Lake Constance can be experienced in many different ways - diving, sailing or a Zeppelin flight always open up new views of Germany's largest inland waterway..

Above the water: A Zeppelin flight over Lake Constance

While the airship is preparing to land, the next passengers are already waiting at a safe distance on the airfield. The boarding of the airship takes place in "flying changes". Zeppelin - literally, because in order to keep the airship, which is hovering just above the earth, in balance, one passenger always gets off and one gets on. This goes on for a dozen times, then everyone is on board and the Zeppelin takes off again. Inside, it almost looks like an ordinary bus - if it weren't for the open cockpit with its many instruments, a pilot with golden stripes on his shirt, headphones and sunglasses.  

A Zeppelin, which is a hybrid of helicopter, airplane and hot air balloon, Marco Hollerer, the pilot, explains to us. The airships, which can reach speeds of up to 70 kilometers per hour, are extremely maneuverable: They can turn almost on the spot, stand in the air and take off and land both vertically and at a steep angle, hover at low altitudes or fly at altitudes of several kilometers. This makes them the perfect aircraft for expeditions to the North Pole, for example - but also for sightseeing flights over Lake Constance. 

There are only five airships in the world, and Germany's only two zeppelins take off from Friedrichshafen. Apart from their shape, today's zeppelins have little in common with the original model that took off here for its maiden flight in 1900: The design and the propulsion technology are different today. Instead of hydrogen, which was literally a fire hazard, the envelope is filled with helium. Unlike hot-air balloons, zeppelins are heavier than air - so by definition they don't travel, they fly.

And they do so wonderfully quietly, apart from the roar of the engines. That's why passengers don't have to stay strapped into their seats during the flight, but can walk around and enjoy the view of Lake Constance from every window and at an altitude of around 300 meters. The flight lasts around half an hour, after which the Zeppelin again into Friedrichshafen Airport.

How to get to Friedrichshafen by train and bus: Plan arrival.

On the water: a sailing trip on Lake Constance

You get a completely different perspective on the lake aboard a boat. There are several sailing schools around Lake Constance, many of which offer short introductory trips. In Radolfzell, Carola Habenicht regularly takes sailing novices out. With a lot of patience, she shows them what is important in sailing, how to set the sails and which moves have to be done right. Carola used to sail regattas, and for many years now she has been running the sailing school with her husband.

Lake Constance is an ideal and varied sailing area, she explains - for beginners and professionals alike: Large enough not to get boring, the rapid changes in wind and weather also keep things exciting. Not to mention the great natural scenery around it, beautiful harbors and towns. Above all, Carola appreciates one thing about sailing: "When sailing, the stress of everyday life immediately falls away, the water has a tremendously calming effect". But there is also action when sailing on Lake Constance - the regattas "Rund um" or the "Match Race Germany", for example, are exciting to watch even from the shore.

How to get to Radolfzell by train and bus: Plan arrival.

Under water: A dive in Lake Constance

On average, there are 90 meters of water to the bottom of Lake Constance, and at its deepest point it even measures 251 meters. For diving beginners, however, even the first five to ten underwater meters, which you can see for example with the "Tauchteam Bodensee" during a taster course, are quite exciting. But before the discovery of the underwater world and the feeling of weightlessness while gliding through the waters, a little diving theory and the diving gear have to be put on: Wetsuit, goggles, snorkel, pressure gauge, fins, on top of that a few lead weights. Finally, the heavy compressed air cylinder is hoisted onto the back. The complete equipment weighs a good 20 kilos.

In chest-high water, Maren Moldon, the diving instructor, practices the next steps with the freshmen divers: "First let yourself drop into a squat position," she says. And that's less easy than expected; the weight of the compressed air cylinder pulls you backwards, and instead of squatting you quickly find yourself floating on your back. Breathing in and out through the mouthpiece pressed between the teeth also takes some getting used to. But then, at some point, it finally works - you dive. "Lake Constance is underestimated as a diving destination, but it's incredibly versatile and challenging," says Maren, talking about the sunken paddle steamer, spectacular steep walls and huge catfish.

In the shallow water near the shore, there are only a few sticklebacks and a shell-covered thing that, on closer inspection, turns out to be an old tractor tire - but for the first dive of a lifetime, that's already plenty impressive. Diving instructor Maren advises even experienced divers to first dive with a local guide; they not only know the best dive sites, but also where it can be dangerous. 

This is how you get to Herbertingen by train: Plan arrival.

Whether from a lofty height, just above the water surface or far below it - no matter which way you discover Lake Constance: it's worth it. And there is also a lot worth seeing and experiencing around the lake. Here are a few more tips and ideas on what you absolutely have to do at Lake Constance:

- about the Lake sail
- one Bike tour along the lake
- one of the Beach baths visit
- about the Mainau Island stroll
- look at the water for a long sunset
- Buy apples directly from the farmer
- Eat whitefish and with it a Glass Müller-Thurgau enjoy
- one UNESCO World Heritage Site view
- the Zeppelin photography
- The Apple weeks at Lake Constance experience
- Delicious feast at the Lake Constance Fish Weeks
- Gather new impressions at Autumn hopping
- One SeeGang experience of a different kind

Cover photo: It's worth discovering Lake Constance from different perspectives © Dietmar Denger

Cover image: © Dietmar Denger

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