On the Rheinsteig is the medieval Rheintorturm, a defensive tower with a pyramid-shaped red-tile roof.

5. Domprobstei

2.86 MILES

The orange-red, baroque Domprobstei was once the residence of the cathedral provosts.

6. Strandbad Horn

2.88 MILES

This lake-front beach, 4km northeast of the centre, has sunbathing lawns, a kiddie pool, playground, volleyball courts and a naturist area.

7. Niederburg


Best explored on foot, Konstanz’ cobbled heart Niederburg stretches north from the Münster to the Rhine. The twisting lanes lined with half-timbered…

8. Kloster Zoffingen


The 13th-century Kloster Zoffingen is Konstanz' only remaining convent, still in the hands of Dominican nuns.