In AD 724 a missionary named Pirmin founded a Benedictine monastery on Reichenau, a 4.5km-by-1.5km island (Lake Constance’s largest) about 11km west of Konstanz. During its heyday, from 820 to 1050, the so-called Reichenauer School produced stunning illuminated manuscripts and vivid frescos. Today, three surviving churches provide silent testimony to Reichenau’s Golden Age. Thanks to them, this fertile islet of orchards and wineries was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2000.

Bring walking boots and binoculars, as this fertile isle of orchards and wineries is home to Wollmatinger Ried, a marshy nature reserve. Its reed wetlands attract butterflies, migratory birds including kingfishers, grey herons and cuckoos, and even the odd beaver.

A 2km-long tree-lined causeway connects the mainland with the island, which is served by bus 7372 from Konstanz Geschwister-Scholl-Schule; for timetables, visit The Konstanz–Schaffhausen and Konstanz–Radolfzell ferries stop off at Reichenau.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Konstanz attractions

1. Reichenau


The Unesco-listed Benedictine monastery of Reichenau was founded in 724.

2. Schloss Arenenberg

1.26 MILES

France’s Napoleon III grew up at this handsome, powder-puff-pink mansion with beautiful grounds on Lake Constance. The little chateau dates to the 16th…

3. Pulverturm

5.25 MILES

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

4. Niederburg

5.32 MILES

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

5. Rathaus

5.34 MILES

Slightly south of the Münster, the flamboyantly frescoed Renaissance Rathaus occupies the former linen weavers’ guildhall. Behind it you’ll find a…

6. Römersiedlung

5.34 MILES

The glass pyramid in front of the Münster shelters the Römersiedlung, the 3rd-century-AD remains of the Roman fort Constantia that gave the city its name…

7. Domprobstei

5.36 MILES

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

8. Rheintorturm

5.36 MILES

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