Lindau, Germany

Lindau is a very picturesque historical lakeside town located at the eastern side of Lake Constance (Bodensee in German) with its historic heart being that of an island connected to the mainland by a road bridge and a railway embankment in a rather similar, but much smaller, way to Venice.  The German Tourist Organisation recently placed the town in seventh position in a table of places worth visiting in Germany.  Lindau is the most popular tourist attraction in the south of Germany with around 800,000 visits per year. Lindau is famous for its architecture and outdoor attractions such as cycling, sailing, hiking, swimming, camping and boat trips on Lake Constance.

The coat of arms of the town is a lime tree, sometimes called also a linden tree as in German, hence the name.  It is said that the lime tree was introduced to England by Lindau native Sir John Spilman who was jeweller to Queen Elizabeth I and introduced the first paper mill to that country.

Lindau may have been occupied in Roman times but the first use of the name Lindau was documented in 882 by a monk from St. Gallen, stating that a nunnery had been set up on the island.  In 1275 Lindau became an Imperial Free City which it remained until the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1802. In 1805 it became part of Bavaria.  The town is fortunate to have survived wars and fires so well that we can today marvel at five hundred year old architecture and still see and walk along the fortifications.

To visit the town, I stayed at the Gitzenweiler Hof campsite which is located around 6km from the centre of the town and which is easily accessible via a bus service which runs every thirty minutes, or, if you are feeling up to it, there is a walk past the forest and vineyards along the southern slopes leading to Lake Constance.  The campsite itself is also historical, as the Gitzenweiler Hof was mentioned for the first time in 1384 and a 300 year old mansion still stands today.   In the 14th century the Knight Ulrich lived in Ebersberg and in 1384 he sold his court with several other goods to a citizen of Lindau, Heinrich Sürg, according to the records in the Stadtarchiv Lindau. At the end of the 15th century the estate belonged to the mayor Hans Dehler of Lindau. In the sixteenth century, peasants asked the then lord of the manor, Dietrich Hurlewangen to back them in the peasant revolt. In the 18th century Daniel von Heyder resided at Gitzenweiler on the estate. His brother, the Wuerttemberg council and consul of Lindau, Gottlieb Heyder, handed over the manor of Gitzenweiler of an Anna Günther. When the Heyder family was raised to the aristocracy, they wrote from Heyder to Gitzenweiler. The original coat of arms  can be seen in the Lindau Old Town Hall.  


To see : 

Harbour entrance with lighthouse and Bavarian Lion sculpture (Island of Lindau) with views of the Alps beyond.
The old town hall of Lindau which also includes an old book archive with books dated from the fifteenth century.
Church of St. Stephan (Evangelical Church) which was founded in 1180 although it was remodeled in 1782
Church of St. Peter (founded about 1000), became war memorial church in 1928
Minster 'Unserer Lieben Frau' former church of the monastery 'Maria Himmelfahrt' (Assumption of Mary), with St. Marien (Stiftskirche)
Maximilianstraße (main street through the Island of Lindau with shops and restaurants)
Gardens and Parks of Lindau, e.g. Lindenhofpark
Museum 'Haus zum Cavazzen'
Theatre Lindau
Hoyerberg near Hoyerberg Schlössle is a scenic lookout with views of the surrounding area.

The railway station was built at the beginning of the twentieth century and is a listed building.  The railway arrived in Lindau in 1853 after an embankment wide enough for four lines joined the island to the mainland.  The railway line led to a commercial port - today the port is just used for tourism purposes.