All about water - you get it here
Lake Constance - water, mountains,
meadows and more
Bordered by three countries, Lake Constance is one of Europe’s most beautiful lakes. Lined with orchards, vineyards and meadows, dotted with small harbours and villages, the Baden-Württemberg shore faces south, soaking up the sun. And the views of the Alps are spectacular! With its near-Mediterranean climate, the lakeside is often referred to as Germany’s Riviera. There are plenty of watersports, from swimming and sailing to kayaking and windsurfing. And the water is really clean and clear. But there are land-based activities as well, from treetop challenges to prehistory that comes to life! Add in hotels and apartments geared up for family needs, and Lake Constance is the perfect place for a family holiday!
As well as beaches along the shore, there are open-air swimming pools and lidos in resort towns, such as Immenstaad. Check into Aquastaad, where table tennis, beach volleyball, basketball and badminton contrast with watersports. In the resort of Kressbronn, children can learn a new activity, such as water-skiing or sailing. On dry land, cycling is safe and easy; the Bodensee-Radweg is a wide, flat, car-free cycle path that runs right round the lake. Pedal for an hour, a day or longer.
Children love Tarzan-like treetop adventures. Just outside Konstanz, check out Erlebniswald Mainau to see youngsters take on rope-walks, bridges, swings and tree houses, all well-supervised by trained instructors. Or be a pirate for a day in Immenstaad go on a treasure hunt, dress up and sail on a pirate ship!
One of the best days out is just hopping from ferry to ferry. The network of routes links towns in the three countries on the lake, such as Then there are two islands to explore. Famous for its gardens is Mainau, which also has terrific playgrounds for youngsters. Mainau Children’s Land replicates Lake Constance as it was in the olden days; Blumi’s Lakeside World is a themed playground for 3 to 6 year olds; the Dwarf Village is the right size for 1 to 4 year olds and Mainau Farmyard has the best petting zoo ever. Peaceful Reichenau Island is ideal for family cycling trips.
LEARN SOMETHING NEW:
Travel back to the past at Meersburg’s Old Castle. Looking out over the lake, this fortress has a dungeon and medieval armour straight out of a story book. Go back even further at Unteruhldingen's Pfahlbauten. This is one of Europe’s largest archaeological open-air museums, where 23 reconstructed houses, built on wooden pilings over the water, show what everyday life was like back in the Stone Age! A century ago, airships were all the rage. The most successful was the Zeppelin, invented in Friedrichshafen. Learn more in the lively museum on the harbour. Or splash out on the flight of a lifetime aboard a modern Zeppelin 300 m / 1,000 ft above Lake Constance and the Alps.
An adventure-style theme park, Allensbach’s Wild- und Freizeitpark combines rides, slides and climbing challenges with falconry shows and 300 animals roaming free.
NATURAL WONDERS: To discover what goes on under water, head for SEA LIFE Konstanz, on Konstanz harbour. Peer at sharks and octopus, clownfish and sea turtles. There are gentoo penguins in the Polar Adventure area and piranhas in the Rainforest Adventure.
TIP: With every SEA LIFE ticket, get free admission to the Lake Constance Museum of Natural History (in the same building).
As for animals on land, Affenberg Salem is home to 200 Barbary macaques. These cheeky creatures roam free in 20 ha / 50 acres of woodland. Add in deer, a colony of white storks and all the fun of feeding time and you have a great day out.
Feeding animals is also a draw at the spacious Wildpark Sonnenhalde. Children can get up close and personal to sheep and llamas, chickens and goats – and go for pony rides. Then there are reptiles – creepy for some but fascinating for others.
For those in the latter group, visit the small Unteruhldingen Reptile House to see snakes, iguanas and more. And for bird lovers, Lake Constance is a bird watcher’s paradise, attracting 300 species during the year. Late autumn brings black-throated and red-throated loons; in winter, lapwing, dunlin and curlew are among the 250,000 temporary residents.
BEST TIME TO VISIT?
Lake Constance has an almost Mediterranean climate, and the year-round sunshine makes this a four-season destination. Spring is a riot of flowers and blossom in the fruit orchards; summer is all about watersports, as well as land-based adventures; autumn is glorious, with sunshine and changing leaves, while winter brings blue skies, snow and Christmas markets!
Get more - Pay less
Buy a 3 or 7 day Bodensee Card Plus and get free and discounted admission to 160 attractions, travel on the ferries and more. Save money on public transport (ferries, buses, trains) with the Bodensee Ticket with special family passes. Children under the age of 6 travel free.
FUN PLACES TO STAY:
Stay at farms that are specially certified for family holidays. Some raise animals; others have orchards; they all provide a wide range of equipment, from cots and high chairs to toys and books. They also offer dedicated facilities, such as playgrounds, child-friendly toy vehicles, barbecue areas and, of course, all kinds of animals to pet. TIP: Germany’s only Teddy Bear Hotel is the Teddybärenhotel in Kressbronn, which houses the owner’s collection of 1,300 bears. Learn how to make your own bear, or, if you fall in love with one of the hotel’s bears, you can buy it and take it home!