The island of Reichenau on Lake Constance and its sights

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The island of Reichenau on Lake Constance

Time seems to have stood still on the island of Reichenau on Lake Constance. As soon as you step onto the island, you get the feeling that little has changed here since the time when the monastery was founded by St. Pirmin in 724. Time slows down on this little patch of land in the lake. Pirmin came to the lake with forty companions. At that time it was uninhabited and wild. It was the monks of the monastery who made the island arable. They built churches that have survived to this day. Gardening was one of their jobs, as was growing vegetables. The churches and gardens of the monastery at Bodensee, are among the sights of the island of Reichenau.


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Even before you reach the island of Reichenau via the dam from Constance, the statue of St. Pirmin greets visitors. Where he comes from is not certain. Sources vary between Ireland, Narbonne or Paris as his birthplace. He was probably born around the year 690. It is believed that he was ordained an itinerant bishop at Meaux in France around the year 720. As such, he was sent to north-west France and the Upper Rhine. Under the protection of Karl Martell he founded several monasteries. Among them was the Mittelzell monastery on the island of Reichenau on Lake Constance. However, Pirmin himself did not stay long in this monastery. Already in 726 he moved on.


Lake Constance near the island of Reichenau

Island of Reichenau sights

The island of Reichenau, with its vineyards and vegetable fields and villages with half-timbered houses, does not appear spectacular at first. Anyone who feels comfortable in a rural landscape will like the island right away. The island is easy to explore by car, on foot or by bike. The excursion boats of the White Fleet also dock at the shore of the island. If you like silence and avoid hustle and bustle, you will like the island of Reichenau. Three of the island's churches date from the 8th and 9th centuries. All three are in very good condition. Since the island and its cultural assets have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, the old monastic landscapes have been slowly re-establishing themselves.


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Saint George in Reichenau-Oberzell
Saint George in Reichenau-Oberzell


Saint George on the island of Reichenau

The first of the three churches on the island of Reichenau is Sankt Georg in Reichenau-Oberzell. It is the youngest of the three churches on the island of Reichenau and dates from the end of the 9th century. The church has hardly been changed since the 10th and 11th centuries. The wall paintings inside the church, which date from the late Carolingian and Ottonian periods, are particularly worth seeing.


Wall paintings in St. Georg on the island of Reichenau
Wall paintings in St. Georg on the island of Reichenau


The wall paintings depict the miracles of Christ. However, you can only see the interior of the church with a guided tour. details about it you can find here. Otherwise it is closed from May to September for reasons of monument protection.

Church of St. George
Sea Road 2
78479 Reichenau

The small museum right next door is also worth seeing (Oberzell/Kreuz, 78479 Reichenau). In it you will learn a lot of interesting facts about the importance of the Church of St. George.


St. Mary and Mark
St. Maria and Markus, most important sights on the island of Reichenau


Munster St. Maria and Markus

The largest of the three churches on the island of Reichenau is the Minster of St. Mary and Markus in Reichenau. Although it is not the original monastery church, it stands on the site of the monastery of St. Pirmin. This was made of wood, but quickly proved to be too small. In the St. Maria and Markus Minster you can trace the construction phases from the 8th century to the present day. Also worth seeing is the treasury in the St. Maria and Markus Minster. This is located in a Gothic room from the 15th century in the cathedral and houses religious art and cult objects.

It was the monks of the monastery who created the first gardens in and around the monastery. Today you can also visit the monastery garden in the inner courtyard. Not far from the monastery there is also a herb garden, which was created in the tradition of monk Walahfrid Strabo.


Herb garden near St. Maria and Markus
Reichenau herb garden


Walahfrid Strabo is the author of a book on garden maintenance, des Liber de cultura hortorum. This is a kind of didactic poem from around 840. It also contains a literary depiction of a monastery garden.

If you like wine, you shouldn't miss the wine shop in the monastery garden. There you can taste and buy the wines of the island of Reichenau.

Munster St. Maria and Markus
Münsterplatz 4
78479 Reichenau


Saint Peter and Paul
Saint Peter and Paul


St. Peter and Paul on the island of Reichenau

The third church in the group and church-historically the second oldest on the island of Reichenau is St. Peter and Paul. The first church was built here in 799. In that year, Bishop Egino of Verona retired from his offices and moved into a Cell on the west side of the island. This must have been magnificently furnished. This is shown by the preserved reliefs in the side aisle of today's church. However, most of the original church was demolished around 1080 after two fires. The current church was subsequently built on the foundations of the first church and dates back to the 12th century.


Apse of the Collegiate Church of St. Peter and Paul
Apse of the collegiate church of St. Peter and Paul on the island of Reichenau


The painting in the apse impresses visitors the most. It dates from the late 11th century.

Saint Peter and Paul
Eginostrasse 19
78479 Reichenau

Reichenau Museum

If you want to find out more about the history of the Reichenau Monastery, you will find a good exhibition in the Reichenau Museum, for example. The museum is not big, but if you take your time you will find extensive information about the monastery.

Reichenau Museum
Result 1
78479 Reichenau


To fortify yourself in between, you can try fresh Lake Constance fish seasoned with herbs from Strabo's herb garden in the Sandseele Restaurant. There is also a campsite right on the lake for anyone traveling with a tent or motorhome.

Sandseele restaurant with terrace on the shore
Bradlengasse 24
78479 Reichenau



What historical sights are there on the island of Reichenau?

The island offers three well-preserved churches from the 8th and 9th centuries: St. George, the Minster of St. Mary and Mark and St. Peter and Paul. These churches are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

What activities are recommended for slow travelers on the island of Reichenau?

Enjoy walks or bike rides through the wine and vegetable fields, visit the monastery gardens or take a guided tour of the wall paintings in St. George's Church.

What culinary experiences does the island of Reichenau offer?

Try regional wines in the wine shop in the monastery garden and then enjoy fresh Lake Constance fish in the Sandseele Restaurant, seasoned with herbs from the monastery gardens.

How can you reach and explore the island of Reichenau?

The island can be reached via a causeway from Konstanz. The best way to explore them is on foot, by bike or by car. Tour boats also dock on the island.

Are there any special events or experiences that shouldn't be missed?

Visit the island during the Garden and Herb Days to learn more about the historical garden culture of the monastery landscapes and discover regional products.


Tips for the island and its surroundings

The island of Reichenau on Lake Constance is a real paradise for slow travelers as well as for leisure travelers. Here you will find a unique combination of culture, nature and culinary delights. The historic monasteries and churches tell exciting stories, while the lush gardens and vineyards invite you to relax. What is particularly impressive is the variety of regional products that you can enjoy in the local restaurants.

Now it's your turn! We warmly invite you to share your own experiences and tips with us and our readers. Which sights particularly impressed you? Are there hidden corners that you should definitely discover? Where did you enjoy the best food on the island? Your recommendations are valuable and help other travelers discover the beauty of Reichenau Island from new perspectives. Write to us in the comments and let’s explore the secrets of this unique place together!



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Source Reichenau Island sights: own research. However, our opinions remain our own.

Text : © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline

The island of Reichenau on Lake Constance and its sights

Monika Fuchs

Monika Fuchs and Petar Fuchs are the authors and publishers of the Slow Travel and Enjoyment travel blog TravelWorldOnline Traveller. You have been publishing this blog since 2005. TravelWorldOnline has been online since 2001. Your topics are Trips to Savor and wine tourism worldwide and Slow Travel. During her studies, Monika Fuchs spent some time in North America, where she traveled to the USA and Canada - sometimes together with Petar Fuchs - and spent a research year in British Columbia. This strengthened her thirst for knowledge, which she pursued for 6 years Adventure Guide for Rotel Tours and then for 11 years as Study tour guide for Studiosus Reisen tried to breastfeed all over the world. She constantly expanded her travel regions, but curiosity still gnawed at her: “What is beyond the horizon? What else is there to discover in this city? Which people are interesting here? What do you eat in this region?” These are the questions she is now trying to answer as a freelance travel journalist (her articles have appeared in DIE ZEIT, 360° Canada, 360° USA, etc.), among others. travel writer and travel blogger answers in many countries around the world. Petar Fuchs produces the videos on this blog as well as on YouTube. Monika Fuchs from TravelWorldOnline is below Germany's top 50 bloggers in 2021 Other Information about Monika and Petar Fuchs. Recommendations on LinkedIn from tourism experts Further recommendations from cooperation partners and tourism experts Professional experience Monika on LinkedIn

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