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Blick auf Friedrichshafen, Bild: trabantos / shutterstock

Friedrichshafen – the home of the Zeppelin

Lake Constance, which marks the border triangle of Switzerland, Austria and Germany, is a popular destination for holidaymakers. In addition to Constance in the east, Friedrichshafen is also located on the German side of the lake, making it the second largest city in the area. Friedrichshafen belongs to the western side of the lake and thus to the state of Baden-Württemberg. It became a large district town as early as 1956. Since 2011, Friedrichshafen has also been a university city. About 60,000 people call it home and appreciate their city for its many possibilities.

The City of the Zeppelin

Zeppelin Friedrichshafen
Zeppelins are omnipresent in Friedrichshafen, Image: AVC Photo Studio / shutterstock

Friedrichshafen is known as the city of zeppelins. The Württemberg Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin founded the construction of rigid airships here at the turn of the 20th century. The “Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH” and the “Zeppelin Foundation” still exist today. In 2001, the Zeppelin experienced a renaissance in the air in Friedrichshafen. Since then, visitors have been able to book a sightseeing flight from Lake Constance Airport with the Zeppelin NT and take to the air. And if you don’t want to take off, you can experience take-offs and landings of the unusual vehicle from the terrace of the airport restaurant.

No wonder that the Zeppelin is an integral part of the cityscape of Friedrichshafen given its history. In the city garden there is a 13-metre-high bronze column as a monument to the airships. In 1909, the Zeppelin fountain was built, which awaits visitors in the city center. And of course, a museum in honour of the Zeppelin is not to be missed. It shows the largest collection in the world about the airships and their history. The centrepiece and highlight is a partial reconstruction of what is probably the most famous airship, the Hindenburg. Visitors can feel in the walk-in replica, as the passengers did on their flight. If you love art, you should make a detour to the second exhibition of the Zeppelin Museum. Well-known, avant-garde artists are part of the art exhibition, as well as works from the Baroque and Middle Ages. The museum offers interesting guided tours through the exhibitions and other events to participate and listen.

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Cultural enjoyment in Friedrichshafen

The more than 6,000 square metre “Dornier Museum” directly at the airport also deals with flying. This is about pioneering work in aviation and the following 100 years, in which not only aerospace but also space travel developed at a rapid pace. A good 400 exhibits such as a flying boat and many other replicas and originals of aircraft by Claude Dornier await the curious in this museum. A tour with a museum guide also offers interesting insights into facts and anecdotes from aviation and the Dornier company. The school museum on the shores of the lake goes in a completely different direction. Here, the history of the German school from the Middle Ages onwards comes alive and tangible. Young and old visitors can understand everyday school life in times gone by in three classrooms. The years 18050, 1900 and 1930 have been reproduced here in the original. Curious exhibits complement the “School Day”. If you don’t want to go to school, you can also visit the Fire Brigade Museum. The old equipment shed is located in Waltenweiler and served the Ettenkirch fire brigade as a fire station for almost 50 years. Since 2002, the museum has been located here with its small but fine collection of old equipment and historical uniforms. This makes it easy to understand how life and equipment in the fire brigade have changed over the years.

Friedrichshafen is located a good 30 kilometers from the border with Austria. The Austrian city of Bregenz with its famous Lake Festival can be reached within 30 minutes. In the immediate vicinity of Bregenz is also the mountain “Pfänder” with a height of over 1,000 meters. Visitors to Friedrichshafen should take the opportunity to visit Bregenz’s local mountain by cable car, as it offers great views over the Lake Constance region at the eastern end of the lake and to more than 200 peaks in the Alps.

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On tour by boat

The shipping lines of Lake Constance make it easy to reach other cities and sights on the lake without a car. A catamaran connects Friedrichshafen with Constance on the opposite shore of the lake every one hour. In addition to car ferries for practical transport, the ships of the “White Fleet” are also waiting to bring visitors closer to the surroundings with their mountains and nature on round trips. Special and quite romantic experiences are offered by the steamship Hohentwiel and “St. Joduk”, a cargo sailing ship.

(Cycling) Wander

If you like to ride your bike or your own feet, there are plenty of opportunities to do so around Friedrichshafen. Of course, a “Zeppelin City” also includes a suitable “Zeppelin Path”. It is 14 km long and starts on the southern edge of the city. From there, it goes via the former test site for the Zeppelin flight over the city center with the shipyard site and the Zeppelin village via today’s airfield to the airport, which is located in the northeast. Another theme trail is the history trail, which leads through the city over a length of 3 kilometers with 50 information boards.

Interesting buildings with history are highlighted here and informed about them. The surroundings can also be explored well by bike. Local bike rental companies provide visitors with the right bike and have maps of the area ready. Swimwear should never be missing on such a tour, whether on foot or by bike. Around the lake there are countless opportunities to go swimming. Most places offer lidos where sunbathing and splashing around are possible for little money. Lovers of art, culture, aviation and worldly pleasures will find opportunities to enjoy their vacation around Friedrichshafen.