What to see in Westphalia: cities and attractions not to be missed

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Joel Fulleda

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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The Region of Westphalia, located in the northwestern part of Germany, is an area that it includes wonderful cities, ancient castles and beautiful natural areas. With Düsseldorf as the capital, you cannot fail to visit cities like Cologne and Bonn, while living an incredible journey through history, culture and culinary traditions! Also not to be missed is a cruise on the Rhine River, which for centuries has been one of the sources of wealth and economic development of this region!

Are you ready to discover this wonderful part of Germany? Here's it all for you a small guide on what to see in Westphalia: cities and attractions not to be missed!


  1. Dusseldorf
  2. Colonia
  3. Aachen
  4. Bonn
  5. Dortmund
  6. Essen
  7. Neanderthal Museum and Neander Valley
  8. Drachenburg Castle
  9. Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust
  10. Rhine River
  11. User questions and comments

1 - Düsseldorf

It is the capital of Westphalia. In this city, tradition and modernity come together, creating a perfect union. Between squares of medieval origin and buildings of modern times, it still does not have the popularity it deserves. Unique and particular, it is also known for being the German capital of fashion and also offers a lot from a cultural, architectural and musical point of view.

If you are planning to visit Dusseldorf, there are some attractions that you definitely cannot miss! Each itinerary starts from Burgplatz, the main square where many famous monuments are concentrated, such as the historic Town Hall. You can't then not enjoy a splendid view from the top of the Rheinturm, open from Sunday to Thursday from 10:00 to 00:00 and on Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 to 1:00 (admission € 9,00, children under 6 years enter for free).
Also treat yourself to a nice and relaxing one walk along the Rheinuferpromenade, the pedestrian area that runs along the entire bank of the Rhine, from the Parliament to the port area.

2 - Cologne

It is a magnificent city, one of the most beautiful in this area and, like many others, it is crossed by the River Reno. It is the fourth largest city in the country and the economic, cultural and historical capital of the North Rhine-Westphalia region. Despite its millenary history, today the city is the result of the reconstruction that took place after the Second World War, from which it came out almost totally destroyed due to bombing.

There are so many things to do and see in Cologne and the best starting point is undoubtedly the majestic Cathedral, symbol and main monument of the city. Open from November to April from 6:00 to 19:30, from May to October from 6:00 to 21:00, on Sundays and holidays from 13:00 to 16:30, admission is free. If you want to admire the city from above, we recommend that you get on the Koln Triangle, an innovative and modern glass tower with a panoramic observatory! Admission costs only € 3,00 and is open from 1 October to 30 April from Monday to Friday from 12:00 to 20:00 and Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10:00 to 20:00, from 1 May to 30 September from Monday to Friday from 11:00 to 23:00 and Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10:00 to 23:00.

3 - Aachen

In the original language Aachen, is a city that is located near the borders with Belgium and Holland. It has very ancient origins, dating back to the Roman era, but what makes it famous is that it was the capital of the Holy Roman Empire of Charlemagne.

Each itinerary includes as a starting point for the visit of this city begins its magnificent cathedral, the Marienkeiserdom, the first German monument to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Admission is free and you can take part in a guided tour at a cost of € 3,00, but pay attention to the opening hours: from January to March on Mondays from 10:00 to 14:00 and from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 : 00 to 17:00, from April to December on Mondays from 10:00 to 14:00 and from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00.
The historic center of the city, despite being quite extensive, is totally pedestrianized, and this will make you feel like you have stepped back in time!

4 - Bonn

It is a city located south of Cologne, with which it shares the airport, the Köln Bonn Airport. Located on the banks of the Rhine, it was the capital of Germany for 41 years, from 1949 to 1990. With the fall of the walls and the unification of the two Germanys, then in 1990 the capital became Berlin, with a very small majority.

Today is one of the most important cities in the country and, after leaving his political role, he was able to focus on his cultural and tourist side, becoming a very popular destination.
Among the many attractions in Bonn, the Poppelsdorf Castle, built between 1715 and 1753 and which today also houses the botanical garden of the University of Bonn, and the Beethoven House, museum dedicated to the famous composer who was born in the city.
The first is open Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 16:00, with free admission, while the second attraction is open every day from 10:00 to 18:00 and admission costs € 9,00.

5 - Dortmund

It is known for the industrial tradition, for the numerous breweries and, above all, for the football team, Borussia Dortmund. There are so many things to do and see here and we recommend that you dedicate at least a weekend to them.

Given its footballing importance, hosting one of the strongest teams in Europe, the football museum where, in an interactive journey, the contribution that Germany has given in this sport, both nationally and worldwide, is told. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 00pm, tickets start at € 18.
Many tourists, both German and foreign, also come here for visit the particular football stadium, the Signal Iduna Park, which organizes many guided tours of different lengths every day. These tours are held from 10:40 am, until 18:00 pm, in both English and German, and must be booked in advance on the official website, starting from € 15,00 (the cost varies depending on the type ).
And to enjoy a beautiful view of the whole city, don't forget to climb the Florianturm, located at the Wstfalenpark, not far from the stadium. Open Wednesday to Thursday from 14:00 to 18:00, Friday from 12:00 to 18:00, Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 12:00 to 20:00, admission costs only € 3,00.

6 - Essen

It is a city not far from Düsseldorf and can be considered one of those cities in Germany that must be visited at least once in a lifetime, even if only for a day.
And the example that everything can change: thanks to a huge environmental redevelopment work: in the past it was a gray and mainly industrial city-factory, today it is the greenest city in all of Germany. In addition, it also won the Green Capital of Europe award in 2017.

Among the many things to do and see, the main attraction is definitely the Zeche Zollverein, UNESCO World Heritage. It is the old coal mine on which the city's economy was based for decades. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00 to 18:00, the site includes various areas and activities, such as the Red Dot Design Museum (admission € 6,00), the Ruhr Museum (admission € 8,00), the Zollverein ice skating (admission € 7,00) and much more. There are different types of tickets, all available on the official website. Tours start from € 11,00 per person.

7 - Neanderthal Museum and Neander Valley

But not only cities, in Westaflia there are many natural and historical areas to discover!
One of these is the Neanderthal Museum which is located in Mettmann, about 25 minutes by train from Düsseldorf.

In this interactive museum, thanks to the help of texts, films and audio presentations, you will be able to learn about the history of humanity and retrace it from its beginnings until today. In addition to the permanent exhibitions, every year there are several temporary exhibitions on themes concerning the origins of man and nature.
Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00, closed on Mondays. Full ticket € 11,00, 6-14 years € 6,00, 4-5 years € 5,00, students € 8,00; all include the audio guide.

La Neander Valley, where 160 years ago the first remains of Neanderthal man were found, it is located just 400 meters from the museum, so you can visit everything in one day. Here you can have fun at the Ice Aged Animal Park getting to know the animals of the Ice Age, or walking the "Human Trail", a public area always accessible and with free admission. The valley is open for visits from November to February from 10am to 00pm and from March to October from 16am to 00pm.

8 - Drachenburg Castle

Another feature of this region is full of wonderful castles! We recommend that you include some of them in your trip, as they are absolutely worth a visit!

One of these is the Drachenburg Castle, located in the locality of Königswinter on the top of the Drachenfels relief. Its history is somewhat troubled: it was built at the behest of the financier Stephan von Sarter as a pleasure residence. Von Sarter, however, despite the quick construction of the castle, never entered it and, when he died, the property passed to his nephew. The latter in 1904 decided to convert the castle into a tourist attraction. Since 1986 the castle is officially a National Monument.

Full admission costs € 7,00, reduced admission € 5,00, pay attention to the opening hours: January and February every day from 12:00 to 17:00, from March to June from 11:00 to 18:00 , in July and August from 11:00 to 19:00, from September to 24 November from 11:00 to 18:00, from the end of November and December on Saturdays from 12:00 to 21:00 and on Sundays from 12:00 at 20:00.

9 - Augustusburg and Falkenlust castles

There are two castles that are absolutely worth a visit, located in the town of Brühl, on Parkplatz, 13 kilometers from Cologne.
These two castles, which since 1984 are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, represent one of the most important examples of Baroque and Rococo architecture and styles from all over Germany. From 1946 to 1996 Augustusburg Castle was the venue for all official state receptions of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Today they are home to museums: Augustusburg Castle can only be visited by taking part in a guided tour, as far as Falkenlust Castle is concerned you can visit it independently.

The opening hours are as follows: Tuesday to Friday from 9:00 to 12:00 and from 13:30 to 16:00, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10:00 to 17:00, closed in December and January. There are also different types of tickets based on what you want to visit: the entrance to the Augustusburg Castle costs € 9,00 full price, € 7,50 reduced, guided tour included in the price; admission to Falkenlust Castle costs € 7,00 full price, € 5,50 reduced; the combined ticket to visit both castles costs € 14,00 full price, € 11,00 reduced.

10 - Rhine River

By visiting different cities in the Westphalian region, such as Düsseldorf, Cologne or Bonn, you will realize the the central role played by the river that crosses them, the Rhine. In fact, it has always contributed to the development of these and many other cities that are located on its banks and today it also plays an important tourist role.

In fact, you cannot visit these cities and not enjoy a beautiful cruise along the Rhine! Prices generally range between € 10,00 and € 15,00 for a one-hour tour. But not only that: you can also go from Cologne to Düsseldorf and vice versa, or from Cologne to Bonn and vice versa by ferry, enjoying a few hours of relaxation among the wonders of this area! Or you can do the Reno Pass directly, a day pass to use the ferries without limitation (cost per person € 35,00).

Travel informed: useful information and necessary documents

  • Inhabitants: 7.913.000
  • Capital: Düsseldorf
  • Languages: German
  • Local currency: euro (€)
  • Weather: sub-oceanic type, mainly humid and rainy as it is influenced by the Atlantic. In fact, various disturbances come from the ocean throughout the year. Winter is cold, with an average January temperature of 3 ° and lows of 0 °. Summer, on the other hand, is mild, with an average temperature of 19 ° in August and highs of 25 °
  • Travel / health insurance: recommended.

    Where it is

    Westphalia is a region of northwestern Germany and is part of the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous in all of Germany. With the capital city of Düsseldorf, it is crossed by the River Rhine, which over the years has allowed the great economic and industrial development of the area.
    To the west it borders Belgium and the Netherlands, to the north with the German state of Lower Saxony, to the south-east with the state of Hesse and to the south with the state of Rhineland-Palatinate.

    Tours and excursions in Westphalia

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