Located near the picturesque Lake Constance a.k.a. Bodensee, Hegau is strategically located between the Rhine valleys, the nearby Alps, the mystic Black Forest, and the posh Swabian Alb. The volcanic topography of the region has given rise to isolated domes which overlook the surrounding valleys. These form ideal locations on which many of the castles were built.
Needless to say that the views from the castles are magnificent! It’s especially beautiful when the season is turning and the landscape is a myriad of colorful hues. The sculpted gardens are almost as famous as the castles. If you want a short break from culture and architecture, take a leisurely stroll in between tours and simply enjoy the scenery.
There are many museums which showcase Hegau’s history and culture. Almost every town has its own museum and historical sites. Local traditions are still observed and the summer holds a variety of festivities. You can dress up and join in the singing and dancing. Young and old alike celebrate the festivities. Locally brewed beer and wine is enjoyed and revelries last until late.
An interesting excursion is a leisure boat cruise along the Rhine. You can enjoy either a single or multi-day cruise option. Here you can see many of the ancient castles that tower on the hilltops. Of particular interest is the old stone loch. Built centuries ago it is a credit to ancient engineering.
With one of the highest concentrations of castles in Germany, you would do well to have a map or guide book handy. Having said this, it is really easy to explore the area independently.
There are several theme touring routes which take you visit the castles, museums and other places of interest. An advantage of touring like this is that you can choose your route according to what interests you and explore at your own pace. Stopping to enjoy the views, or taking in some culture as you cycle along.
One site worth including in your tour plan is the ruin of the Hohentwiel fortress. It is the largest remaining fortress relics in Germany. Quite impressively, it is located on top of a mountain together with Hegau’s highest vineyard. Other sites that are recommended are the castle ruins at Hohenhewen and Hinterburg.
In summer time, the ruins, valleys and hilltops are interspersed with a colorful array of wild flowers. In Hegau there are many walking and hiking trails. Most combine a bit of culture by visiting historical sites and towns with beautiful rural scenery. If you are a horse enthusiast then you can enjoy a variety of trails that follow the castle routes.
There are several open air swimming pools in Hegau which provide refreshing entertainment in the summertime. On cooler days or in winter you can head to the indoor pools in Tengen.
In winter time the region is transformed as the valleys and hills get blanketed in powdery white snow. If you enjoy cross country skiing you can have a great amount of fun here. With a moderate elevation there are kilometers of cross country routes that can be explored in season.
Whatever time of year you choose to visit, you can appreciate the area’s natural beauty and you will be sure to take many stunning photographs. The legendary culture of Hegau is both interesting and captivating and the beautiful landscapes make it that much more enjoyable.