Lake Constance / Bodensee

Lake Constance refers to three bodies of water on the Rhine at the northern foot of the Alps. The lake is situated where Germany, Switzerland, and Austria meet. The Bodensee and its shores are very beautiful in a quiet, cultivated way. The views are serene, not spectacular.

Official  website
Tourist information about Austria

Basic information

Its shorelines lie in the German states of Baden – Württemberg and Bavaria, the Swiss cantons of St. GallenThurgau, and Schaffhausen, and the Austrian state of Vorarlberg.

While in English and the Romance languages, the lake is named after the city of Constance, the German name derives from the village of Bodman (municipality of Bodman-Ludwigshafen), in the northwesternmost corner of the lake.

⇒ Regions at Lake Constance • What to do • Brochures

If you want dramatic scenery, drive a couple of kilometers south into Switzerland or south-west to Upper Bavaria (Allgaeu) and Austria, (Vorarlberg) and visit the Alps. The area sits in a kind of bowl and tends to be very foggy in the winter months.

The most populous towns on the Upper Lake are Constance > Friedrichshafen (map), Bregenz (map), Lindau (map), Überlingen (map) and *Kreuzlingen (map). The largest town on the Lower Lake is Radolfzell am Bodensee (map).

In Lake Constance there are ten islands. By far the largest is the island of Reichenau (map) in the Untersee, which belongs to the municipality of Reichenau. The former abbey of Reichenau is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its three early and highly medieval churches. The island is also known for its intensive cultivation of fruit and vegetables.

The island of Lindau (map) is located in the east of the Obersee, and is the second largest island. On it is the old town and main railway station of Lindau.

The third largest island is Mainau (map) in the southeast of Lake Überlingen. The owners, the family of *Bernadotte, have set up the island as a tourist attraction and created botanical gardens and wildlife enclosures.

Biking around the lake is also possible on the 261 km (162 mi) long trail called “Bodensee-Radweg” (+ cycling-lake-constance.com). It brings its visitors to the most interesting sites and goes around the whole lake. Nevertheless, various shortcuts via ferries allow shorter routes and the trail is suitable for all levels.

The 260 kilometers long Lake Constance circular route, signposted as “Bodensee Rundwanderweg“, leads around Lake Constance through the territories of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It is mainly intended for hiking; cyclists follow the sometimes slightly different managed Lake Constance cycle path.

Swimming in the lake is usually possible from mid-June to mid-September.

Also сheck оut мore info about Lake Constance: WikipediaWikivoyage

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Transport

Getting here (bodensee.eu) • Getting There & Around (austria.info)

bodensee-radweg.de – more information on cycling routes

Eurolines Austria – is the largest operator and organizer of bus travel in Austria though many services are not included in their schedules. MeinFernbusStations & Destinations — Germany’s largest long-distance bus company. Swiss PostAuto bus network. + EurolinesFlixbus

Trains are the best and most common form of mass transportation in Austria. Comfortable and moderately priced trains connect major cities and many towns; buses serve less significant towns and lakes. The two forms of transport are integrated and designed to complement each other, and intercity coaches exist but don’t provide anywhere near the level of intercity rail service.

FlixBus are one of the leading long-distance providers in Europe and operate a network of around 1,700 stops within 28 countries. Within Austria, this coach provider operates a network of 34 stops which make it easy to travel even further.

RegioJet are a private Czech coach provider, who operate bus routes around the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and 90 other cities throughout Europe.

There are trains going around the lake and stopping in most cities of interest. Swiss Travel SystemÖBB • WestBahn + Rail Europe.

The railways are managed by the Austrian Federal Railways ÖBB. Wien Hauptbahnhof (map) – is the main railway station in Vienna. The station names of all stops in Vienna start with its German name “Wien“.  + Rail Europe

Wien Westbahnhof (map). The services from Salzburg run by the private company WestBahn terminate here. Apart from it, only regional trains serve the Westbahnhof. Westbahn also serves a few other otherwise regional stations such as Wien Mitte and Wien Praterstern.

The Alpen Express is a sleeper train that takes you directly from Amsterdam to Austria’s most famous ski areas in Tirol.

Travelling times between major Austrian cities:

  • Vienna ⇔ Salzburg = less than 2,5 hours with ÖBB railjet
  • Salzburg ⇔ Innsbruck = less than 2 hours with ÖBB railjet
  • Innsbruck ⇔ Bregenz = starting from approx. 2,5 hours
  • Vienna ⇔ Graz = 2 hours 38 min.
  • Graz ⇔ Linz = starting from approx. 3 hours
  • Graz ⇔ Innsbruck = starting from approx. 6 hours

Austria has a well-developed road network which lets you reach your destination with ease. Find all pertinent information about rules of the road and answers to frequently asked questions.

“Vignette” toll stickerCurrent traffic informationAustrian driving rules in detailElectric filling stations in AustriaHire a car

An excellent motorway, highway, and federal road network connects Austria with its neighbouring countries. All main border check points are open day and night. In general, Austrian traffic regulations and traffic signals are similar to those enforced in other European countries.

Vienna International Airport (map), located 18 km (11 mi) southeast of the city center. City Airport Train – non-stop airport transfer to Vienna! (+ St. Gallen-Altenrhein Airport)

Video source: We Are Not Viral

Links to additional resources with useful information for planning your trip.