Have only 24 hours in Düsseldorf? Here are the top things to do in Düsseldorf, ranging from castle ruins to riverside promenades in the Old Town. Our quick Düsseldorf travel guide also includes Germany’s most elegant avenue.
We arrived in Düsseldorf, the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia on a Saturday afternoon, ready to experience the splendours of the newly opened 24 Hours Hotel Das Tour and the city itself, over a summery weekend.
Little did we know that the Rain Gods would compel us to rush back to the hotel in the evening, precious DSLR in hand. So it happens that all our photos of Dusseldorf had to be taken on our camera phones under a steel-gray sky.
But in retrospect, we think that worked out rather well. And since the morning after dawned bright and sunny, although with a delicious chill in the air, we ended up making the best of Düsseldorf after all.
While there are wonderful parks, forests and museums in the city as well, we focused our travels on the main historical, natural and architectural marvels. If you have 24 hours on hand like we did, you’d do well to soak in the magic at these spots as well:
We walked to the Marktplatz, the centre of Dusseldorf’s Old Town and found ourselves gazing at the stately Rathaus (Town Hall). An equestrian statue of Elector John William II dating back to 1711 stood in the middle of the square. He was a Duke who was born in Dusseldorf and died in the same city in 1716.
The freshly washed streets of the Old Town were brimming with football revelry. Germans; both young and old; were getting steadily high on beer, pommes (fries) and pizza. We found ourselves a beautiful vegetarian pizza for 7 euros and it was swimming in mushrooms, olives, basil, garlic and cheese.
Our tour of the Old Town ended at Burgplatz on the banks of the Rhine, bringing us to the city’s famous promenade. There this arresting castle tower caught our eye. Once, the Schlossturm held sway over the entire city. Now, it houses the SchiffahrtsMuseum, a marine museum tracing Germany’s shipbuilding and trade history.
The Rhine Promenade
The riverside at Burgplatz is a part of the 1.5km long Rhine promenade. Here, we gazed at ships and boats while a bar played Mama Lauda at top volume. A light breeze brought us the scent of an erstwhile downpour and we knew we’d fallen in love with Dusseldorf.
We walked along the water for some time before climbing a staircase to look down at the trees and the partying Germans, one of whom had shaken our hands while we walked!
We had read that Konigsallee might be Germany’s most elegant avenue and we went searching for it in the late evening. And it more than lived up to expectations. The old town moat flanked by greenery on either side was a beautiful sight. Roman fountains and statues were to be seen at regular intervals and we spent a while admiring their features and architecture.
Konigsallee is famed for its shops and boutiques but our wanderings led us into a little garden that meandered into a construction site. On the other side of the construction side, we found yet another ethereal park. We could have stayed in that part of Dusseldorf until the stars came out and our hearts would still not be sated.
We love ruins of old castles and we decided to make time for Kaiserpfalz in Kaiserswerth on Sunday morning. It turned out to be the highlight of our visit to Dusseldorf. The imperial palace of the Frankish Emperor Frederick I also goes by the name ‘Barbarossa’. Exploring the stones and walls of the ruins was a mesmerising experience in itself.
But when we ascended one of the stairs and found ourselves looking at this gorgeous view of the Rhine, we felt like we’d discovered a bigger treasure. We also passed by balconies for the royal rulers. A stylistic sculpture titled ‘In Context’ stands beside the main ruins and was installed in 2014.
We used a different route to leave Kaiserpfalz and chanced upon a beautiful cafe with a vintage car on exhibit. Down below, a winding path along the Rhine took us through the verdant countryside. The charming walk ended at the gardens surrounding the castle borders and eventually, the main street.
We purchased a 24 stunden ticket (10 euros for two people) to travel around Dusseldorf, timing it such that it’d last us until we took a train back to Bonn. This is an improvement over the tagesticket which typically expires the next day at 3AM and it’s available as a 48 hours version as well.
We highly recommend you book your stay at the 25 Hours Hotel Das Tour when you visit Düsseldorf. Some of the reasons include a complimentary Canvasco or Freitag bag to keep all your things in during your stay, umbrellas, MINIs and power banks for free hire and gorgeous views of the city’s roof-tops!
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