Unless you live in Germany or Switzerland, you’re probably not very familiar with Konstanz, Germany. But you should be! This small city in eastern Germany is the perfect summer vacation destination! Here are seven reasons why:

A street in Konstanz, Germany with colorful buildings and a cobblestone street.1. The lake!

This is what really makes Konstanz an amazing destination. The lake is the largest in Germany and is the perfect place to take a swim during the summer. There are lovely promenades along the lake, and from there you’ll find the popular swimming areas. There’s plenty of area to lay down your towel and soak up the sun before you jump in.

A view of Lake Konstanz with mountains in the background.2. The beautiful and history-filled town!

The Old Town of Konstanz takes you back to the Middle Ages with its colorful and intricately frescoed buildings. Make sure you look closely because you might see things that you don’t expect, such as a man carved in the bottom of a window who seems to be watching over the people of the town. Konstanz was first settled by the Romans in 40 A.D., so that alone tells you how much history is in the area. The beautiful architecture combined with medieval banners really makes you feel like you´re back in time while you´re strolling down the street. 

A street in Konstanz, Germany with medieval banners hanging and bicyclists below.

A carved face looks out at the streets from below a window in Konstanz, Germany.

3. Perfect setting to enjoy beer garden.

If you’re a fan of beer gardens, Konstanz can’t be beat. You can enjoy a refreshing beer in a classic German stein while sitting in a beer garden next to the lake. The lakeside view makes for the perfect place to spend an evening in the summer.

A medieval building in Konstanz, Germany that is half wood and half plaster. There are tables and umbrellas outside of the building.4. Great for day trips.

You can take an easy bus or train ride to Zurich, Switzerland or other Swiss towns if you’re keen to take a day trip. Zurich is only an hour away, and charming Saint Gallen, Switzerland is 35 minutes by train. There’s a lot to do in both cities, so I’ll have to do a post about Switzerland soon! Even if you’re not interested in taking a full day excursion, you could just walk across the border to say that you were in Switzerland. I highly recommend taking a trip to Switzerland though!

A charming plaza in Saint Gallen, Switzerland with colorful timbered buildings and a statue in the center.
A charming plaza in Saint Gallen, Switzerland.
A view of the river and the warm colored city scape in Zurich, Switzerland.
Gorgeous Zurich, Switzerland.

5. Monkeys!

Yes, there are monkeys! While not in Konstanz, Affenberg Salem is the home of about 200 Barbary macaque monkeys and it´s a quick boat and bike (or car) ride from Konstanz. Here you can feed the monkeys popcorn (you are given a bag for the price of the entry), and walk around their habitat which includes pretty gardens and storks. If you want to eat lunch there, you can try typical German fare such as sausages and beer. The old, ivy covered buildings near the restaurant are gorgeous as well!

A monkey sits on a railing with a forest in the background.

A building in Salem, Germany covered in ivy with birds flying in the sky.6. Palaces!

By now you should realize that I love palaces. While this palace was not in Konstanz, it’s near the monkey sanctuary so we combined it into one lovely trip on our bikes. Salem Monastery and Palace is actually a boarding school now, but you can still tour the palace and explore the gardens and property. On the property, there is a church, several shops, and also a vineyard, which makes it a lovely place to spend a few hours. 

A palace in Salem, Germany.

The gardens and house near the palace in Salem, Germany.7. Very bike friendly.

If you enjoy cycling, you could spend days riding around the lake and visiting all the cute, fairytale-like towns surrounding it.  Meersburg is one towns worth taking the ferry and cycling to, even if its just to enjoy dinner with a view. It has many bike friendly paths along the lake, and also paths near the woods that are absolutely lovely! 

A plaza in Meersburg, Germany with a fountain and tables with umbrellas.After a few glorious summer days in Konstanz, I never wanted to leave. It’s the perfect summer destination due to the large, swimmable lake, bike friendly streets, beautiful architecture, and variety of activities nearby. Can’t really beat that!

Traditional German buildings. One on the left says 1377 and one yellow building with a fresco on a street in Konstanz, Germany.