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Attraction: Island Mainau

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

Stunning small island (1.1 km x 610 m) packed with nature (flowers, herb gardens, giant sequoias, palm trees and more) and kids activities (play areas, animals, treasure hunt). Lake Constance (Germany).

Final verdict: Highly Recommended*

The "it" factor

mainau island flower

What makes it special:

What needs to be considered:

  • Can get crowded especially on days off

  • Island is quite sun exposed

Mainau Island impression video

The fun factor

The treasure hunt. At the information centre next to the Mainau Island entrance, you can ask for a special treasure map (in German) with 6 locations marked. In each you will find a hidden wooden letter and a question with a letter as an answer. Find all and you can win a prize - a fun way to motivate kids to explore the island.

The favourite part of our 3.5 year-old explorer was the water playground. She was excited to jump into the water and splash away. We spent 1.5 hrs just at the playground getting in and out of the water and crossing the river with the raft.

Just next to the playground there is an elaborate marble rolling station - a hit for kids and parents (in our case - dad's favourite). You can buy a ball from a small dispenser (for 1 EUR) and roll away. We had another 30 minutes of fun there.

The small goats petting zoo is really cute (you can engage with but not feed the animals). Just next to it you can find some Shetland ponies as well as a small farm with chickens, rabbits, birds and insects. Animal lovers will have a blast.

If your kid (or you!) are into butterflies or turtles - check out the butterfly house. It has many colorful inhabitants flying around and even, sometimes, landing on you. It is really nice but it is quite hot and humid there so we didn't stay long.

Just next to the butterfly farm there are play-houses and Bobbi-cars available for grabs. And, of course, benches for the parents to chill and watch kids play.

For cooler days, there are also normal "dry" playgrounds with climbing areas, slides, swings and diggers.

mainau island mini-trains

And for all train fans, you can try out remotely operated miniatures - touching is not allowed though, which can be frustrating for little loco pilots.

All play areas are fantastic, just note they are sun exposed - on a hot day sun screen and hats (which we forgot) are a must.

The views factor

The Mainau island is a treat for the eyes and worth a visit even without kids. The nature is absolutely gorgeous. I especially recommend to check out the flower sculptures as they are really impressive.

There are many beautiful flower gardens (you can check before which flowers are blooming when you are visiting), ponds and fountains. We came with the grandparents and they were in awe of the landscapes and the flowers.

As you are on an island, you are surrounded by beautiful lake Constance. We were very happy to chill by the lake, as it offers shaded areas and some wind to cool down. Just note, there is no access to water and no swimming areas.

The fitness factor

mainau island

The Mainau Island is quite small (1.1 km x 610 m), totally flat and stroller friendly. There are plenty of benches and cafes around - many options to rest when needed. This makes it very easy to explore with small kids or a nice destination to bring the grandparents to.

Our toddler walked all the way keen to explore the nature and discover kids attractions.

The food factor

There are 8 restaurants / cafes around the island - just note that some are closed on specific days of the week. We ate at the Schwedenschenke just by the castle, which had kids menu with smarties ice-cream.

The value factor

The adults pay 24 EUR online and at the ticket machine just next to the entrance. Tip: at the ticket office is 3 EUR more. Kids below 12 don't pay. For this price you have access to all attractions which in our view makes it worth it.

Mainau Island - practical info

mainau island maps

Kids focused areas are marked in purple:

  • 12 - Playgrounds and animal sculptures

  • 13 - Animals

  • 12 - Play houses and bobby-cars

  • 19 - Butterflies

  • 26 - Smarties ice creams

  • 30 - Baroque Castle

* How does the rating work?

As it is unfair to compare different types of activities, each one is evaluated against similar in its category (e.g. themed hikes are compared against themed hikes). The scoring is completely subjective. Activities scored 4 (recommended) or 5 (highly recommended) are considered as best in class and worth a visit.

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