Why Lindau, Germany is the Best Bavarian Island You’ve Never Heard Of

Lindau Island Germany Bodensee

Everything you need to know to plan a wonderful weekend getaway or extended holiday to Germany’s Lindau Island.

Located on the shores of the picturesque Bodensee Germany, (Lake Constance to English speakers), Lindau Island, Germany is a glimmering lakeside jewel overlooking the Alps.

Its historic city center is resplendent with medieval buildings and half-timbered houses and situated on its own island connected to the rest of the city of Lindau by a bridge.

My husband Dave and I arrive by car on Lindau Island just as the sun begins its early descent. It’s an unseasonably warm late February day as we cross the bridge. The sun-splashed terraces along the lakefront overflow with locals savoring evening cocktails and an early taste of spring warmth.

I’m instantly smitten with the Venetian-inspired architecture along the waterfront. It reminds me of some of my favorite Italian island destinations like Elba Island, Procida or Ischia…or even the town of Chania in Crete.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to book through these links, I receive a small commission, which I will undoubtedly blow on more flights (it’s a vicious cycle).  All of this internet voodoo takes place at no additional cost to you. 

Read More: Things to Do in Crete Greece: The Ideal Itinerary for 5 Perfect Days

For a moment, I have to remind myself I’m still in Germany! Which is probably why many people ask…

Is Lindau in Germany or Austria?

Located on the southwestern tip of Bavaria, Lindau island is indeed in Germany. Though it’s certainly easy to understand the confusion since one wrong turn can have you crossing the border into Austria (which is just 5 kilometers away).

Is Lindau worth visiting?

Yes, Lindau is well worth visiting while you’re in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland. This popular summer resort area is best known for its charming medieval and Baroque architecture and stunning lake views.

It’s a great place to explore any time of year but in the summer months visitors can enjoy sailing, hiking, cycling, and even swimming (more on that later!).

How to Get to Lindau Germany

It’s easy to get to Lindau Island from within Germany, or from Austria or Switzerland.

From Munich:

The drive takes 2 hours and 15 minutes. By train, the journey will take 2.5 to 3 hours depending on routing.

From Stuttgart:

The trip is only slightly longer, 2.5 hours to drive and 3 hours by train.

From Zurich:

It’s less than a 2-hour drive to Lindau and by train it’s closer to 3 hours.

Arriving by train is a great option because the train station is located directly on the island in the heart of town. Parking on the small island can be a challenge and once you arrive it’s unlikely you’ll need a car. All of the island’s best sights are within an easy stroll.

In addition, ferries also service Lindau Island from nearby harbor towns in Austria and Switzerland from March to October. Check the BSB Ferry site for routes, time, and fares.

Best Hotels on Lindau Island

Apartment Hotel Schreier – This is my favorite hotel on the island and where we chose to stay on our recent visit. Located directly on the lakefront promenade, many rooms offer terraces and gorgeous views of the lake.

We booked a lakefront room and our room had a lovely view! While the room itself was a bit small, it was clean and comfortable and even had a small terrace.

Mangturm Lighthouse Lindau Island Germany
View of the Mangturm from our room at Hotel Schreier am See

Hotel Bayerischer Hof – Also located directly on Lake Constance, this majestic hotel is the top choice for a splurge on Lindau Island. Situated in the heart of the harbor, just a few steps from the train station, there is no better choice for location. Rooms are spacious and comfortable and it’s well worth spending a little more for a lake view.

The elegant bar on the lake terrace is THE place to sip an Aperol spritz and enjoy the view in the summer months. The hotel also features a spa which makes it a great choice for a romantic getaway.

Hotel Bayerischer Hof Lindau
Sunset view of the Hotel Bayerischer Hof

YachtHotel Helvetia Spa – For a true spa experience on Lindau Island this modern wellness spa is the ultimate retreat. Located right on the lake, rooms are clean, modern, and bright, and many have direct lake views. For a unique romantic escape, book the Luxury Motor Yacht room which is actually an entire private yacht on the lake.

Top 6 Things to Do in Lindau

There are plenty of things to do in Lindau, here are a few of my favorites:

1. Lindau Harbor

The harbor’s entrance is framed by the 33-meter-high new lighthouse on one side and the Bavarian lion on the other, with the Swiss Alps as a perfect backdrop. Chiseled out of Kehlheim sandstone, the lion is 6 meters high and weighs 50 tons.

The year 1856 (the year the harbor was completed) is engraved on its base in Roman numerals.

Lindau Harbour Germany
Lindau Harbour

2. Mangturm Lighthouse

Built in the thirteenth century, the old lighthouse (called the Mangturm) is a prominent fixture of the former city fortification. It served as Lindau’s primary lighthouse until 1856 when the new lighthouse was completed.

Later, an extra level was added and covered with the striking glazed roof tiles that define its appearance today. Climb the tower for spectacular views across the lake to Bregenz on the opposite Swiss shore.

3. Maximilianstrasse

Turned into a wide pedestrian lane in the mid 1970’s, this lively street is lined with arcades, patrician houses, shops and cafes. The architecture is a blend of Gothic and Renaissance style.

Maximilianstrasse Lindau Island Germany

4. Old Town Hall

As you stroll down Maximilianstrasse, you’ll come to one of Lindau’s most beautifully ornate buildings, the Old Town Hall.

Completed in 1436 on the site of a former winery, the centuries that followed each had an impact on its design. Most recently, in 1975, the façades were refurbished to the 1885 design of Munich painter Josef Widmann.

Old Town Hall Lindau Germany
Old Town Hall

5. Take a Ferry ride to Switzerland or Austria

Sailing daily from March to October, the fleet of ferry boats operated by BSB connect Lindau with dozens of locations including a short 20-minute ride to Bregenz, Austria, and Rorschach, Switzerland in just over an hour. Timetables and destinations can be found here.

Because of the short travel times and frequent ferries, many of the ferry stops on the lake make a great day trip. Just be sure to travel with your passport when heading into Switzerland, just in case you need it.

6. Swimming in Lake Constance

The crystal clear waters of Lake Constance are perfect for a refreshing swim on a hot summer day. Water temperatures in the peak summer months can reach 22 C (71 F) making the lake ideal for a dip. There are also a number of outdoor pools and even a thermal spa.

Here’s everything you need to know to find all the best swimming spots in Lindau.

Instagram-Worthy Photo Ops

Most of Lindau Island is picture-perfect but these are a few of my favorite images:

It’s easy to see why Lindau Island is a terrific summer holiday spot. However, from what I’ve seen it can be equally as beautiful in the off-season, and certainly less crowded!

Above all, regardless of when you visit, you’re likely to be charmed by this beautiful little island on the Bodensee.

And if you’re searching for more great destinations in Germany, start here:

Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Germany’s Fairy Tale Christmas Village

Magical Neuschwanstein: How to Visit Germany’s Disney Castle Like a Pro

Germany’s Best Christmas Markets: Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt