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Day in Koln & One Day in Dusseldorf -- Suggested Sites?

Typically, I would have researched this myself, but I have been out of the country for a couple weeks and just learned I will have this free time. (I even have Rick Steve's Germany 2013 at home on my shelf! Oh well!) I was in Germany this summer but most of that time was spent in Bavaria with some time in Berlin.

I will have a free day in Koeln to explore. What would you say I must see? I definitely want to see the famous cathedral. What else?

I will have a free day next Monday in Dusseldorf to myself from my work trip. I will be staying in Dusseldorf on Sunday night but I will not be free until after 7 p.m. that night-so I am mostly looking for ideas for Monday. I will catch a train back to my temporary home base in the Netherlands around 6 or 7 p.m.

I am happy to walk all day long. I love outdoor sites (and this weather is beautiful for a person from the cold northern part of the US!), history, art, and am truly open to just about any suggestion!

Thank you!
Angie

Posted by
12040 posts

"I love outdoor sites (and this weather is beautiful for a person from the cold northern part of the US!), history, art, and am truly open to just about any suggestion!" Düsseldorf may disappoint you, then. It's a fairly modern city and the small Altstadt looks more like something they haven't gotten around to ripping down yet, rather than a well-preserved historic district. The main attraction of the city is high-end shopping, as the German fashion industry made it's home in Düsseldorf.

Let's see, things to do, other than shop... you can have yourself a nice walk along the Rhine promenade. The district of Oberkasel on the other side of the river is extremely nice, but there aren't really any "sites" to visit. You could also visit the Stadtpark, but when I was last there, a large portion was ripped up for some kind of infrastructure renovation.

Now that being said, I actually like Düsseldorf. As long as you don't approach it with the same expectations that you might have, say, Munich, Prague, Paris or Berlin, it can be an enjoyable city. But first-class tourist destination, it isn't.

Posted by
2081 posts

Angela,

There is the Germanic/Roman museum near the Koln Cathedral. Its a somewhat large museum, but some really cool artifacts. They have a "living room" setup with some of the roman floor and wall tiles. Impressive!

there is also the Praetorian excavation in town.

If you like Chocolate, there is the Lindt factory. Yummy treats too.

you can walk down the pedestrian only shopping area.

Happy trails.

Posted by
1976 posts

If you like art, check out the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. It has a fabulous modern art collection.

A lesser-known church in Cologne is the Romanesque Basilica of St. Ursula. The Golden Chamber supposedly contains the remains of St. Ursula and her 11,000 virgin companions martyred on their pilgrimage. It's a great story - you can read a version of it on Wikipedia.

Posted by
4654 posts

The Kunstpalast museum in Dusseldorf has a particularly good collection of glassware: some really beautiful pieces.

Posted by
53 posts

Thank you everyone for all the great suggestions! Tom-I am very open to any new experience here in Europe and am sure to love something about Dusseldorf. I have spent 2 weeks in small town Netherlands and loved every minute. :)

Posted by
12091 posts

Hi,

"...am sure to love something about Düsseldorf." How about its beer? When I got to Düsseldorf on my first trip, I found out that Düsseldorf had its own brand of beer...Altbeer, unlike the beers up north, like in Dortmund and Bremen, or in the south.

Düsseldorf is a wealthy, expensive city. Its reputation and image is totally different from neighboring cities such as Dortmund, Duisburg, Essen, or Mönchengladbach. You'll see that wealth in the Innenstadt on the Königsallee, where the main activity is shopping, ie, high end shopping. That's the main drag (the Königsallee) for the shopping area. As for the Altstadt you can get there from the main train station by U-Bahn, the subway; the stop is Heinrich Heine Allee.

Posted by
15573 posts

OK, my 2 cents is to spend an hour or 2 in the evening at Papa Joe's Bier Salon in the Cologne Altstadt. Play the Tunis & Schael animatronic Tuba and Accordian juke box. The coin slot is on a post in the main bar with the list of songs, 1 euro per play, a variety of contemporary favorites and traditional German tunes. Amazing! You can have dinner and drink some koelsch, the local beer. The 20 cl cylindrical glass is the traditional way, but I go for the tourist 50 cl glass. Tradition be damned, I hate ordering so often.

Posted by
833 posts

Fred mentioned Düsseldorf's Altbier. Make sure to order Altbier in Düsseldorf and Kölsch in Köln, but don't mix it up! It's a bit of a rivalry between the cities. I've heard you'll get some nasty looks ordering an Altbier in Köln.

To see in Köln - like you mentioned, the Dom - the cathedral. The Hohenzollern Bridge, where everyone attaches locks, is a nice walk over the Rhine. Neumarkt is a nice little area. Check out the Heinzelmännchenbrunnen sculpture in the Altstadt area - Here's a little article on the tale of the gnomes building the city.

Posted by
19 posts

I was in Koln last May and found the city very interesting. The Catherdral is a must. My husband and I toured the Treasury and even made it to the top of the Cathedral to see Fat Peter. I agree that Roman-German Museum can't be missed. A museum that isn't often mentioned is the Praetorium which is a Roman city found under Koln. It is just a few blocks from the Roman-German Museum. Koln is very easy walking and we were able to see 3-4 sites a day and having a relaxing evening. Check out the lively crowds that gather around the Catherdral. There was a rowdy group one day making a big mess but in the morning the group and mess were gone.