Mainau: Germany’s Garden Island

Nov. 27, 2006 – Mainau is Germany’s garden island, hording seven kilometers worth of space from the Bodensee. Bursting with radiant color and exotic fragrance, this little oasis on the lake beckons anyone looking for quiet tranquility. Although only royalty live on this isle, all are welcome to visit for the day.

Easily reached from Meersburg, Germany or other ferry ports along the Bodensee (also called Lake Constance), Mainau is a relaxing thrill. Each visit offers beautifully manicured gardens that beg to be leisurely strolled through, the Palm House which protects the tropical trees from the elements while little chirping birds hide in the coarse leaves, every imaginable – and unimaginable – species of roses, and a view of the stately castle that overlooks the grounds. The castle itself cannot be toured but its adjoining chapel is accessible to the public. It’s even possible to enjoy live musical performances among the serenely perfect surroundings.

Vicki Landes describes this getaway in her book, “Europe for the Senses – A Photographic Journal”: “Get lost in the gardens to truly appreciate every single detail waiting patiently to be discovered. Explore the Butterfly House, a simulated paradise for hundreds of silent winged bugs in all stages of life. With its high temperatures, almost stifling humidity, waterfalls, brilliant flowers and exotic plants – step through a curtain of bamboo and you are immediately transported into a rainforest! Study the hanging cocoons where caterpillars await their rebirth or sneak up on a six-inch butterfly feasting on a dish of plump orange slices. Slip behind a waterfall for a cool break from the humidity or rest on a bench and wait for something to land nearby!”

See pictures of Mainau and more of Europe’s hidden treasures in “Europe for the Senses – A Photographic Journal” by Vicki Landes. Available at and other major bookseller sites.

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