Located in Lake Constance, deep in the south-west of Germany and near the border with Switzerland and Austria, Mainau is a beautiful small island that is known to be a major tourist attraction in the local area.
Though spread over a tiny area of 45 hectares, Mainau provides some of the most impressive floral displays and numerous other attractions too.
Mainau Island Gardens
Perhaps it is the spectacular arrays of beautiful gardens and greeneries it has that the island of Mainau is popularly referred to as a flower island. The small German island has numerous paths that are dedicated to specific flowers such as the Italian Rose Garden, Dahlia Gardens, Peony Garden, Rhododendron Walk and many more.
When you visit these gardens you are sure to be immediately enchanted with the number of flowers that grow here and the way they have been maintained. The Italian rose garden for example is a garden full of roses, that first immediately strikes you with its alluring aroma before you even take the time to appreciate its beauty. Its bright palette of colour changes from year to year as the island’s gardeners continually plant new varieties. The experience in seeing the roses is best enjoyed during the first peak of flowering period from mid-June and also during the second one later in August.
Most of Mainau’s gardens can be best enjoyed from April-May until the season is over in early to late fall.
True to its name, the Butterfly House is a magnificent red building that resembles the shape of a butterfly. To enter the building one will have to first go through a long painted metal tunnel resembling a caterpillar.
Once inside, visitors are greeted by thousands of butterflies fluttering about. The sight is spectacular as one gets to observe these countless number of butterflies exhibiting a splendid display of bright colours and gathering together in the air or resting about in the branches of trees, flowers or even occasionally on a person.
As the temperature inside the house is adjusted to accustom the butterflies, visitors could feel the humidity inside the house to be a little high considering the tropical climate that butterflies are used to.
As one walks along the pathways, one can hear chirps from several birds also present inside the house and even observe turtles swimming around or sunbathing atop rocks as visitors come across several small waterfalls on the way.
One of the pathways is known to lead to a secret cave where one can nearly stand under the waterfall. Some of them even lead to higher ground from where one can look down upon the butterfly house and enjoy the view. Do note that butterflies love higher spaces and climbing higher may provide the opportunity to even perhaps view the rare ones that people hardly get to see inside the house.
Swedes’ Tower: Mainau’s Fairytale watchtower
One of the most distinctive landmark of the Flower Island is the Swedes’ Tower. Though not accessible to the public today, it is still a marvellous sight to behold. Built way back during the 15th century as a watch tower, it stands majestically on the island’s south-western slope and towers high above the vineyards providing an excellent view over the island. Though named Swedes’ Tower due to the fact that Sweden had occupied the island for 2 years, it is however now referred to as the Fairy Tale watchtower, pointing to the fact that it resembles towers mostly shown in fairy tale picture books. If you have gone through your fair share of fairy tale picture books, you won’t be able to help but feel that the tower strikingly resembles Rapunzel’s Tower.
Even if you are not allowed to peek inside, do try to capture the tower behind you when you take a picture of yourself, especially during spring or summer when the flowers are blooming in their fullest and you are standing metres away amongst the flowers and the tower is visible behind you. You will be sure to get some Instagram worthy pictures.
If you want to get the best views of Lake Constance, then Mediterranean Terrace is a must for you. Upon reaching the terrace, one is welcomed by a unique beautiful double swan fountain there and flowers blooming around every corner along with sculptures built.
A sculptured bench lies in a corner where one can sit between a male and female made out of metal. Do make your way over to it for a great picture with a fun story to go along with.
Mainau Children’s Land
The tiny island of Mainau is surely a paradise for children.
The ‘Water World’ in the Mainau Children’s Land is a play area replicating the region of Lake Constance in the olden days. Here, little houses and towers snuggle close together and are connected to each other by various methods. The hanging bridges built in the playground makes it possible for children to get from one house to another without touching the ground.
If one happens to get themselves wet while playing, there is a dryer for by the ‘Eisbrecher’ ice-cream stand.
‘Blumi’s Lakeside World’ is a theme playground built for inquisitive 3 to 6 year olds. Here, the authentic lakeside landscape with driftwood, climbing nets, balancing beams and a beaver’s lodge is a play and hide paradise for children.
There is also a ‘Dwarf Village,’ that has been specifically designed for 1 to 4 year olds. Here, children can romp to their hearts’ content at the cave-like huts; wooden railway and water play areas.