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Overview

This beautiful lake, bordered by Switzerland, Germany and Austria, is the second-largest in Western Europe. Lake Constance (Der Bodensee in the local German) is a short ride north of Zurich, through the rolling hills of the Thurgau region, famous for wine and apples. On the Swiss shore are the serene towns of Romanshorn, Arbon and Rorschach. Each offers a choice of agreeable lodgings and a peaceful lakeside promenade, the perfect place for a stroll, bike ride or picnic in summer. The most popular activity is a boat trip on the lake, perhaps to the German side to visit the picturesque town of Constance (Konstanz), the flower island of Mainau, ...

This beautiful lake, bordered by Switzerland, Germany and Austria, is the second-largest in Western Europe. Lake Constance (Der Bodensee in the local German) is a short ride north of Zurich, through the rolling hills of the Thurgau region, famous for wine and apples. On the Swiss shore are the serene towns of Romanshorn, Arbon and Rorschach. Each offers a choice of agreeable lodgings and a peaceful lakeside promenade, the perfect place for a stroll, bike ride or picnic in summer. The most popular activity is a boat trip on the lake, perhaps to the German side to visit the picturesque town of Constance (Konstanz), the flower island of Mainau, the monasteries and churches of Reichenau, or the Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen (border formalities are minimal, but keep your passport on you). A short trip down the Rhine brings you to the thundering waters of the Rhine Falls, then to the picture-perfect medieval town of Stein am Rhein and the larger city of Schaffhausen, which also has a charming old city.

Charlie Morris
About the Expert

Charlie Morris is the author of the Open Road guidebooks Best of Honduras, Best of Costa Rica, Best of Belize, and Switzerland Guide.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Also called Bodensee, it is near the base of the Alps, in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. In Switzerland it borders the Cantons of Thurgau and St. Gallen
  • Language: German
  • Currency: Swiss Franc
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    April-October is lovely. Winter is cold and gray, and many places are closed.