What could be more enchanting than a doing a spot of Christmas shopping on a sailing ship on Lake Constance? If you are looking for a festive break this December, look no further than 'Bodensee' and celebrate Yule visiting the beautiful markets of Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
If you love boats and Christmas, Lake Constance – famous for its sailing and watersports – is the destination for you this December.
Lovingly called ‘Bodensee’ by local residents, the region borders Germany, Austria, Switzerland and is a short hop from the Principality of Liechtenstein.
Lake Constance brings together the very best festive experiences, charm, customs and traditions from all four countries to create a truly magical winter wonderland. From 18th November through to Christmas Eve, around 40 individual Christmas Markets will open to visitors and locals alike. Sailors will particularly love the MS Austria ship Christmas market. It sets sail from Bregenz and culminates in Lindau, so you can do all your Christmas shopping whilst enjoying a beautiful boat trip on the lake.
Families of all ages will enjoy exploring the markets that can be found scattered throughout historic city centres, baroque castles and along the shores of Lake Constance itself.
Stalls are filled with an array of arts and crafts and local gourmet delights (think local cheese pasta, such as Käsknöpfle and Käsespätzle and the famous Olma-Bratwurst from St. Gallen, Dünnele, a type of pizza, and the delicious raclette fondue) with live music filling the air along with the scent of gingerbread, fir sprigs and mulled wine. All of this lit by the warm glow of Christmas lights that can be seen for miles.
Throughout Advent (weekends only), visitors can unwind and take a relaxing boat trip across the lake offering a great chance to soak up the panoramic views, with larger groups (minimum 10 people) having the opportunity to book a festive evening cruise accompanied by a three-course meal.
Konstanz, Germany: Christmas by the Lake
During the advent period and run-up to Christmas, the historic inner city in Konstanz is filled with Christmas market stalls stretching all the way to the harbour. There are over 170 artisans, traders and food vendors and you’ll even find the ‘Christmas Ship’, a floating market full of festive delights.
Bregenz, Austria: Gourmet Delights
In the very heart of Bregenz, visitors can enjoy around 40 Christmas stalls selling a huge range of sweet and savoury delicacies along with handcrafted gifts. There is also a specially built manger that can be found in the Nepomuk Chapel at Kornmarkplatz and a huge Christmas tree which is donated annually by a community from the Bregenz Forest.
Lindau, Germany: Christmas on the Harbour
The Christmas market at Lindau Harbour is by far one of Germany’s most exquisite offerings. Beautifully decorated wooden stalls, Christmas music and night-time tours are just a few things to expect. There is also a magical fairy-tale forest – huge fir trees line the harbour which create a peaceful atmosphere and the most wonderful aroma. The spirit of Christmas covers the entire island with shops and restaurants all joining in with festive cheer.
Bregenz – Lindau: The Christmas Ship
One for the boat lovers! Visitors can experience three Christmas Markets in two different countries in just one day! Before boarding, spend some time exploring two markets in Bregenz, one in the newly designed market place and the other in the Old Upper Town. Once on board the MS Austria, you will be treated to nativity scenes and an exceptionally festive atmosphere. The ship will set sail and pass the lighthouse and Bavarian Lion sculpture before entering Lindau’s harbour where you can disembark and immerse yourself in the island’s winter wonderland.
Ravensburg, Germany: The City of Games & Towers
Ravensburg (lovingly known worldwide for its games, puzzles and books) is an historic old town home to a very special ‘Christkindlesmarkt’. With over a hundred stalls in total, this market is split in two; the traditional Christkindles Market can be found around the City Hall offering both handmade goods and culinary delights, the second, just a few steps away you can find the enchanting Reischmann Christmas Market.
St. Gallen, Switzerland: The City of Stars
St. Gallen is one of the best places to get into the Christmas spirit as well as being one of the most romantic. Seven hundred stars shine above the city’s old town adding festive sparkle to the historic facades of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and around 70 cheerfully decorated stalls and huts line the narrow streets. Expect mulled wine, mulled beer, raclette and other specialities including Olma Bratwurst at the Christchindli market.
Überlingen, Germany: Winter Wonderland
December sees the Hofstatt (Überlingen’s main, picturesque market square) transformed into a magical Winter Wonderland. Stalls are filled with handmade goods making it the ideal place to start some Christmas shopping and why not indulge in some freshly baked waffles and other festive treats accompanied by some mulled wine or hot punch. A visit to this particular market can be combined with a stop at ÜB on Ice, an ice-skating rink next to Lake Constance – great fun for the whole family.
For further information about Christmas Markets and the region of Lake Constance visit www.lake-constance.com.
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