Today I would like to present for your viewing pleasure the wonderful island of Mainau in the Bodensee (Lake Constance). Mainau, like the rest of the Bodensee, is only a stone through away from the Swiss border.
Mainau has a very long history of being a place of human settlement. The Celts, the Romans, the French, the Swedes and naturally Germans have all called this island home. The Swedes even have a claim on it as the land where part of the royal family comes from (Viktoria from the House of Baden married the Gustav, King of Sweden in 1928 and came to inherit the island on the death of her brother). In fact, many things on Mainau carry the name ‘Swedish’, such as the Swedish Cross or the Swedish Tower. The signs are all written in German first, then Swedish, then English, French, etc.
On the island of Mainau, one can find a multitude of gardens created by one of the Grand Dukes. From exotic plants and trees to several hundred types of rhododendrons and azaleas. Because of the island’s climate, it can support tropical and some subtropical plant life in addition to local varieties. For those that it can’t support, giant greenhouses can be found on the island, although they aren’t just for plants. The Butterfly House, for example, is 1000 square metres of exotic landscape. Walk among torrents upon torrents of butterflies of many different kinds. Most of these are of South American origin, fitting in with the rain forest theme. Warning: the temperature and humidity match!
Visiting the island
Nowadays hundreds of visitors flock to the island daily to experience the beautiful gardens and the work of hundreds of gardeners who keep the island’s plants alive, healthy, and ready to receive the tourist’s money! Tickets to the island depend on the time of year that you go (being mostly garden, summer is naturally the peak-time when everyone visits). The Baroque manor can be visited between 10am-5pm throughout the year while the Butterfly House and greenhouse that hold the palm tree forests vary with the tourist season. For more information, make sure to visit their website (linked above) for exact timings and pricing.
Here are some more photos from Mainau: