- Lifestyle & Sports
- 02 Sep 15
The best of both worlds, the exciting yet under-explored German city of Düsseldorf surprises you with modern art, media and culture, while also boasting historic architecture and blossoming parks.
Where exactly is it?
In the western corner of Germany, overlooking the River Rhine. Düsseldorf is the regional capital of North Rhine-Westphalia and one of Germany’s major economic centres.
Why should I go there?
Düsseldorf is a fashion metropolis and also a renowned centre for media, art, culture and exhibitions. On the east bank lies the old part of the town, with its historic buildings such as Castle Tower and St. Lambertus Church, which date back to the 13th century. The west bank is dominated by modern brick and glass buildings housing everything from fashion stores to concert halls, cinemas, museums and workplaces. Surrounded by parks, Düsseldorf attracts nature lovers and families as well as business visitors.
How do I get there?
Aer Lingus’s non-stop flights take you to Düsseldorf in 1h 50min with prices starting at about €35 (one-way). Arriving at Düsseldorf airport, you can either take a taxi into the city centre or hop on a tram.
What’s the local beer like?
Düsseldorf is famous for its Altbier, German for ‘old beer’. This is a fermented beer made out of yeast. It has an almost copper colour and is closer in taste to lager than pale ale. Local brands include Frankenheimer Altbier, Uerige, Füchsen and Schumacher. Look out for the Bierbörse in Düsseldorf-Benrath, which takes place once a year. Unfolding in the shadow of Benrather Castle, you’ll find the streets littered with over 50 booths, inviting you to taste around 700 different brands of beer.
And the wine?
Düsseldorf also hosts wine festivals and tasting events, such as ProWein, held each March. Popular local varieties include Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) and Riesling. Also keep an eye out for world- renowned Drachenblut – German for ‘dragon blood’. Count us in!
How can I get around?
Düsseldorf has a good transport system, encompassing bus, train or tram. Timetables are adhered to with military precision: if the train is due at 4:49, expect it to arrive at 4.49. Trains are a fast way to travel to the outskirts of Düsseldorf, while the trams drive through the city centres. You can sample the sights by foot, also. A walk down from the Old Town to the Rheinterrassen, a sunlit terrace overlooking the Rhine River, will only take you about 15 minutes.
What’s the food like?
Düsseldorf is a globalised city, with many international restaurants. Mongos at Zollhof near Düsseldorf-Hafen serves Mongolian food. Try the alligator or ostrich meat. For Bratwurst or the traditional blood-sausage visit one of the German brewery pubs such as Im Goldenen Kessel on Bolker Strasse, in the heart of the Old Town.
What’s the nightlife like?
For a posh night out, visit Düsseldorf ’s Königsallee. Popular clubs include The Attic (theattic-club.com) and Jbriel Club (jbriel.com), which cover pretty much everything from rock to house and electronica. The bouncers are quite strict – neat attire is recommended. If you prefer to wear your runners and regular clothes, better
to check the historic part of the town, on the east bank. It’s quite famous for its pubs and bars, which transform into clubs over the course of the evening. If a little homesick, stop for a sup at one of the many Irish pubs, such as McLaughlins (Kurze Str, mclaughlins.de). For live music, check out the Mitsubishi Electric Halle (mitsubishi-electric-halle. de) in Düsseldorf-Oberbilk, featuring headliners such as Fall Out Boy and Wiz Khalifa.
What are the touristy things to do?
There’s a lot to see in Düsseldorf. You can either go on public guided tours or stroll around town on your own. Tour the Medienhaven and its harbour- houses, showcasing modern architecture at its finest. If you’re more interested in the city’s historical background, make sure to visit Düsseldorf ’s Old Town. When it comes to museums or art galleries, you’re spoiled for choice. Or you could go to the Düsseldorfer opera house (operamrhein.de/en_EN/ opernhaus-duesseldorf), or visit the Museum Kunstpalast (www.smkp. de/en/home.html), an art museum that not only displays paintings from the fifteenth to the beginning of the twentieth century, but also exhibits sculptures and applied arts.
For a cheap and simple way to get to know the city, invest in a DüsseldorfCard. Available at Tourist Information offices, hotels, the public transport ticket offices and many museums, the card grants unlimited use of buses and trams and free or reduced-price entry to attractions and museums. A three- day card costs you only €19, while a group/family ticket is only €38.
Anything I should avoid?
If your visit coincides with Düsseldorfer carnival, don’t be afraid of friendly drunks dressed up in various costumes. They come in peace. But watch out, they might want to give you a kiss. It’s totally normal and doesn’t really mean anything untoward; it’s just German custom around that time of the year.
What’s my challenge?
For a crash course on the history of Düsseldorf, you might want to stay up late to enjoy the city’s famous Night-Watchman tour (www.duesseldorf-tourismus.de/ en/public-guided-tours/through- duesseldorfs-old-town-with-a- night-watchman/), which will lead you through the cobblestone alleys of the Old Town.
What should I bring back?
If you’re into fashion, stock up on local designer labels such as ELA Selected, Rita Lagune Club Couture, or ESDE BAGS, to be found at shops throughout the town. We also recommend laying hands upon Killepitsch, a dark, herbal liqueur created during World War II by one of Düsseldorf ’s former residents, Hans Müller-Schloesser, and famous ever since.