To celebrate the engagement of our good friends Johannes and Daniella, we decided to take a 7 hour road trip and explore the Bodensee, a massive lake surrounded by 3 countries, Germany, Switzerland & Austria.
Singen is an industrial city situated in the very south of Baden-Württemberg in Germany close to Lake Constance just north of the German-Swiss border and is the most important city in the Hegau area. There’s not much to see here but it’s where our friends live, it became our starting point to see the other cities… We had amazing hot pot (Taiwan style) in our friends apartment!
A 35-minute drive will take you to the town of Schaffhausen, which is on the border of Germany and Switzerland. It’s a smart move to always bring your passports because sometimes, border officers do random checks on people crossing the border of Germany. If they catch you without your papers, a hefty fine may be imposed. We brought snacks on the way, a bottle of water each and some sandwiches. This really makes more sense if you’re coming from Germany because the Swiss Frank conversion can be painful when you convert it’s value. One meal in the Imbiss will cost you 8 Euros for a Wiener Wurst Sandwich. Not worth it at all!
Here in Schaffhausen, you can find the starting point of the majestic Rhein River which runs through many parts in Germany. The houses of the Old Town are richly decorated with oriel windows and lavishly painted facades. The town, located on the Upper Rhine between the Black Forest and Lake Constance, and surrounded by vineyards, is a popular destination for holidays and day-trips. Here you will find the magnificent Rheinfall, Europe’s largest and most powerful waterfall, where the water crashes down 21 meters, across a width of 150 meters. The natural spectacle is at its best in July when water levels are highest.
Other places of interest.
- Old Town – one of the most delightful Old Towns in Switzerland, with wonderful Baroque houses and 170 oriel windows, which were a status symbol on the houses of rich merchants.
- Boat trip on the Rhine – from Schaffhausen to Stein am Rhein and on across the Untersee to Konstanz and Kreuzlingen; one of the finest river trips in Europe.
- Former Benedictine abbey of Allerheiligen – the monastery church with its 11th century cloisters is an important Romanesque historic building, with a herb garden and museum about the town’s history and industry.
How to get there?
There are direct trains from Zurich airport, The SBB website offers good deals and routes which can be found here SBB Link
If your interested in buying One Swiss rail pass: check 1 x Adult (saver) 4 days / 4 days costs €236 per adult at www.trainticket.com.
If you’re coming from Germany, traveling to the border of Singen will give you direct access to Schaffhausen in 35-40 mins drive via E41 or E54.
Konstanz / Constance
45 minutes away from our starting point in Singen through the B31 or 33 highway, is the beautiful Lake Konstanz, you may also take the RB rail line from Singen (Hohentwiel) to Konstanz in 35 mins. This quaint and charming city lies along the beautiful Bodensee, the historical town of Constance is the largest town on Lake Constance and the perfect place for your vacation. It’s better to go around on foot, park your car in one of the city park houses and explore the old town by foot.
The restaurants offer a variety of fresh fish from the lake! Constance’s exceptional geographical location on the shores of Lake Constance and the Rhine make it the ideal starting point for day excursions into the region.
Located near the heart of the pedestrian zone. The church offers great stained glass windows, stone sculptures, a crypt behind the main altar and more private rooms of paintings, carvings and in general great works of art and organ pipes above the entrance door.
The viewing platform with nice views overlooking downtown, the lake and beyond the Swiss border.
There are also other rooms to explore more of the church history and architecture inside.
Bregenz / Lindau
Another neighboring town at the side of Austria is Bregenz and the small island of Lindau. Here you will find more breathtaking sights of Bodensee lake. A train ride is not so hard to find, you can find the link here. Another option is just to take a ferry from the port of Bregenz to Lindau, which will take around 20 mins max.
During the holiday season, the fastest and easiest way to get to Bregenz is by train or by bike. From April to mid-October there is also a scheduled boat service from Lindau to the harbour at the foot of the Pfänder. If you take one of the White Fleet boats you can also enjoy a unique view of the three countries that border the lake. From the harbour it’s only a few minutes’ walk to the centre of Bregenz.
Tip: if you decide to travel by train, buy your ticket at the ÖBB counter in Lindau’s station, as it’s cheaper than buying it from Deutsche Bahn.
One of our highlights in Bregenz was seeing the panorama view from above, Pfänder alpine wildlife park offers a nice day trip if you have children. The panoramic scene from the park above will give you a clearer view of the Bodensee.
Lindau, for our last stop, before dinner we went around the port side of Lindau and saw the most beautiful sunset. We didn’t have time to explore the city that much, but this was a good day ender. Here you will see the mountains that are connected along the border of Germany, Switzerland and Austria. It was wonderful to wittness such beautiful blue and purple pallettes as the moon rose up in the horizon.