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Mainau and Reichenau –
Two Islands on Lake Constance

The two islands of Mainau and Reichenau lie in the crystal blue waters of Lake Constance, known as Bodensee in German. Reichenau Island is famous for its abbey, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Mainau, the “island of flowers” is known for its stunning gardens.

Reichenau: Island of gardeners, fishermen and vineyards as well as Benedictine art

Reichenau Island is located in Untersee, the western part of Lake Constance. It is the largest of the three Lake Constance islands. Approximately 3,500 people live there.

Reichenau Island is connected to the mainland by a long tree-lined boulevard. Endless reed landscapes lie to both sides of the embankment and as soon as you cross over onto the island you can smell the unique fragrance of herbs, gardens, and vineyards. Greenhouses, vineyards and lettuce fields alternate here with precious old churches.

Vegetables, mainly salad, and vines are grown in many small family businesses. For centuries, fishing was very important. Today, there are approximately 20 professional fishermen on Reichenau Island. Whitefish, perch, pike and trout are caught predominantly at Untersee, and served in restaurants on the island.

Reichenau Abbey, a UNESCO World Heritage site, illustrates the religious and cultural role played by the abbey in the Middle Ages. The monks’ illuminations are famous around the world.

Reichenau’s churches were built between the 9th and 12th century. In addition to the world-famous abbey, the Romanesque churches, Minster of St. Mary and St. Marcus in Reichenau-Mittelzell, St. George in Reichenau-Oberzell, St. Peter and Paul in Reichenau-Niederzell are all worth visiting.

Large parts of the island are preserved as nature reserves. The Wollmatinger Ried (marsh area) as well as the marsh areas on both sides of the island’s embankment are a sought-after area for breeding, resting and hibernation for tens of thousands of water birds. Bearded reedlings, crested ducks, black-necked grebes, great reed warblers or common terns live here. Guided tours of the reed area are offered.

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Mainau, the “island of flowers”

A riot of vibrant blooms with lush tropical and subtropical vegetation are the abiding memory of a trip to Mainau, the flower island.

Featuring colorful displays of Mediterranean and exotic flowers, Mainau Island is a true paradise for horticulturalists and nature lovers, with a new theme every year. The island’s “Green School” offers an interactive learning experience for school and pre-school groups, covering a variety of subjects. Multilingual guided tours are available on request.

The “flower island” of Mainau is the life’s work of Count Lennart Bernadotte, who died in 2004. It is without a doubt one of the major attractions of Lake Constance, steeped in aristocratic tradition and with a magical atmosphere that attracts millions of nature lovers and garden enthusiasts every year.

Perfect harmony in one of Europe’s most beautiful parks
In 1931, Count Lennart Bernadotte was given the overgrown 45-hectare island in Lake Constance by his father and he set about transforming it into a paradise of flowers and plants. Today it is one of the most popular and well-known excursion destinations in Germany. The baroque palace buildings are in perfect harmony with their surroundings, one of Europe’s most beautiful parks. Palm trees, oranges and other exotic treasures flourish. In spring there are beds of tulips as far as the eye can see and a beautiful display of orchids in the palm house. Summer brings wonderful roses, in autumn the dahlias bloom.

During the warmer months, the paths to the Arena of Fountains are lined with tropical plants. In spring and summer, the flowers on the steps of the Italian flower and water staircase create magnificent designs. The fragrance, beauty and elegance of more than 20,000 roses from 1,200 different species make the rose garden an enchanting sensory experience. The herb garden includes a wide range of medicinal and cooking herbs and spices, and there’s an impressive arboretum. Germany’s largest butterfly house is also well worth a visit, as is the farm with its ponies, donkeys and rare breeds of farm animals, such as brown mountain sheep, and a farmer’s garden.

Every year, there’s a different theme. In 2011, it’s “Grandfather’s garden bench – memories of bygone times.” Romantic rural scenes, long forgotten plants and old customs bring back childhood memories and memories of the gardens where our parents or grandparents played. Special events like the Count’s Island Festival and the Count’s Castle Festival, the Swedish Midsummer Festival and the Lucia Festival, are popular with visitors.

Even when the weather isn’t so good, the Palm House with its exotic hemp and date palms or the Butterfly House with more than 40 species of colorful butterfly are always worth a visit.

For children
There’s lots of fun for small visitors at Mainau Children’s Land or at the farm with its petting zoo and pony rides. Listen to talking plants in the enchanted garden or romp around and play at the theme playgrounds Water World and Blumi’s Lakeside World.

How to get to Mainau Island
The most romantic way to get to Mainau is by boat. But you can also drive to the car park on the mainland, from where a pedestrian bridge leads you directly onto the island.

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