Visitors to Radolfzell am Bodensee immediately get distracted by the lake. It’s massive!
Sharing shores with Austria and Switzerland, Lake Constance has 173 km (108 mi) of shoreline on the German side. Used for swimming, boating, and fishing, at Radolfzell am Bodensee there is also a large marina and port for goods transfer between the three countries. It’s fascinating to see it all in action, and on Saturdays you can even go on a lake sightseeing tour for free.
The resources of the lake are a primary reason Radolfzell has been a settled town for so long. It’s also been remarkably stable for a border town, keeping the same town banner since 1388 and promoting an environment of peace.
Several health spas are here, taking advantage of the white noise from the waves. It is a bit funny to see the visiting spa goers doing the latest health moves on the shore, though. Qi Gong in Germany, anyone?
Yet for all the attractions of the lake, there is more to Radolfzell than just water. The town is quite well-preserved, and many of the ancient buildings are still in use. The old town area has been blocked off as a car-free zone, so you can wander the narrow lanes without worrying about getting run down.
Have your camera ready — the town brags about its “Gothic Münster” architecture and the town hall and square are definitely photo-worthy.
The local churches are also worth a stop, because many of them are combination churches. A little piece here is from the 14th century, that piece there is from the 1600’s, and this bit here was reluctantly cobbled on in 1958 — all of them are quite cutely apologetic for their modernizations after the bombings and fires that happened during WWII. The Cathedral of Our Lady, St. Gallus Cathedral, and St. Nicholas Cathedral are all examples of the combination style.
Whatever you are seeing in town, keep an ear out for the music. In the summer Radolfzell hosts a music academy for students from all over the world, so evening cabarets and afternoon park performances are standard. You can sit and enjoy the music for free, and the lakeside evening performances will help you take advantage of the glorious sunsets.
After a concert, you can stop in any bakery for the best local desert anywhere in Germany. Josef Keller, the famous inventor of the Black Forest Cherry Cake, hailed from Radolfzell am Bodensee. His trademark cake is still widely available and extremely rich but totally worth the calories. ;-)