Friedrichshafen was a center of the war industry in WWII and thus was hit particularly hard -- basically it's been wiped out. After the war ended, other cities who had shared the same fate chose to at least try and rebuild the former glory or plan out some other form of livable space, but Friedrichshafen seems to have never had such endeavors. Judged by appearances, it is the blemish of the whole Lake of Constance area.
It strives economically and has some well-known cultural events as well as two museums dedicated to aviation pioneers Dornier and Zeppelin. There is also the option of actually even boarding a Zeppelin for a leisure flight over the lake (which comes for an excessive price). Apart from that there isn't much else of interest -- even shopping, dining, and nightlife are not worth mentioning here. Friedrichshafen might be an acceptable base for daytrips, as it is the best transportation hub in the area, as it's the main train station where local trains connect to the far-flung ones and it also has direct ferry connections to Switzerland and a catamaran sailing to Constance hourly.
The Friedrichshafen hostel scene isn't big at all and you will very likely be stuck with a government-run one, meaning you can expect school groups and families in sterile rooms and character-free public areas. And to add insult to injury, your Friedrichshafen hostel will likely be in a bad location. At least Friedrichshafen hostel prices are regulated and even during major events you will not be overcharged. Friedrichshafen has some notorious trade fairs attracting massive crowds that will make scoring a bed on short notice virtually impossible (this goes for the whole stretch of lakeside from Austria to Überlingen!). Getting to your hostel of choice will most likely be by bus as Friedrichshafen is stretched out quite a bit and there is no other form of public transport apart from buses. The network is rather decent but nighttime and weekend schedules should be checked in advance as they might be condensed.
Hi, I'm gagalichen,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Friedrichshafen hostels. Welcome.