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A walking tour of Friedrichshafen, a nice town on the northern shore of Lake Constance, lets you explore the main sights of town. It is well-known for its stunning views of the lake and the surrounding Alpine mountains, as well as for its aviation history, particularly as the birthplace of the Zeppelin airship.
This walk starts from the bus and train station Friedrichshafen Hafen. There is another train and bus station in town called Friedrichshafen Stadt, where you could also start the walking tour from.
Friedrichshafen Walking Tour Map
Tips for Friedrichshafen Walking Tour
- Both the Zeppelin and Dornier Museums have captions in German and English and are interesting even for non-aviation enthusiasts.
- The Dornier Museum is by the airport – you can easily catch a bus there from either Friedrichshafen Stadt or Friedrichshafen Hafen bus stations.
- If you’re still in Friedrichshafen at the end of the day, return to the waterfront promenade to watch the sunset.
- The tourist information is by Friedrichshafen Stadt station (opening hours: May-Sep Mon-Fri 9-6pm, Sat 9-1pm. Apr & Oct Mon-Fri 9-5pm, Sat 9-1pm. Nov-Mar Mon-Thu 9-4pm, Fri 9-1pm.)
- Check out other walks on our Germany Hiking Page.
Top Sights in Friedrichshafen
On this self-guided walking tour you’ll visit the most famous landmarks and attractions in Friedrichshafen. Half a day is the perfect amount of time to spend in Friedrichshafen, though allow a full day to visit both the Zeppelin and Dornier Museums.
- Zeppelin Museum
- Boat Tours
- Lakefront Stroll
- Schloss Friedrichshafen
- Old Town
Friedrichshafen Walking Tour Route
This walking tour starts by the bus and train station Friedrichshafen Hafen.
Directions: From the bus station, head towards the seafront and turn left. The large white building on your left is the Zeppelin Museum.
1. Zeppelin Museum
Key Information: Open May-Oct 9am-5pm every day, Nov-Apr 10am-5pm Tue-Sun. Tickets €12/6.50, or €20 in combination with the Dornier Museum.
A visit to the Zeppelin Museum (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is one of the best things to do in Friedrichshafen. This museum is dedicated to the history of airships, particularly the Zeppelin. You can learn about the technology and the people behind these majestic flying machines and even go on a guided tour of a reconstructed Zeppelin cabin.
The museum covers the first flight at the end of the 18th century right through to today. In the centre, models of the historic Zeppelins built in Friedrichshafen, are on display. There’s also a short film to introduce you to the museum. On the top floor is some random artwork, and there is normally a special exhibit which changes from year to year.
2. Boat Tours
On the waterfront just opposite the Zeppelin Museum, there are many boat tours available that will take you out onto Lake Constance. You can see the lake from a different perspective and get some great photos of the surrounding landscape. You can also use the boats as a means of transport to visit Lindau, Kontanz or other towns surrounding the lake. The sight-seeing ferries only run in summer, while the ferries that travel between towns run year-round (weather dependent).
Directions: Walk along the lakefront promenade, keeping at the edge of the lake. Head out to the Pier Viewing Tower for views, then continue onwards into the Stadtgarten.
3. Lakefront Promenade
Friedrichshafen has a beautiful promenade that stretches for several kilometres along the lake. You can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the pedestrian street, taking in the stunning views of the lake and the Swiss Alps. There are lots of cafes and restaurants, most with outdoor sitting, where you can sit and watch the world go by.
Pier Viewing Tower
The Pier Viewing Tower (or Moleturm) is a 22-metre-high tower you can walk up for free. There are great views from the top over the town, the lake and the mountains on the far side (in good weather).
Trains actually used to travel directly here to the harbour. You can still see the salt crane on the promenade, bearing witness to the once-important salt trade here.
Old City Wall Fragment
The City Wall now remains as just a fragment at the end of Uferstraße. You can see it on your right just before you reach the city park. In former days, the Celts and the Romans settled here, with merchants settling here in the 12th century to take advantage of the lake trade. The wall was necessary to protect against local marauders.
The Stadtgarten is a small park on the edge of the lake. There are tropical palm trees and many flowers in spring and summer. There are also several places to eat and drink, ranging from a beer garden to a fancy restaurant to a beach club and cocktails.
Graf Zeppelin Haus
The Graf Zeppelin Haus is at the far end of the Stadtgarten. It’s an architectural wonder though most of it is hidden, with four stories underground. It was built in 1985 as a Culture and Congress Centre and it’s still used as a cultural centre for plays, ballets, concerts and for conferences.
Directions: You have to leave the lakefront for a little while and follow the road bending around the Graf Zeppelin Haus. Turn left at the T-junction to return to the lake and keep walking.
5. Schloss Friedrichshafen
Schloss Friedrichshafen is a private castle, lived in by Duke (Herzog) von Württemberg. It used to be a monastery but was converted by the House of Württemberg into their summer residence. While walking along the edge of the water, you’ll first see the stone Schloss Pier which sticks out into Lake Constance. Note that it doesn’t reach deep water – it was never used as a mooring for boats but rather for the Duke to watch boats as they entered the old harbour.
The old harbour is at the Schlosshorn, a small sticking-out piece of land. You can today see wooden poles sticking out of the water, but now the main harbour is elsewhere.
The church can be visited from Easter to the beginning of November, daily 9am-6pm, except Thu 11am-6pm. It’s free to enter and has leaflets in English, German and French. It’s rather beautiful inside so do visit if you can. Strangely, a wine cellar was built under the nave of the church where there would usually be a crypt. This was used during the Second World War as an air-raid shelter. Today it has reverted to its original use and the vinothek next to the church sells a variety of local wine.
Directions: From the church, head back where you came from and continue across the junction towards the Stadtgarden. The School Museum is on the corner on your left just before the park.
6. School Museum
Key Information: Open Tue-Sun 2-5pm. Entry €3.50/1.50. Mostly in German, but you can get an English language brochure from the ticket desk.
In the School Museum (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) you can really travel back in time, including the smells of the past! You can sit on the benches of school classrooms from the 1850s, 1900s and 1930s, and try writing on little slate tablets. In general, it’s very interactive and you can type on manual typewriters, or write with quill pens.
Directions: Walk along the edge of and through the Stadtgarten to the other side, near the old wall. Take a left and then a right into Adenauerplatz, the main town square.
7. Old Town
The historic centre of Friedrichshafen has a charming mix of old and new architecture. A large part of the city was bombed during the Second World War due to its key location on the lake and the aircraft manufacturing facilities nearby, however some old buildings have been restored. You can walk around the cobblestone streets and admire the colourful buildings, quaint shops, and restaurants.
St. Nikolaus Church
St. Nikolaus Church is the main sight of Friedrichshafen’s old town, on Adenauerplatz. It’s a large, white building with a colourful tower that you can’t miss. The weekly market is held in this square every Friday morning and the gourmet market is held here on Saturdays. The fountain in the square is known as the Buchhorn fountain, dating from 2001. You can see the aviation theme, and the two faces represent Count Zeppelin and King Frederick I of Württemberg.
Directions: Continue straight onwards along the cobbled street after the church and you’ll soon reach a square behind the Zeppelin Museum. In front of you is a tunnel leading back to the bus and train station, and the end of the walking tour around Friedrichstadt.
The main attraction slightly outside of Friedrichshafen town is the Dornier Museum.
Directions: You can easily get to the museum on a bus from Friedrichshafen Stadt or Friedrichshafen Hafen bus stop. The museum bus stop is just outside the museum and very convenient. There’s also a large car park next to the museum (€3) if you drive.
Key Information: Open 10am-5pm every day May-Oct, closed Mondays Nov-Apr. Tickets €11.5/6, or €20 in combination with the Zeppelin Museum. Cafe/restaurant on-site.
A visit to the Dornier Museum (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is well worth it. This museum is dedicated to aviation and aerospace, with a particular focus on the aircraft produced by the Dornier company. You can see planes, helicopters, and spacecraft up close with a large collection both inside and outside. You can even walk inside some of them and sit in a helicopter.
While near Lake Constance, check out historic Lindau Island, walk through vineyards and apple orchards, discover the Austrian lakeside city of Bregenz or hike up the Pfänderbahn for amazing views of the lake. For more walking tours and hikes in Germany, see our Germany hiking page.