Between Zürich and Germany lies the canton of Thurgau, an amazing piece of land bordering Lake Constance.
In order to add to my series of articles about borders in Switzerland, I was keen to discover the Thurgau region which is often overlooked. Whether you travel by train or by car, here is how to spend 48 hours in Thurgau.
Day 1: For the Train Lovers
I arrived in the German border town of Konstanz by train from Germany. From there, you can easily hop on Swiss trains in order to cross the border, but I decided to reach my hotel by foot. Within 10 minutes, I had crossed the border into Switzerland.
Hotel Kreuzlingen am Hafen turns out to be a great option, because you get to stay right on the shores of Lake Constance. The Kreuzlingen Hafen station is a 5 minute walk and your vantage point for exploring Thurgau by train.
After checking in, I recommend you take a stroll along Lake Constance. From the hotel, head east and find your way to the shore trail (Seeweg). The lakeside park in Kreuzlingen is peaceful and offers fantastic vistas of the German shore and the Alps in the distance.
A visit of the Napoleonmuseum
Before you start daydreaming, head back to the station. The Euregio Day Pass is perfect to travel all across Thurgau and along the shores of Lake Constance, including the German and Austrian territories of the lake.
My trip to the Mannenbach-Salenstein station on S8 takes less than 10 minutes. Here, the Napoleonmuseum is the very place where Napoleon's sister-in-law settled and where her son, Napoleon III, came for sophisticated retreats in the 19th century. The museum is located inside a majestic mansion on top of a hill and in the middle of sumptuous vineyards. (It is about a 10 minute stroll to get there.)
After looking at paintings, everyday items and even original furniture from back in the day, why not stop at Bistro Louis-Napoléon for a taste of local Thurgau food? Since you are traveling by train, a glass of wine from the nearby vineyard should not be missed, either... The bistro's staff is friendly, and the outside terrace offers breathtaking views over the region.
After lunch, it is time to leave the lakefront and discover one of Thurgau's back-country towns. Your choices include the capital of Frauenfeld, gastronomic Weinfelden or historic Bischofszell. All of them can easily be reached by train.
At the end of the day, why not use your day pass for a sunset cruise on the lake? With the Euregio Day Pass, you could take the boat from Romanshorn in Switzerland to Friedrichshafen in Germany - that's 40 minutes of gazing at the mountains at sunset. The views are scenic, and this excursion could be a great way to reflect on your first day in Thurgau.
Once in Friedrichshafen, get off the boat and take a quick walk through the German birthplace of the Zeppelin airship. The last boat for Romanshorn leaves at 8:36 PM during summer.
Day 2: For the Car Lovers
By car, you get to access different viewpoints and attractions, but you can also re-live your first day from a different perspective. Starting at the western entrance of Thurgau near Schaffhausen and the Rhine falls, the town of Stein am Rhein will greet you with all its medieval-ness. The old town with its numerous terrace restaurants facing the Rhine is quite a hotspot.
After lunch, a lake shore drive allows for more views of Thurgau and Lake Constance. Before heading to the canton's highest peak, the Grat, you could optionally visit another one of the three main towns.
Just before the Grat, you could pop by Brewery Pilgrim in Fischingen for some souvenir shopping: Select a few bottles from Switzerland's only monastery that still produces beer.
Then, it is time to head back towards the lake for more dramatic driving. And once you reach the east end of Thurgau, you will be able to carry on your journey following the Grand Tour of Switzerland trail...