I was in a double bind after staying in the Netherlands for 4 weeks. I questioned myself If I wanted to keep traveling or rather settle down in The Hague, or maybe do something else. When you travel for too long you get tired easily and always have to make decisions where to go next, right? Then I had a look at a small map that showed how close from The Hague to Western Germany is, though to be honest I wasn’t really interested in going back to Cologne for example, my experience there was definitely positive but it’s not somewhere I definitely wanted to go back, so I just changed my plans and purchased a ticket for Dusseldorf. It takes such a long time to think but only takes a minute to make a decision, I know I’m a last minute decision maker, at times it’s really disturbing when you make a travel plan, but let it be.
What to do in Dusseldorf
Luckily there was a festival (Düsseldorfer Rheinkirmes) going on when I just got there. It’s the “Largest Fair on the Rhine”, Düsseldorfer Rheinkirmes celebrates St. Apollinaris, the patron saint of Dusseldorf, with a massive 10-day funfair starting the third Sunday of each July. About 4 million people make their way to the neon-lit fairgrounds every year to enjoy a wide variety of rides and games.
Event highlights include the “Historic Procession” of marching bands, uniformed shooters, and horse-led carriages, the spectacular fair-closing fireworks, and a target shooting competition. This competition lies at the heart of the Rheinkirmes — taking place since the event’s inception in 1435, its winner holds the title of “Schützenkönig” for a year. My host Tobias took me to a stunning bar on the boat and we had some nice traditional German beers.
There’s also Rhine Tower (Rheinturm) where you can have an overall look of Dusseldorf, many tourists visit it and go back home with high satisfaction, especially if you stay in the city on a short stay. Nice views and breath-taking.
Schloss Benrath is my favorite place. Tobias and Kornelius recommended me to go there in the morning by bike and I followed their advice, though It was raining. Speaking of cycling, I was so lucky to be able to rent Kornelius’s bike as he took a tram to go to work at that morning. Schloss Benrath is about 10km away from the city center of Dusseldorf which is a Baroque palace constructed between 1756 and 1773. The architecture was beautiful and worth stopping by and taking some nice pictures. I also enjoyed walking through the park that is equipped with rare trees and flowers.
After having seen Schloss Benrath I had a small brunch in the park and headed off to the downtown. Dusseldorf’s city center is basically divided into two parts, it’s “old town” and “new town(much more like an ordinary downtown). I loved seeing Carlsplatz Markt and Burgplatz as both were full of young people and stunning summer vibes. Carlsplatz Markt is a typical German-styled conventional market. Fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, hams and cheese can be found. I’d suggest you to have lunch there since you will be able to find any kind of food, it could be quick kebab to a sit down meal.
Dusseldorf is not a big city, especially if you want to compare it to Berlin or Hamburg, so approximately within 2 days you can see almost everything in the city. As I was with Kornelius’s bike, I decided to cycle to Japanese Garden. Speaking of which, do you know what Dusseldorf is famous for? There’s a huge Japanese society in the city, so most Dusseldorf inhabitants aren’t so unfamiliar with Asian cuisines and cultures.
The garden is a wonderful place for meditation, despite the distance from the city center. It was such a beautiful sunny day so I didn’t hesitate to cycle but if you walk, it’s going to take a while from the downtown. Then you may ask me if it’s worth the efforts and I’d say yes. There’s a nicely formed landscape (excellent trees and plant selection) around a pond and a short creek. You might be able to see some cosplayers around with great outfits there.
Tips for future Dusseldorf visitors
1.Buy a ticket
The checkers of Rheinbahn must be very motivated to work these days (seemingly), thus they tend to check frequently on the tram. I mean it’s obvious that you always need to buy a ticket in order to use trams but some travelers refuse to pay for it as they think they won’t get checked, but you never know about it. In case you don’t have a ticket to show there’s no way to avoid paying a penalty (60 euro).
Once I traveled with my bike on the tram and I never knew I’d need a ticket for my bike as well and got caught by (very rude) checkers and I was asked to pay 60 euro as penalty, luckily enough I ended up with paying 10 euro next day after a really long negotiation, so I recommend you to be careful about it in Germany. 4 years ago my friends and I were caught in Berlin and we paid 120 euro (40 by one and one).
Me – in Holland I never paid anything for my bike, at least on a tram.
German police – Sir, we are not in Holland, we are in Germany.
Well, let me tell you. Do what romans do, when you are in Rome. And apparently not reading the instructions regrading city’s transportation is also considered as your fault, so once again, “watch out”.
2.Visit River Rhein and see a sunset
I was lucky enough to have a company like Tobias. He took me to a beautiful place to see a sunset by River Rhien. His place is only 10 minutes from a small beach by bike so it couldn’t be perfecter. God, how can I not love the sunset? It’s incredible.
3.Eat Japanese food
Dusseldorf is unofficially the Japanese capital in Europe, no wonder how come it overflows with plenty of Japanese food places. Oh, my favorite is Soba and Gyoja.
4.Get an ice-cream at Pia-Eis
According to Tobias, they have the best ice cream in town and he was right. Tasty, and cheap! Your efforts waiting for an Ice cream will be paid off.
Eis-Cafe Pia (Kasernenstraße 1, 40213 Düsseldorf)
5.Are you a museum person?
I am, well, not always but if there’s something related to history or art, I’m definitely in. There are a couple of interesting museums in Dusseldorf, unluckily I was there on Monday (all interesting museums are closed) and I wasn’t available the day before, so had to bother myself to find alternative plans.
Top Museums in Düsseldorf
- Classic Remise Dusseldorf
- Neanderthal Museum
- Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen (I really wanted to visit this one, what a pity)
- K21 Art Collection
- Düsseldorf Film Museum
- Hetjens Museum (Deutsches Keramikmuseum)
- Goethe Museum
Have you been to Dusseldorf? Did Japanese food entertain your sensitive tongue?
All the love,