Where can you take a short vacation around a lake and see three countries? Try the Bodensee, otherwise known as Lake Constance. You'll see interesting parts of Germany, Switzerland and a tip of Austria. The circumferance of the lake makes it the 3rd largest lake in Central Europe.
Lake Constance is a large lake, so there's lots to see. The towns on the lake have fantastic lakeside promenades which offer cafes, humorous modern sculptures with a bite, fountains and fine view restaurants. It was here the Zeppelin was conceived; you can see it at the Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen, which claims to have the largest collection on airship travel in the world.
You can see a flowering island and a monastic island. There are Bronze age reconstructed pile dwellings to discover. If you liked Rothenburg on a trip through Germany, you'll certainly like Meersburg, an equally charming medieval village except that it's got a lake view and you can get there by boat.
There is a cycling path that runs along the banks of the lake called the Lake Constance Cycle Path.
The Benedictine Abbey of Reichenau Island on Lake Constance was founded in 724. By the 10th century it became one of the leading centers for the production of illuminated manuscripts in Europe. The island is well-equipped with small and free museums ideal for relating its monastic history--and is small enough for a day trip. Cyclists may like the flat island and its scenic roads. See our Reichenau Island Guide for a virtual tour.
Mainau Island is home to a very nice summer palace built in 1853 by Grand Duke Frederick I of Baden. The palace is surrounded by estensive lakeside gardens. Even when we went in fall, there were over 20,000 dahlias in fool bloom. There is a butterfly sanctuary as well. See our Mainau Island Guide for more.
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