The Beautiful Bodensee

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April 11, 2016
Beautiful summer sunset on the Bodensee
I love the Bodensee. 

Today I want to write (and I confess, reminisce) a little about the area where my husband is from, and where I lived while in Switzerland. The Bodensee (or Lake Constance, as it’s called in English). Wunderschön. It is so beautiful, and big (63 km long). One of the things I found so interesting about the lake is how it changes visually. Depending on the weather, Germany (the other shoreside), can either look extremely distant and tiny, or so close that you feel like you could walk to it. It was fascinating. Where we lived, we were fortunate to be able to bike there in only 10 minutes, which we did all the time. Mostly to go in for a quick swim on a hot day or stop and enjoy a beer along the shore. After getting married at the Rathaus Rorschach we rented a little paddle boat and went for a swim in the cool waters. Heaven!

Beautiful summer sunset on the Bodensee

Beautiful summer sunset on the Bodensee

Bodensee view in winter

Same view of Bodensee in winter

We also biked along long portions of it, though not yet the entire way around. But there is a 273 km path that encompasses the whole lake, I can’t wait to do that. There are even a couple of islands within the lake, the most famous probably being Lindau, Germany. We once took a lovely day trip there, that I wholeheartedly recommend. Starting in Rorschach we rode towards the east into Austria. We then stopped for a coffee and güetzli (cookie) break near Bregenz, Austria at one of the many little cafes that dot the lakeside. Continuing on, the path got pretty crowded, especially as we entered Germany. However, everyone was pretty polite and looked out for one another.

As you continue north on the path, Lindau is on the left (there are signs). Crossing a short bridge, you enter the island of Lindau. It’s a beautiful, old town that is very traditionally German. Old buildings, tiny streets, cafes everywhere. We stopped at one and sat outside, enjoying delicious pizzas in the fresh spring sun. You can walk along the lake for beautiful views, or go souvenir shopping at the many shops. Afterward we enjoyed an espresso as we walked around.

The Lion of Lindau, guarding the port where the ferries dock. (Courtesy of

The Lion of Lindau, guarding the port where the ferries dock. (Courtesy of

View of old Lindau, where the ferries dock.  (courtesy of

View of old Lindau, where the ferries dock. (courtesy of

From there, one can continue along the path around the Bodensee, or, like we did, catch the ferry back across the lake to Switzerland. The ferries on the Bodensee are also a lot of fun, and relaxing, if you’re not up to so much exercise. You can even order food and a beer on them! We took the easier route home and did just that, enjoying a delicious Swiss beer as we took in the views and sun on the way back. Once we were back in Rorschach it was only a short 10 minute ride home. In all, the trip probably took 7-8 hours, a nice full day. By the time we got back we were pleasantly tired and got to experience three countries, along with delicious food and scenery. I can’t wait to plan a longer ride, next time hopefully going the entire route along the lake. I believe that at a nice, leisurely speed it can be done in 2-3 days and there are lots of wonderful little places to stay at along the path.

That’s one of the advantages of that part of Europe and Switzerland, you’re never far from a cozy bed and a delicious meal. Have you traveled in the Bodensee region? What was your favorite experience or place?

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