The locals use the many ferries as a way to reach the more than 40 different towns and villages all around Lake Constance. For visitors, these ferry rides are the perfect way to enjoy a cruise on the lake, while exploring all that Lake Constance has to offer. The Vereinigten Schifffahrtsunternehmen für den Bodensee und Rhein (VSU) is a fleet of Swiss, Austrian and German ferry companies that have more than 31 motor-powered vessels (catamarans and car ferries) that regularly traverse the lake to get from one spot to the other.
Of course, apart from getting passengers where they need to go, some ferry rides are a bit more special than others. These include the 52-minute catamaran ride from Constance to Friedrichshafen or the 41-minute ferry ride from Friedrichshafen to Romanshorn, both of which allow passengers to cross from one side of the lake to the other and enjoy a panoramic view of Lake Constance as well as the Alps in the background (especially on a clear and sunny day).
If you’re looking for something a bit more special than just taking the public transportation ferries, then make sure to book yourself a private tour. One of the most unique boat tours is definitely the Lädine Immenstaad, which takes passengers around Lake Constance on a reproduction of the merchant vessels that used to sail around the lake in the Middle Ages.
For a more sophisticated private cruising experience, book your spot on the Hohentwiel, a restored paddle wheel steamer with white awnings, polished brass details and mahogany and teak fittings that has been around since 1913. Cruises include themes such as English Afternoon Tea, Ladies Night, Jazz Brunch, Literature On the Lake and Wine & Dine.
The public transportation ferries of the BSB (Bodensee Ship Operations) also host annual events on their ships that abide by a seasonal theme. Reserve your place at the Spargel Schmaus between April 15th and May 6th for a three-course menu based entirely on the local favourite, white asparagus. Or make it a very special Mother’s Day on May 13th with a Lake Constance cruise complete with live music and surprises for all the mothers on board.
Another great cruise is on August 11th during the famous Constance and Kreuzlingen Seenachtfest, one of the most visually stunning firework exhibitions of the year. Passengers glide along the lake at night and watch the fireworks from front row seats, marvelling at the beauty of the colourful reflections on the surface of the water. Other event boat trips include a cruise accompanied by fondue, a winter cruise with a view of the snowcapped Alps and of course, the local favourite New Year’s cruise with plenty of champagne and fireworks.