The Lake Constance region has much to offer to Swiss (and non-Swiss) visitors. Swimming, sailing, water sports and lake-side restaurants are part of the lifestyle. However, the biggest attraction for those living in Switzerland is the Old Town in Konstanz which borders the Swiss town of Kreuzlingen.
While Konstanz is a German city, the Old Town is split from the rest of the city by the Rhine river, meaning it is technically on the "Swiss side". For the Swiss tourists flocking to Konstanz, this means tax free shopping. And yes, you will find many of these tourists at the Müller pharmacy, cramming their baskets with shampoo or holding up the queue to get their tax forms signed.
However, there is much more to Konstanz than great savings. Small winding streets packed with independent shops and restaurants is what makes it such a popular place to visit. As a former literature student dating a librarian, you can imagine my joy to find an English bookshop with a great selection of classics. It sure beats grumpily thumbing through crime fiction novels in the English section of Orell Füssli...
My advice: The coffee selection at Das Voglhaus is excellent, and the atmosphere will make you want to cuddle up!
Konstanz is also home to the Konstanzer Münster, a grand cathedral which dates back to the 7th century. It is definitely worth visiting even if you are not religious - due to the interesting array of architectural styles and beautifully painted ceilings.
Finally, after spending the day shopping and eating, the best way to finish off before the drive home is to visit the harbor. Do not forget to check out the 9 ft high Imperia statue which has become a landmark for the town.
The statue depicts a prostitute holding two naked men, one wearing the emperor’s crown and the other the pope’s tiara. The figure is taken from a story by Balzac entitled "La Belle Imperia" about a prostitute who seduces cardinals and princes at the Council of Constance.
(Pictures copyright Lake Constance Tourism, Veronika Buhl, Nfontes/Flickr)