5 Best Sights in Meersburg, The Bodensee

Burg Meersburg

Burg Meersburg
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Majestically guarding the town is the original “Meersburg” (Sea Castle). It's Germany's oldest inhabited castle, founded in 628 by Dagobert, king of the Franks. The massive central tower, with walls 10 feet thick, is named after him. The bishops of Konstanz used it as a summer residence until 1526, at which point they moved in permanently. They remained until the mid-18th century when they built themselves what they felt to be a more suitable residence—the baroque Neues Schloss. Plans to tear down the Burg Meersburg in the early 19th century were shelved when it was taken over by Baron Joseph von Lassberg, a man much intrigued by the castle's medieval romance. He turned it into a home for like-minded poets and artists, among them the Grimm brothers and his sister-in-law, the poet Annette von Droste-Hülshoff (1797–1848). The Burg Meersburg is still private property, but much of it can be visited, including the richly furnished rooms where Droste-Hülshoff lived and the chamber where she died, as well as the imposing knights' hall, the minstrels' gallery, and the sinister dungeons. The castle museum contains a fascinating collection of weapons and armor, including a rare set of medieval jousting equipment.

Fürstenhäusle

An idyllic retreat almost hidden among the vineyards, the Fürstenhäusle was built in 1640 by a local vintner and later used as a holiday house by the poet Annette von Droste-Hülshoff. It's now the Droste Museum, containing many of her personal possessions and giving a vivid sense of Meersburg in her time. You'll need to join a guided tour to enter the museum.

Neues Schloss

The spacious and elegant "New Castle" is directly across from its predecessor. Designed by Christoph Gessinger at the beginning of the 18th century, it took nearly 50 years to complete. The grand double staircase, with its intricate grillwork and heroic statues, was the work of Balthasar Neumann. The interior's other standout is the glittering Spiegelsaal (Hall of Mirrors).

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Pfahlbauten

As you proceed northwest along the lake's shore, a settlement of "pile dwellings"—a reconstructed village of Stone Age and Bronze Age houses built on stilts—sticks out of the lake. This is how the original lake dwellers lived, surviving off the fish that swam outside their humble huts. Museum interpreters in authentic garb give you an accurate picture of prehistoric lifestyles. Since 2011, 111 lake dwelling settlements are part of the UNESCO World Heritage. The on-site Pfahlbaumuseum (Lake Dwelling Open-Air Museum and Research Institute) contains actual finds excavated in the area. Admission includes a 45–minute tour.

Strandpromenade 6, Unteruhldingen, 88690, Germany
07556-928–900
Sights Details
Rate Includes: €10, Closed Fri.–Mon. Dec.–Feb.

Vineum Bodensee

Take a fascinating look into Meersburg's cultural—and vinicultural—history at this museum space housed in the city's historic hospital building, the Heilig Geist Spital (Hospital of the Holy Spirit).
Vorburgg. 11, Meersburg, 88709, Germany
07532-440–2632
Sights Details
Rate Includes: €7, Closed Mon. Closed weekdays Nov.–Mar.