Flights & getting there
The most enjoyable way to cross the lake is by ferry. Konstanz is the main hub but Meersburg and Friedrichshafen also have plentiful ferry options.
Although most towns have a train station (Meersburg is an exception), in some cases buses provide the only land connections. Bodensee Ticket (www.bodensee-ticket.com), which groups all Lake Constance-area public transport, publishes a free Fahrplan (timetable) with schedules for all train, bus and ferry services. A day pass (€18.50/26 for one/all zones) gets you access to land transport around Lake Constance, including areas in Austria and Switzerland. It’s sold at train stations and ferry docks. Children pay half price.
The three-day Bodensee Erlebniskarte (adult/child €74/37, not including ferries €41/21), available at area tourist and ferry offices from late March to mid-October, allows free travel on almost all boats and mountain cableways on and around Lake Constance (including its Austrian and Swiss shores). It also includes free entry to more than 160 tourist attractions and museums. There are also seven-day (adult/child €99/49) and 14-day (adult/child €144/72) versions.
The roll-on roll-off Konstanz–Meersburg car ferry runs 24 hours a day, except when high water levels prevent it from docking. The ferry runs every 15 minutes from 5.35am to 8.50pm, every 30 minutes from 8.50pm to midnight and every hour from midnight to 5.35am. The crossing, affording superb views from the top deck, takes 15 minutes.
The car ferry dock in Konstanz, served by local bus 1, is 4km northeast of the centre along Mainaustrasse. In Meersburg, car ferries leave from a dock 400m northwest of the old town.
The most useful lines are run by German BSB and Austrian Vorarlberg Lines. BSB ferries link Konstanz with ports such as Meersburg (€6.10, 30 minutes), Friedrichshafen (€13.30, 1¾ hours), Lindau (€17.30, three hours) and Bregenz (€18.60, 3½ hours); children aged six to 15 years pay half price. The website lists timetables in full.
Der Katamaran is a sleek passenger service that takes 50 minutes to make the Konstanz–Friedrichshafen crossing. It runs hourly from 6am to 7pm, plus hourly from 8pm to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays from mid-May to early October.