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Monarch Airlines’ new service to Friedrichshafen in southern Germany has opened up a whole new world of travel possibilities, especially for the winter sports enthusiast. While Friedrichshafen is a great place to experience some undiscovered German culture in spring and summer, its real draw as a holiday destination is in winter.
You can also easily transfer to a number of ski resorts in Germany, Switzerland and particularly Austria, making it the perfect gateway to the slopes for skiing holidays this year, as MIKE REES reports.
Thanks to its attractive location at the heart of Europe, Friedrichshafen – and the adjoining Lake Constance - has become a increasingly popular destination for short breaks.
In winter, skiers like to use the airport at Friedrichshafen – with its proximity to the Alps and easy access for their ski holidays - but the region offers plenty of potential for indoor and outdoor activities in the other seasons, too, as well as for cultural trips and wellness breaks.
Bodensee-Airport Friedrichshafen is the gateway to the region of Lake Constance. More than 650,000 passengers use the wide choice of flights every year.
Lake Constance is still a little secret among the big destinations in central Europe. It’s a safe place to travel and unspoilt in many ways. People are friendly, prices reasonable and a superb infrastructure of accommodation and public transport makes travelling easy and enjoyable.
Situated on the northern edge of the majestic Alps, Lake Constance - or Bodensee in German – is the third largest lake in central Europe. Three countries share the 273km-long shoreline – Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The Principality of Liechtenstein is also part of the region. The River Rhine is the main source of water.
The region of Lake Constance is steeped in history and culture. For thousands of years, the area has been a melting pot of culture and a crossing point for trade between the south and north side of the Alps.
The rich cultural past of the region is reflected in the lifestyle of the inhabitants today, their enjoyment of celebrations and the fine arts.
Year-round concerts, festivals, theatre productions, traditional events and exhibitions of all kinds can be enjoyed.
The choice of sports from golf to sailing, hiking, skiing, watersports – not to mention the excellent network of cycle routes – makes Lake Constance perfect for sports lovers.
The wonderful spas on the lake are also well worth visiting. Another favourite pastime is food, of which there are many specialities. Thousands of restaurants, bars and cafes offer equisite cuisine. Soak in the unique beer garden atmosphere, dine in style in a castle restaurant, watch the world go by in a street cafe, or relax on one of the superb lake-side terraces. As the birthplace of the Zeppelin Airship and the historic centre of German aviation, the city has a long and varied history. You can tour the factories that built these great airships and aircraft, as well as take modern versions on sightseeing tours.
The Zeppelin is as much a feature of Lake Constance today as it was 100 years ago. Back in those days, however, Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin earned nothing but derision for his idea of an airship.
He developed the first Zeppelin airship from his factory in Friedrichshafen and the 128m-long LZ1 rose from its mooring in July 2, 1900.
The Zeppelin was a success story until its sad end in the Hindenburg disaster in Lakehurst, New Jersey, in 1937, when it caught fire and was destroyed during its attempt to dock.
Of the 97 people on board – 36 passengers, 61 crew – there were 35 fatalities and one death among the ground crew.
The incident shattered public confidence in the giant, passenger-carrying rigid airship and marked the end of the airship era.
In the 1990s, Zeppelins were developed again in Friedrichshafen and since 2001, these "flying cigars" with new technology have been lifting off and taking Zeppelin fans on a scenic tour over Lake Constance.
The Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen was re-opened in 1996 in its new home – the Hafenbahnhof (harbour railway station). Since then, 3.5 million visitors have come to see its permanent collections and special exhibitions.
All in all, a holiday in this part of Europe is always great fun for the while family but don’t take my word for it, pay a visit for yourself.
++ MONARCH FACTFILE ++
Monarch Airlines operates year-round flights to Friedrichshafen from London Gatwick with fares, including taxes, starting from £30.99 one way (£64.48 return).
For further information or to book Monarch flights, visit www.monarch.co.uk
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