By bike from Constance to the Island of Mainau
Cycling alongside the lake, through woods and fields, you discover the beauty of the countryside around Constance. The magnificent flowers on the Island of Mainau attract many visitors and it's a great visit no matter what time of year you go.
From Constance old town, it's about 16 km to the flower island and back. Depending how much time you want to spend on Mainau, this cycle ride is great as an afternoon activity, for people who like to sleep in, or for families with children.
Our proposed route takes you through the Hockgraben to the Island of Mainau, almost entirely car free. On the way back, you cycle via Hörnle, and then on a few quiet roads. This tour tip is a relaxing ride and suitable also for families with children.
As an alternative, you can also take the direct route by bike to the Island of Mainau.
This is a bit shorter, but you have to cycle quite a long way along the busy Mainaustrasse.
Note: No bikes on the Island of Mainau
You're not allowed to cycle on the island itself. With all the visitors, and lots of families with children, it wouldn't be practical anyway. But the Island of Mainau likes to welcome cyclists and has some excellent facilities for bikers at the entrance: lots of parking space and lockers for bike gear plus more when you and your bike arrive at the island.
Getting to Constance
This tour starts at Constance station, which is right next to the harbour. Arriving by train is, as you might think, easy: local trains from Germany and Switzerland service the station regularly. Make sure you find out about the options and conditions involved when bringing a bike on the train. This is usually not a problem around the lake. You simply need one additional bike ticket.
It's even nicer to get to Constance by boat: the BSB White Fleet of boats service the harbours of all the larger towns around the lake. The catamaran is the quickest method of getting from Friedrichshafen to Constance. With views of the banks and an alpine backdrop - the crossing is stunning! Cyclists need to purchase an extra ticket, but have lots of space on these speedy boats.
If you are getting to Constance via the ferry from Meersburg, then you can simply start the tour at the ferry port in Constance-Staad.
Via Hockgraben and the university to the Island of Mainau
Leaving Constance' old town, follow signs for the Island of Mainau (blue spot), first taking you along the bank of the Rhine. At the Rheintorturn, the first town tower, keep right and cycle over the bike bridge. This is the middle of Constance' three bridges over the Rhine. It's only accessible to pedestrians and cyclists. On the bridge, look to the right: you'll see the Rhine as it leaves Lake Constance and in the distance the mountains. This is always a beautiful view even for hard and fast Constanceers!
Follow the cycle path straight ahead when you leave the bridge. After the lights and crossing the railway tracks, you reach Zähringerplatz. The signs lead you to the Island of Mainau, first over a large junction. You are now on the same cycle path many students use on a daily basis on their way to the university. When you reach the student dorms, follow the arrows to the right, through the so-called Hockgraben. You're now off the road, and cycling through fields and the stream that gives the Hockgraben its name.
Here, up from Constance is where the University of Constance is to be found. If you want to get a great view, lock your bike up at one of the lower entrances, and make your way up some windy steps to the Mensa cafeteria terrace. The views are worth it! Überlinger See, the Island of Mainau, Meersburg with its two castles and the Upper Lake are literally all laid out in front of you.
Back on your bike, follow the signs for the Island of Mainau. You are taken through a subway and arrive now in Constance' Egg district. At the crossing in front of the chapel, you meet the Lake Constance cycle path. The cycle, underneath the trees, covering the last section to the Island of Mainau, is a pleasant one.
Tip: Bike parking at entrance to Island of Mainau
You have to leave your bike at the entrance to the island: Mainau Island is a bike-free zone!
But with lots of space for parking, lockers for bike panniers and helmets, changing rooms and even a small repair shop, the Mainau caters to everything a cyclist could wish for!
From the Island of Mainau back to Constance via Hörnle
After a walk admiring the sea of flowers on the Island of Mainau, you can take a different route back to Constance, via Hörnle. This headland before Constance is a favourite beach and bathing area among locals.
You leave the island of Mainau by bike, first following the same path you came by, via Constance/Egg. At the chapel at the fountain in Egg, which you passed before, follow the Lake Constance cycle path signs to the left. The cycle path takes you away from the lakeside a little, to Staad. You cycle past the Constance Ruppaner brewery. If you like, stop for a break.
You meet Schiffstrasse, which goes down to the Constance-Meersburg ferry harbour. If you haven't seen it yet, just freewheel down. On the other side of the lake you can see the two castles in Meersburg. You can also treat yourself to a fish role at the fisher house at the harbour if you like.
Now follow the cycle path signs away from the harbour, through Staad, to the roundabout. Don't get confused by the contradicting signs at the roundabout. Jakobstrasse, the cycle path that goes round Hörnle, goes off to the left.
Jakobstrasse takes you through Loretto Forest around the Hörnle headland. At the tip of the headland, you'll see Lake Constance stadium and the lido. If you haven't been for a swim yet today, now's your chance! You can leave your bike locked up at one of the many bike stands. Or embellish your break with an ice-cream, too! It's worth walking down to the tip of the Hörnle headland, as the view of the Upper Lake, Constance Bay, Meersburg and the Swiss lakeside is wonderful!
Back on your bike, you cycle along Einhornstrasse, back into town. The Lake Constance cycle path takes you left over the road at Hebelstrasse bus-stop. Now you're on the famous Seestrasse. The Art Nouveau houses have been a backdrop to many films.
On bike path over the old Rhine Bridge, you now return to the medieval old town of Constance.
Alternative: the quickest cycle path to the Island of Mainau
On some days, the journey is the reward. But if the Island of Mainau is waiting for your visit, it could be that the reward is the reward.
The quickest way out of Constance' old town is via Mainaustrasse - of course!
You leave Constance via the old Rhine Bridge. The cycle path over the bridge ends in a long bend. At the end, keep right and cross the bridge. On the other side, turn left even though the cycle path signs point straight ahead. After a few metres, you will have reached Mainaustrasse. You'll notice this by the street signs pointing out Mainau and the Meersburg ferry. Follow this road, keeping to the cycle path, passing a school and a hospital.
Mainaustrasse takes you on past the Maria-Hilf chapel and then round a long curve into the part of Constance, known as Staad. In the bend, the cycle path crosses over to the left side of the road. The cycle path signs take you down to the ferry, over the junction. Before you reach the ferry port, turn left into Hoheneggstrasse. The signs for the Lake Constance cycle path, Constance' Ruppaner brewery and Restaurant Hohenegg indicate that you're on the right road!
Up from the lake's banks, you now cycle past Hohenegg Restaurant and the brewery, through Allmannsdorf and Egg on the Lake Constance cycle path straight to the entrance to the Island of Mainau.