This five-day self-drive tour is ideal for travelers who want a leisurely and refreshing getaway. Arrive at Zürich Airport and make the short drive across the German border to picturesque Konstanz. Discover its charms at your own pace, then go standup paddleboarding on Lake Constance. After an easy hike to the spectacular Rhine Falls, continue to Germany's luxury spa town, Baden-Baden. Round off your holiday with leisurely strolls and spoil yourself with a full-day spa experience.


  • Stroll the quaint streets of Konstanz
  • Go standup paddleboarding on Lake Constance 
  • Hike to the majestic Rhine Falls
  • Luxuriate in Baden-Baden's historic spas

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Zürich, Drive to Konstanz & Explore Konstanz
Day 2 Standup Paddleboarding on Lake Constance Konstanz
Day 3 Rhine Falls Hike, Drive to Baden-Baden Baden-Baden
Day 4 Spa Day at Friedrichsbad & Caracalla Therme Baden-Baden
Day 5 Explore Lichtentaler Allee, Drive to Frankfurt & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Zürich, Drive to Konstanz & Explore

Spend the day exploring the picturesque city of Konstanz

Welcome to Konstanz, Germany! After landing at Switzerland's Zürich International Airport, pick up your rental car and take a 45-minute drive over the border to this picturesque city on the shores of Lake Constance (or, as it's called in German, the Bodensee). One of Europe's largest lakes, you'll find plenty to do here, with boundless opportunities for swimming, boating, and sailing. The city itself also has plenty to offer. A lively university center of over 85,000 people, you'll find loads of museums, art galleries, and quaint neighborhoods to explore.

Today is yours to explore any of the highlights that take your fancy. Pop into the Konstanzer Münster, a historic cathedral, or climb the Rheintorturm, a medieval tower and museum overlooking the lake. Next, wander through the attractive Niederburg (Old Town) and the Marktstätte (shopping district) to view beautifully-maintained historic buildings and experience the bustle of the locals going about their day. When you need nourishment, the harbor is a great place to head for a meal, with plenty of cafés and restaurants to choose from, a vibrant atmosphere, and beautiful lake views. 

Day 2: Standup Paddleboarding on Lake Constance

Lake Constance paddleboarding
Explore Lake Constance via standup paddleboard

Today it's time to explore the lake. With its waters often as smooth as glass, this is the ideal place to go standup paddleboarding (SUP), even if it's your first time. Stretching 39 miles (63 km) and bordering Switzerland, Germany, and Austria, there's plenty to see—all with the breathtaking backdrop of the snowcapped Alps. If you're new to standup paddleboarding, consider taking a lesson, or if you're more experienced and want a challenge, try a paddleboard yoga class. Go at your own pace or take up one of the many options for a guided tour—the choice is yours. 

For the rest of the day, continue exploring Konstanz city or head out to one of the lake's islands, like Mainau, the "Flower Island." Mainau Island can be reached via boat or pedestrian bridge and is home to a Baroque palace, butterfly house, and abundant gardens. Alternatively, hire a bike or get out your walking shoes and explore some of the many well-maintained trails around Lake Constance—bring your swimsuit with you and take a dip in the lake if you get too hot! 

Day 3: Rhine Falls Hike, Drive to Baden-Baden

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Rhine Falls, Scaffhausen
Take an easy hike to Switzerland's impressive Rhine Falls 

Begin the morning with a one-hour drive to Schaffhausen, Switzerland, the location of the Rhine Falls. At 492 feet wide (150 m), with a flow of 158,503 gallons (600,000 L) per second in the summer months, these impressive falls are worth visiting. One of the best ways to see them is to take the scenic circular 6-mile (10 km) walkway along the river from the town center. When you reach the falls, spend some time enjoying the spectacular view—you can also take a boat tour here or explore Laufen Castle. Enjoy lunch at one of the delicious dining options or scenic picnic places, then hike the rest of the trail back to your car.

This afternoon, drive 2.5 hours to your next destination, Germany's luxurious spa town, Baden-Baden—the ideal place to refresh yourself after all that walking! Settle into your accommodation and then head out to get your bearings. Take a relaxed evening stroll through the Old Town, and follow your nose to find a delicious dinner— there's an abundance of eateries from cheap and casual to Michelin-starred elegance. If you're after a taste of the high life, head to the Casino afterward— this opulent building is well worth a peek, even if roulette isn't usually your thing.

Day 4: Relax at Friedrichsbad & Caracalla Therme

Caracalla-Therme, Baden-Baden
Spend a few hours at the luxurious Caracalla Therme

It's the day you've been waiting for—a full day of relaxation and pampering at the famous Friedrichsbad and Caracalla Therme spa complex. By combining the two, you'll experience the best of ancient and modern therapeutic treatments, all in the most stylish of surroundings. Beginning at the sleek, modern Caracalla Therme, relax in your choice of the extensive amenities: two circular pools, a large central fountain, hot and cold rock grottos, whirlpools, swimming pools, saunas, a current channel, or water jets. 

Next, spend a few hours at the Friedrichsbad, a 130-year-old Roman-style bathhouse known for its luxurious 17-step spa treatment program. Surrounded by elaborate 19th-century frescoes and architecture, you'll proceed through a circuit of Roman-Irish air and steam baths, showers, massages, and moisturizing and relaxation rooms. Round it all off in the Reading Room with a glass of sparkling wine as you look out over the countryside. If you're curious, you can also visit the ruins of the original Roman baths below the building—people have been relaxing in this place for thousands of years.

Day 5: Explore Lichtentaler Allee, Drive to Frankfurt & Depart

Baden-Baden Trinkhalle
Admire the 14 murals along the Trinkhalle's 295-foot (90 m) walkway 

Sadly, today is the last day of your getaway. Finish your time in Baden-Baden with a morning walk along the attractive, tree-lined Lichtentaler Allee, a -mile (3.5 km) long park and garden avenue. Wander among the seasonal floral displays and elegant boulevards, and admire the splendid buildings along the way: the Trinkhalle, Kurhaus and Casino, neo-Baroque Theater, and Lichtental Abbey. With some luck, you'll also be treated to one of the open-air events regularly held in the park. 

If there's time, visit the Frieder Burder Museum, designed by New York architect Richard Meier, to see modern art masterpieces. Head a little farther into town to explore the Festspielhaus, Germany's largest opera and concert house, with seating for 2,500. Next, make your way back to your accommodation to check out. Your flight departs from Frankfurt Airport, roughly 2 hours away—remember to allow time to drop off your rental car before catching your onward flight. Auf Wiedersehen! 

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