A Unique Christmas Experience: Winter Magic on Mainau Island

by Dr. Jessie Voigts / Oct 28, 2019 /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Whether you are new to European Christmas markets, or you’re an old pro, you know that there is wonder involved. This year, head to the Island of Mainau, on Lake Constance (Bodensee, in German) on the Überlinger See, in SouthWest Germany.

There’s a new holiday market in town, along with some incredible Scandinavian-focused activities, and cold-weather traditions.

Photo: Winterly Mainau Palace. Mainau Island/Peter Allgaier. From A Unique Christmas Experience: Winter Magic on Mainau Island
Photo: Winterly Mainau Palace. Mainau Island/Peter Allgaier

Here are 8 reasons why you need to experience the magic of winter on Mainau Island:

A Unique Christmas Experience: Winter Magic on Mainau Island
 
There’s nothing like a winter garden

Mainau is renowned, globally, for its spectacular gardens (it’s even called the Flowering Garden!). When winter arrives, Mainau shines. From fall leaves to frosted plants, there’s something about a visit from Jack Frost that makes nature sparkle. Guided tours of the park are available (and recommended, to learn more about this hibernation season on Flower Island, as well as Christmas and winter traditions in the Lake Constance area).
There’s nothing like a winter garden. From A Unique Christmas Experience: Winter Magic on Mainau Island
There’s nothing like a winter garden. From A Unique Christmas Experience: Winter Magic on Mainau Island

But there’s always warmth here

From the Palm House (where there are over 20 types of palm trees!) to the Schmetterlingshaus (butterfly house–one of the largest in the country), you can head inside to get warm, and marvel at both the greenery, and the copious butterflies! Every week, 400 butterfly cocoons are flown in from around the world. Beauty is always hatching!
Butterflies! From A Unique Christmas Experience: Winter Magic on Mainau Island
The palm house of Mainau. Photo Wikimedia Commons: Mummelgrummel. From A Unique Christmas Experience: Winter Magic on Mainau Island
The palm house of Mainau. Photo Wikimedia Commons: Mummelgrummel

Plenty for Kids

Inexpensive family time: there’s a lovely winter discount for adults (kids 12 and under are free!). Plan time for a special winter exhibition, SIKU: Small Cars - Big World, which runs from October 18 - February 9.  Vroom - play and be there! For decades, SIKU model vehicles have been telling new and exciting stories and stimulating their imagination when playing in the nursery. For the whole winter, the exhibition rooms of the Mainau Baroque Castle invite you to play, try out, and interactively experience current SIKU toy vehicles of the entire SIKU WORLD, all SIKU RC tractors, SIKU RC excavators, and SIKU RC trucks.
SIKU: Small Cars, Big World Photos: Insel Mainau/Peter Allgaier. From A Unique Christmas Experience: Winter Magic on Mainau Island
SIKU: Small Cars, Big World Photos: Insel Mainau/Peter Allgaier. From A Unique Christmas Experience: Winter Magic on Mainau Island
Photos: Insel Mainau/Peter Allgaier

There’s also the outdoor children’s play park, which is So.Much.Fun. Kids can explore Water World, which is an historical reproduction of the Lake Constance region...but featuring lots of features kids will love, including hanging bridges, little houses, and towers. Kids ages 3-6 will love Blumi's Lakeside World, a playground that features an interactive lakeside landscape focused on phenomenology (a concept after my own heart). Littles, ages 1-4, can play in Dwarf Village, with tiny huts, a wooden railway, and plenty of fun areas to explore.

Kids of all ages can learn much at the Mainau Farmyard, which is a real small farm! Barnyard residents include alpacas, rabbits, hens, goats, Shetland ponies, donkeys, sheep, cats, and a cow and her calf.

A Unique Winter Market

The magical atmosphere of holiday markets can be experienced on Mainau, in an exceptionally beautiful location. A Scandinavian boutique-style winter market will be held in the baroque castle courtyard, every Wednesday-Sunday from 2-7pm, from November 14 - January 6.

Singing Tradition

Visit on December 12 for a special event: Lucia Singing! Local children from a school choir, as well as a member of the Bernadotte family, wear white gowns tied with red sashes, and carry candles in this celebration of the queen of light, Saint Lucia. There will be a concert in front of the Baroque Palace, as well as singing of Christmas carols.
Lucia singing. From A Unique Christmas Experience: Winter Magic on Mainau Island

Eat well

Of course! 

There is a festive Sunday brunch held during the holiday season, November 10 - January 6th, from 10:30am-2:30pm.

If you visit from November 14-December 21, be sure to come hungry! In November and December, the chefs of the island of Mainau spoil their guests with a traditional Swedish Christmas buffet, the Julbord. After a welcome glögg, there are delicacies from a traditional 6-piece buffet. Guests enjoy fish specialties and traditional Swedish treats. The meal is rounded off with Swedish almond cake, caramel pudding, and apple dream with vanilla sauce from the Swedish cheese and dessert buffet.

Details:
When: 14.11 – 21.12.2019 ab 18 Uhr à from Thursday to Saturday and also Wednesdays starting 20.11.2019
Where: Palmenhaus & Comturey
Price: 54,00€ pro Person (Kinder 4 bis 12 Jahre 27,00€)

A Swedish Christmas buffet, the Julbord. From A Unique Christmas Experience: Winter Magic on Mainau Island

There's a Lucia Fest at 6pm on December 13th, to celebrate the Saint Lucia Singing; as well as a New Year's Brunch on January 1st.
Learn more here: https://www.mainau.de/en/events.html

Lanterns galore

Magical!! Explore the island via a guided winter lantern walk on alternating Saturdays and Sundays in December. Pure magic!

A Unique Christmas Experience: Winter Magic on Mainau Island

Take a baking class

Want to learn about Swedish baking traditions (and their delicious recipe secrets)? Sign up for an Advent baking class, held on Fridays in December at the Daily Bread Bakery on island.
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Swedish baking traditions. From A Unique Christmas Experience: Winter Magic on Mainau Island

Flower Island of Mainau during winter times. Copyright Achim Mende, Internationale Bodensee Tourismus GmbH. From A Unique Christmas Experience: Winter Magic on Mainau Island
Flower Island of Mainau during winter times. Copyright Achim Mende, Internationale Bodensee Tourismus GmbH

Nearby, the city of Konstanz also has a lovely winter market. Take a look!
Konstanz winter market. From A Unique Christmas Experience: Winter Magic on Mainau Island
Konstanz winter market. From A Unique Christmas Experience: Winter Magic on Mainau Island

 

 

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