There are places we love, and there are places we (secretly) hate, then there are some cities we hardly know exist! Us Irish are a funny lot, with a serious love for travel. If the drink the is cheap, the sun is shining and there are some fun things to do, we’re generally happy campers. While we’ve been travelling to hip German cities like Berlin and Munich (can you say…Oktoberfest!) for years, Dusseldorf is a German city we are just getting to know and love. Here’s why you should visit and all the fun things to do in Dusseldorf!
With direct flights from Cork Airport to Dusseldorf with Aer Lingus, you can be out of work and into the longest bar in the world (yes, it’s located in Dusseldorf!) in less than 3 hours. Looking for another fun city break destination? Try Budapest or maybe the Christmas markets in Germany!
Here are 8 fun reasons the Irish love Germany, and why you really need to book yourself a cheap weekend break to darling Dusseldorf.
**Cover Image by Frank Friedrichs / Flickr Creative Commons**
Fun Things To Do in Dusseldorf
1. Drink some beer!
Be it Beer, Pils, or wheat ale…it can be argued that you won’t find finer breweries anywhere in the world than in Germany. It’s probably the one thing that truly brings the Irish and the Germans together – our mutual and unparalleled love of beer.
2. Make friends with the locals
While us Irish are hard to understand at the best of times, asking what’s the craic or how’s the form, any goss, shortening words os the norm. We still can’t compete with the German language and their way with words. The Germans actually have one word to describe “a brilliant plan one hatches while drunk”. It’s “schnapsidee”, in case you’re wondering! In Ireland we insult with phrases like “He’s some eejit” where as in Germany they have single word (backpfeifengesicht) that literally mean “a face badly in need of a fist”. Brilliant.
3. Do a food tour
We’re obsessed with bread. They’re obsessed with bread. We LOVE sausages, they LOVE sausages. While we’re more of a curry chip nation, they go one step further with the Currywurst. While we might be proud of Brennan’s or a good loaf of McCambridge Soda Bread, Germans have bakeries on every corner and have over 600 main types of bread and 1,200 different types of pastries and rolls. A bread-lovers PARADISE.
4. Party the weekend away
When you travel to Germany you’ll quickly realise just how much we are getting ripped off in Germany. It’s not just the beer, either. Germany also makes some great wines, both red and white, which you can pick up in the supermarket for about €3. A pint will only set you back €2.50 so you can buy 2 pints in Germany for the price of every 1 back home!
5. Watch a game of soccer
While this won’t apply to everyone, and many os us Irish have a softer spot for GAA rather than soccer, it can’t be denied that we’re not a soccer mad nation and just a teeny tiny bit jealous of world-class teams such as Bayern Munich. Be it to watch a match, do a stadium tour or just visit the home of your favourite team, Germany is a great destination for soccer lovers.
The festival that became so big they now have mini festivals around the world so those not in Germany can still celebrate their love of beer. Even Dublin and Cork and have mini Oktoberfest events, and how can the Irish not love a country that has a two week long festival entirely dedicated to beer!
7. Christmas Markets
We’re slightly Christmas-obsessed back in Ireland, with many hard core Christmas lovers shopping up to a year in advance. How can we not love and appreciate the country that invented the Christmas market and continues to host the best festive markets in the world.
8. Visit some castles
They might not have Blarney Castle or Blackrock Castle, but they do have insanely massive fairytale castles perched on hilltops that looks so magical and so impressive it’s hard to believe they are actually real. If you love castles, you can’t help but love Germany!
Why You Should Travel To Dusseldorf
Now that we’ve established our love of Germany and all things German, lets talk about why Dusseldorf should be your city of choice for that much needed weekend break. Sure, Berlin is sexy and Munich is fun (at least once a year!) but Dusseldorf has a lot to offer the first time visitor and will charm the pants off you!
Cheap flights from Ireland
There’s no point telling you to visit a city unless it’s easy to get there! Luckily for us, Aer Lingus has direct flights to Dusseldorf, making a weekend in this incredible city very easy to plan. Return flights start from as little as €104 return from Cork Airport.
Incredible views from Rhine Tower.
What better way to get acquainted with a city than to get up above it? You can either go to the 360 viewing platform, or enjoy a meal in their revolving restaurant, which completes one full rotation an hour. That mightn’t sound too fast, but I don’t think I’d want to be spinning wildly around while eating!
A treat for art lovers
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not that I’m no art connoisseur, but there’s no denying that modern art museums are a lot of fun. There’s always something interesting going on, but just make sure to check their site as museums often close to change their exhibits. Once you have finished visited Kunsthalle Modern Art Musem, make sure to check out the Kunst im Tunnel, where the art is displayed in a recently opened Tunnel. I guess this is what they mean when they talk about the underground art scene. (I couldn’t resist that joke, sorry)
Shop til you drop on King’s Avenue
If you fancy treating yourself, Düsseldorf can certainly accommodate! Simply take a walk down the tree-lined Koenigsallee (King’s Avenue) and you’ll find more boutique shops than you (or your wallet) can handle. From Gucci to Chanel, they’re all here, but don’t worry, in the streets just off Koenigsallee there are shops to suit every budget!
Summer Fairs on the Rhine
A great time to visit Düsseldorf is during the summer. Not only is the average temperature a balmy 22 degrees, but on the third Sunday of July an amazing 9 day festival takes off. This is the largest fair that takes place on the Rhine River, so those creative Germans have called it “Größte Kirmes am Rhein” or in English “The Largest Fair on the Rhine”. How do they come up with this stuff? Aside from the name, this fair is truly amazing, it’s Germany’s third largest fair and has been running since 1435! There are marching bands, horse and carriages, a target shooting competition and the phenomenal fireworks that close out the fair.
Explore ancient ruins
A short U-Bahn ride from the centre of Düsseldorf lies the 1000 year old ruins of Kaiserpfalz Kaiserswerth castle. This place has seen quite a lot of action over the years, and it takes a visit to the once great castle to appreciate it fully. Recently restored it’s a great way to spend a few hours, and don’t forget to bring your camera! Once you’ve had your fill of the Instagoodness that is the castle, take some time to explore the old world vibe of the surrounding area.
Cologne can be visited in a day
People from Düsseldorf may not be too happy about this inclusion they see Cologne as their biggest rivals, but if you’re visiting around Easter time then Cologne’s winter carnival has to be on your itinerary. KThings kick off here on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday and goes on for a full week! There’s parades, colour, and generally a whole lot dressing up. Just look at this photo and tell me this doesn’t look like fun! The train runs several times a day, and tickets are €20, or you could take one of the boat tours up either!
Beer tasting in Old Town
It’s not a trip to Germany if you don’t try their local beer is it? You’re not going to be getting Stein-sized beers in Düsseldorf though, the local beer is Altbier and is served in 200ml glasses. Be careful though, your glass will be perpetually refilled until you put your coaster on top to let the bar staff know that you’ve had your fill. There’s no shortage of bars either, the Altstadt (the Old Town) has over 300 bars packed into it, leading to locals calling it “the longest bar in the world”.
Boat tour on the Rhine
Boat tours are one of my favourite ways to see a city, and with the Rhine an integral part of this city’s history, what better way to see it than from the water? These tours are especially useful when you’ve been walking all day, but still want to explore more! These tours start from around €10 for adults, and there are several different options you can take! Check out the different tours offered on the Düsseldorf Tourism site.
Wander around the Hofgarten
In the middle of a city, sometimes it’s nice to get away from buildings and just be surrounded by nature for a while. The Hofgarten is right in the Old Town, and you can easily spend an hour walking around this urban park. Perfect for a post-lunch stroll to walk off all that amazing German food!
Food from around the world
If you’ve spent any amount of time in Germany, you’ll know that they’re serious about their Kebabs, and Middle Eastern food in general. Libanon Express is one of the best places to grab a lunch to go, but more than likely you’ll want to hang out in this beautiful restaurant and have soak up the Arabian Nights vibe. If you’ve never had Lebanese food, this place is an excellent introduction to it!
Visit the spectacular Burg Castle
Just an hour outside Düsseldorf is the medieval Burg Castle. The castle was completely destroyed in the 1600s, but it was rebuilt using the original plans between 1890 and 1914, it’s now back to its former glory! When you think of a German mountain castle, Burg Castle will fulfil every detail of that dream, and will be much less crowded than the famous Neuschwanstein Castle. To get there, you can either rent a car, or take an urban railway S7 to Solingen Mitte. Then hop on bus 683 to Burger Bahnhof. Then you have a short 15 minute walk to the Castle’s entry.
Going to a puppet show might not be something you consider normally, but this small theatre puts on shows that although are aimed at kids, the shows are enjoyable for everyone. They can only seat 80-100 people, so booking in advance is advised. Check their website for the schedule and see if you can fit in a show!
With direct flights from Cork to Dusseldorf every Wednesday and Sunday with Aer Lingus, you can get to Dusseldorf with minimum hassle, and enjoy one of Europe’s gems!
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