6 day trips from Düsseldorf
Thanks to its fairly central location within North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), trivago’s hometown of Düsseldorf is a great jumping off point for exploring the surrounding area, brimming with historic towns, world-class museums and plenty of Instagram opportunities just waiting to be explored. Whether you’re a veteran Germanophile or new to the beauty of Deutschland, travelling to neighbouring cities and towns will help you to get to know more about German life and the history of this beautiful region.
Düsseldorf is also very well connected to Germany’s rail network, so getting around by train is easy. Simply pick your destination, grab your ticket and go!
Day trips within an hour of Düsseldorf
Distance Düsseldorf to Cologne: 30 minutes by RE train
It’s not easy to sum up NRW’s biggest city in just a few words; despite being the two being fierce rivals, most Düsseldorfers would nevertheless agree that Cologne is a cool, young, student city with plenty of attractions to make spending a day here worthwhile.
Just a few steps from the Hauptbahnhof you’ll find Cologne Cathedral, Germany’s most visited landmark. It’s well worth going inside to check out the impressive architecture or even climbing to the top of the spire (if you have the legs for it). A handful of sights are also located in the Altstadt, but for a more authentic Cologne experience, head to the trendy Belgian Quarter for an afternoon of bar or boutique-hopping, or get the S-bahn to hipster capital Ehrenfeld to experience the city’s bars and clubs.
Don’t miss: taking in the view over Cologne from the KölnTriangle Panorama, trying a cool glass of Kölsch in the Altstadt or taking a sombre turn around the NS-DOC museum, dedicated to life in the city during the Nazi period.
For top tips on where to eat in Cologne, click here.
Distance Düsseldorf to Dusiburg: 15 minutes by RE train
“I really want to go to Duisburg,” said no-one ever. It’s cruel but true; the industrial hub of the Ruhr region (the Ruhrpott) doesn’t have the best reputation – and at first glance it’s easy to see why: grey industrial buildings and factories are pretty much everywhere. However, if you scratch the surface you’ll find that Duisburg’s hidden sights make it a great day trip from Düsseldorf.
Duisburg’s biggest draw is probably the incredible Landschaftspark, a former coal and steel plant turned into a recreational area, where you can explore gigantic steel structures which have been reclaimed and incorporated back into nature. Climb to the top of the viewing tower for an amazing glimpse over the surrounding area or visit at night to see the plant illuminated in a dazzling light show.
Don’t miss: seeking out the perfect Instagram shot at Tiger & Turtle, the innovative sculpture built to imitate a rollercoaster (on a clear day you can see all the way to Düsseldorf!) or sampling one of 222 different beers at Finkenkrug pub.
Click here for more tips on a day in Duisburg.
Distance Düsseldorf to Essen: 30 minutes by RE train
Also located in the Ruhrpott, Essen has a similar industrial past to Duisburg. However today the city is well-known for being a bustling student hub boasting great bars and restaurants, as well as cultural and historic sites. And despite being one of Germany’s ten largest cities, Essen is also one of the country’s greenest, with the leafy suburbs of Bredeney, Werden and Kettwig a world away from the industrial landscape of the Ruhrpott.
Despite its more modern outlook, Essen has preserved its past and its most popular sight is the UNESCO-listed Zeche Zollverein, a sprawling industrial mining complex which has been turned into a series of museums dedicated to life in the area. In contrast to the Landschaftspark in Duisburg, the Zollverein was built with aesthetics in mind and is home to various examples of Bauhaus-style architecture.
Don’t miss: a stroll through Grugapark to see the whimsical Hundertwasserhaus (also known as the Ronald McDonald house thanks to its distinctive colours) or a visit to the Rüttenscheid neighbourhood to sample the best bars and restaurants in the city.
Day trips within two hours of Düsseldorf
Distance Düsseldorf to Königswinter Bahnhof: 1 hour 37 by RE train (change in Cologne)
Schloss Drachenfels is one of the more scenic castles within easy reach of Düsseldorf, offering a panoramic view of the surrounding Siebengebirge mountains, the Rhine and even stretching as far as Cologne and Düsseldorf (if your eye-sight is really good).
On arrival at Königswinter, you can either take the funicular up to the very top or endure enjoy a very steep ascent on foot. About half way up to the peak is the Schloss, which dates back to 1882 and is now home to a museum and gallery, but carry on further and you will reach the ruins of the Burg, dating as far back as 1138. Here you’ll also find a café and observation deck built very conspicuously into the side of the mountain.
Distance Düsseldorf to Aachen: 1 hour 32 by RE train
A former Roman spa town, Aachen is one of Germany’s most historic cities. Serving as both the residence of Charlemagne and later the place of coronation for Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire, Aachen boasts plenty of historic sites. However, the jewel in its crown is undoubtedly the UNESCO-listed Aachen Cathedral, an imposing gothic structure dating back 814.
From late November, Aachen is also home to one of Germany’s most picturesque Christmas markets.
Don’t miss: trying Printen, a local biscuit delicacy, or venturing to the Dreiländereck, a point where the borders of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands meet.
Distance Düsseldorf to Koblenz: 1 hour 44 by RE train
Situated at the confluence of the Moselle and Rhine rivers, Koblenz is an attractive city with everything you’d expect from Germany: a picturesque old town with traditional timber-framed buildings, nice restaurants with plenty of al-fresco seating, a river promenade, a castle… the list goes on. Koblenz is best visited on a warm sunny day so you can spend your time wandering the pretty streets, before taking the cable car up to Festung Ehrenbreitstein for great views over the river.
Don’t miss: grabbing an amazing ice-cream from the famous eGoLoSIa gelateria, and – if you have time – taking the bus out to Schloss Stolzenfels further upstream.
Day trips to the Netherlands from Düsseldorf
The Dutch cities of Eindhoven, Maastricht and Utrecht are within easy reach of Düsseldorf and can be visited as either a day trip or longer weekend break. All three can be reached by either train, FlixBus or Deutsche Bahn bus.
For more tips on life in Germany follow Continental Breakfast Travel.
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