Meersburg am Bodensee
M (in English, "sea castle") is one of the prettiest resorts on the shores of Lake Constance. The Burg above the lake is said to be Germany's oldest residential castle, dating back to the 7th Century A.D. (Meersburg also has a Baroque "New Castle" where the prince-bishops of Konstanz lived and ruled in the 18th Century.)
The word "picturesque" has become a travel cliché, but in the case of Meersburg, it's a legitimate adjective. Meersburg is a split-level resort: The lakesideis home to the boat and ferry landings, a lakefront promenade, hotels, restaurants, bars, and sporting activities; and the is a hillside cluster of historic buildings, museums, galleries, cafés, shops, and vineyards.
Both sections of town have remnants of medieval walls (including two ancient gates), and you can go back and forth between the two by stairway or road.
Meersburg is easily the kind of resort where you can spend several days without getting bored. Museums include the Bible Gallery, a , the , and even a Zeppelin Museum that complements the larger Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen.(with guided tours year-round), the (with Baroque rooms, art exhibits, and the ), the
When you've had your fill of looking at museum displays, you can play miniature golf, go hiking, rent a rowboat or pedalo, cycle or skate along the lake, or sample Meersburg's swimming pools and thermal spa.
Meersburg also makes a pleasant hub for excursions around the Bodensee, using lake steamers and car ferries. The "flower island" of Mainau is a quick trip by boat, and Friedrichshafen (the largest town on the lake's northern shore) is just a couple of boat stops or an easy bus ride away.
For more information about Meersburg, including hotels and restaurants, visit the city's multilingual Web site at www.meersburg.de.
The Old Castle, or , was begun in the 7th Century A.D.
The Neues Schloss or (the rose-colored building in the background) was the residence of the prince-bishops who ruled the Konstanz region in the 18th Century.
Meersburg's has a pleasantly disorganized street layout, with one street or square leading into another.
This view of the Upper Town shows the oldest part of the Burg, , peeking over the main structure of the fortress. (The Burg, a.k.a. the , is open for visits year-round.)
From high on the hillside, you can see the Upper Town (including Dagobert's Tower) and Lake Constance.
These photos of a Zeppelin NT were taken from the viewing terrace in front of the Neues Schloss (New Castle) in Meersburg's Upper Town.
Tourists can book flights of 30 to 120 minutes on the Zeppelin NT, which departs from the airship hangar in nearby Friedrichshafen.
From the Upper Town, steps descend to the Unterstadt or . (If you're pushing a stroller or wheelchair, you can avoid the stairs by following the road.)
Both the Upper Town and the Upper Town have shops, restaurants, cafés, and bars in abundance.
The family-owned is one of several hotels on the Lower Town's waterfront.
The Lower Town stretches along the Bodensee's shore, with a lakeside promenade leading toward the Thermal Baths, swimming pools, and mini-golf course (beyond the right edge of this photo).
The Lower Town has piers for excursion boats (including this boat to the garden island of Mainau), a marina, and a customs house. You can also hire a rowboat or pedalo if you prefer to captain your own boat.
The Thermal Spa is designed for all ages, with amenities such as a sand playground and beach volleyball.
The spa's indoor thermal pool is open year-round. It has water jets, "whirl recliners," and other features. The water temperature is 34° C or 93° F.
Professional massages are available, and you can get an "Arabian Nights" Hammam foam-massage treatment that's followed by a cup of tea.
The outdoor public pool area is open from mid-May to mid-September.
You can choose between a shallow "fun pool" with a current channel plus fountains and slides, a "sport pool" with lanes and starting blocks, and two "kiddies' pools" for small children.
The Thermal Spa's "Sauna World" includes a "Pfahlbausauna" with saunas housed in replicas of prehistoric lake dwellings.
Across the road, the four-star Romantik Hotel Residenz am See offers pleasant rooms, many of which have balconies. Rooms face the lake or the hillside; if your room faces the lake, ask for a top-floor room so you'll enjoy a view.
The Residenz am See serves a first-rate breakfast in its gourmet restaurant. If the weather is nice, choose a table on the small terrace.
Photos 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19 copyright © Meersburg Tourismus. Used by permission.
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