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.
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.
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.
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.
The wall paintings depict the miracles of Christ. The interior of the church can only be visited 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
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.
Munster St. Maria and Markus
The largest of the three churches on the island of Reichenau is the Minster of St. Maria and Markus in Reichenau. Although not the original monastery church, it stands on the site of the monastery of St. Pirmin. This was made of wood and quickly proved to be too small. In the Minster of St. Maria and Markus you can trace the construction phases from the 8th century to the present day. The treasury in the Minster of St. Maria and Markus is also worth seeing. This is located in a 15th-century Gothic room in the Minster and houses religious art and cult objects.
It was the monks of the monastery who laid out the first gardens in and around the monastery. Today you can visit the monastery garden in the inner courtyard. Not far from the monastery there is also a herb garden that was laid out in the tradition of the monk Walahfrid Strabo.
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 Vinothek am Klostergarten. There you can taste and buy the wines of the island of Reichenau.
Munster St. Maria and Markus
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 surviving reliefs in the aisle of today's church. However, most of the original church was demolished after two fires around 1080. The current church was built on the foundations of the first church and dates from the 12th century.
The painting in the apse impresses visitors the most. It dates from the late 11th century.
Saint Peter and Paul
If you want to learn more about the history of the Reichenau monastery, you will find a good exhibition in the Reichenau Museum. The museum is not big, but if you take your time, you will find a lot of information about the monastery.
For refreshment in between, you can try fresh Lake Constance fish seasoned with herbs from Strabo's herb garden in the Sandseele restaurant. This also includes a campsite right on the lake for everyone who is traveling with a tent or mobile home.
Sandseele restaurant with terrace on the shore
Do you want to discover the sights of the island of Reichenau while hiking?
- Pack your backpack with ours packing list for hikers. Then you are guaranteed to have everything you need on the go.
- Comfortable walking shoes for wide feetwhere you can walk well even on rough paths
- A backpack is definitely practical for everything you need on the go.
- The region offers beautiful photo opportunities. Therefore you should have yours Camera .
- Are you looking for other equipment for hikers?
- You can also find it online Hiking trails in the region with this link.
Are you traveling with a motorhome?
- We recommend the Sandseele campsite, Zum Sandseele 1, 78479 Reichenau. There are other campsites in the area. There you can after a day trip in a Dutch Oven or on the portable grill or maybe on that Campfire after a day trip .
- Do you want to rent a motorhome? Then you will find information here as well as booking options. Or would you rather stay in one roof tent on the car? Also the overnight stay in a camping tent is possible.
- Check our packing list for campers to see whether you have packed everything for your motorhome tour.
- Here you find Tips for motorhome trips.
- Why is a folding e-bike useful when camping?
Arrival by plane, car and train
Arrival by plane, bus or train*. The nearest airport is Stuttgart.
Accommodation on the island of Reichenau:
Book yours here Accommodation*
Do you already know:
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