The Federal City of Bonn
Once more, another weekend spent in Dusseldorf, hence travelling around the whole region in search of new places and cities to visit. This is the time for the elegant city of Bonn. Founded as a Roman settlement in the 1st century BC, it is still to date the largest Roman fort known from the ancient world, although minimal archaeological remain from that period. It’s therefore one of the oldest city in Germany; the once de-facto capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990. It was this fact why it holds the title of Federal City in recognition for it.
With the fall of Rome, it became the Kingdom of the Franks well into the Middle Ages, when the Romanesque Bonn Minster was built between the 11 and 13th centuries, leading to a strong growth of population and expansion only accelerated in the 17th century and onwards with several grand constructions in Baroque style for what it is still famous the city. It was at this time, year 1770 that Ludwig van Beethoven was born here in Bonn, where he would study before leaving for Vienna as the composer’s first journey.
With such a rich history, you can expect to see many monuments and grand buildings, palaces, tree-lined boulevards and what I consider without to be one of the most elegant cities in Germany. While visiting it is quite straightforward. Distances are not big and you can enjoy the mix of the old town core narrow streets in contrast with broad boulevards, tree-lined avenues and gardens.
The city’s location makes it very easy to reach from plenty great other cities in the area, some of which, the most important in the country and the most heavily visited by tourists. It’s a short drive from Dusseldorf, not to mention if you come from Cologne where you are literally next door and you can actually take the metro system from Cologne directly into Bonn. Very convenient and efficient.
And whenever you plan to get some drinks and food, if you are by the old town the be sure to get to any traditional pub and ask for an altbier (old beer). Although this is very traditional from Dusseldorf itself, it is also easily found across the entire region. A currywurst should be one of your first choices for food. This is, a sausage, fries and curry ketchup sauce. Grilled meats, Schnitzel, salads, all very traditional. But the choice for food in any case is very wide, great quality and competitive prices. You will not have any trouble in finding a nice place.
For more information about the city visit Wikipedia and Wikitravel sites. Germany’s currency is the Euro (EUR). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
What to see and do in Bonn
- Sterntor (Star Gate) A reconstruction of one of the principal medieval gates of the former city wall.
- Münsterplatz One of the oldest and most historic in the old town.
-Beethoven Monument At one of the sides of the square, unveiled in 1845 in honour of the 75th anniversary since his birthday.
-Bonn Minster One of the oldest churches in the country, built in Romanesque style between the 11 and 13th centuries.
- Market Square The main square, completely filled with many historical buildings at all sides.
-Old City Hall Completed in 1737, in Rococo style.
-Bonngasse The Birthplace of Beethoven, meters away from the square.
- Kurfürstliches Schloss Is one of the most important sights in the city. Originally built as a residential palace for the prince-elector of Cologne, it is since 1818 the main building of the university.
- Hofgarten (Court Garden) Right at the front of the Kurfürstliches are these beautiful gardens, specially impressive in spring when the trees are in bloom or autumn with the incredible mix of yellow and red colours of the leaves.
- Poppelsdorfer Allee The most elegant boulevard in the city with beautiful buildings on the sides and a garden promenade in its centre. It connects the palaces of Kurfürstliches and Poppelsdorfer.
- Poppelsdorfer Schloss Originally built as a resort for for the prince elector in the 18th century.
- Doppelkirche Schwarzrheindorf Saint Maria and Clemens Church, famous for it’s 12th century frescoes. Built in Romanesque style, consecrated in 1151.
The nearest airport is Cologne, officially named Cologne-Bonn airport; but you should also consider nearby airports like Dusseldorf International, Dusseldorf Weeze or Dortmund, all of these well connected by train or bus. Weeze is the farthest one but a bus connects it to Cologne in around 2 hours, being this airport a main base for low cost carrier Ryanair.
Coming overland is quick and straightforward, and generally no matter from here within Germany you are coming from. High-speed trains criss-cross the country with the area of Dusseldorf-Cologne-Bonn a major rail and motorways crossing. Connections towards the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg or France are also possible to any of the cities mentioned before.
Now, within the city centre there is no need at all for the use of any public transportation when sightseeing. There are nevertheless some tram and metro lines. Some of which belonging to Cologne transit system, but since the distance between both is that small, they share the system.
Since this was yet again one of the day trips from the base back at Dusseldorf, I did not have the need to run any hotel search in Aachen. But being a city of such importance and also touristy, not to mention with the proximity to Cologne, the major tourist destination in the country, then you should not have any problem in finding a good deal over the internet anywhere in this area. All major hotel chains are also represented in the city, therefore you have a wide choice depending if what you are looking is something modest or if as opposed, something more up-scale. A good and reasonable point to start your search is by checking some of our preferred affiliate hotel search engine such as as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Otel.com, Agoda, Opodo or Ebookers.