Although capital cities are lively, busy exciting places to visit whilst travelling, to discover the true culture and beauty of a country it is also worth visiting the smaller, less well known cities and towns. Impact Travel has decided to start a new series on Hidden Gems.

When travelling to Germany, Munich or Berlin would be first on your list of places to visit- not Konstanz. However this quaint city, located on the border between Germany and Switzerland, is full of tourist attractions and beautiful sightseeing opportunities.

Konstanz is famously intersected by the River Rhine, and both travellers and locals find themselves sitting by the sparkling clear waters sunbathing or swimming amongst the fishes. It is at Konstanz harbour that one of the main landmarks of the city can be found. The Imperia concrete statue that stands 9 metres tall, commemorates the Council of Konstanz that took place between 1414 and 1418. So close to neutral Switzerland, Konstanz was not bombed during the Second World War. As a result its picturesque buildings and complex architecture have been largely preserved.

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In terms of shopping Konstanz is split between die Alt Stadt and the newer Lago shopping centre.  This means that tourists have the unique opportunity to explore unusual independent stores coalesced with more mainstream brands. The old town hosts a variety of old buildings with fascinating architecture. A must-see is the Dreifaltigkeitskirche, a church with stunning Baroque style artwork. Tourists can pay a small fee to climb up the narrow stairs of the church tower. Once at the top you can experience extraordinary views of the entire city.

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Locals are proud of their city, and this is reflected by various museums that detail the history of Konstanz from the early modern period to present day. For those interested in Second World War history in particular, look no further than the Rosgartenmuseum which although largely in German has impressive exhibitions about the war from the German perspective.

For those looking for bars and clubs to visit come dusk, this city does not disappoint. Konstanz is packed with almost 16,000 students studying at the local university and therefore has a thriving nightlife. One highlight is a bar called Shooters which serves over a 100 shots at 2 Euros each. Each shot named mysteriously, so for those not fluent in German it is near impossible to guess what these wild concoctions contain.  Other venues such as Die Cocktail Bar and the club Berry’s host student nights every week and are always widely popular.

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When is the best time to visit? Well, the annual Seenachtsfest takes place in August every year. It is a fireworks competition between Konstanz, and Kreuzlingen. Essentially it is a competition between Germany and Switzerland which is taken very seriously amongst locals. The city centre is transformed into a festival for the weekend, with local food stands and musical performances taking place well into the night. This event attracts thousands of tourists leading to the usual quaint streets becoming almost impossible to walk through. Yet the spectacular show and equally spectacular weather makes it the perfect time to experience Konstanz.

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Priya Thakrar

Featured image and embedded images courtesy of Priya Thakrar

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