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Blick auf Friedrichshafen, Bild: trabantos / shutterstock

A thousand and one blossoms – Lake Constance, paradise at the foot of the Alps

Sometimes idyllically enraptured; sometimes wine-blessed, cheerful – the enchanting landscape on Lake Constance presents itself as diverse and multifaceted. Churches, castles, medieval towns, sun-drenched vineyards and blooming islands – the Swabian Sea seems to have sprung from a picture book. Welcome to one of the most beautiful and oldest cultural landscapes in Europe. From the Stone Age to the present day: Every era has left its mark on Lake Constance. The famous Swabian Sea has superlatives: Germany’s largest lake, whose southern shore belongs to Switzerland and Austria , measures a depth of up to 252 metres and covers an area of 538.5 square kilometres.

Of castles, zeppelins and the sweet life on the beach

Lake Constance, Constance, Zepellin
A zepellin over Constance, Image: Horst Lieber / shutterstock

Strolling through picturesque towns, dreaming a bit on the lakeside promenades and a little dolce vita on the beach – that’s a holiday on Lake Constance. The waves are still whispering on the velvety black shore before the sun lifts its face and the chatter of the waterfowl sounds. The sun is shining, the noise level is rising and soon there is a lot of activity on the shores of Lake Constance. Good for those who are now on the road by bike or treat themselves to a mini cruise along the north shore. Rocking on the waves – Lake Constance and shipping simply belong together. There is a lot to discover. Friedrichshafen is the city of zeppelins, but also the former summer residence of the Württemberg kings. After all, the name Graf von Zeppelin is closely associated with the second largest city in the region. From 1908 onwards, he laid the foundation stone for a flourishing industrial centre and built his world-famous airships in Friedrichshafen.

Lake Constance is summer magic and winter fairy tale at the same time. Every season has its charm. Explore the imposing Meersburg , walk in the footsteps of famous personalities, enjoy balmy summer nights, surf, swim or do pirouettes on the ice – almost every activity is conceivable on Lake Constance. When millions of rays of sunshine glitter in the rippled water, colourful sails float above the water and the banks blur in the haze of the sun, an irresistible magic spreads that hardly anyone can resist.

Lake Constance – Cute districts, playful lakeside promenades and lovely residential towns

Charming villages and landscapes are waiting to be discovered on the shores of Germany’s largest inland lake, which borders Austria and Switzerland. Lake Constance provides sights for several holiday trips. It is not easy to choose the most beautiful city. Each of the Lake Constance towns is unique and gives the region its special charm.

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Lake Constance, Lindau
The harbour of Lindau, Image: Sergey Dzyuba / shutterstock

Where the lion guards the harbor, Lindau is located. Like an amphitheatre, the green mountains border the water surface on the east bank. In the background, the white giants of the Alps tower up, while on the opposite shore the green fringe disappears into the deep blue – at night, the distant lights of Bregenz greet you. During a stroll through the city, you will easily be captivated by the nostalgic flair. Crooked alleys and idyllic arcades surround the noble town houses of Lindau. Two dams connect the island city with the mainland.

In Friedrichshafen, a flight with the Zeppelin provides a spectacular bird’s-eye view of the lake. The most popular option is a trip to the local mountains. Less spectacular, but very romantic, is a visit to the Birnau Baroque Church. In the middle of vineyards, the medieval complex impresses – a former monastery from 1080. The church, which was destroyed in the Thirty Years’ War, was rebuilt between 1695 and 1701. From the castle terrace, visitors can enjoy a magnificent view.

Lake Constance, Mainau
The flower island of Mainau, Image: LENS-68 / shutterstock

A paradise and a place of love: The island of Mainau was shaped by truly royal hands. agaves, palm trees, cypresses and bougainvilleas line squares, streets and gardens – in between a sea of seasonal blossoms. In the middle of Lake Überlingen, the flower island inspires – famous for its subtropical flora and an abundance of exotic flowers. The magnificent island captivates countless visitors.

Constance is the city that travellers raved about as early as the Middle Ages. History lives here. The charming city has lost none of its charm over the centuries. The medieval townscape, the beautiful location on Lake Constance and the history-laden past make Constance almost unique. At the council meeting here in 1414-18, the only papal election on German soil was held. Numerous monuments still remind us of the 16th Council of Church history.

In the midst of extensive vineyards, filled with a cheerful Mediterranean atmosphere, the town of Meersburg is built up in terraces diagonally opposite Constance, on the north shore. Above the town of Meersburg towers a fairytale castle. The Old Castle or Meersburg is the oldest castle in Germany that is still inhabited today. It is considered one of the main attractions on Lake Constance. The most famous resident of the building was the poet Annette von Droste-Hülshoff. Most visitors to the city would probably do the same as the writer – she stayed. Narrow alleys lined with picturesque half-timbered houses characterise the image of Meersburg. The Steigstraße, which leads steeply from the shore of Lake Constance up to the upper town, is particularly pretty. Walking through the streets of the town, lined with filigree gables, you will encounter history at every turn. The prince-bishops of Constance already resided here.

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Lake Constance, Alps
A fantastic backdrop with the Alps in the background, picture:
Carsten Ortlieb / shutterstock

The mountain is calling: At an altitude of 1,064 metres, the Vorarlberg Pfänder exerts its high attraction. It offers a unique view of Lake Constance, around 200 Alpine peaks and a view of the three countries. The Pfänderbahn takes you up. The way to the cable car is signposted in the city of Bregenz. Afterwards, a visit to the upper town of Bregenz is worthwhile. The idyllic district with its medieval flair almost seems a bit sleepy and attracts visitors with playful fountains and many sights.

Highlights in the shadow of famous Lake Constance cities

Whether on foot, by bike or by boat – the unheard-of beauty of the Lake Constance region has a lasting effect.

Salem stands for an extraordinary combination of castle, open-air concerts and a mountain of monkeys. The Affenberg is the most beautiful and largest monkey enclosure in Germany and offers children in particular a natural opportunity to meet fallow deer, storks and over 200 Barbary macaques.

The pile dwellings of Uhldingen-Mühlhofen are no less inspiring. Here you can take a trip to the Stone and Bronze Ages. The Pile Dwelling Museum shows two replicas of pile dwellings as our ancestors lived about 4000 years ago.

Also worth seeing are the wine-growing village of Hagnau, the district of Goldbach with a glacier mill, Sipplingen with the Haldenhof viewpoint and Langenrain with the interesting Marienschlucht nature reserve. Not to forget the vegetable island of Reichenau, which has been connected to the mainland by a dam since 1838, as well as the small town of Radolfzell, which lies in a bay of Lake Zell. The spa town impresses with many sights in a medieval town centre. A visit to Lake Constance also includes a trip to the Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen. Here, the mightiest waterfall in Europe plunges 150 meters into the depths. In July, at the highest time of the water level, the natural spectacle is particularly spectacular.

More information about Lake Constance at Wikipedia.