Friedrichshafen; Travel Tips and Pictures

 

Friedrichshafen is a city on the shore of Lake Constance (Bodensee in German) in southern Germany, whose history is inextricably bound up with aviation. For this industrial city near the Swiss border was the HQ of the Zeppelin airship company, founded by Ferdinand von Zeppelin at the end of the 19th century. Now the city is also home to Zeppelin University, a small, private research university dedicated to following von Zeppelin’s maxim ‘You only have to want it and believe in it, and then it will succeed’. ZU, founded only in 2003, claims to be a place of intellectual discourse across multi-disciplines, allowing freedom to face the challenges of the modern era.

History
In World War II, Friedrichshafen was an important industrial centre for the Nazi war effort, and from 1942 to 1945 prisoners from Dachau concentration camp worked in the aviation factories of Zeppelin, Maybach, Dornier and Zahnradfabrik, making, among other munitions, the V2 rockets fired at Britain; consequently the city suffered a lot of bombing, during which most of the Old Town and two thirds of the city as a whole was destroyed. Friedrichshafen didn’t really begin to recover until the 1970s, but now small, modern airships are being built again by Zeppelin, and Airbus Defence and Space, and Rolls Royce engines have sites there.

Getting to Friedrichshafen
By boat

If you can’t arrive in Friedrichshafen by airship (and you can’t – yet), then surely the most appropriate way to reach this port city is by boat. The Catamaran Line connects Friedrichshafen and Constance: the crossing takes 46 minutes, and there are services every hour. But perhaps the most delightful lake crossing is that from Romanshorn in Switzerland to Friedrichshafen, which runs every hour of every day, and takes 41 minutes. As well as the fantastic views, this car ferry saves you many kilometres of motoring.

By plane
There are no fewer than five airports within reasonable travel distance from Friedrichshafen: Friedrichshafen Airport itself is 9 minutes away by bus (one every 20 minutes) and has direct flights from London and other parts of Europe; then Stuttgart Airport is a 3 hour 15 minutes bus ride away; from Altenrhein Airport takes 2 hours 6 minutes by train; Basel Airport in Switzerland is 3 hours 33 minutes by train; and finally from Zürich Airport it’s a 2 hour 27 minute journey by rail.

By train
In addition to the train services above, there are direct connections to Stuttgart and Ulm. (Please note that Friedrichshafen has two stations: the Stadtbahnhof and the Hafenbahnhof, but they are linked by bus services.)

By car
Take Autobahn 8 from Stuttgart to Ulm, then follow Route 30; from Munich it’s Autobahn 96 to Lindau, then Route 31 along the lake shore.

Travel tips: Sightseeing
Most sightseeing attractions in Friedrichshafen are designed for those with an interest in aviation.
The Zeppelin Museum near the lake shore illustrates the history of Zeppelin airships and claims to have the world’s largest aviation collection. It offers different guided tours for children, teenagers and adults. In the ‘Adventure Museum’ you can enter a mock-up of a 1930s airship on a transatlantic flight. From May to October the museum is open 7 days a week, 09.00 to 17.00; from November to April it opens at 10am and is closed on Mondays.
It is also possible to arrange to go on sightseeing tours over Lake Constance in a modern Zeppelin airship.

The Dornier Museum at Friedrichshafen Airport exhibits both historic Dornier aviation items, as well as modern space technology. Many temporary exhibitions are held at the Messe Friedrichshafen exhibition centre near the airport.
One landmark you are unlikely to miss in Friedrichshafen is the steel lookout tower on the harbour jetty. From the top you have a marvellous view over Lake Constance to the Alps. It’s free, as long as you can climb stairs! Nearby is the attractive Uferpromenade, a car-free area of bars and restaurants along the shore of the lake. Three monuments to Zeppelin are shown in the last four pictures below: first the memorial statue to Ferdinand von Zeppelin can be seen in the garden of the conference centre, Graf-Zeppelin-Haus; then comes The Zeppelin Fountain, (‘brunnen’ in German) on Uferstrasse, a little way back from the promenade, which was miraculously spared destruction in the heavy bombing of the Second World War. The fountain with a charmed life was first built in 1909 and reconstructed in the year 2000. The second-to-last picture is of is of the Zeppelin ‘denkmal’, a monument in the form of a bronze column, in the town gardens, not far from the Zeppelin Brunnen. On the denkmal are inscribed von Zeppelin’s own words: ”It is enough to wish for something and to believe in it; then it will be a success”.
The very last picture, of course, shows a modern day version of one of Zeppelin’s airships.
For those who prefer churches to aviation, there are two to visit close to the city: the very grand Castle Church (‘Schlosskirche’) at the western end of Friedrichshafen is distinctive with its twin towers with onion domes (the castle is closed to the public, but you can go into the church); and the very different ‘Haldenbergkapelle’, worth the walk because of the great view point to the Alps.

Where to stay
If 4-star hotels are your style, there are some well-rated ones in the city and a little way out. The SeeVital Hotel Schiff on Marktplatz is right on the lake and handy for all the attractions. The décor in the very well- equipped rooms is extremely modern in style, and there is a large choice of suites and rooms with different views and facilities. Its own restaurant serves gourmet cuisine. If you don’t mind being a little way out of town, the Akzent Hotel Löwen also has an excellent location on the shore of the lake, but is in a much quieter area 4.5 miles (7km) or 34 minutes on public transport, from the city, in Langenargen. The rooms here are also modern in style and varied in configuration, and breakfast is included. Because of its location, this hotel offers cycle hire and water sports activities.
If you want a 2-star or 3-star hotel, you more or less have to go out of the city, to Langenargen (7km) or Lindau (19km), both of which offer plenty of choice. In the former you could try the 3-star Hotel Restaurant Hirsch or the unrated Hotel Meschenmoser; or in Lindau there is the well-recommended Ebner-Boutique-Hotel & Konditorei (3-star) or the popular Inselhostel, with a choice of double and twin rooms or singles, all with shared bathrooms.

Tourist Office
Tourist-Information Friedrichshafen is to be found at 2 Bahnhofplatz. They can help you find accommodation and will arrange guided tours of the town and of the Zeppelin Hangar on Saturdays in July and August: if you book both at once you get a discount. You take the city tour first, which is on foot and lasts 75 minutes, then catch the number 5 bus just before noon from the harbour station (Hafenbahnhof) to the hangar.

Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance Friedrichshafen, Viewing Tower Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance Friedrichshafen, Ships
Friedrichshafen, Ship, Viewing Tower, Port Friedrichshafen, Port, Ships Friedrichshafen, Ticket Office Friedrichshafen, Zeppelin Museum
Friedrichshafen, Medienhaus am See Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance Friedrichshafen, Germany Friedrichshafen, Viewing Tower on the Pier
Friedrichshafen, Car Ferry to Romanshorn Car Ferry Friedrichshafen - Romanshorn Lake Constance, Catamaran Friedrichshafen, from Tower
Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance Friedrichshafen, from Viewing Tower Friedrichshafen, Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen, City
Friedrichshafen, Shopping Street Friedrichshafen, City Friedrichshafen, Shopping Street Friedrichshafen, City Tower
Friedrichshafen, Hotel Friedrichshafen, Hotel drei Koenige Friedrichshafen, St. Nicholas Church Friedrichshafen, Buchhorn Fountain, St. Nicholai Church
Buchhorn Fountain Friedrichshafen, City Friedrichshafen, Railway Station Friedrichshafen, Germany
Friedrichshafen, Buchhorner Hof Friedrichshafen, Lakeside Promenade Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance, Ship, Boats Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance
Friedrichshafen, Boats Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance, Fountain Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance, Marina
Friedrichshafen, Graf-Zeppelin-Haus Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance Friedrichshafen, Architecture, Lake Constance Friedrichshafen, Castle
Friedrichshafen, Zeppelin Statue Friedrichshafen, Zeppelin Fountain Friedrichshafen, Zeppelin Monument Zeppelin