Dusseldorf

Dusseldorf Travel Blog

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The Rhineturm. There is a lift.

Overview

I have visited Dusseldorf twice, spending about a month there in total. It was a surprising city for me in that I went there with low expectations and they were exceeded throughout. It's a city with its roots firmly based on commerce but its sheer volume of bars and its excellent old town make it a great place for a fun weekend too.

It's a very sociable city and people of all ages mingle in the bars and clubs giving it a relaxed atmosphere throughout the week. The weekend are a city-wide party and it can be difficult to make your way through the streets of the old town due to the sheer volume of people, but it's not a threatening atmosphere so have a few beers and join in.

A view over the Rhine from the Rhineturm. This area is called the Media Harbour.

Arrival

Dusseldorf airport is, as you would expect of a major city in Germany, a large, modern, efficient place to the extent that it is unremarkable. There are plenty of taxis, all of which will be official and all run on standardised meters so you can't get ripped off. It takes about 20 minutes to get into the heart of the city.

Hotels

There is the usual choice of international chain hotels that you would expect in major, western cities which will offer standard facilities that you might expect. I've stayed in the Hilton and the Holiday Inn, the former being in a commercial zone about a ten minute cab ride from the city centre but being of a good standard. The Holiday Inn is in the centre, about 5 minutes walk from the Old Town, but I thought it was dreadful with small, badly decorated rooms, no gym (there is one you can use round the corner at 8 euros a time) and the room service is rubbish.

View from the top of the Rhineturm. Those are my feet.
Also, it subscribes to the belief that most hotelsdo, namely that the only TV that people want to watch is 24 hour business news. On a 3 week trip when you don't necessarily want to go out every night, this gets really tiresome.

The Main Sites

The Rhine

The city is built along the banks of the massive Rhine river and the inevitable line of cafes, bars and restaurants which have sprung up along it are a good place to spend time in the sunshine.

There are also plenty of competing cruise operators who will take you up and down the Rhine for an hour or so and give you a running commentary and a bit of background and history to the place.

Additionally, there are a couple of moored ships taht now serve as bars, nightclubs and restaurants and are worth checking out, weather permitting.

A shot of the old town.

The Rhineturm

This is a very large observation lower on the banks of the river. It would be ridiculous to give directions to it as you can see it from the plane when you come in to land. The Rhineturm is open to the public and gives great views for miles over the city and beyond from its observation level which has a cafeteria. There is a very good restaurant higher up than the viewing platform but advance resevations are essential.

The only way to the top is the lift which is great for the lazy, but not so for the claustrophobic.

The Old Town

The heart of the city. Flanking the Rhine, this maze of narrow alleyways contains innumerable bars and restaurants which serve the local demand to drink beer all day, every day. It's impossible to commend one bar over any other as they are so similar, but there is a great convention whereby you simply arrive at a bar and stand at one of the tables outside and a waiter will simply present you with a beer mat and a beer.

Another shot of the old town. The Guinness sign is outside an Irish Bar that is ok, but there's a better one to find.
Whenever your glass is empty, it will be replaced with a full one unless you place the beer mat on top of your empty. The staff mark a tally of how many you've had on your beer mat and you settle up when you leave. Brilliant. It;s the sort of thing that would get abused in the UK but everyone seems to play by the rules here.

The local brew, Altbier (literally "Old Beer") is the main serving and many places brew their own version in house, though do try a Killipitsch - a locally produced spirit that will warm you up on a cold night.

Konigstrasse - "Ko"

A tree lined boulevard flanked on both sides with every luxury and designer label store that you can imagine. Hideously expensive and it's a good plan not to walk along here with your wife/girlfriend at any point.

Eating & Drinking

There's a restaurant for every international taste here with restaurants in all the common styles - Chinese, Thai, Italian, Indian etc as well as all the major fast food places if you want a bit of familiarity.

The cathedral at Cologne - I told you it was enormous. Apparently they took 600 years to build the thing.
You don't have to look very hard, simply wander around the old town or in the shopping precincts behing Konigstrasse. Additionally, all the main brauhauses - the places that serve the Altbier - will serve a mixture of local food or basic pizza or pasta dishes.

The local food is typically heavy German fayre. Meat with thick sauces, sausages galore and cabbage wherever you look. It's ok in my opinion, but not brilliant.

The Altbiers are good if you like beer, but the usual international beers are available by bottle or draft if not. Everything else you can think of is available in most bars.

A few places to search out are the Block House chain of steak restaurants which are cheap enough but good quality in a relaxed atmosphere, Schumacher's Brauhaus which is about the best of breed though it's not in the centre of the old town and I'd try the Irish bar in the old town too, particularly if you have some football you need to catch.

Beyond Dusseldorf

There are lots of Germany's other main cities within easy travelling distance of Dusseldorf and the train services are excellent, although the Train Station is in a seedy part of town which you may not like walking to/through at night.

Cologne is very nearby and well worth a visit with its enormous cathedral (really, it's massive) being a site you ought to go and see.

Useful?

Let me know if this is of use to you or if there are any details you would like more or less of.

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The Rhineturm. There is a lift.
The Rhineturm. There is a lift.
A view over the Rhine from the Rhi…
A view over the Rhine from the Rh…
View from the top of the Rhineturm…
View from the top of the Rhinetur…
A shot of the old town.
A shot of the old town.
Another shot of the old town. The …
Another shot of the old town. The…
The cathedral at Cologne - I told …
The cathedral at Cologne - I told…
557 km (346 miles) traveled
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Dusseldorf
photo by: Chokk