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 www.vhb-info.de. The Konstanz–Schaffhausen and Konstanz–Radolfzell ferries stop off at Reichenau.