Lindau is one of southern Germany's most picturesque towns with an interesting old town located on an island off the shores of Lake Constance.
A favourite walk for almost every visitor (if there is no rain!) is out to the Lindau lighthouse and the Bavarian lion sculpture at the harbour entrance with great views back over the water to Lindau's old town.
There is plenty to see and do in the town itself, but it also makes a good base for exploring other towns along the lake shore both in Germany and across the borders in towns like Bregenz in Austria and even into nearby Switzerland.
The summer ferry services make it easy to visit other Lake Constance towns, such as Friedrichshafen, Meersburg and Konstanz, while admiring the backdrop of the Alps.
The closest airport to Lindau is just up the lake shore at Friedrichshafen but the small airport does has a limited number of destinations which it serves.
Distance to Friedrichshafen (Bodensee) Airport: 21km
Distance to Memmingen (Allgäu) Airport: 71km
Distance to Zurich Airport: 139km
Distance to Innsbruck Airport: 199km
Distance to Munich Airport: 208km
The airports at both Memmingen and Friedrichshafen are favourites for low-cost airlines and, if the destinations serve suit, will be the best choices. Otherwise the optimal choices are probably the larger airports at Zurich and Munich, with Zurich having the edge on distance and Munich with ease of transport connections.
Lindau train station is located on the small island where the old town is located a short walk away from the harbour. There is a regular regional service through to Munich as well as good connections into Austria with the Vorarlbergbahn (giving access to Bregenz and Innsbruck).
Ferry travel is a popular option for sightseeing but also for those who want a relatively quick and uncomplicated route to other parts of Lake Constance. (Road connections, especially in the summer high season, can be very busy.) Lindau is connected to Konstanz and Meersburg on the German side, Bregenz in Austria, as well as to Rorschach, Romanshorn and Kreuzlingen in Switzerland (amongst other destinations). Some services run from March through to October. A year-round connection to the other end of the lake can be found via the Friedrichshafen-Konstanz catamaran ferry service.
As a popular destination for tourists, Lindau has plenty of hotel accommodation both in the heart of the historic town on the island and, more conveniently for car drivers, on the mainland nearer the main land transport connections.
The main sights of Lindau are on the island, reached by a road bridge or via the rail link to the station. Those who are planning to sightsee or to use the ferry links may find this location more convenient.
Much of the island is pedestrianised or semi-pedestrianised and car drivers, and especially those who are looking to explore Lake Constance by road, may prefer to be on the mainland and closer to the transport connections and motorway.
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Evidence of Roman settlement has been discovered nearby on the mainland, but the first recorded mention of Lindau island (the 'island of lime trees') is towards the end of the 9th century.
It is thought that a Benedictine convent had been established here earlier in the same century (which later became the Minster in the centre of the town).
At the time there was also a small fishing settlement near what was later the Peterskirche.
A big change, as with so many other successful towns, came with the move of the rights to hold a market to the island. Up until that point the market had been held on the mainland near the trade routes, but the island location meant that it was more secure in troubled times.
This led to a flourishing business settlement besides the convent and the fishing trade. By the time of the 13th century the relatively small town was important enough to be granted the status of 'free imperial city' (meaning that only the Holy Roman Emperor had power over it).
At the end of the 15th century an Imperial Diet (a governing assembly for the Holy Roman Empire) was held in Lindau - an event commemorated on the Old Town Hall in the town.
Trade from the Lindau area, with its moderate climate meaning that wine, fruit and flax could be grown, grew and eventually a regular commercial trading route was established between Lindau island and Milan (the 'Mailander Bote').
The island settlement was less damaged than other locations through the religious wars that plagued central Europe - it held out against a Swedish siege in the Thirty Years War - but was devastated by a fire which destroyed the centre in the 18th century.
Much of the 'look' of the historic buildings on the island dates from this Baroque period of reconstruction.
The religious buildings were handed to the state during Napoleonic times and Lindau lost its status as a free imperial city, becoming part of Bavaria when Napoleon was eventually defeated.
The 19th century saw the construction of important transport connections, with rail links to Augsburg and Bregenz and the new harbour.
Nowadays Lindau is a prosperous town of around 25000 inhabitants where the island lives mainly from tourism (for example, the German Alpine Road route starts here). Annually it reckons on around 800,000 visitor nights in the various levels of accommodation.
The agricultural and industrial areas, as well as the major shopping centres, are located in the surrounding area on the mainland closer to the main traffic arteries.
As a major tourist destination in southern Germany, there is plenty going on for the visitor to Lindau.
The town holds a number of festivals throughout the year - some of them important historically and some, like the Oktoberfest and the Carnival celebrations, which are local versions of wider festivals.
The Lindau Garden Festival is held for three days every year at the beginning of the summer.
Website: gartentage-lindau.de (German only)
The Lindau Children's Festival is one of the most important in the town. It dates back to the 17th century and is thought to have been started to encourage parents to send their children to school. These days it is held on the last Wednesday of the summer school holidays with a procession of schoolchildren led by young drummers to the Old Town Hall.
Website: www.kinderfest-lindau.de (German only)
The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings started in the 1950s. They are designed to foster communication and contact between leading scientists and students in the areas of physics, chemistry, physiology and medicine, and economics. Each year is devoted to a particular topic.
The Lindau Oktoberfest is held on a weekend near the beginning of September and, like its more famous namesake in Munich, is devoted to the delights of beer, food and music.
Website: www.lindauer-oktoberfest.de (German only)
The Lindau Fasnacht is the local version of the celebrations - involving processions with traditional masks and costumes - which take place all over Germany in the period before Ash Wednesday and the hardships of Lent. Dating back to the Middle Ages, it was a time for people to let off steam before a period of abstinence.
Website: narrenzunft-lindau.de (German only)
Friedrichshafen is a town in a beautiful location on the northern shore of Lake Constance. It was a centre for the aviation industry and is home to the Zeppelin Museum and the Dornier Museum. Both companies were based in Friedrichshafen. Bodensee Airport is just to the north of the town and provides the closest flight link to the Lake Constance region.
Meersburg is situated on the northern shore of Lake Constance and is home to the Old Castle, a medieval fortress that offers stunning views of the lake and the surrounding countryside. The town is a popular summer travel destination for both Germans and foreign tourists
Konstanz is situated on the border with Switzerland and is known for its beautiful location on the lake, as well as its historic city centre. Konstanz has a rich history dating back to Roman times and features many notable landmarks such as the Konstanz Minster, a 14th-century cathedral.
The Lindau tourist office is located opposite the train station on the island and is open on weekdays morning and afternoon. Out of office hours a walking map for guests (with short descriptions of sights) is available from the foyer outside the office.