Foot, Bike, Boat or Zeppelin – Discover the Beautiful Lake Constance

Nestled in a lovely landscape of hills and mountains between Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Lichtenstein, the sparkling Lake Constance is a perfect summer destination. Visitors can stroll along the lakeside promenade, cycle the shores, visit the charming villages by boat, and even explore the area via the Zeppelin. Historical sites such as the Castle Meersburg and the pre-historic lake village in Unteruhldingen attract visitors from all over the world. The most popular destinations are the ‘flower island’ of Mainau and Reichenau Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. www.tourismus-bw.de

The monastic island of Reichenau, located at the south west corner of the lake, illustrates the religious and cultural importance of the abbey in the Middle Ages. It was founded in 724 AD and still demonstrates an extraordinary connection to its monastic traditions. The worship of the relics has survived monastery times. Locals as well as visitors swarm the streets during the annual island events, such as the Festival of the Holy Blood on June 4, when the valuable holy relics are carried across the island in processions. And since 2001 a small group of monks has returned to the abbey. www.reichenau.de

The popular ‘flower island Mainau’ enchants its visitors with luxuriant blossoms, a park with trees around 150 years old and the baroque splendor of the castle. Alongside fascinating vegetation, the island is home to Germany’s largest butterfly house, the palm house and temporary exhibitions. Glamorous events such as the Count’s Island Festival, taking place from May 17 to May 20 this year, and the Mainau open air concerts in summer, attract visitors to enjoy the cultural highlights in a beautiful setting. www.mainau.de

But not only are the lake’s islands worth a visit: Picturesque towns and villages line the banks of Lake Constance most of which are linked by ferries. Meersburg, a romantic little town in a wonderful setting, has historical buildings and tiny meandering streets that make it one of Europe’s tourism jewels. The Meersburg Castle is the oldest inhabited castle in Germany and today hosts a museum in the well preserved rooms including a historical castle kitchen. From September 7 to September 9 the annual Lake Constance Wine Festival is celebrated on the castle square featuring local wineries and wine estates, regional food as well as cultural program such as a traditional costume parade and brass music. www.meersburg.de

Just a couple of miles away, Friedrichshafen is a vibrant town and best known for having been home to the famous Zeppelin airship company of the same name. In the large Zeppelin Museum, sited near the lakeshore, visitors can learn more about the history of the big airships, visit a rebuilt of the Hindenburg and afterwards board the world’s largest working airship themselves to float above Lake Constance and enjoy a bird’s eye view of the region. www.zeppelin-museum.de

On the lake’s northern shore, the Unteruhldingen museum and prehistoric village, which was built on ‘stilts’ over the lake, adjoins a nature conservation area. Twenty pile-built houses take the visitor on a journey back to the Bronze Age (4000 to 850 B.C.). These life-size houses are the fruit of archaeological research which is still being conducted. www.pfahlbauten.de (German only)

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