The Bodensee (Lake Constace in English), Germany’s largest lake is home to 10 islands. The largest is Reichenau, the third biggest is the island Mainau, a tropical paradise thanks to the Swedish family of Counts Bernadotte who acquired the island in 1974 as Bernadotte Trust with the aim to maintain the unique vegetation and make it accessible to the public.
The history of the island is a long and twisted one which would make a story all on its own. What I wanted to see, though on my recent visit, were all the attractions which make Mainau the Flower Island.
Easily reached from Konstanz by train, car or bus and then crossing the pedestrian bridge to the island itself, you are greeted by a flower carpet. Now, in spring, is the best time to visit.
Thanks to the mild climate, palm trees and other exotic plants grow without the need of a greenhouse, although there are plenty of those too.
Let’s start with my favorite flower, the orchid. They are cultivated in the so-called Palmhouse and are mark the beginning of the flower year come April/May. At the same time and outside, spring flowers grow in abundance outside.
June is the month of the roses, to be admires in an Italian style rose garden, featuring about 500 different species.
What makes the island even more tropical is the butterfly house. Thousands of butterflies flutter around in the subtropical climate, rest on dishes filled with flowers, orange and banana slices. Most of the little beauties come from Costa Rica.
It gets even more regal with the peacock enclosure. Kids can have fun and contact with tame animals like ponies and baby goats in what is called the Streichelzoo, who like to be touched and cuddled. Or they can splash around in their own water world.
The aforementioned history is reflected in several historical buildings, like the Baroque Deutschordenschloss, Gaertner tower and Comturey Keller gate.
Year around there are also concerts and exhibitions. Consult http://www.hivino.travel/discover-germany/secret-places-with-historical-flair/mainau–flower-island-in-lake-constance/e586 to find out what is on and when and plan your trip according to your interests.
Ah yes, and should you feel the desire to say ‘I will’ in these very special surroundings, you can do so too. About 100 couples a year get married on the island of Mainau, either in the church of St Mary or in the civil registry office or both.
You don’t even have to go anywhere else for your honeymoon, there is so much to do and see in Mainau to make it an unforgettable experience.