Lake Constance Attractions:
Tourism, Sightseeing & Water Sports
The surroundings of the Bodensee are well-known for the regional wines; this applies at least to the German shores, where the grapes of Spätburgunder, Weißburgunder and Müller-Thurgau are raised. In Austria, the town of Bregenz is rather known for its service sector, shopping opportunities, textile industries and tourism than for any agricultural products. The few vineyards that you will find in the Austrian share of the Bodensee region are combined in the wine region "Bergland". The Bodensee vineyards are built in altitudes of 400 to 600 metres, which makes them the highest winegrowing areas in Austria or Germany.
Tourists will notice the well-equipped fleet of small to large boats that offer cruises over the lake. The so-called "Weiße Flotte" (White Fleet) does not only connect the major sightseeing attractions of the Bodensee, for many visitors it is an attraction by itself. There are regularly running ferries that play an important role in every-day transportation on Lake Constance; in addition, there are charter boats and tourism cruise boats that run primarily during the summer months. The White Fleet was maintained by the national railways of the three resident states until fairly recently; the Austrian share has been privatised only in 2005.
Water Sports & Tourism Seasons at Lake Constance / Bodensee
A particular attraction is the charter boat "Hohentwiel", which was built in 1913. The steamboat was built for the Kings of Württemberg. It was maintained until 1968, then renovated in 1988. Its home port is Hard in Austria. To enjoy the Bodensee from above, you can also take a ride on one of several cable cars in the surroundings of the lake. The most famous one is the Pfänderbahn in Bregenz; alternatively, a company in Friedrichshafen (Germany) offers rides in modern Zeppelins NT.
Friedrichshafen is also the place where you will find a Zeppelin museum; it is home to the company that had ambitious plans to re-vive the age of Zeppelins with new technologies in the 1990ies. By far the most popular mean of transport for tourists, however, are boats. Especially with respect to sailboats - from decent yachts to ordinary dinghies - the Bodensee offers dream conditions: In 2005, there were 57,000 active licences issued for boats on Lake Constance. Other popular water sports done at the Bodensee include diving and swimming. Diving is often underestimated; the water temperatures can be very low and gear can freeze.
Divers are recommended to check whether their gear and training is suitable for the conditions found in Lake Constance, ideally before they disappear. The summer season, which offers the best conditions for all water-related activities, lasts from late June to late August, when water temperature range between 19 and 23 degrees. Note that windsurfing is generally difficult at Lake Constance due to a lack of strong wind; kite surfing is strictly limited in Germany and banned in Austria for safety reasons. Besides, as it relies on winds even stronger than required for windsurfing, it wouldn′t be an option on most days anyway.
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