Zum Bodensee!

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One of the best things about living in Germany is getting to visit small towns that you might not get to on a shorter trip, and seeing what makes them unique.  Erin and I have been to beautiful Konstanz twice now (in October and December), so I thought I’d highlight it.

Konstanz is a small city on Bodensee (English: Lake Constance, thus the name of the city), which itself is the third-largest lake in western Europe and the largest in Germany.  Part of its charm is how old it is; people have been living there since the Stone Ages (according to Wikipedia) and many buildings there today have been standing since the 13th Century (according to the paintings on the buildings themselves).  When visiting Konstanz, there are two highlights that I think you absolutely should see:

1. Old City Houses

Despite any modernization going on inside the buildings, the outside remains unchanged. Hundreds of years ago, houses were given names like “The Blue Dolphin,” “The Black Horn,” or, my favorite, “The White Bear.”  These names were painted on the outside of the house along with a picture representing the name and the year the house was built, and remain there today.  Seeing them all over town gives you a sense of just how deep the history is in a place like this.

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2. The view from the Münster

The view from the Münster in any city is worth the trip up the stairs, but that’s especially true in Konstanz.  In addition to seeing the Old City from above, you get to look out over the lake, something really unique in Germany (at least, as far as I have seen yet).  We were lucky enough to be there on a sunny day, perfect for taking in the view.  You can even see into Switzerland!

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The Konstanz visitor center, right next to the train station, sells city maps for 1€ (as of the time of this post) that include a self-guided walking tour.  I highly recommend it for anyone making a short trip to the city.  While you may not find every point of interest to your liking, the beauty of the self-guided tour is that you can skip those parts, and you’ll probably see something you otherwise wouldn’t have.

Have you been to Konstanz or Bodensee? Did we miss something?

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