Dusseldorf Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.
The Main Sites
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Let me know if this is of use to you or if there are any details you would like more or less of.