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Plan Your Bodensee Vacation

A natural summer playground, the Bodensee (Lake Constance) is ringed with little towns and busy resorts. Lapping the shores of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, the Bodensee, at 65 km (40 miles) long and 15 km (9 miles) wide, is the largest lake in the German-speaking world.

Though called a lake, it's actually a vast swelling of the Rhine, gouged out by a massive glacier in the Ice Age and

flooded by the river as the ice receded. The Rhine flows into its southeast corner, where Switzerland and Austria meet, and flows out at its west end. On the German side, the Bodensee is bordered almost entirely by the state of Baden-Württemberg (a small portion of the eastern tip, from Lindau to Nonnenhorn, belongs to Bavaria).

It's one of the warmest areas of the country, not just because of its southern latitude but also owing to the warming influence of the water, which gathers heat in summer and releases it in winter. The lake itself practically never freezes over—it has done so only once in the past two centuries. The climate is excellent for growing fruit, and along the roads you'll find stands and shops selling apples, peaches, strawberries, jams, juices, wines, and schnapps, much of it homemade.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. The Bodensee Whether you're circling the lake on foot, or by bike, car, or train, crossing the water by boat, or dipping into it on a hot summer's day, the beautiful Bodensee affords myriad pleasures.
  2. Zeppelin Museum, Friedrichshafen Step inside the gracious passenger rooms of the airship, and you may question whether the air transport of today, though undeniably bigger and faster, is a real improvement.
  3. Altes Schloss in Meersburg Explore the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Germany, from the sinister dungeons to the imposing knights' hall.
  4. Schloss Salem, near Überlingen The castle itself offers plenty to see, with furnished rooms, stables, gardens, and museums.
  5. Wallfahrtskirche Birnau, near Überlingen A vineyard slopes down from this pilgrimage church to Schloss Maurach on the lakeshore. The scene inside the church is a riot of colors and embellishments.
  6. Mainau Island More than a million tulips and narcissi grace the flower island in spring—later they're followed by rhododendrons and azaleas, roses and dahlias.

When To Go

When to Go

The Bodensee's temperate climate makes for pleasant weather from April to October. In spring, orchard blossoms explode everywhere, and on Mainau...

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Check historic weather for your trip dates:

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