Welcome to the ASAB 2019 Summer conference in Konstanz, Germany
Join the Department of Collective Behaviour in Konstanz for the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour summer conference from Monday 26 August to Wednesday 28 August 2019.
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Where is Konstanz?
Konstanz - also known by its English name Constance - is a vibrant medieval town located on the shores of Europe's third largest lake, the Bodensee (Lake Constance). Here, you’re surrounded by the best Europe has to offer: it’s two hours from Munich's famed beer gardens, three hours from Italy and walking distance from Switzerland. Getting here is also easy: it’s a one hour train ride from Zurich Airport or two hours from Stuttgart.
Where is the University of Konstanz?
Located on a hillside before a panorama of Lake Constance with the Alps in the background, the University of Konstanz lays claim to one of the most attractive addresses in Germany. The ASAB conference will be held at the A building on the University of Konstanz campus.
Nestled in the heart of Europe, Konstanz is the perfect hub for a holiday. Use it as a launching pad for exploring three neighboring countries, or stay put to enjoy what this medieval lakeside town as to offer. We've put together some travel ideas to help you make the most of ASAB 2019.
What to do in Konstanz
Konstanz is a small town with a lot to offer. The official Konstanz tourism website is a helpful resource for getting to know the town’s accommodation options and long list of attractions. From water sports to wildlife to a World Heritage monastery island, below are some of our favourite things to do in Konstanz.
A place of perfectly preserved medieval architecture and cafe-lined cobblestone alleys, Konstanz is a city best explored on foot. The many walking tours on offer will help you uncover hidden gems, like the old district of Niederburg where there’s a street party on the first Friday of every month (Gassenfreitag, May—October). Choose from guided walks covering different themes like churches and historical figures or self-guided walks that start from the Tourist Information Office at the central train station (pick up maps there).
No matter where you are in town, it’s hard to miss catching glimpses of the turquoise Lake Constance—and even harder to resist jumping into its crystal-clear waters. Take the easy route and head to an open-air swimming area, where natural lake swimming is accompanied by creature comforts like cafes, washrooms, and deck chairs. It’s also possible to up the ante with sailing, canoeing, and stand-up paddling. You can either rent the equipment and do it yourself or attend courses.
UNESCO monastery island of Reichenau
An easy 8-minute train ride from the central station takes you to the postcard-perfect island of Reichenau. Beautifully preserved churches dating back to the 9th century earned it a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2000. But Konstanz’s largest island offers much to see and do beyond monastic architecture: discover low-key restaurants serving local fish (try nabbing a spot at the eternally popular Bei Riebels), idyllic views over the lake, and the pretty vegetable fields that keep Konstanzers well fed.
The nature reserve known as Wollmatinger Ried, where the Rhine flows from the main lake into the Untersee, is the largest and most important nature reserve on the German shores of the Bodensee. Over 290 bird species flock to the reserve’s rich reed beds. An excellent place from which to explore the nature reserve as well as the flora and fauna of the Bodensee is the NABU-Centre, which offers exhibitions, slideshows, and informative guided tours. It's a 5-minute train ride from the central station.
Visit four countries in a day
International travel doesn’t get easier than on Lake Constance. Located smack-dab at the intersection of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland – and with Lichtenstein a 30-minute car ride away – the 536 km2 water body is rightly called the four country region. And there’s no easier or more pleasant way to cross the border than on one of the stately white ships that ferry passengers from shore to shore. Below, you’ll find our top picks for daytrips that are easily reached by boat.
Destination Austria: Bregenz
Wedged snuggly between the lake and alpine mountains, Bregenz offers a perfect slice of the Bodensee region. Hop on a cable car up to Pfänder, the “local” mountain of Bregenz, to take in the stunning panorama of the lake with 240 alpine peaks of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Enjoy art at the Kunsthaus or a night out at the Casino. Visit BSB for Konstanz-Bregenz boat timetables.
Destination Germany: Meersburg
There’s nothing quite like the approach to Meersberg by boat. Only 15 minutes after leaving Konstanz on the ferry, you are greeted with a tableau of rolling vineyards blanketing a hillside topped by a magnificent 7th-century fortress. The easy journey leaves you plenty of time to explore Meersburg’s sumptuous castles, vineyards, panoramic view points, and traditional German timber-frame houses. Guided tours in English make it easy to delve deeper into the town’s history and to discover hiking trails with truly jaw-dropping views. The fastest way to get to Meersburg from Konstanz is by car ferry, but BSB also offers relaxed trips during summer.
Destination Switzerland: Rhine Falls
The largest waterfall in Europe, the Rhine Falls is where the Rhine river crashes over 23 metres of rock in a spectacle of froth and foam. While you’re there, adding on a visit to the beautiful nearby medieval towns of Schaffhausen and Stein am Rhein guarantees the perfect pairing of nature and culture. As with so much in the region, the public transportation more than holds its own. The Untersee-Rhine cruise meanders along a picturesque 50-km stretch of the Rhine, linking Konstanz, Reichenau Island, Stein am Rhein and Schaffhausen in a single 4-hour journey.
If you’ve come this close to the world’s 6th smallest country (less than 100 km by car from Konstanz) it’d be a shame not to pay a visit. Home to 35,000 people, Liechtenstein lies in the centre of the Alps, between Switzerland and Austria. Summer in the microstate brings the best conditions for hiking. Highlights include spectacular walking down a mountain valley in the company of a professional falconer and a golden eagle. Or a tranquil hike on the valley floor in Ruggeller Riet Nature Reserve, where untouched peat bogs provide an ideal habitat for many endangered animals and plants. To get to Liechtenstein via Switzerland, take a BSB boat from Konstanz to Rorschach, then a train to Buchs from where there are regular buses to the Liechtenstein’s capital Vaduz. Or via Austria, take a BSB boat to Bregenz, then a train to Feldkirch from where there are regular buses to Vaduz.
Sharing a border with Switzerland, Konstanz is the perfect jumping-off point to explore the snow-capped mountains of the Alps. This famous mountain range system—the highest and most extensive in Europe stretching 1,200 kilometres across eight countries—can be easily accessed by car or public transport. Only 2.5 hours by train from Konstanz, the stunning Säntis mountain (2501 m) in eastern Switzerland is a great nearby option, with wild-flower dotted alpine pastures, towering mountain views and a cable car ride. From Konstanz, the closest alpine mountains are in Switzerland and Austria.
Vineyards and (See)food
Generous portions and bold flavours define the regional dining experience. Sampling the traditional food and locally-grown wines is a must. Below, we suggest how.
The farmland around the Bodensee is blanketed with vineyards, thanks to the southwest region’s warm climate and sunny skies. Varieties like Pinot Noir and Müller-Thurgau are famous here and can be found growing right on the lake’s shores. Try them at the many bars stocking local wines or visit a vineyard for the full experience.
The southwest of Germany has a distinct cuisine influenced by the surrounding regions of Swabia, Baden, Switzerland and Austria. For local specialties, try Fellchen (a local fish from the lake) or the decadent Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (black forest cherry cake). For great food in a convenient location, Fischhaus am Fährehafen serves up local Bodensee catches in a simple restaurant located in Staad where the car ferry leaves to Meersburg.