Hard on the Swiss border on the southern side of the lake, the likeable university town of KONSTANZ came out of the war almost unscathed – it was deemed too close to neutral Switzerland to be bombed – ensuring its Altstadt is well preserved. Though with Roman origins, today's settlement dates largely from the Middle Ages when the town thrived as a Free Imperial City, gaining fame particularly between 1414 and 1418 when the Council of Konstanz met here to heal the Great Schism in the Catholic Church in a restructuring that replaced three popes with one. Altstadt sightseeing aside, Konstanz also makes a good base for day-trips to nearby islands, particularly Mainau and Reichenau. With one in seven of the population students, Konstanz is a bustling town, and the restaurant and bar scene correspondingly lively in what's otherwise a very staid region.
The town's biggest annual festival is Seenachtsfest in August when the lake mirrors a firework bonanza.