Birnau Basilica Rococo Interior

The ornate rococo decorations of Birnau Basilica

Birnau Basilica Altar

High altar

Bulging from the meandering Rhine, Lake Constance (Bodensee) is a scenic central European marine tri-border between Germany, Switzerland and Austria. With a shoreline littered with castles and churches and historic towns, the lake is rich in cultural pickings.

More palatial than religious in appearance, Birnau Basilica stands majestically on an isolated headland overlooking the lake. Regally surrounded by orchards and vineyards, Birnau pilgrimmage Basilica looks elegant from the exterior but glitters as a rococo gem inside. Visually uplifting and stimulating, eyes struggle to settle on any one feature, a spirituality emanating from the rich decorations. Gentle Latin music from a practising choir adds to the spellbinding mood.

Dripping in blue, rose and cream marble with golden trim, the 18th century basilica boasts an elaborate and mesmerising interior. Like a prize winning cake, frescoes and ornate golden decorations highlight the rose pink marble walls and columns, soaking light from generous windows.

Birnau Basilica Exterior

Exterior has a stately palace feel…but wait till you get inside

Groups crowd around the prize Honigschlecker (Honey Taster) statuette, a small baby tasting the sweetness off his finger as he’s pulled from a nest of bees.

Unteruhldingen Stilt Houses

A stilt village sits on the shoreline not far from Birnau Basilica

An excellent way to enjoy visiting Birnau Basilica is to arrive by boat at Unteruhdingen. Stilt houses (Pfahlbauten) perch in the lake connected via walkways in the same style as the famed African stilt villages. Around an hour walking through a verdant nature reserve (and up a surprising steep hill – that’s what makes it ideal for grape growing!) approaches the regal basilica – a superb way to enter the Queen of the Lake.

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Welcome to Travel Wonders
My name is Mark and I’m a keen traveller. In fact, over the last 25 years, I’ve travelled to every continent and over 80 countries. This blog is about the most memorable destinations – the places I regard as the travel wonders of the world. I’m also a keen photographer, and have taken nearly all the photos you’ll see. During my travels, I’ve met some incredible people, seen inspiring places, viewed extraordinary wildlife and scenery and had some amazing experiences, and I’m writing these stories not only to entertain but primarily to inspire others to discover their own travel wonders.
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