We chose to base outselves in Meersburg for our stay at Bodensee because it is about half way along the lake, and is a stop on virtually all of the ferry routes (since we had decided not to hire a car).
It is a picturesque little town, and it's well worth allowing yourself a few hours to explore: in particular the privately owned Zeppelin museum (not to be confused with the larger and more famous Zeppelin museum in Friedrichshafen) is worth a visit - see my travel tip. However, the one caveat that I would offer is that the shore slopes very steeply away from the lake at this point, and even walking up to the centre of town from the quay where the ferry docks can be a bit of a trek, especially in hot weather.
For this reason, people with mobility problems, or those with children in tow could find it hard going, and if you are travelling by ferry, I would recommend that you consider staying somewhere flatter (perhaps Lindau, Friedrichshafen or Konstanz).
The Zeppelin museum in Meersburg is an altogether quirkier place than the Zeppelin museum in Friedrichshafen (which is brilliant, but runs the risk of taking itself just a tad too seriously).
This museum is a private collection of Zeppelin memorabilia, displayed in a somewhat haphazard manner. The sheer range of stuff is quite extraordinary and reminds you of how emotional people got - and still get - about a redundant mode of transport that had an alarming tendancy to burst into a fireball!
Some of the exhibits are highly technical and will likely only appeal to serious enthusiasts. However, there is still more than enough material of a more general nature (photos, posters, uniforms and the like) to keep people of all ages occupied, although because it's a small exhibit, I wouldn't budget more than an hour.
If you have the choice, I would visit the Friedrichshafen museum first to get a sense to the scale and design of the Zeppelins, and then visit here to get a different perspective.
The Pfahlbau museum in Unteruhldingen is an interesting reconstruction of an ancient stilt village, the remains of which have been unearthed by archeological digs in the area.
Lake shores have been magnets for human settlement from the earliest times, providing a guaranteed water supply, a food source and a mode of transport. Archeological investigations in the Bodensee region have identified lake dwellings dating back as far as the Stone and Bronze Ages (4,000 to 850 BC).
The reconstruction has been well done and it's certainly the first time I have seen a museum of this sort. It provides an intriguing perspective on a way of life that must have been very common across Europe for centuries - if not millenia - and does well to avoid being overly commercial.
Our daughter was only two when we visited, so was really too young to take part in the activities on offer - for older kids, there appears to be quite an active programme of events which allow them to experience (presumably the more enjoyable and hygienic) aspects of Stone and Bronze Age life. Perusing the website, I was intrigued by mention of a "Neolithic Apple Festival' being held on 10 October 2010 - unfortunately it's too far for me to travel to satisfy my idle curiosity, but I'd be fascinated to know what this entails!
The most interesting way to access the museum is by ferry, which provides you with the same perspective on the village as ancient fisherman must have had as they returned home with their catch.
It is a short tour as only a small portion was open, but interesting regardless. One can also tour the bell tower, which somehow was not offered to us, I found out later. Or at least go get your picture taken with the goodlooking gate guard (actually the ticket person).
A scenic walk starts at the Seepromenade at the eastern end of the old city up through the vineyards to the New Palace (Neues Schloss) dominating the city. Great view of the lake from the upper end of the path.
This pilgrimage church isn't right in Meersburg, it's about six miles out in the countryside right on Lake Constance. It would be a terrible shame to miss it, the inside is just amazing, overwhelming, and spectacular! Beautiful pink marble all over the place makes it look very different from any other church I'd ever seen. I never liked the baroque style much until I saw the inside of this church.
No photos were allowed inside : (
I've read that this fortress is one of the oldest castles in Germany, and it looks it! It was built way back in the 600's - 700's. You don't have to go on a guided tour to see the inside, but can wander around at your own speed. We didn't go inside because we were a bit "castled out" at this point in our Germany trip, and I've regretted it ever since. Something for me to do next time...
The picturesque city consists of Ober- and Unterstadt (Upper and Lower City). Everywhere are nice corners, plenty of half-timbered houses and nice views of the lake.
As you maybe already know the Konstanz lake is touching 3 countries: Switzerland, Austria & Germany.
Therefore, as soon as you get out of your ferry you can see you are in Germany here !
... isn't it a nice tree ? Facing the lake and fighting alittle bit with the wind, these kind of trees joins you while coffeing ...
Yeah !! literally :-) just left the ferry after arrived in M. and a long queue of SMARTs were waiting to embark to get back to Konstanz.
It was a kind of parade ..
Just in front of the door you can often see such a kind of guys entertaining the crowd with some puppets.
It's worthy at least half a EURO tip.