8 fun things to do and 4 countries to see when you visit Düsseldorf

The iconic Rhine Tower in Düsseldorf.
The iconic Rhine Tower in Düsseldorf.PHOTO: PIXABAY

Beethoven's birthplace, Cologne, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and Luxembourg City may not seem related, but you can put all of them in your tour itinerary when you visit the German city of Düsseldorf.

This cosmopolitan city — where art, fashion and vibrant festivities come together — is full of unique surprises and hidden gems.

Düsseldorf is also known as a gateway to Western Europe because of its convenient location near the western border of Germany. In just a few hours by train, you can hop over to four countries — The Netherlands, Belgium, France and Luxembourg!

Here are eight fun things to do when you are in Düsseldorf:

1. Be awed by the architecture

Whether you are an architecture buff or you simply love taking photos of unusual structures, don't miss MedienHafen, the modernised harbour area with many eye-catching buildings.

The hot favourites include the Gehry Buildings or Neuer Zollhof, an ensemble of three "warped" towers in white, silver and red by renowned American architect Frank O. Gehry.

Frank Gehry's Neuer Zollhof in MedienHafen.

The most prominent architectural feat in the city is the Rhine Tower, which is the tallest structure in Düsseldorf and home to the world's largest digital clock.

The unique clock is displayed as vertical rows of moving lights on the shaft of the 240.5m-high telecommunications tower. The Rhine Tower also houses a revolving restaurant and viewing platform that offer breath-taking views over the city and the Rhine river.

The Rhine Tower is Düsseldorf's tallest structure and home to the world's largest digital clock. PHOTO: DÜSSELDORF TOURISMUS GMBH

2. Stroll along the Rhine

Take a stroll on the Rhine Promenade to enjoy the scenic views and experience life along the Rhine river.

Rhine Promenade.

You can also take a sightseeing tour on a boat to view Düsseldorf's contemporary and mediaeval skylines from a different angle. The high season for day cruises on the Rhine is from end April to early October.

The historic St Lambertus church and Old Castle Tower along the Rhine in Düsseldorf. PHOTO: PIXABAY

If you think Düsseldorf is not adrenaline-pumping enough for thrill seekers, time your holiday with Kirmes, the Biggest Fun Fair on the Rhine, which takes place each July. For 10 days, you can have your fill of breathtaking rides, good food and enjoy family fun with live music.

Kirmes, the Biggest Fun Fair on the Rhine.

3. Explore the colourful side of the city

Düsseldorf boasts over 20 museums and theatres and more than 100 galleries. You can also find various creative art installations in public places.

If you are a big fan of street art, head to  Kiefernstraße in the Flingern district, a street that claims to be the "largest graffitied wall in the world". You will find entire facades of buildings, houses and even some trailers and vehicles painted with a kaleidoscope of creative designs and abstract art.

Street art at Kiefernstraße.

See if you can catch the playful figures crawling on the buildings beside The Rhine. Designed by artist Rosalie, these colourful "sticky men" (called Flossis) can be seen climbing the walls or sitting on the edge of the roof.

Flossis on a building facade at Medienhafen.

Open your eyes to spot the sculptures of people atop advertising pillars around the city centre — such as the photographer, the couple and the woman carrying a child. Designed by artist Christoph Pöggeler, these stylites (or “pillar dwellers”) symbolise everyday people living and working in the city.

Stylite sculpture in Düsseldorf city centre.

4. Enjoy long, happy hours

Altstadt (Old Town) is fondly known as the “longest bar in the world” because there are over 260 restaurants, inns and pubs in its small area of 0.5 sq km. The most famous beer here is Altbier, a top-fermented craft beer that is made from a traditional recipe that dates back to the 19th century.

Altstadt (Old Town).

5. Shop or watch the world go by

If you are a shopaholic who loves luxury brands and designer wear, head to Königsallee (or “Kö” for short), one of the most elegant shopping streets in the world. If you prefer a feast for your eyes instead, simply park yourself at one of the pavement cafés, order a cuppa and watch the fashionistas stroll past.

Kö-Bogen is a stunning structure and shopping hotspot in Königsallee that houses a large number of luxury brands and excellent restaurants.

6. Indulge in local treats and fresh produce

The best place for foodies to immerse in the local culture is to head to a local market like Carlsplatz. Occupying an entire square in the Old Town (Altstadt), this vibrant gourmet paradise sells a variety of delicacies from fresh produce to local fare like sausages, cheese, bread, pastries and honey. Refuel yourself at its many eateries as you shop.


7. Capture the sights of Cologne

Just a 30-minute train ride from Düsseldorf is Cologne, the fourth largest city in Germany. A must-see is the iconic Cologne Cathedral, with its magnificent twin spires rising high above the city. The Gothic cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Germany’s most visited landmarks.

Cologne Cathedral and Hohenzollern Bridge in Cologne. PHOTO: GERMAN NATIONAL TOURIST BOARD

8. Bond with Bonn

An hour’s train ride from Düsseldorf is Bonn, also known as Beethoven City. If you are a fan of German composer Ludwig van Beethoven, go on a Beethoven walking tour to visit the places where he once walked, worked and lived, including his birthplace.

Beethoven Monument at the Münsterplatz in Bonn.

Beyond the borders

Here are four European capitals you can easily visit from Düsseldorf:

1. Brussels, Belgium

In two hours by train from Düsseldorf, you are in Brussels. If you love chocolates and waffles, and grew up with Tintin and The Smurfs comics, this city is your playground.

2. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam is a three-hour train ride from Düsseldorf. Besides being famous for its canals, museums and vibrant nightlife, it is also the most bicycle-friendly city in the world.

3. Paris, France

Take a high-speed train from Düsseldorf, and you will reach Paris in about four hours. Must-visits include the iconic Louvre Museum, the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe.

4. Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

A four-hour train ride from Düsseldorf is Luxembourg, a tiny yet beautiful country whose capital, Luxembourg City, is famed for its fortified mediaeval old town perched on cliffs.

Fly non-stop from Singapore to Düsseldorf

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This article is brought to you by Singapore Airlines and Changi Airport.