Beautiful island of Lindau on Lake Constance.

Explore The Most Charming Spots To Visit Around Lake Constance

As my two-hour rail journey from Munich came to a halt – the train could travel no further, I was in Lindau, the end of the line – I knew my hunch that Lake Constance was a bucket list-worthy travel destination was spot on. Known as Bodensee in German, Lake Constance is impressive in size: Central Europe’s third-largest freshwater lake, this spectacular body of water is 39 miles long and shared between GermanyAustria, and Switzerland, three of the best places to visit anywhere on the planet. How could it be anything other than awesome?

Not only that, but I knew that in addition to its beautiful scenery, a mix of rolling German countryside with vineyard-adorned slopes on one side and the Austrian and Swiss Alps on the other, Lake Constance was of cultural and historical significance. Inhabited since the Stone Age, this fertile region was of importance to the Romans as well as the rival states that grew up around it. 

My research also confirmed that Lindau, located on the lake’s north shore near its westernmost point, was the ideal base from which to explore this beautiful corner of Europe. From here, I was able to spend three glorious days in early October enjoying its mild climate while exploring some of the most charming spots to visit around Lake Constance.

Medieval Lindau

Aerial view of Lindau, Bodensee, Germany
Aerial view of Lindau, Bodensee, Germany.

In my opinion, the magnificently preserved architecture of Lindau, especially around its Old Town (Altstadt), rivals that of many of Germany’s better-known Medieval towns, including the famous Rothenburg. Its quaint cobble-stone streets are fun to explore on foot, especially Maximilianstrasse with its beautifully preserved Medieval and Renaissance buildings, many of them now home to classy boutique shops, galleries, cafés, and restaurants.

From here, head down to Lindau Hafen, the town’s harbor area, passing the 15th Century Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus) along the way and stopping for a photo of its richly frescoed façade. The harbor itself is simply stunning and is where you’ll find two of Lindau’s most famous historic landmarks: the 20-foot-tall Bavarian Lion (Bayerischer Löwe Lindau), which gazes out (welcomingly, I was told) over the harbor entrance and the nearly 120-foot tall New Lighthouse (Neuer Lindauer Leuchtturm).

The town’s most charming spot, though, was one I stumbled upon by chance on the last day of my visit. Realizing I hadn’t explored the island’s west shoreline, I headed for the Pulverturm, or “Powder Tower.” Built in 1508 and an integral part of the old city walls, I arrived at the town’s westernmost point just in time to witness a picture-perfect sunset over Lake Constance.

Cruise Lake Constance 

Cruise vesels in Lake Constance.
Cruise vesels in Lake Constance.

Hopping aboard one of the many Lake Constance tour boats that ply the waters here is an excellent way to get to see more of the lake. Several of these operate out of Lindau harbor, where I sailed from, as well as other towns on Lake Constance, including Friedrichshafen. While a variety of cruise options are available, including dinner cruises, I chose a 90-minute tour that journeyed across to the Austrian side of the lake so that I could catch a glimpse of Bregenz from the water. 

The views of Lindau were also awesome, especially from the ship’s stern as you pass through the harbor entrance into the lake and again from the bow as you return. The best photographs frame the town’s magnificent Mangturm, the 12th-century tower built to defend the harbor from lakeside attacks, framed by the harbor entrance with its Bavarian Lion and lighthouse.

Regular ferry services also operate out of Lindau, Konstanz, and Friedrichshafen. These include a high-speed catamaran service and a car ferry. Traveling to Lake Constance in the colder weather? Don’t worry; winter ferry service and cruise vessels operate year-round, offering a different perspective. 


The charming town of Friedrichshafen on the shores of Lake Constance.
The charming town of Friedrichshafen on the shores of Lake Constance.

An easy 20-minute train rider from Lindau-Insel train station (an hour by bike or five hours if you choose to hike), the town of Friedrichshafen is another charming spot to include on your Lake Constance travel itinerary. It’s also a great place to stay for a night or two, especially if you plan on spending time exploring the town’s deep-rooted connection with Germany’s aviation history.

It was here in Friedrichshafen that Count Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin, a one-time military officer turned entrepreneur and inventor, chose to base his iconic airship company. Established in 1900 with the inaugural flight of his legendary line of airships, Zeppelins soon became synonymous with luxury air travel, culminating with the tragic Hindenburg disaster of 1937 when the largest and most opulent such airship, the LZ 129 Hindenburg, crashed in Manchester Township, New Jersey.  

You can learn more about both the man and his invention at the Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen. Housed in the town’s former harbor train station and just steps away from Lake Constance, the museum does a superb job of demonstrating the influence of Zeppelin and his machines on the local community, as well as the country (and the world) at large. 

While Friedrichshafen is known for its industry – the famed Dornier aircraft company, also called the town home – it’s not without its quiet corners. For me, the most picturesque and charming spot in town was the Schlosshorn, a delightful viewing platform and park located at the base of the Schlosskirche that overlooks the lake. While a 20-minute walk along parks and promenades from the town center, it’s well worth it for another of those stunning Lake Constance sunsets, especially if you’re lucky enough as I was to catch a glimpse of a Zeppelin passing overhead.

Take A Zeppelin Flight

A Zeppelin flying above Lake Constance.
A Zeppelin flying above Lake Constance. Editorial credit: AVC Photo Studio /

Yes, your eyes won’t deceive you: Zeppelins do still fly out of Friedrichshafen. These modern-day Zeppelins fly out of the Zeppelin Hangar at Friedrichshafen Airport, a short bus ride from the town center. These unique tours over Lake Constance will leave you feeling both exhilarated and amazed that this more than 100-year-old design is as nimble, airworthy, and comfortable as it is.

Operated by Zeppelin NT (Neue Technologie), these state-of-the-art machines are filled with non-flammable helium, so safety isn’t a concern. The whole experience right up to boarding the aircraft is not unlike that of most airlines, with safety manuals to review and videos to sit through.

Arrive early like I did, and you’ll get to witness the flight before yours takes off, including a first glimpse of the boarding procedure. To ensure weight is distributed evenly through this lighter-than-air aircraft, passengers board one at a time as passengers disembark: one-off, one-on. But with only 14 passengers and two crew members, it’s a fast procedure.

The first thrill comes with the silent, near-vertical take-off. Once at the cruising altitude of around 1000 feet, we head out over the lake on a tour that covers many of the top attractions on Lake Constance, our vantage point providing excellent aerial views of the towns of Meersburg, Immenstaad, and Konstanz, and attractions including the famous “Flower Island” of Mainau and the German Stilthouse Museum, a replica of a bronze age village built on the water.

Bike Around Lake Constance

Biking near Lake Constance.
Biking near Lake Constance.

For a truly memorable experience, consider indulging in a multi-day cycling journey around the entirety of Lake Constance. Stretching for 160 miles around the lake and touching all three countries, the Lake Constance Cycle Path sticks close to the shoreline and offers no end of charming views of this beautiful body of water.

Did I do it? Not this trip. But I did speak to several people who did, and every one of them said the 10 to 12 days they’d spent doing it was the experience of a lifetime. Looks like Lake Constance is back on my bucket list.

The Final Word 

People having a great time at beautiful Lake Constance.

To help you plan your own adventure exploring the most charming spots around Lake Constance, here are a few tips and tactics I picked up along the way:

Getting Around: Available to purchase from multiple locations around Lake Constance, including rail and bus stations, as well as online, the Bodensee Card is your ticket to fun experiences in this beautiful region of Europe. These all-inclusive travel cards are available in several multi-day configurations and cover admission to many area attractions, public transit, and adventures, including a Lake Constance boat cruise. Best of all, the card is good in all three surrounding countries, plus the neighboring country of Liechtenstein.

Where to Stay: In Lindau, I stayed in the excellent Hotel Alte Schule Lindau/Bodensee. Set in a 15th-century former schoolhouse, this charming family-run boutique hotel was not only comfortable but also extremely quiet thanks to its Old Town location. A delicious, healthy buffet breakfast with espresso coffee is included with your stay.

In Friedrichshafen, I stayed in the hip (but not too hip) Lukullum Hotel. This lovely modern hotel boasts excellent views over Lake Constance from its rooftop bar and patio, which also serves delicious traditional dishes with a modern flair.

More Info: To find out more about the locations I visited, check out the following official tourism board websites (all are in English):

Lindau Tourism @

Lake Constance Tourism @

German National Tourist Board @


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