Situated in the heart of Europe divided between three countries Austria, Switzerland and Germany, Lake Constance or Bodensee in German is the 3rd largest lake in Central Europe. Its surface is 537 square kilometres, a relatively small proportion 63 square kilometres between towns Ludwigshafen and Bregenz belongs to Austria or around 10 percent of entire lake shore, exactly 28 kilometres. Bregenz, the capital city of Austrian westernmost federal state Vorarlberg, is home of several famous arts festivals; the annual Bregenzer Festspiele takes place on a floating stage directly on the Lake.
Depending on language the Lake has two names both deriving from the settlement names located at the shores of Lake Constance. The older name and the original German name Bodensee comes from the town name Bodman located on the west end of Lake. The majority of languages use this name. The second name Lake Constance derives from the town Constance (Konstanz) located at the outflow of the Rhine from the Lake, which again takes it from the Roman emperor Constantius Chlorus. This name is used in Romance languages, English, Arabic and Turkish.
The Lake Constance is 63 kilometres long and 14 kilometres wide at its widest point between Friedrichshafen and Romanshorn. Despite its size and depth of maximal 250 meters it freezes partially and on occasion completely. The last time the Lake completely froze was in 1963 and people were able to cross the lake safely on foot.
The Lake Constance is an important spot on the wild life map of Europe. Around 400 different bird species have been discovered so far. Some 250.000 birds spend winter at the Lake and even more use it as a staging post during the migration to south. Around 45 species of fish live here and some of them are very rare.
Tourism industry represents major source of income for the region around the Lake. The Lake Constance has developed tourist infrastructure with a network of attractions and excursion destinations, therefore it has been a popular touristic spot for ages and the On its shores you can experience beautiful towns, waterfalls, the islands, the pilgrimage churches, castles and palaces, lot of museums and astonishing landscapes. You can have a swim, dive, sail, surf, have a boat, cable car, train or even Zeppelin ride.
At the end one interesting fact from history: until the end of the 19th century around Lake Constance there use to be five different time zones, due to its history as a meeting point of the empires, during centuries. You would have needed to travel less than 50 kilometres to pass five different time zones.
You should visit the Lake Constance and discover for yourself why it is one of the most visited lake in Austria and why tens of millions tourists visit it every year.
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