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Lake Constance

I'm thinking of spending a few days visiting this area using a combination of transport to get around including lake ferries. I probably will base myself in one town and do cross-border trips.

For people who are familiar with this area what are your thoughts perhaps regarding a good town to stay in. And any other advice will be greatly appreciated.

Posted by
503 posts

We have only been to Lindau but thought it was a beautiful town

Posted by
17008 posts

I've been to Lindau seven times, twice just passing through, four times for a day, and once for four nights. It's one of my favorite places in Germany. On our last visit (4 nights), we took a ship across the lake to Rorschach, Switzerland, then returned by train around the end of the lake via Bregenz, Austria.

However, Lindau is at the far eastern end of the lake, a long ways from some of the attractions at the western edge (Konstanz, Mainau, Meersburg, Radolfzell). Perhaps a more central place to use as a base would be Friedrichshafen or Meersburg.

Posted by
1972 posts

Loved Lindau and Überlingen with good train and ferry connections. They both have lovely lake promenades with Überlingen being much longer for strolling. Überlingen is busy getting ready to host the Landesgartenschau in 2020. Didn’t care for the city of Konstanz, itself. Meersburg is nice but it has no train station.

Edit: While Friedrichshafen is interesting for a day trip to see the Zeppelin Museum, the city was heavily damaged during WWII and the architectural style of the city and waterfront buildings are very bland.

Posted by
7123 posts

Don't miss Insel Mainau, a small island near Konstanz. You can get to it by a local bus from outside Konstanz station
Website: https://www.mainau.de/en/welcome.html

There are train lines round the complete lake, as well as the ferries. It is easy to go from one town to another round the lake by train.
Towns to stay in: Lindau, Konstanz, Bregenz

Note on names. In German the lake is called "Bodensee".
In French, the town of Konstanz is called "Constance" and this name is sometimes used in English. In English the lake is usually called "Lake Constance", but you may also see "Bodensee"

Posted by
24 posts

I prefer the Untersee region, thus, I would choose Konstanz as a base. It’s one of the bigger towns in the area with great train and ship connections. You could take a ship from Konstanz to Stein am Rhein on the Swiss side. On the way, I can recommend a visit to Schloss Arenenberg (a castle where Napoleon III lived).

Posted by
7123 posts

from Konstanz to Stein am Rhein on the Swiss side.

A slightly geographically confusing statement. The Unttersee is a separate lake downstream from Konstanz, the Rhine flows out of the lake at Konstanz. Stein am Rhein is on the Rhine downstream of the Untersee.
The Swiss/German border approximately follows the Rhine downstream of the Bodensee, but not exactly. Konstanz is on the south bank of the Rhine, but in Germany, Stein am Rhein is on the north bank but in Switzerland. Borders are confusing.

See map here: https://map.veloland.ch/?lang=en&bgLayer=pk&season=summer&resolution=50&E=2712281&N=1280874
You can pan and zoom this map. Red = rail lines.

But, the Untersee and Stein am Rhein are definately nice.

Posted by
76 posts

Thanks, everyone, for your replies. Some really useful information including the best towns to stay in. And the Bodensee website will be immensely useful as well.
With the ferries, I presume that they are all relatively speedy so some of the long lake crossings won't take half a day to get from point A to B. I presume that you don't need to book for ferry trips. You just turn up on the day, purchase your ticket, swipe it or show it to an inspector?

Posted by
72 posts

With the ferries, I presume that they are all relatively speedy so
some of the long lake crossings won't take half a day to get from
point A to B.

No, it's a big lake; expect long transit times. Konstanz to Bregenz is 3hr45m by boat or 2h10m by train. The zeppelins are probably the fastest vehicles, but they only do round trips.

I stayed in four cities in the area, taking boats between them all: Schaffhausen (Rheinfall) -> Konstanz (Mainau Island, Meersburg) -> Friedrichshafen (zeppelin ride) -> Lindau (Bregenz Festival)

Posted by
76 posts

A Zeppelin ride across the lake would be a spectacular way to travel but the price quoted is a bit beyond my budget unfortunately.
I will definitely do a ferry trip just so I am not always travelling by train.

Posted by
9 posts

My daughter and I are planning to visit Lake Constance/Bodensee in early May. We will have a car (no need to tell me all the reasons why we shouldn't) and I'd love to know what little towns around the lake are best and which ones to avoid. We'll only have 2 days - will definitely hit Mainau. Anyone have experience with renting bikes in the area?? All suggestions are welcome!! Oh, and when we leave the area, we'll be driving to Dachau, so any place along the way up there would be great, too!

Posted by
1972 posts

Julia you have some very specific questions so why don’t you start your own thread. I’ll bet you get targeted answers faster.