36 Hours in Dusseldorf
When you think of Dusseldorf , you commonly associate the city with it’s world class architecture and art museums.
However, as I discovered on a recent trip to the city as part of the Youth Hotspots in Germany campaign, there is so much more to the city than just that.
From their world-class coffee shops where you can sample, high quality coffee made from hand roasted coffee beans to discovering the world’s largest decimal clock to hanging out with the local students in the cool neighbourhood of Bilk to enjoying the city’s fantastic imbisse (snack) bars where you can enjoy everything from Reibekuchen to falafel sandwiches…lots and lots to do but only 36 Hours to spend in Dusseldorf….
Here’s what I did 🙂
2pm Check in: Jugendherberge Dusseldorf
With great views of Aldstadt across Rhine, the Jugendherberge Dusseldorf (Dusseldorfer Str. 1) is modern, clean and comfortable hostel. It’s an odd location for a hostel, situated in the upmarket residential neighbourhood of Oberkassel. However, being away from the hullaboo of the Aldstadt makes this hostel a nice, chilled out base for exploring the city. Clean and spacious rooms , generous breakfast, friendly staff plus free wifi in the lobby are other key features of this hostel. Bed in a 4 bed dorm starts at €28.50 while a double room for 2 people with ensuite bathroom starts around the €70 mark.
Getting there: From Main Station take U70, U74, U75, U76 or U77 to Luegplatz, from there it’s 7 mins on foot along Kaiser-Wilhelm-Ring to the hostel.
Top tip: Free sunday organ concert, Andreaskirche
If you are lucky to time your visit to Dusseldorf on a Sunday, pop into one of Rhineland’s most beautiful baroque churches , Andreaskirche ( Andreasstrasse 27 )
Every Sunday at 4pm, they offer a free organ concert
4pm: Head over to the trendy student quarter, the Bilk
Mondays all the museums are closed in Dusseldorf and across Germany.
The next best thing for me to do was go for a walk up the Rhine embankment to the student quarter of Bilk and the adjacent Mediahafen district.
The Bilk is one of the favourite neighbourhoods for students to live in and this is reflected in the hub of cool cafes spread across the area. You can discover gems like ‘Kaffeepiraten’ (Neusser Str. 121) which serves great coffee, top notch food with a range of daily specials (Chicken curry with rice for just €6.50 ) plus they offer free, fast wifi.
Plus you can unearth shops like the quirky ‘Romantiklabor’ ( Lorettostrasse 32 ) where everything is handcrafted. No wonder this was voted one of the most beautiful shops in Germany by Architecture & Living magazine.
6pm: Sunset o’clock. Mediahafen
One of the best places to capture sunset in Dusseldorf is in front of Frank Gehry’s eye catching warped ‘Neuer Zollhof’ which stands against the towering backdrop of the Rheinturm. The three dancing, slanting towers are just one of the many creative, architectural icons you can spot in this area. You have Claude Vasconi’s ‘Grand Bateau’ which resembles an ocean liner, the North Rhine Westphalia parliament plus William Alsop’s Colorium with it’s kaleidoscope glass front. Walking around, despite the futuristic skyline, I still feel a glorious sense of decay about this old industrial port area. The huge warehouses that were lying empty have now been given a new lease of life thanks to the TV and radio stations, media agencies who have been setting up shop in these vast spaces.
6:30pm Meet the iconic Rheinturm, the world’s largest decimal clock
Another architectural highlight of the Dusseldorf skyline is the towering Rheinturm. It’s a 168 metres tall.Visitors can pop into the tower’s self-service, revolving (revolves around the tower shaft once every half hour) restaurant at the top where you can enjoy Black Forest gateau and coffee while enjoying amazing views of the Rhine River and city landmarks. On a clear day you can see as far as Cologne Cathedral.
Interesting fact: When you are standing in front of the tower, note the portholes lining the tower which form part of the world’s largest decimal clock.
7pm: Cortado and free wifi at Woyton
My caffeine binge continues. A short walk from Mediahafen, I stumbled upon local coffee chain, Woyton.
Cortado here is excellent & the chocolate brownie is wow…. Loved this place.
Anyday give me Woyton over Starbucks and Costa Coffee.
Note: Guests can take advantage of their free wifi for 1 hour.
7:30pm The walk home to the hostel on the Rheinkniebrucke…
8pm Dinner at the Jugendherberge Dusseldorf
You can enjoy not only a nice breakfast but also lunch and dinner at the majority of the Jugendherberge network of hostels in Germany.
This is handy, especially at the end of a long day of travel.
For dinner, I enjoyed the delicious Linseneintopf – a delicious lentil stew with some Bockwurst. Plus they have an excellent salad buffet. On top of that, for dessert I had Apflestrudel with cream. I washed that down with some of the excellent local Schlosser Alt beer that you can order separately from the hostel bar. Great meal.
Cost: Including the beer, €9.
It’s another sunny day in Dusseldorf and perfect for a morning walk along the Rheinufer Oberkassel
Before heading over to Aldstadt I continue my pilgrimage of Dusseldorf’s great coffee houses at Kaffeeschmeide (Belsenstraße 11). I am beginning to realize that Dusseldorf is a place for caffeine fiends and few brew a better cup of coffee than Tamas Fejer. For the last 7 years he has been roasting his own coffee beans and supplying local caffeine fiends. A regular customer summed up the magic of this place for me nicely- ‘There are many places you can drink good coffee but few places where it is made for you to enjoy at as an experience.’
Cost: Espresso- €1.50
11am ‘Caffe im NRW Forum’
Caffeine binge continues.
Before popping into the museum I check out the very stylish ‘Caffe im NRW Forum’ where the coffee is great and lots of hipsters . Free wifi too.
11:30am NRW Forum Dusseldorf
Dusseldorf has a hive of world class museums and the NRW Forum Dusseldorf (Ehrenhof 2, ) is one great example. Museum holds exhibitions on some of the most diverse topics in pop culture ranging from applied art, design, advertising, architecture & photography to video, comic books and fashion.
I was lucky to be visiting at the time of the great singer and photographer ‘Bryan Adams-exposed’ exhibition, a comprehensive crosssection of his best work.
Cost: €5.80 ( Concession €3.80 with a student card)
Entrance price is reduced to €3.80 on a Friday after 6pm.
1pm Lunch at the Farmers Market
For lunch I decided to go to the excellent Farmers Market in the old town.
I nip over to Borra’s Imbiss , a great place to sample Reibekuchen –delicious Germany potato fritters that are a typical snack of the Rheinland and usually savoured with some apfelsauce. Later I buy some baguette bread & gouda cumin cheese from Das Kaseparadies, a sole juicy clementine is my delicious dessert.
2:30 pm Filmmuseum
The Filmmuseum is a must see for movie buffs visiting Dusseldorf. You can learn more about cool stuff like the machinery used in filmmaking, art of special effects & often the museum hold special exhibitions on famous movie actors plus they have inhouse ‘Black Box’ cinema which shows rare flicks & silent movies accompanied by organ player.
Top Tip: Last hour (4pm) is free everyday so time your visit accordingly. Otherwise admission price is €3 ( Concessions: €1.50 )
4pm Lazing in the sunshine on the Rhine Promenade
Suns out and it’s a beautiful day. I decide to take it easy for a few hours and laze on the steps at Burgplatz with a book. It’s the perfect spot in Dusseldorf for watching the world go by. Boats and barges chug along merrily down the mighty Rhine. Thirsty tourists pack the several bars and cafes that line the promenade, sipping on the famous local Altbier.
As day turns to night and sunset approaches, steps get noticeably busier with buskers of varying levels of musical proficiency dropping by and serenading the crowds with their tunes. Meantime, the age old view of the Rhine just doesn’t seem to fade with time. I put my book back in the bag, enjoy the ebullient flow of life around me against the panoramic backdrop of the Rheinkniebrucke and Oberkassel quarter. These few hours were pure bliss.
6:46pm A night at the Museum: K20
Arrived late. Luckily, the K20 on first Wednesday is open for free from 6-10pm.
The Kunstsammlung 20 (Grabbeplatz 5 ) is one of the world’s most respected art museums with a cracking collection of modern art which ranges from Classical Modernism to American Pop Art and other major contemporary works.
A who’s who of classical modernism, the museum’s permanent collection features works of Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Piet Mondrian plus over 100 drawings and paintings by Paul Klee. The collection of postwar American art includes works by Jackson Pollock and Frank Stella and by Pop artists Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol.
9pm Falafel sandwiches at Libanon Express
Eating out in Dusseldorf is a pricey affair so snacking is the best way to save money. One of the best imbisse joints in town is Libanon Express ( Berger Strasse 21) who hands down make the best falafel sandwiches in Dusseldorf.
Top tip Avoid the ‘longest bar in the world’
The Aldstadt is famous for it’s raucous nightlife which has earned it the grand epitaph of the ‘longest bar in the world.’ Unfortunately during my visit in March, such lofty claims seemed to have only attracted the worst kind of tourists: stag and hen parties were howling in their droves from England and different parts of Germany. Avoid this part of town and head to Bilk or Flingern where there is a less touristy vibe and some cool local bars.
10pm Altbier at Schlüssel Oberkassel
My last tip. No trip to Dusseldorf is complete without a few glasses of the locals favourite beer, the ‘Alt’ . It’s a dark, rich and top-fermented beer. In the Aldstadt you will find a number of small, traditional breweries that serve this beer. I visited the Oberkassel outpost- Schlüssel Oberkassel (Oberkasseler Str. 84, about a 10 minute walk from the hostel) of the famous Hausbrauerei Zum Schussel. Along with a glass of the Altbier, I snack on some Bockwurst, rye bread accompanied by some sweet mustard. It’s a nice wee pub, packed with friendly locals, a great way to wind down the day and finish my Dusseldorf trip.
Total cost of 36 Hours in Dusseldorf
2 nights in 4 bed dorm at Jugendherberge Dusseldorf , including breakfast €57
Coffee at Kaffeepiraten €2.30
Cortado and Chocolate cake at Woyton: €4.50
Dinner, with beer at Jugendherberge Dusseldorf: €9
Espresso at Kaffeeschmeide €1.50
Caffe im NRW Forum €2.50
NRW Forum Dusseldorf €5.80
Lunch at Farmers Market: €4.50
The Kunstsammlung 20: €Free
Falafel sandwich at Libanon Express: €3.20
Altbier and bockwurst at Schlüssel Oberkassel €6
Total cost €99.30
Düsseldorf is well connected with regular services to Cologne and Aachen via the excellent S-Bahn network. There are regular ICE trains running to Frankfurt (€65, 1¾ hours), Berlin (€89, four hours) and Munich (€115, five hours).
Many domestic and international carriers serve the Düsseldorf International Airport
Or alternatively you can fly to Weeze which is served by low-cost airlines like Ryanair and is 70 km from Düsseldorf . Buses to to Düsseldorf leave from outside the terminal. Or alternatively hop on a bus to Weeze train station (the journey takes approximately 10 minutes) and from there to Düsseldorf by train is 1 hour & 15 minutes.
Big thanks to the German National Tourism Office , their partners for the ‘Youth Hotspots’ campaign – Jugendherberge : The German Youth Hostelling Association and Deutsche Bahn for sponsoring my ‘German Wanderlust’ tour.
Also like to thank the Dusseldorf Tourism Board for their kind support.
I was touring Germany as part of an effort to highlight and discover the country’s emerging ‘Youth Hotspots.’
Please note: While my trip has been sponsored, the views and thoughts represented in this article are my own.