Bodensee, also known as Lake Constance, flows from the river Rhine and is shared by three neighbouring countries, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. A fantastic summer or winter destination, its serene shores offer something for everyone, from sailing, windsurfing and swimming to cycling along the 273 km-long Bodensee-Radweg cycle path or simply strolling through the lively university town of Constance. The town, which has remained relatively unchanged since the Middle Ages, is also perfectly placed as a base for further exploration of the surrounding regions, including Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein.
If you are visiting in the run up to Christmas, you will be delighted by the large Christmas market which takes place in the historic city centre. Over 130 artisans, traders and food vendors trade their wares here and the market also boasts the unique Christmas Ship, moored in the harbour.
The German-Swiss Oktoberfest on Lake Constance offers young and old a varied programme including fun and thrills from the amusement park with its Ferris wheel, merry-go-round, bumper cars, fairytale railway and more.
The second Saturday in August plays host to the highlight of the summer - the Seenachtfest. This is a festival and spectacular firework show, combined with a children's theatre, a puppet stage, creative corner, fairytale tent, nature workshop, artisan market and lots more.
Did you know?
The middle of Bodensee is technically classed as international waters and is the only place in Europe where borders do not exist.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Lake Constance is home to many cultural highlights including three UNESCO World Heritage Sites; the island of Reichenau and the Convent of St. Gall are perceived as the cradles of European civilisation. In 2011 the Stone Age pile dwellings around the Alps were added.
There are around twelve routes around Lake Constance and selected city trips within Germany to offer you a whole new outlook.
Old Castle in Meersburg
The castle looks back on more than one thousand years of European history and can trace its origins to the 7th century and the Merovingian Dynasty under King Dagobert I.
This island close to the shore near Koblenz is most famous for its beautiful flower gardens. There are giant sequoias, millions of roses and rows and rows of rhododendrons, to name just a few. There is so much else to see as well, though, including the baroque castle, the butterfly house and a petting zoo.
Weiße Flotte Ships
Not only does the 'White Fleet' ferry people across the lake, there are also regular themed cruises on board the ships. These include gala dinners, dancing evenings and firework spectaculars.
Upper Swabian Baroque Route
This themed tourist trail focuses on attractions related to nature and baroque culture. It stretches for more than 300 miles and includes Friedrichshafen on the shores of the lake.
Situated in Switzerland, close to the town of Neuhausen am Rheinfall, the Rhine Falls display the power of one of Europe's most beloved rivers. There are many different viewing platforms which allow you to see the waterfall from different perspectives.
There are many beaches on the shores of the lake where locals and tourists love to cool off in the summer.
Hiking and Biking
Bodensee's shoreline is filled with hiking and biking trails that will allow you to explore the towns and cities surrounding it. You will travel through vineyards and apple orchards as you discover what it's really like to live in the area.
19th July - 20th August 2017
This opera festival features a floating stage on the lake, as well as performances in the Bregenz Festspielhaus.
28th July - 6th August 2017
This street theatre festival takes place in Friedrichshafen and features dancers, musicians, acrobats, cabaret artists and more.
12th August 2017
This late night festival is one of the highlights of the summer calendar in this region. People head to the shores of the lake at Konstanz to eat, party and watch the breathtaking fireworks reflect off the water.
Lindau Food Festival
14th to 28th October 2017
This is your chance to taste some of the local specialities in Lindau, including smoked white fish and traditional Allgäu cheese.
22nd November - 24th December 2017
From the end of November onwards, the towns and cities around Bodensee start to host their Christmas markets. This offers plenty of chances to grab some traditional gifts and taste some festive treats.
7th - 14th February 2018
During Carnival, residents of the towns and cities around the lake attempt to scare off winter's last flurries by dressing as witches and jesters and celebrating in the streets. There's a unique atmosphere and everyone is out to enjoy themselves.
Bodensee cuisine tastes influence from all four countries around its shores. Here are just a few dishes to try.
Traditional Swiss potato cakes that can be served as a side dish or a delicious appetiser.
Soft egg noodles from Swabia
Roast pork with a name which means 'pig's scapula'. The meat is cooked slowly and glazed in a sticky beer sauce.
Another Swabian dish, these are pasta parcels filled with mince.
Lichtenstein's version of Kässpätzle, which is often served with a sweet apple puree.
Austrian dumplings filled with apricots and ham - a strange combination that works surprisingly well.
Similar to Falmkuchen, these are really thin 'pizzas' with toppings that include cream and ham, smoked salmon, and sweet plums.
There are two types of Holiday Pass available - one to be used in the summer and one to be used during the winter months. Within each type, there are also three different versions to choose from - one which focusses on land attractions, one which includes a cruise as well as the attractions on land and a more budget friendly version that offers money off at classic sights instead of free entry. Whichever one you choose, you will enjoy free entry to around 160 different attractions in the area for much less than each one would cost separately.