Friedrichshafen is situated on the shores of Lake Constance, known locally as the Bodensee. This beautiful 60km-long stretch of water is at the meeting of international borders with Switzerland
and Austria to the south and southeast. Historically Friedrichshafen was a harbour for the ships and ferries on the lake and during the nineteenth century it became a popular spa resort. But undoubtedly the main factor in shaping the town was the influence of Count Zeppelin.
His first rigid-framed airship flew on 2nd July 1900 from a floating hangar at Manzell. This was to be the springboard for a whole new centre of enginering excellence in the area. Zahnradfabrik Friedrichshafen (ZF), for example, was founded by Zeppelin in 1908 to make gear mechanisms for the engines and is now a major international company. And there are similar close associations with Dornier, MTU and many others.
Unfortunately this engineering activity made Friedrichshafen a target for the Allied bombers in WW2 and many of its older buildings were reduced to rubble. This explains why the present town has such a modern feel to it, unlike the more traditional character of nearby Meersburg for example.
Today the town has a lively cosmopolitan character and remains a great holiday destination with good links to the surrounding area. On a sunny day people flock to the lakeside promenade to enjoy the views and the cafes and restaurants. And many visitors are drawn to the award-winning Zeppelin Museum and restaurant housed in the imposing Bauhaus-style former harbour building, and the new Dornier Museum which is adjacent to the airport.