Mainau: Island on Lake Constance bursts with color and appeal
Is there a garden of Eden in cool and rainy Germany? Yes! Just visit the paradise of Mainau in Lake Constance in southern Germany near the border with Austria and Switzerland.
Located close to Constance, the metropolis of the lake, this 110-acre island is a flower paradise and tourist magnet visited by 1.6 million people annually. They admire the park’s collection of more than 500 kinds of trees from around the world, including redwoods, ginkgoes, giant sequoias, Atlas cedars and cypresses. They roam the parks and gardens filled with palm trees and plants from warmer climates that demonstrate Mediterranean flair. They are surprised by rare flowers and colorful blossoms in the Italian rose garden, with many unusual types. And they are attracted by the butterfly house with insects of enormous size and vibrant colors thriving in a jungle environment with tropic temperatures and humidity.
The Island of Mainau is a peaceful, colorful and exciting place for the whole family. Playgrounds, restaurants and outdoor cafés, concerts and art exhibitions add to the fun.
For private affairs, visitors even can rent some stately rooms (including food and drinks) inside the fancy baroque palace in the heart of the island. The Swedish count Lennart Bernadotte, who owns and lives at the palace, is still going strong at 95 and operates Mainau with his wife, Countess Sonia. He is a marketing genius: Since he inherited the island in 1932, he has steadily improved its image and increased its attractions.
Travelers can easily explore Mainau on foot. It can only be reached by crossing a small pedestrian bridge from the mainland, and is just a 10-minute walk from the huge parking lot next to the ticket counters. There are no cars allowed.
The island is open year-round. Hours are 7 a.m. through 8 p.m. through Oct. 24; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. the rest of the year.
Prices are: 11 euros for adults; 3 euros for children ages 6-15; 21 euros for a family ticket (parents with children up to age 15); 5.40 euros for students older than 16; 9.60 euros for those 65 or older; and 8.40 euros each for groups of 20 or more. A trip on the island bus costs 1.50 euros.