If you’re not quite ready to kiss the last shreds of summer goodbye, a short break to beautiful Lake Constance can provide the perfect opportunity to hold on to the dream just a little bit longer. In fact, autumn is one of the loveliest times to visit this region, with clear, mild days and cool, crisp evenings.
Sound sublime? It really is. But in a breathtaking location in the foothills of the Alps, with its tranquil toes dipping into the cultures of three countries, it can be a little confusing when you’re deciding on a base. Allow us to elaborate and make your decision from there.
Water Water Everywhere…
Well not quite everywhere, but the unique geography of Lake Constance sees its approximately 270km shoreline encompass parts of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The lake is fed by the Rhine and is made up of three distinct areas: the Obersee (upper), the Untersee (lower) and the Seerhein (its connection to the Rhine).
The following towns set around the lake typify the diversity of this region. Our information may help you decide where to stay, but then again it just may make things harder! We make no promises…
Germany: Friedrichshafen, Überlingen, Konstanz
With more than half of the shoreline belonging to Germany, the charming lakeside towns of Friedrichshafen, Überlingen and Konstanz have plenty to offer in terms of cultural and historical attractions to complement their stunning location.
Friedrichshafen’s claim to fame is its status as the home of the infamous Zeppelin airships. As well as the dedicated Zeppelin Museum, a visit to the Baroque Schlosskirche, the town’s former monastery, makes for a pleasant cultural interlude.
In Überlingen, traces of medieval history remain throughout its well-preserved Old Town. In the nineteenth century it was well patronised as a health resort for the aristocracy, but today it’s much admired for the architecture of several notable buildings, including the Gothic cathedral and the wistful Rococo church of Birnau, which overlooks the lake.
Konstanz is the largest town on the lake, close to the border with Switzerland, and is renowned for its cultural offerings and impressive architecture. Among its most notable buildings are the eleventh-century Konstanz Minster, the Rathaus, the Hohenzollernhaus and the Haus Zum Rosgarten.
Insider tip: The best way to get a taste of all three of these lovely towns (and more) is to take a boat trip to cruise around the lake. Trips of various durations depart from the harbours of each town.
Where to Stay
Hotel Halm Konstanz: For those staying on the German side, the Hotel Halm Konstanz is just a few minutes’ walk from the lake in the middle of the Old Town. Set in an historic building, the hotel’s spacious rooms are elegantly appointed with some offering views of the lake. The spectacular décor of the onsite restaurant and bar creates an air of old world opulence and grandeur.
For lovers of contemporary culture, Bregenz holds extensive appeal. The town’s modern art gallery, the Kunsthaus, offers a striking contrast to the breathtaking backdrop of the lake, and the Vorarlberg Museum is home to an impressive collection that includes everything from Bronze Age artefacts to Roman relics from the first century.
The town is famous for its annual summer festival, when thousands of visitors flock to enjoy operatic performances from all over the world – including events held on the floating Lake Stage.
The cable car, which trundles up the Pfänder Mountain behind the town, is the ideal way to ascend to more than 1,000m to take in far-reaching views. For those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground, a stroll around the promenade takes you past the busy harbour and around the edge of the lake.
Where to Stay
Hotel Messmer: Located right in the heart of town, the Hotel Messmer is just a short, relaxing walk to the shores of the lake and only five minutes from the cable car. With spacious rooms, two onsite restaurants and a delightful outdoor dining area, this lovely hotel offers a warm, traditional Vorarlberg welcome.
Switzerland: Kreuzlingen, Arbon
Kreuzlingen is actually the culmination of three smaller medieval towns that have gradually morphed together, making it the largest town on the Swiss side of the lake. Even aside from its beautiful backdrop it’s a visually appealing town, with some lovely architecture that includes St. Ulrich’s basilica and the picturesque fourteenth-century Bernrain Chapel.
Kreuzlingen also has a rich maritime history; the Lake Museum at Seeburg Park is an excellent place to delve into this. Arenberg Castle, where Napoleon spent some of his exile, is just a couple of kilometres away.
Heading in the direction of Austria, Arbon’s eclectic mix of medieval and Art Nouveau architecture provides it with a quirky, yet very charming, appearance. It is perhaps most famous for the festival that takes place around the lake every year, with its grand finale fireworks extravaganza. Arbon is also the perfect base from which to visit the magnificent abbey of the nearby World Heritage-protected village of St. Gallen.
Where to Stay
Hotel Swiss: The convivial Hotel Swiss is set in the centre of Kreuzlingen, within an easy stroll of the lake – you can even take a wander to Konstanz at just 1km away across the lake! With light, spacious rooms, free Wi-Fi and an excellent onsite restaurant (including vegan options), it’s the attentive staff of the Hotel Swiss that make an excellent experience truly outstanding.
How to Get to Lake Constance
The best way of getting to Lake Constance will, naturally, depend on where you choose your base.
If you’re staying on the German side, the most convenient option is to fly into Stuttgart (STR) Airport. Flights from the UK to Stuttgart take around 1 hour 45 minutes, with several carriers flying regular routes, including easyJet, Air Berlin and Eurowings.
For those who choose to stay on the Swiss side of the lake, the best airport to fly into is Zurich (ZRH). Direct flights from the UK to Zurich Airport take around an hour and a half and are operated by easyJet, British Airways and Swiss Air.
Wherever you land, the fastest, most hassle-free way of getting to any of the towns around Lake Constance is on a shared or private Shuttle Direct transfer. Make a booking online before you leave home and a driver will be there to meet to and take you the rest of the way to your accommodation. Depending on where you’re staying, the very picturesque journey will take around an hour to an hour and 45 minutes.
About Shuttle Direct:
Shuttle Direct is one of the most trusted names in the airport transfers business. We’ve been providing convenient, affordable transport solutions throughout Europe and North Africa for many years. Our wealth of experience and our fast, friendly service means that you’ve got a friend at the airport wherever you land.
Make an easy online booking before you leave home and one of our professional drivers will be there to meet you and get you directly to the door of your accommodation.