Explore nature on foot on Lake Constance
Picturesque nature experiences
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Diverse sights and natural monuments
One of the most picturesque holiday regions is the Lake Constance district with its apple orchards and vineyards, the protected banks and forests. For hikers and walkers, the landscape offers a variety of sights and natural monuments. Tourist destinations and unique nature experiences are right next to each other here.
The region for nature lovers
Lake Constance is prominently located in the foothills of the Alps, where the three countries Germany, Switzerland and Austria meet. One of the largest rivers in Germany, the Rhine, flows through the lake. At Constance, the river changes into the four-kilometre-long "Seerhein", which connects the so-called Obersee and Untersee. Lake Constance is actually two waters that are separated by a peninsula. Popular hiking destinations such as the Marienschlucht gorge (currently unfortunately closed), jewels such as the island of Mainau and the Rhine Falls near Schaffhausen have made the region famous. Numerous nature reserves attract nature lovers, birdwatching opportunities and rare plants await visitors.
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Nature reserves in the Lake Constance district
In the Lake Constance region there are over 30 nature reserves and numerous other landscape reserves, bird reserves, specially protected forests, natural monuments and biotopes. The largest nature reserve is the Rhine delta on the Austrian-Swiss southern shore of Lake Constance. The Eriskircher Ried near Friedrichshafen is famous for the rare Siberian iris (Iris sibirica). The Wollmatinger Ried is home to almost 300 of the 412 bird species recorded at Lake Constance. Flowering plants such as lung gentian and orchid as well as many ferns are native here. Information boards along a marked path inform the visitor about the biodiversity of the protected area. You can also book guided tours and boat trips through the reed.
The flora at Lake Constance is diverse. Litter meadows, reed beds, moorland landscapes and the mild climate allow numerous plant species to grow, even Mediterranean species thrive here. Even in the agriculturally used areas, picturesque vineyards and apple orchards invite you to take long walks. A tourist destination is the island of Mainau, whose nature park has given it the nickname "flower island". Here you can visit the palm house all year round, March to May the orchids bloom, in spring the tulips, in summer the roses and in autumn the dahlias. The second largest butterfly house in Germany is also located in the Mainau Gardens and is well worth a visit.
If you prefer wild plants, you can find orchid and gentian in the Wollmatinger Ried. A special feature of the Lake Constance region is the iris blossom in the Eriskircher Ried from May to June. Then some yellow water irises and thousands of blue Siberian irises colour the reed meadows. The Siberian iris is a highly endangered species! The Eriskirch Nature Conservation Centre recommends the access road to the Eriskirch lido as the best vantage point, but asks that you stay on the marked paths.
Home and resting place of many animals
Many representatives of the fish and bird world are regarded as "typical Lake Constance animals", which you can observe with a little luck on a hiking tour at Lake Constance. Lake Constance is home to 40-50 species of fish, especially the "Bodenseefelchen" (blue felts). Eels, grayling, perch, bream, tench, char, lake trout, rudd and zander can be found in Lake Constance. The pike caught here reach lengths of more than one metre, the catfish even become up to three metres long.
Some animal species originally do not belong to the native animal world of the region, but were accidentally introduced or settled here by humans. These include, for example, the rainbow trout, which was placed in Lake Constance over a hundred years ago. The migratory mussel, the floating shrimp and several crab species have migrated to the region.
More than four hundred bird species are native to Lake Constance. These include not only typical water birds such as the grey heron, goosander and various duck species, but also songbird species (titmice, finches and others).
Lake Constance also plays an important role for many migratory birds. On the one hand it serves with its mild winter climate as a wintering area, on the other hand it is frequently used as a resting place. In autumn, large swarms often settle on the Eriskircher Ried. In spring, great crested grebes and coots breed on Lake Constance. The Radolfzeller Aachried nature reserve is a popular breeding ground for cormorants.
On land and at the water
Lake Constance lies in the northern foothills of the Alps, so hiking and climbing enthusiasts will find several suitable excursion destinations at the same time. The highest mountain in the region is the 2,502-metre-high Säntis in Switzerland. Several hiking routes lead to the summit, which can also be climbed by families with children thanks to a suspension railway.
In only 6 minutes drive with the Pfänderbahn you reach the most famous vantage point of the region: the 1064 m high Pfänder in Bregenz (A). In clear weather, you can look out from its summit into four countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein). Whether a hike along the cheese trail, a sporting tour from the valley to the Pfänderspitze or a leisurely 30-minute circular walk through the Alpine Game Park - the Pfänder is the ideal starting point for exploring the landscape. The trail network on the Pfänder is well signposted. The Alpine Game Park is home to deer, ibex, wild boars, mouflons and marmots. Information boards about the local wild animals are available for reading at the enclosures for visitors of all ages. Since this year there is a new tube slide in the Alpenwildpark, which provides a lot of fun. Admission to the Alpenwildpark is free.
In former times the "Heidenhöhlen" near Überlingen at Lake Constance were well known, now there is not much to see of the mysterious caves and passages. Access to the rock face is unfortunately closed. You can visit interesting (natural) rock formations during a walk through the nature reserve Katharinenfelsen.
There are thirteen islands in Lake Constance, of which the island of Reichenau is the largest. The former Reichenau monastery with its medieval churches is one of the tourist attractions. The island Mainau lies in the Überlinger lake and became with botanical gardens and a large butterfly house likewise a popular trip goal. The inhabited islands can be reached in summer with excursion boats, to some passenger ferries all year round. Reichenau can also be reached by motor vehicles via the Reichenauer Damm. The best way to explore the islands is on foot. Several peninsulas rise into Lake Constance, including the Bodanrück, which is the largest peninsula with 112 square kilometres and separates the Obersee from the Untersee. In contrast, the Galgeninsel in the Reutiner bay is only 0.16 hectares large. Like the Wasserburg peninsula, the Galgeninsel used to belong to the real islands.
The region inspires
Lake Constance or the region around Lake Constance is a popular holiday region for nature lovers and families. Hikes and walks through nature, along the lake shore or through forests, through flowering gardens and orchards, through picturesque villages - for hikers the region offers wonderful views even in the more densely populated areas.