Lake Constance Gardens

tell a story (or stories)

Network “Lake Constance Gardens – a journey through time” - making you want to discover green oases.

Lake Constance Gardens tell a story (or stories)

The mild climate of Lake Constance has always played right into the hands of gardeners. Over the centuries, promising parks and lovingly cultivated gardens have sprung up between the blue lake and the green banks which dominate the landscape. Since last year the network, Lake Constance Gardens – a journey through time” has been inviting visitors to discover the most beautiful gardens around Lake Constance whilst also giving them the opportunity to learn about the exciting horticultural past of the region. The number of properties included in the green network continues to grow; from 2015 the magnificent villas and parks in Lindau, the horticultural trail in Überlingen, the Swiss medicinal garden established by Alfred Vogel as well as the park belonging to Wartegg Castle in Rorschacherberg will be included in the group.

Together, the gardens surrounding Lake Constance capture the entire development of European horticulture. Visitors experience first-hand, examples of gardens dating from the Stone Age to ancient times, gardens from the Middle Ages and the nineteenth century right through to gardens established in the modern day. And all of these styles within such easy reach of each other! If they so wish visitors can simply hop on a boat, bus or train to travel easily from garden to garden.

Reichenau is the Birthplace of Western Horticulture

Nearly 1,200 years ago the Monk Walahfrid Strabo from Reichenau published the small booklet, “Hortulus – About the Care of Gardens”. This was the first ever European publication dedicated to giving advice on gardening. On the strength of these 24 verses, which concern just as many varieties of plant, the island of Reichenau - a World Heritage Site - earned its title as the birthplace of Western horticulture. Reichenau is still recognised as such today. The vegetable-covered island with its greenhouses and vineyards and its three churches, which have been awarded World Heritage status, is a dream destination for anyone blessed with those famous “green fingers”. An herb garden which was established according to the verses in “Hortulus” reminds us of the long tradition of gardening on the island of Reichenau. The island is easily reached by travelling over the raised dam by bike, on foot or by bus. Visitors might otherwise enjoy travelling to the island by boat, departing from Radolfzell, Constance or Mannenbach.

Travel through Time from Park to Park
The island of Mainau is probably the best known flower island in the World. It was here, on the 45 hectares of historical, planted woodland which dates back to the nineteenth century, that the Bernadotte family created a true paradise of flowers. The future French emperor, Napoleon III, engaged a leading landscape architect to design the English garden for Arenenberg Castle in the Swiss region of Untersee. In 1840 the legendary Earl Pückler planted a green idyll, full of surprises, around the castle in Lake Constance. Just across the way are the historical grounds of the former Charterhouse in Ittingen; as well as a Baroque garden there are two hop gardens, wine gardens, a herb garden, a prior’s garden and monks‘ garden to be seen. The rose garden, with 1,000 individual rose bushes, not only smells wonderful, but boasts the largest selection of historical rose varieties in Switzerland.

Magnificent Castle Grounds on the German Side of the Lake
On the other side of the lake, only a short boat trip away, is an unforgettable garden with a dream view. As well as providing an example of Baroque landscape architecture, the park surrounding the new Meersburg Castle offers a wonderful view across the lake. From here it’s only a stone’s throw to the former monastery and castle in Salem. As soon as you enter the garden you notice the magnificent, Baroque formal garden. The symmetrical paths, imaginatively trimmed hedges and bushes, fountains and water basins as well as the two mazes all add to the garden’s design.

Millet for Hungry Lake Dwellers

The remaining Stone Age lake dwellings found around Lake Constance have been included on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 2011. As the archaeobotanical gardens in Hemmenhofen and Frauenfeld illustrate, people were already gardening in the Stone Age. Accordingly, visitors to Lake Constance gain an insight into nothing less than the history of plant cultivation in central Europe. Foxtail millet for example, which we use as parakeet food these days, buckwheat, lentils and broad beans, the first seeds used by man, are still planted and cultivated here today. Within the small area of Lake Constance you can experience the entire horticultural past of Europe; from Stone Age gardens to those from the Middle Ages right through to modern day examples. 7,500 years of horticulture make a short trip on Lake Constance an unforgettable experience. And the notion behind the “Lake Constance Gardens” continues to grow and blossom.

Four New Additions for 2015

In 2015 we will welcome four new members to the network. The English gardens of Wartegg Castle offer an idyll of ancient trees, streams and secluded clearings. In the heart of the National garden monument, dating from 1860, organic gardeners continue to cultivate almost forgotten varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers. At the EchinaPoint in Roggwil everything is centred around the theories of the pioneer in natural medicines, Alfred Vogel, and his favourite plant, the red coneflower. Visitors can enjoy the splendour of the crimson blossoms and learn how herbal remedies are produced and how they work. The horticultural trail in Überlingen connects the most beautiful green attractions of the town, including the town garden with its exotic plants and mighty, giant trees. 30 magnificent villas and parks are to be found along the horticultural trail in Lindau – all of them true jewels in the crown of the Bavarian banks of Lake Constance.

Individual Discoveries

Tour recommendations for individual journeys through gardening-time, whether by boat, bike, bus or train, are available for guests. There is also an all-inclusive trip offered by the tour operator “Radweg-Reisen” which may be booked on an individual basis. This cycle tour takes guests to many of the Lake Constance gardens belonging to the network and takes around six days. In Untersee, guests might choose to learn the history of gardens at their own pace and can travel on any of the four routes, each with a maximum length of 30 kilometres. Cyclists not only gain exciting impressions of the gardens but can enjoy the fantastic views across the extensive expanse of water of Lake Constance, which seem to appear as you turn each and every corner. On the island of Mainau gardening fans are offered the opportunity to spend a day (or longer if desired) in the role of a “Mainau gardener”. On certain dates the “Grüne Schule” on the island of Mainau also gives children the chance to take part in a “Kids’ Gardening” session.

Green Group Offers
The tour operator “art cities Reisen” accepts bookings from groups of 20 people or more and offers tours of castle and villa gardens from either the Middle Ages or the present day. The combination tours of the Arenenberg Castle & park and the island of Reichenau, offered by “Erlebnis Schweiz”, may be of particular interest to groups from Switzerland. In May and September the tour operator “Original Bodensee” also offers a new, three-day round-trip of the most beautiful Lake Constance gardens. From 2015 any tours and events with special offers for groups or individuals can also be simply and easily booked.


Service Section

Which Gardens are included in the Network?
The park on the island of Mainau and the island of Reichenau are the most prominent examples of horticulture around Lake Constance. In addition, the network includes the Baroque grounds of the castles of Meersburg and Salem, the park designed by Pückler surrounding Arenenberg Castle and the English garden belonging to Wartegg Castle on the Swiss bank of Lake Constance. The medicinal herb garden created by A. Vogel in Roggwil and the garden of the former Charterhouse in Ittingen, Thurgau are also included. In Lindau and Überlingen horticultural trails lead guests to the most beautiful villa gardens or parks in the area. The Thurgau tourist board represents the whole of the “Garden Canton” of Thurgau. The network also boasts Stone Age gardens such as the archaeobotanical gardens in Frauenfeld and Hemmenhofen. Dreamy private gardens in Untersee which open their gates to visitors for “Garden-Rendezvous”, fruit orchards surrounding the lake and museums serve as a connection between the public gardens and parks.

In short: Lake Constance Gardens – a journey through time”
The numerous parks and gardens which surround Lake Constance are testimony to the fact that conscientious gardeners and landscape architects have been working around the lake for centuries. On the Western banks of Lake Constance are a particularly large number of parks and gardens. It is here that the original, founding members of the garden network, “Lake Constance Gardens – a journey through time” can be found. These are the islands of Mainau and Reichenau, the castle park, the patrician garden as well as the educational gardens in Arenenberg, the parks of Salem and Meersburg castles, the gardens of the former Charterhouse in Ittingen as well as the many more private gardens in Untersee which open their gates to guests. From 2015 the horticultural trail in Überlingen, the grounds of Wartegg Castle, the villas and parks in the Bavarian Riviera in Lindau as well as the medicinal plant world of A. Vogel in Roggwil will join the network. The aim of the network is to make it possible for visitors to experience all of the gardens and parks surrounding the lake, regardless of any international borders, so that they can appreciate the historical differences as well as the fascinating connections between them and the particularities of each garden. The “Lake Constance Gardens” project is financed by contributions from Thurgau Tourismus, Tourismus Untersee e.V., Internationale Bodensee Tourismus GmbH, the state of Baden-Württemberg, the canton of Thurgau and from the Interreg IV-Programm, a regional programme of the European Union (EU) and the Swiss Confederation for the Support of Cross-border Co-operation (Project term: 2013 – 31/03/2015).

Addresses of the Participating Gardens and Parks:

The Hortulus” herb garden on the island of Reichenau, Münster St. Maria and Markus in Reichenau Mittelzell. Admission is free. Information: Tourist Information, Pirminstrasse 145, D-78479 Reichenau Island, Tel. +49 7534 92 07 0,,

Flower Island Mainau, D-78465 Mainau Island, Tel. +49 7531 303-0,, Entrance: 20th March until 18th October 2015. Admission: Adults: 18 euros / approx. 25 francs, Family Day ticket (valid for parents and their children up to and including aged 15): 37 euros / approx. 48 francs, children (up to and including aged 12): free, Sunset tickets available from 5pm: all tickets half price.

Arenenberg Castle and Park (Napoleon Museum Thurgau), CH-8268 Salenstein,
Tel. +41 58 345 74 10,, Admission to the park is free. Admission to the new Middle Ages garden costs 3.50 euros / 5 francs.

Gardening Sessions for School-groups and Beginners offered by the Training and Advice Centre, (BBZ) Arenenberg, CH-8268 Salenstein, Tel. +41 71 663 33 33,, Admission is free.

Charterhouse Foundation Ittingen, CH-8532 Warth bei Frauenfeld, Tel. +41 52 748 44 11,,, Admission to many of the gardens belonging to the Charterhouse foundation is free. Admission to some of the gardens is included in the cost of visiting the museum. Admission to the museum, including an audio guide and four themed garden tours, costs 10 francs / approx. 7 euros.

Salem Closter and Castle, D-88682 Salem, Tel. +49 7553 9165 336, Admission: Adult: 7 euros / approx. 9 francs (payment by credit card in francs is possible), children up to 6 years: free, children aged 6 - 15 years: 3.50 euros / approx. 4.50 francs, families: 17.50 euros / 22.75 francs.

New Castle Meersburg, Schlossplatz 12, D-88709 Meersburg, Tel. +49 7532 8079 410,, Admission to the castle garden is free.

Garden Rendezvous in Untersee, Information: Tourismus Untersee e.V., Im Kohlgarten 2, D-78343 Gaienhofen, Tel. +49 7735 9190 55,,,  Admission to the majority of participating gardens and parks is free.

Archaeobotanical Garden at the Nature Museum Thurgau, Freie Strasse 24, CH-8510
Frauenfeld, Tel. +41 58 345 74 00,, Admission is free.

Horticultural trail, Überlingen, Rundweg ab Badgarten, Information: Kur und Touristik Überlingen GmbH, Landungsplatz 5, D-88662 Überlingen, Tel. +49 7551 94 715-22,, Free access all year round.

Horticultural Trail Lindau through the villas and parks of the Bavarian Riviera, Information: Lindau Tourismus und Kongress GmbH, Alfred-Nobel-Platz 1, D-88131 Lindau, Tel. +49 8382 2600 20,,

Wartegg Castle, Von Blarer Weg, CH-9404 Rorschacherberg, Tel. +41 71 858 62 62,, At the weekend experts offer tours through the grounds.

A.Vogel’s Medicinal Plant World, Activity Centre EchinaPoint auf dem Gelände der Bioforce AG, Grünaustrasse 4, CH-9325 Roggwil, Tel. +41 71 454 62 42, Open daily from 8am – 8pm. Admission is free.

Thurgau Tourismus, Gartenkanton Thurgau, Egelmoosstrasse 1, CH-8580 Amriswil, Tel. +41 71 414 11 44,


Verein Bodenseegärten
Schloss Arenenberg
8268 Salenstein
+41 58 3457427