The Medieval Altsadt, lakeside views of the Alps and sunny weather make Lindau a great place to explore on a walking tour.
This walk starts from Lindau Island Train Station, in the middle of the island and old city. Many trains end at Lindau-Reutin Train Station on the mainland instead, from which it’s a 1 km walk to the island.
If you’re driving, there are several car parks on the island such as the Seeparkplatz and Parkplatz P4. Just before the bridge onto the island is the large Parkplatz am Karl-Bever-Platz (P3). Rates at all these car parks are roughly €1.80 per hour. Shortly before the island, signs tell you how many spaces the different car parks have left. On summer weekends, spots on Lindau Island fill up fast.
Lindau Walking Tour Map
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Tips for Lindau Walking Tour
- It can be busy in the city in the summer months.
- For a gentle walk nearby through the countryside, check out the Lindau Four Hills Walk, or for something more strenuous hike up the Pfänderbahn Trail for incredible views.
- If you want another easy stroll, explore the town of Bregenz just across the border in Austria.
- Check out other walks on our Germany Hiking Page.
Top Sights in Lindau
On this self-guided walking tour you’ll see the main sights and attractions of Lindau. Half a day is the perfect amount of time to spend in Lindau. There are many other interesting cities and hikes around Lake Constance (Bodensee) so you could spend a week or two in the area.
- Lindau Harbour
- Bavarian Casino
- Therese von Bayern Platz
Bear in mind that in November to February, lots of hotels and tourist attractions in Lindau are closed. Even in October the art museum is already closed. However, in the summer months Lindau Island can be very busy.
Lindau Walking Tour Route
This walking tour starts from the Lindau Island Train Station. Just opposite is the Lindau Tourist Information. This is open 9am-12:30pm and1:30-pm-5:30pm on weekdays (except Wednesday when it’s closed in the afternoon) and unfortunately closed on weekends.
Directions: From the tourist information, walk right towards Lindau Harbour.
The Mangturm* is an old lighthouse from the 13th century, when it was also part of the city’s old fortifications. The city used this lighthouse right up until 1856 when they built the Neuer Luchtturm, or New Lighthouse. It was also at this time that the city residents decided to add the distinctive golden roof tiles to the tower. On one side you can see a long, blonde braid of hair from the Rapunzel fairytale. The tower is now only open for Fairytale Hours, when storytellers recount fairytales at the top of the tower (for adults, in German, on certain summer evenings).
Directions: Walk around the harbour and out to the giant lion statue.
2. Lindau Harbour
The Lindau Harbour* is a lovely place to walk around, or sit and watch the world go by. There are fabulous views across to the snow-capped Alps, deep into both Switzerland and Austria as well as Liechtenstein. In summer it’s often busy with tourist boats and yachts and is a focal point of the town. It’s also a very popular spot to watch the sunset across Lake Constance.
The lion, guarding the entrance to the harbour, was placed on its pillar in the mid-nineteenth century and represents the might and power of Bavaria. Opposite the lion is the Neuer Luchtturm (New Lighthouse). It’s quite a long way to walk around Lindau Harbour now, but you can easily visit it towards the end of this walking tour. You can climb up to the top of the New Lighthouse for perhaps the best views in Lindau over the Lake. It’s open from May-October, every day, 10am to 6pm, and tickets are €3/1.50 per adult/child.
Directions: Return back from the lion statue and turn right into the raised park.
3. Römerschanze (Roman Earthworks)
The Römerschanze is not actually Roman, but was constructed in the 13th century as part of the city’s fortifications. Archaeologists have, however, found Roman coins amongst the foundations so at some point the Romans were probably here. A tower occupied this little island, which at the time was separate from the main island. The tower has since been destroyed and the water gap filled in.
Directions: From the park head out left and then right back to the water’s edge.
If you want to see the Municipal Theatre, head left into the city to walk around the block. An old Minorite Abbey, built roughly 700 years ago, houses the Municipal Theater. In the 1950s it was transformed into a theatre and today plays and works performed include the Lindau puppet opera and other shows.
Directions: Walk along the path by the lake and you’ll soon reach another park/fortification.
The Gerberschanze is a lovely viewpoint over the lake. ‘Gerber’ means ‘tanner’ and ‘schanze’ means ’embankment’, named because the tanning guild worked in this area. They laid out animal skins along the lake shore to dry, but you can’t see any of this nowadays. What you can enjoy are the views over the water to the Alps.
Directions: Head inland through a small alleyway, then right and right again back to the shoreline.
5. Bavarian Casino
By the shore, at the corner of the island is the Bavarian Casino (Spielbank Lindau). It’s a modern, round building with great views. There’s a nice cafe and restaurant on the ground floor with outside seating overlooking the lake.
Directions: Continue walking around by the water.
Look to your left and in the distance across the roundabout, you can see the Heidenmauer. The Heidenmauer is the old wall and by the roundabout is a remaining square stone tower.
Directions: Around the corner, you’ll see a square on your left and a pier to your right.
6. Therese von Bayern Platz
Therese von Bayern Platz is the name of an open square between a car park and the Inselhalle Lindau. This square is named after Princess Therese of Bavaria, who was torn between her desire for freedom and strict court life, and loved visiting Lindau Island in the late 19th century. From 7am to 1:30pm every Saturday there’s a food market here, selling local cheeses, jams, vegetables, bread and more.
The Nobel Laureate Pier, sticking out into the water, honours over 400 Nobel Laureates who have visited Lindau since the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings first started here in 1951. These meetings aim to bright together Nobel Prize Laureates and young scientists, to inspire the next generation. These meetings take place in the Inselhalle the modern brown building on Therese von Bayern Platz.
Directions: Head across the square and over the road. To get into the main Old City area, there’s a slightly hidden stone archway in the wall. Pass through here, up the stairs and head straight on.
Around Lindau Marktplatz are several important buildings. On one side there are two churches, the Church St. Stephan*, and the Minster Unserer lieben Frau*. The Church of Saint Stephan is on the sight of a previous Romanesque church from the 12th century. It was redesigned in the late 18th century in a baroque and rococo style. Inside, take special note of the wooden pews, some of which are reversible in direction, built over 200-year-old ago.
The Minster Unserer lieben Frau is a typical Bavarian Catholic church, with lots of paintings and decorations inside. Like the neighbouring church, there’s a huge organ on the balcony at the back and if you’re lucky an organist may be practising while you visit. This minister was first mentioned in 810 and was originally a Benedictine Abbey. After a city fire in 1728, the town citizens entirely rebuilt the church.
On the square and opposite the churches is the distinctive Town Museum in House Cavazzen* (undergoing renovation in 2022). After the same city fire as above, it was rebuilt and thought at the time to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the Bodensee area. Since 1929 it’s been the city museum. The brilliant frescoes on the outer wall were repainted in 1963 and will look as good as new after the current renovation is complete.
Directions: Leave the square to the right of the Town Hall and turn left down a pedestrianised street, following it around the corner to the main thoroughfare in town.
Maximilianstraße is a nice street to walk along in the centre of Lindau’s old town. There is an abundance of Gothic and Renaissance architecture, with beautiful houses and little arcades. Maximilianstraße is often bustling with locals and tourists alike, with many cafes and cute little shops lining each side.
Directions: Walk along the street until you see two fancy buildings on a square to your left. Walk behind the painted building to see its glorious front on Reichsplatz square.
The Reichsplatz, or Empire Square, is so named because Lindau was an Imperial Free City until 1800. Lindau was an important place in Medieval times as a trading centre and remained so until fairly recently. Goods trains came from the east and offloaded onto cargo ships here to sail up the Rhine all the way to Amsterdam.
Today in the Reichsplatz you can see the Lindavia Fountain made of marble, designed in the shape of a four-leaf clover, to commemorate the reign of King Ludwig II (the fairytale king). Lindavia is the guardian of the city and fishing and wine growing used to be the major sources of income for the city, hence their incorporation into the statute. The Lindau fish market also used to be on this square.
The brilliantly painted Old Town Hall* (Rathaus) was built here in the early 15th century and has undergone several extensions and renovations since then. The frescoes show the Imperial Diet held here in 1496 – when important people from the Austrian Hapsburg Empire came together to discuss important issues. However, the frescoes of this event actually date from much later, in the 19th century. The ground floor houses the Former Imperial Town Library, which still contains many old books.
Directions: Walk back around to Maximilianstraße and up the street opposite. Turn left to reach the next square.
The Schrannenplatz square is now mainly a car park but contains two sights of interest. Peter’s Church*, or Peterskirche, is more than 1000 years old, one of the oldest buildings in the Lindau and Lake Constance area. Today there’s a war memorial inside, along with some beautiful frescoes. These include the ‘Lindauer Passion’, or Passion of Christ, an artwork often attributed to Hans Holbein the Elder.
The Diebsturm* is a tower with turrets and a very colourful pointed roof. Diebsturm means Thieve’s Tower and it was built in 1400 at the western end of the city’s fortifications. As well as being a watchtower, it was a prison for some of its history, hence its name. Between the Diebsturm and the old church is an art gallery in a cute little cottage.
If you’re interested in art, you can easily pop to the Kunstmuseum (Art Museum) from here. It’s only open in summer, roughly from May to September inclusive ($10/5/3.50 per adult/concession/child).
Shortening the Lindau Walking Tour
If you’re tired, now is a convenient point to cut the tour short and head back to the beginning. The station and the beginning of this tour are only a few hundred metres away. If you shorten the walking tour here, you’ll have seen most of the Lindau old city, but will miss out on walking through a park by the edge of the lake around one end of the island.
The rest of the tour continues around a park along the edge of the lake. This land is the result of a big land reclamation project in the 60s. There are great views from here, including onto the mainland Bavaria, known as the Bavarian Riviera, with large mansions.
Directions: From the Diebsturm, head right along the road to the roundabout and left across the bridge over the railway. You’ll then reach the walking path around the outside of the island.
Of note on the path by the lake is the Pulverturm, or Power Magazine Tower. It occupies a lovely position on the edge of the water. It dates back to 1508 and is a fortified tower with walls 2 metres thick. In the 19th century it was used to store gunpowder magazines, hence its name. In 1897 it, along with the adjacent fancy building, the city major turned it into his summer residence.
Directions: Continue walking onwards around the edge of the lake.
The Karlsbastion is a fortified embankment probably built by Charles V to defend the island’s west side. There’s a large statue of the Emporer here now, on a raised platform. There are great views to the Alps from here.
Directions: Once you return back to Lindau Harbour, head out to the New Lighthouse before returning back to the train station an the end of this walking tour.
Best Places to stay in Lindau
Budget Singles: Inselhostel Lindau* is a decent budget accommodation option with a great location on the island. The hostel also offers bicycle rental.
Budget Couple: Best Western Plus Marina Star Hotel Lindau* is the best hotel for couples who don’t want to spend too much but want somewhere clean and comfortable to stay in the area. It’s a few kilometres from the island but it’s a fine walk mainly along the edge of the lake.
Comfort: In the Heart of the Island* is a great little apartment for up to four adults very conveniently located in the middle of Lindau Altstadt. It also has a fully equipped kitchen if you want to cook for yourselves.
Comfort: Hotel Engel – Lindauer Bier und Weinstube* is a charming hotel in a great location with a pub from the 14th Century and a delicious breakfast included.
Guidebooks to explore more of Germany
For a nearby countryside stroll with great views of the lake, check out the Lindau Four Hills Walk. For a longer hike up a hill overlooking the lake and Alps beyond, walk up the Pfänderbahn Trail just across the border in Austria. Or for another town walk, stroll around the lakeside Austrian town of Bregenz. For more walking tours and hikes in Germany, see our Germany hiking page.
FAQS: Lindau Walking Tour
Lindau has an old city centre and a great location on an island surrounded by Lake Constance with views across to the Alps. It’s definitely worth visiting on clear days, and if visibility is poor it’s worth postponing your visit until better weather.
Lindau is known for being one of the warmest, sunniest places in Germany, where tourist flock in summer to soak up the sun and swim in the crystal clear water of Lake Constance. It’s also known for the fantastic views across to the Alps.