On the Cutting Edge of Modernity
Located along the River Rhine, Düsseldorf is one of Germany's economic centers. Home to 3.2 million people, this beautiful city can sometimes be overlooked as a place for business and not fun. And while there are no famous castles or cathedrals here, there are modern marvels destined to become historic in the future. But first, a glimpse into the past.
The Old Town or Altstadt, was almost destroyed during World War Two but you wouldn't know it. Rebuilt according to historic plans, the area is now a popular shopping spot and on weekends, it turns into what's known as the "Longest bar in the world." Within a half-mile, find nearly 260 drinking holes, coffee shops and brewing houses. Stop in for a taste of "Altbier" – a top-fermented dark beer.
This is where the "old" stops in Düsseldorf. The city has been transformed into a modern metropolis with architecture to match. There's no need to scour the city for these superb structures. Just head to Media Harbour. Showcasing world-class architects like Frank Gehry, it has become a meeting point for architecture connoisseurs from all over the world.
Also dominating the Düsseldorf skyline, the Rhine Tower is the tallest building in the city, standing over 550 feet tall. As a special attraction, there is a light sculpture on its shaft which works as a clock, considered the biggest digital clock in the world. You can eat at the panoramic restaurant at the top for a great view of the city.
Düsseldorf is the wealthiest city in Germany, and you can see this in the shops along the exclusive Königsallee Boulevard. Known as the "Kö", this exquisite shopping mall and arcade features a generous stretch of water down the center and surrounded by top brand-name shops. The street was named Chestnut until a legendary incident when horse manure was thrown at King Friedrich Wilhelm IV in 1848. It was renamed King's Avenue as a gesture of goodwill.
It's not all business in Düsseldorf. The centuries-old Cranger Kirmes in nearby Herne is the second biggest fair in all of Germany, second only to Oktoberfest. Each August, over four million visitors come to ride the rides, play carnival games, drink at the beer gardens and see fireworks.
The city's main train station is situated on Germany's busiest rail line. More than 300 regional and InterCity trains stop here every day. With your German Rail Pass, easily set out for other spectacular sights.
Go from mind-boggling modern to complete antiquity in just 20 minutes onboard the time traveling, high-speed ICE. Cologne is so rich in history that excavations can date the area back to 38 BC. Exit the Hauptbahnhof and find yourself smack dab in front of the city's biggest and best sight: the magnificent Cologne Cathedral ( Köln er Dom).
This is the beauty of Germany. From cutting-edge engineering to Black Forest castles and centuries-old cathedrals – you can live and breathe history (past and in-the-making) with just a single rail pass. Hop on board.
Contributed by: Sheryl, Travel Consultant, loves Europe!