Lake Constance is a lake at the tripoint Switzerland/Germany/Austria north of the Alpine foothills. It consists of two bodies of water: the Upper Lake and the Lower Lake. Both lakes are connected to each other via the Seerhein, which is 4 kilometres long. With an area of 536 km², Lake Constance is the third largest European inland lake after Lake Balaton (594 km²) and Lake Geneva (580 km²). The shore line of both lakes is about 273 kilometres long, 127 kilometres of which lie in Germany, 28 kilometres of which are located in Austria and 72 kilometres of which lie in Switzerland. Important Swiss towns along Lake Constance are Rorschach, Arbon, Romanshorn, Kreuzlingen, Steckborn and Stein am Rhein. The climate at Lake Constance is temperate with mild temperatures. Due to the influence of the Foehn wind throughout the year, there is a lot of fog in winter and stuffiness in summer. The average water temperature is about 20 °C in July and 15 °C in October.
The region around Lake Constance is characterised by a great variety of bird species. It is an important wintering ground for many migrating birds like the dunlin, the Eurasian curlew and the northern lapwing. Furthermore, you can see numerous gaviiformes such as the red-throated, black-throated and great northern loon in autumn. The lake's fish fauna is equally diverse. There are over 45 types of fish, for example whitefishes, European perches, Lake Constance whitefishes, coregonus macrophthalmus, burbots, graylings, breams, northern pikes and zanders. The water is dark green and clear, the water quality very good. Lake Constance constitutes a major part of the region's drinking water supply. Especially at the time of the thaw, the water mark often rises suddenly by three of four metres. Due to the Foehn (down-slope wind) as well as the Northwest and East wind, heavy swell occurs regularly. Several areas of Lake Constance are nature reserves or have been renaturated. Therefore, the region displays several special features regarding its flora such as the existence of great forests, marsh gentian, marsh orchids and the Siberian Iris. In spring, Lake Constance is covered in a wonderful blanket of water plants, which is referred to as the "bloom of the lake".
The Weiße Flotte ("white fleet"), the passenger ships on Lake Constance, connects the lakeside towns to the sights around the lake. On the Swiss side, you see the dreamy old towns of Romanshorn, Arbon and Rorschach as well as the wonderful towns Gottlieben, Ermatingen and Stein am Rhein. Travellers can go on one of the most beautiful and popular lake and river trips in the whole of Europe between Kreuzlingen and Stein am Rhein to the Rhine Falls near Schaffhausen. Other popular travel destinations are the town Ittingen Charterhouse, the Technorama in Winterthur and the Seemuseum in Kreuzlingen. The mountain Säntis is equally popular with many travellers. It is 2,502 metres high and a real hiking paradise. The city of St. Gallen attracts many lovers of culture with its old town and the monastery district, which is part of the World Cultural Heritage of the UNESCO. Railway enthusiasts also get their money's worth in the region around Lake Constance. They can marvel at two old rack railways. One of them runs from Rorschach to Heiden, while the other one travels between Rheineck and Walzenhausen. A highlight for every visitor are the region's culinary specialities: fresh fish like perches, whitefishes and brown trouts as well as salmon and tench, which are freshly prepared at the waterside. The Canton of Thurgau is known as "Mostindien" ("Cider India"). Apple trees are grown all over this canton, so that it is not surprising that many local dishes contain apples. The reference to India is due to shape of the canton, which resembles that of the subcontinent.
Lake Constance is one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe and is especially popular with water sports fans. The lake is excellently suited for going on boat trips, surfing and kite surfing as well as for going swimming and bathing. Advanced divers can also pursue their hobby in the designated areas. Around the lake, you find numerous hiking, skating and cycling trails. In addition, several shipping companies of the three neighbouring states take visitors to see the many sights, museums and parks as well as the beautiful nature along the lakeside.
You easily reach Lake Constance by car, bus or train. Arriving by plane or ship is also possible. In addition, there is a number of international bike trails which lead you to the lake if you are starting off in Europe.