3 cities in North Rhine-Westphalia that should be on your bucket list

3 cities in North Rhine-Westphalia that need to be on your bucket list

Traveling to Germany is always a pleasant surprise and delightfully close by. I’ve already explored several destinations along the Rhine, but cities in North Rhine-Westphalia were unfamiliar territory for me. As part of Germany’s role as host country for the 2024 European Championship, I decided to visit some host cities in this region. My mission was to discover what these North Rhine-Westphalia cities have to offer besides their vibrant football scenes. Here you’ll find my comprehensive guide to the most enjoyable sights and activities in Düsseldorf, Gelsenkirchen, and Dortmund.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post but this does not alter the fact that I share my own honest experiences about this service.This article also contains interesting affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something through my recommendations, I receive a small reward. The best part? It doesn’t cost you anything extra and it helps my blog continue to grow. A win-win situation, so thank you!

Football in North Rhine-Westphalia?

North Rhine-Westphalia is famed for its dynamic football scene, home to clubs like Fortuna Düsseldorf, Schalke 04, and Borussia Dortmund, notable not only for their athletic performances but also for the fervent passion of their supporterss. It’s no surprise that four of the ten cities hosting the 2024 European Championship are located here: Cologne, Düsseldorf, Gelsenkirchen, and Dortmund—of which I visited the latter three. In this region, football is not just a sport; it’s an essential part of the cultural identity.

Yet, North Rhine-Westphalia offers far more than just football. As Germany’s most populous state, it’s a vibrant hub of culture and industry, rich in history, innovation, and art.

The landscape ranges from the vibrant Ruhr area, transformed from an industrial heartland into a green oasis with parks and recreational areas, to serene river valleys and rolling hills.

The cities of Düsseldorf, Gelsenkirchen, and Dortmund, each with their unique industrial heritage seamlessly blending with cutting-edge technology and modern architecture, are also cultural hotspots. They offer world-class museums, a vibrant art scene, and historic monuments bearing witness to a glorious past.

In short, Düsseldorf, Gelsenkirchen, and Dortmund are three North Rhine-Westphalia cities that you definitely shouldn’t miss.

How to Travel to North Rhine-Westphalia?

Traveling to North Rhine-Westphalia from Belgium offers several options, allowing you to tailor your journey to your preferences.

For those who prefer freedom and flexibility without being tied to fixed schedules, the car is a good choice. If you plan to explore several cities, it’s useful to know whether the cities are part of the Umweltzone and thus require the German environmental sticker. It’s wise to purchase this online in advance to avoid any fines.

For those who prefer comfortable and environmentally friendly travel, the train offers a great alternative. The ICE train from Belgium to North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany is not only convenient but also much better for the environment than traveling by car. With its comfortable seating, ample luggage space, and even an onboard bistro for snacks and drinks, the train provides a relaxed travel experience. Plus, you can enjoy free onboard wifi, allowing you to work or simply relax by watching your favorite series during the journey. So, if you want to travel quickly, easily, environmentally friendly, and comfortably, the train is the perfect choice!

Additionally, Düsseldorf Airport offers an attractive gateway for international travelers. With various airlines and an extensive network of flights, the airport is a popular choice for those looking to travel quickly and efficiently to North Rhine-Westphalia.

How to get around North Rhine-Westphalia?

If you’re planning to travel to North Rhine-Westphalia by train or simply want to minimize your car usage, I have good news. Getting around within North Rhine-Westphalia is super easy with plenty of options.

With the VRR-app, you can easily use the Eezy-ticket to get around within North Rhine-Westphalia. It’s simple: you check in via the app when you board the train and check out when you disembark. The fare is automatically calculated and paid, so you no longer need to buy and validate a ticket. This is a convenient option for those who want to travel flexibly, with access to trains, trams, and buses within the region.

For traveling within cities, public transportation is excellent, with frequent schedules and well-connected networks of U-bahns, S-bahns, and buses reaching major attractions and destinations. In cities like Düsseldorf and Dortmund, you can opt for a multi-day ticket, allowing you unlimited use of public transportation for the selected number of days. These cards often offer additional benefits such as discounted rates for popular attractions. So, it’s definitely worth checking out the various options.

Moreover, North Rhine-Westphalia encourages sustainability by providing a bike-friendly environment, with extensive networks of bike paths and nodes that make it easy to navigate the region by bicycle.

3 not to miss cities in North Rhine-Westphalia

1. Düsseldorf

Düsseldorf, Germany

Düsseldorf, a dynamic metropolis on the banks of the Rhine, is a destination that is definitely worth visiting. With its impressive location as the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia and its prominent position near the influential Ruhr area, Düsseldorf is a bustling hub of culture, economy, and entertainment. From stunning river views to the vibrant atmosphere in the streets, this city has something for everyone.

Düsseldorf, Germany
Düsseldorf, Germany

Discover the rich history and vibrant art scene in the many museums and galleries, or take a stroll through the trendy shopping streets and be tempted by the latest fashion trends. Düsseldorf is also known for its culinary diversity, from traditional German dishes to international delicacies, which you can taste in the numerous restaurants and cafes. And with recreational opportunities such as relaxing boat trips on the Rhine and idyllic picnics in the parks along the riverbank, Düsseldorf also offers a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Düsseldorf, Germany
Düsseldorf, Germany
Düsseldorf, Germany

In short, whether you come for the culture, shopping, gastronomy, or natural beauty, a visit to Düsseldorf promises to be an unforgettable experience, full of surprises and discoveries.

Must do’s in Düsseldorf:

Admire the impressive skyline of Düsseldorf 

Düsseldorf is known for its impressive skyline, a harmonious blend of historic charm and modern architecture. An ideal way to fully experience this skyline is through a panoramic Rhine river tour. During this relaxing boat trip, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the Altstadt, the picturesque Rhine promenade, and the contemporary buildings in the Mediahafen, including the iconic Rhine Tower. Weather won’t be an issue, as you can enjoy the views from both the deck and inside the boat, where a cozy bar provides refreshing drinks.

View of medienhafen in Düsseldorf from panoramic boat tour

For those who want to admire Düsseldorf’s skyline up close, you can walk from the old town along the Rhine promenade to the bustling Mediahafen. On sunny days, this neighborhood is bustling with terraces, and beach bars are even set up along the banks of the Rhine, making it a perfect spot to relax and enjoy the view.

Rhine Promenade in Düsseldorf, Germany

A highlight of the skyline is the MedienHafen, once an industrial harbor, now a trendy hub filled with modern architecture, restaurants, and art galleries. The unique combination of historic and contemporary buildings, including the striking “Neuer Zollhof” by architect Frank O. Gehry, makes this district a must-see for architecture enthusiasts.

Modern architecture in Medienhafen in Düsseldorf from panoramic boat tour

For a panoramic view of the city, a visit to the Rhine tower is an absolute must. With its height of 240.5 meters, this is the tallest building in Düsseldorf. The observation platform offers a breathtaking view of the city and the surrounding area, while the onsite bar and restaurant ensure an unforgettable experience.

Rheinturm in Düsseldorf, Germany
Rheinturm in Düsseldorf, Germany
Rheinturm in Düsseldorf, Germany
Rheinturm in Düsseldorf, Germany
Exploring shopping and architecture in Düsseldorf

Shopping in Düsseldorf is an experience not to be missed, especially if you’re looking for exclusive brands and luxury stores. A must-visit is the Königsallee, also known as the Kö, which is considered one of the most prestigious shopping streets in Germany and Europe. Here you’ll find the luxury boutiques of the world’s most renowned brands, as well as chic cafes and restaurants to enjoy a relaxing break between shopping. Even if shopping isn’t at the top of your list, a stroll along this breathtaking avenue is an experience in itself, with the soothing presence of the river flowing alongside the trees creating an enchanting ambiance.

Königsallee, Düsseldorf, Germany
Königsallee, Düsseldorf, Germany

If you’re in the area, be sure to visit Kö-Bogen. This architectural complex north of Königsallee offers not only an extensive shopping experience but also showcases breathtaking architecture. Here you’ll find not only the striking skyscraper Dreischeiben and the characteristic Düsseldorf Schauspielhaus with its distinctive curved facade, but also the impressive Kö-Bogen II complex, featuring the largest green facade in Europe. This project has played an essential role in the redevelopment of Düsseldorf’s city center.

Kö-Bogen area in Düsseldorf, Germany
Düsseldorfse Schauspielhaus, Germany

For those seeking trendy shops and cozy dining spots, the up-and-coming district of Lorettostrasse is a must-visit. Here you’ll find trendy concept stores, unique boutiques, cozy cafes, and trendy bars and restaurants, providing a lively and dynamic shopping experience.

Lorettostrasse, Düsseldorf, Germany
Art & Culture in Düsseldorf 

Düsseldorf is filled with museums that allow you to discover the fascinating world of art, history, and culture. A definite standout is the recently renovated Museum Kunstpalast. Here you’ll find over 800 artworks, ranging from paintings and sculptures to applied art, spanning the timeline from antiquity to the present day. The temporary exhibitions, interactive workshops, and lectures make the museum even more engaging. With unique architecture, a stunning glass collection, and a fashion and design department, this is a cultural hotspot you won’t want to miss.

Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, Germany
Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, Germany
Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, Germany
Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, Germany

If you want to discover art that provides insight into the development of the city itself, you absolutely must take part in the Urban Art Walk. This exciting journey through the vibrant world of Urban Art is led by Klaus Rosskothen from the Pretty Portal gallery. You’ll have the opportunity to explore hidden art spots, where classical art movements effortlessly blend with pop, punk, graffiti, and street art. The work of both well-known local and international artists comes to life as you stroll past a mix of galleries and public art projects.

Urban Art Walk Düsseldorf, Germany
Urban Art Walk Düsseldorf, Germany
Urban Art Walk Düsseldorf, Germany
Urban Art Walk Düsseldorf, Germany

During the tour, Klaus shares fascinating stories about the artworks, the artists, and the city itself, allowing you to delve deeper into this creative world. You’ll learn the stories behind the striking murals and art installations, giving you not only a feast for the eyes but also a whole new appreciation for the city.

Urban Art Walk Düsseldorf, Germany
Urban Art Walk Düsseldorf, Germany

Every Saturday, you can explore the unique and ever-changing art scene of Düsseldorf on this tour. You’ll gain a fresh perspective on the city and its creative soul as you discover hidden gems in a bustling city that welcomes artists to showcase their creativity.

Good food in Düsseldorf 

Düsseldorf is a true paradise for foodies, with local delicacies and global flavors at your fingertips. For a real culinary adventure, there are a few hotspots you absolutely must visit.

Carlsplatz, located in the heart of the historic Altstadt, is the place to stop for a delicious lunch during sightseeing. This permanent, bustling market is a dream for food lovers, with approximately 60 stalls brimming with fresh vegetables, fruit, flowers, and tasty delicacies. The sight of grilled fish, fragrant herbs, and colorful flowers will tempt you to try everything you see. Here, you can not only grab a quick bite but also take home the freshest ingredients.

Carlsplatz, Düsseldorf, Germany
Carlsplatz, Düsseldorf, Germany

Then there’s Little Tokyo, where Düsseldorf becomes “Janpan on the Rhine.” This bustling district in Stadtmitte is filled with Japanese restaurants offering authentic sushi and steaming ramen, alongside specialized supermarkets for unique ingredients and bookstores full of manga. Sip on a cup of green tea in a traditional teahouse or taste sake as you immerse yourself in the vibrant Japanese culture that thrives here.

Whether you’re craving local delicacies or looking to indulge in international flavors, in Düsseldorf, you’ll always find something special to tantalize your taste buds.

2. Gelsenkirchen 

Gelsenkirchen, Germany

Gelsenkirchen is truly a hidden gem in the Ruhr area, where traces of a rich industrial past blend with a vibrant contemporary life. Once the beating heart of the mining industry, the city has transformed itself into a hotspot for cyclists and culture enthusiasts. Those old mine railways? They are now kilometers of bike paths where you can explore the region either on your own or with a guide.

Culture is everywhere in Gelsenkirchen. With a wide range of venues and museums rivaling those of the largest European cities, there is always an engaging exhibition or performance to capture your attention. Moreover, the excellent public transportation connections make it super easy to explore the city and its surroundings.

And if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a while, Gelsenkirchen offers surprisingly ample green spaces. Parks, forests, and lakes provide plenty of opportunities for a day of relaxation in nature. The city is also a vibrant melting pot of cultures, with residents from more than 140 countries, contributing to a rich, diverse atmosphere.

In short, Gelsenkirchen is much more than just the home of Schalke 04. It is a city where history and modernity go hand in hand, perfect for anyone looking to experience both culture and nature.

Must do’s in Gelsenkirchen:

Discover Gelsenkirchen on an urban hike

If you really want to dive into what Gelsenkirchen has to offer, lace up your hiking boots and explore the city on foot. You’ll discover the fascinating contrasts between the bustling city and the silent witnesses of its industrial past. You’ll walk past places that still echo with the heavy work that was once done there, alongside revitalized industrial sites and enchanted spots that almost no one knows about. Along the way, you’ll encounter everything that makes Gelsenkirchen unique.

Opt for an urban hike through the trendy district of Ückendorf, where you’ll stroll among artworks, enjoy panoramic views from the spoil tips, and discover trendy pubs. This 12.8 km trek will show you the city like you’ve never seen it before. It’s not just a good workout, but also an unforgettable cultural experience. That’s how you truly get to know Gelsenkirchen!

Start your journey at the coal bunker Schalker Verein, an impressive building from the 1920s that is now equipped with solar panels generating green energy. Nearby, you’ll find the abandoned Alma coal mine, where the dilapidated administration building still recalls bygone times, while the adjacent nature park, once an automotive circuit, invites you for a leisurely stroll.

Schalker Verein, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
abandoned car track in Gelsenkirchen, Germany
old administrative building of the Alma coal mine in Gelsenkirchen, Germany

Further on, you’ll delve into the Sculpture Forest, where industrial monuments merge with natural elements to create a unique art landscape. One of the highlights is Halde Rheinelbe, a former slag heap transformed into a popular recreational area. Climb the “stairway to heaven” here, an artwork made of concrete blocks, for a panoramic view that stretches to the horizon.

Halde Rheinelbe, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Halde Rheinelbe, Gelsenkirchen, Germany

our adventure concludes in the center of Ückendorf at the impressive Holy Cross Church,, where you can almost feel the history. Wrap up your day with a drink at Trinkhalle am Flöz, a beloved spot among local football fans.

holy cross church gelsenkirchen, Germany
Explore Gelsenkirchen by bike

Embark on a biclycle tour of Gelsenkirchen and experience a route brimming with unique sights, each telling its own story about the city and its rich history. Opt for the route through the southern half of Gelsenkirchen and be amazed by these gems.


Start your journey in Nordsternpark, a vibrant place that once housed the Nordstern mine. Now, the park combines natural beauty with cultural hotspots, such as a graffiti ‘Hall of Fame’ and a massive water playground, perfect for a family outing.

Nordsternpark, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
UNESCO world heritage site Zeche Zollverein

Your next stop is Zeche Zollverein in Essen, a former coal mine and coking plant that now serves as a center for art and culture. This iconic complex is a symbol of the industrial heritage of the Ruhr region and nowadays hosts everything from art exhibitions to festivals.

Erzbahnstrasse – Erzbahnbunde

Continue cycling along the Erzbahntrasse, a former railway line that has now become one of the most popular tourist cycling routes in the Ruhr region. This project has made the region more accessible to both locals and visitors.

ZOOM Erlebniswelt Gelsenkirchen

Pass by ZOOM Erlebniswelt, a zoo where you can take a journey around the world in one day. See habitats that replicate environments from Alaska, Africa, and Asia, housing approximately 900 animals from over 100 species.

Grimberger Sichel

Cycle across the Grimberger Sichel bridge, an architectural marvel connecting recreational areas on both sides of the Rhine-Herne Canal, and enjoy stunning views of the landscape.

Grimberger Sichel Bridge, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Grimberger Sichel Bridge, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Marina Graf Bismarck

Take a break at Marina Graf Bismarck. Relax at one of the cozy dining spots, and enjoy the view over the former industrial harbor, now transformed into a lively recreational area.

Glückauf Kampfbahn

Visit the historic Glückauf Kampfbahn, the original home stadium of the football club Schalke 04, where football history is alive. Nearby is also the modern Veltins Arena, where Schalke 04 now plays their home matches.

Glückauf Kampfbahn, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Glückauf Kampfbahn, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Glückauf Kampfbahn, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Schloss Berge

Take a pause at Schloss Berge, an enchanting castle surrounded by lush parks and a pond. Unwind in the beer garden and savor a local brew.

Schloss Berge, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Schloss Berge, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Schloss Berge, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Halde Rungenberg

Conclude your cycling tour at Halde Rungenberg, where two pyramids of mine waste form a unique artwork. From the top, you can enjoy a panoramic view over Gelsenkirchen, a perfect end to your exploration.

Experience art in Gelsenkirchen

In Buer, you’ll find a unique art experience at the  Kunstmuseum Gelsenkirchen, where the exciting world of kinetic art comes to life. With over 80 interactive objects in the basement section, you can literally set the artworks in motion. This museum is a must-see for both art enthusiasts and families, offering a playful and educational experience, especially on a rainy day. Additionally, the museum regularly surprises visitors with new temporary exhibitions, ensuring there’s always something new to discover.

kunstmuseum, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
kunstmuseum, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
kunstmuseum, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
kunstmuseum, Gelsenkirchen, Germany

Make sure to also take the time to explore the charming district of Buer, where you’ll find the impressive neo-Gothic Propsteikirche St. Urbanus. This church combines a rich history with beautiful art, dating from the Romanesque period to modern times. Admire the ancient engravings, including a protective lion from 1200, and be moved by the serene Pietà from the 16th century. Additionally, the church is enriched with colorful post-war stained glass windows, a visual spectacle you won’t want to miss.

Propsteikirche St. Urbanus, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Good food in Gelsenkirchen

Gelsenkirchen offers a wide range of culinary options that reflect the diverse population of the city. Here, you can enjoy the rich flavors of various cultures, from authentic German dishes to delightful international cuisines. A highlight of the local food culture is the Feierabendmarkt, which transforms the market square into a vibrant gathering place every Wednesday evening in Gelsenkirchen and Thursday evening in Buer.

At this market, you’ll find a delightful array of stalls offering both local specialties and other delicacies. It’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy good food and drink with the residents of Gelsenkirchen in a relaxed atmosphere. When the weather is nice, the market truly comes alive, and it’s easy to get lost in the warmth and conversations around you.

So, the Feierabendmarkt in Gelsenkirchen is more than just a place to eat; it’s an experience that brings the community together and gives visitors a taste of local life. An evening here not only offers culinary delights but also a chance to immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture.

3. Dortmund 

Dortmund, Germany

One of the must-visit cities in North Rhine-Westphalia is Dortmund, a city bursting with history, culture, and vibrant energy. As the third largest city in Germany, Dortmund offers a unique blend of historical heritage and modern attractions. The city has deep roots in the German coal and steel industry, which is reflected in the numerous museums and attractions. From fascinating exhibitions about the industrial past to impressive historical monuments, there is something fascinating for every history enthusiast.

But Dortmund is more than just industry. It is also home to Borussia Dortmund, one of the most passionate football clubs in Germany. Dortmund is often referred to as the football capital for a reason. Here, you can experience the intense atmosphere of football. Additionally, the natural beauty of Dortmund truly makes the city unique. Often referred to as “the green metropolis,” half of the city area consists of waterways, forests, and parks such as the iconic Westfalenpark, where you can enjoy peaceful walks and relaxing picnics.

Whether you’re interested in history, culture, sports, or simply want to enjoy natural beauty, Dortmund has something for everyone. Prepare to be enchanted by the unique blend of natural splendor and cultural heritage that this city has to offer, and be amazed by the many possibilities Dortmund has to offer during your city trip.

Epic things to do in Dortmund:

Discover more about the foodball history of Dortmund
Football in the city

Is Dortmund the football capital? In this city, you can discover for yourself how deeply rooted football is in its history. Just like a kind of football version of Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, here you’ll find stars marked on the ground at significant locations that are part of Borussia Dortmund’s football history. At the Alten Markt, the gathering place for diehard fans, they come together for every match of their beloved club.

Dortmund, Germany
dortmund, Germany

For the club’s origins, you have to go to Borsigplatz, the birthplace of Borussia in 1909. Not far from there, at Max-Michalek-Platz – named after a former player for his contribution to the club – you’ll experience even more history. The Dreifaltigkeitskirche also plays a crucial role. It’s where BVB was born when men, forbidden by the priest to play “the English sport,” secretly formed a club. In this church, you can now take special tours and attend services to celebrate BVB’s anniversary and the start of the season.

Dreifaltigkeitskirche, Dortmund, Germany
Embark on a journey to the football museum

Can’t get enough of football in Dortmund and want to know more about it? Then pay a visit to the football museum. Officially known as the ‘Borussia Dortmund Museum & Tour,’ this museum is a treasure trove for every football fan. Here, you’ll get an in-depth look at the rich history of Borussia Dortmund and German football. Admire the trophies from the World Cup and the European Championship, as well as other significant awards the club has collected over the years.

German football museum, dortmund, Germany

You’ll discover a fascinating collection of memorabilia, including historic jerseys, photos, and other artifacts that tell stories of the club’s glory days and the evolution of German football. With interactive exhibits and quizzes, your visit becomes not only educational but also enjoyable. You’ll learn about the legendary players, coaches, and highlights of Borussia Dortmund and the national team. The museum offers a perfect blend of nostalgia and education, making it a must-see for both local fans and international visitors passionate about football and its history.

Book a tour at Signal Iduna Park

More football? Book a tour at Signal Iduna Park, the iconic stadium that forms the heart of Borussia Dortmund. This stadium, formerly known as Westfalenstadion, is one of the most impressive football arenas in the world. As a football enthusiast, this is the chance to take a behind-the-scenes look. You’ll walk through the player tunnel where the football heroes begin their matches, explore the locker rooms where strategies are discussed, and feel the immense atmosphere of the field that is often filled with thousands of cheering fans. The tour not only provides a physical experience of the size and atmosphere of the stadium but also offers stories and interesting facts about the club’s rich history. A visit to Signal Iduna Park is a must for anyone wanting to experience true football culture in Dortmund.

Discover Dortmund’s industrial past

In Dortmund, you’ll see signs of the city’s industrial past everywhere. From old factories to abandoned mines, these places tell the story of Dortmund as an industrial powerhouse. During your walks through the city and surrounding areas, you’ll encounter these fascinating remnants, now serving as silent witnesses of an era filled with activity. Dive into this history and discover how Dortmund has evolved from an industrial center to the vibrant city it is today by visiting these places.

Dortmund U 

When in Dortmund, you definitely shouldn’t miss the iconic “Dortmund U.” This former brewery building, featuring a striking 9-meter-high “U” symbol on its roof, has been a true landmark in the city since its establishment in 1927. The “U” was added in 1968 and symbolizes Dortmund’s rich industrial heritage, making it an unmistakable part of the city skyline.

Dortmund U, Dortmund, Germany

Today, Dortmund U is more than just a historic building. It’s a vibrant cultural hub. Here you’ll find the Museum am Ostwall, which showcases an impressive collection of 20th-century art. Works by renowned artists from that period are on display, providing a beautiful insight into the cultural developments of the time. Additionally, you can enjoy free temporary exhibitions that take place throughout the building. During your visit, be sure not to miss the rooftop terrace, where you’ll have a phenomenal view of Dortmund’s skyline.

Dortmund U, Dortmund, Germany
Dortmund U, Dortmund, Germany
Phoenix – See 

Discover the Phoenix See in Dortmund, a splendid example of how old industrial land can be repurposed into a new, vibrant function. At the site where the Phoenix-Ost factory once stood, you’ll now find a beautiful recreational area. This area has been transformed into a charming lake with a harbor, islands, and upscale residential areas, giving it a second life after the industrial era.

Phoenix See in Dortmund, Germany

Phoenix Park, occupying more than half of this 61-hectare former brownfield site, offers green spaces where rare plants and animals that emerged after the factories closed can thrive.

Whether you want to spend a day relaxing by the water, go for a bike ride, or simply enjoy nature, the Phoenix See perfectly illustrates how industrial history can be transformed into a thriving center for recreation and nature conservation.

Phoenix- West 

Phoenix West also reveals a fascinating transformation from industrial ruin to cultural hotspot. Once the bustling heart of the metal industry, this location now offers a vibrant mix of modern craft breweries, art galleries, and green spaces, reflecting the evolution of the entire city.

Begin your exploration at Hochofen 5, where a skywalk treats you to breathtaking views and a behind-the-scenes look at the era of steel production. The rusty charm of the blast furnace transports you back to bygone times, and a guided tour tells you everything about the history and daily life of the staff who once worked here. Visits are only possible with a guided tour.

Next, don’t miss Phoenix des Lumières. Housed in the old Phoenixhalle, this center hosts immersive digital art exhibitions created by Culturespaces. With its many visitors, it even surpasses the popularity of the football museum, a true feat in Germany.

Phoenix des Lumières, Dortmund, Germany
Phoenix des Lumières, Dortmund, Germany
Phoenix des Lumières, Dortmund, Germany

Phoenix West is more than just a reminder of Dortmund’s industrial past. It is a vibrant and creative place that breathes new life into the city and gives it a unique character.

Relax in one of Europe’s most breathtaking gardens: Westfalenpark

At the heart of Dortmund lies Westfalenpark, recognized as one of Europe’s most beautiful gardens and an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. This park enchants you with its expansive lawns, vibrant flower beds, and diverse seasonal gardens, offering a rich diversity of plants and wildlife.

Westfalenpark, Dortmund, Germany
Westfalenpark, Dortmund, Germany
Westfalenpark, Dortmund, Germany
Westfalenpark, Dortmund, Germany

Be sure to take a stroll through the famous rose garden, where the scent of hundreds of roses will surround you. It’s the perfect spot for some romance or a moment of tranquility.

And for a truly unique view, climb to the top of the Florianturm. This iconic tower offers a panoramic vista of the entire park and the surrounding city, making it a popular spot for both locals and visitors alike.

Florianturm, Westfalenpark, Dortmund, Germany
Florianturm, Westfalenpark, Dortmund, Germany

Whether you come for the tranquility, nature, or the view, Westfalenpark has something enchanting to offer. It’s not just a park, but a magnificent green oasis where you experience the beauty of nature at its finest.

I hope my tips help you explore these three not-to-be-missed cities in North Rhine-Westphalia and discover their unique identities. Each offers something special, so dive into the experience and enjoy all that Düsseldorf, Gelsenkirchen, and Dortmund have to offer!

Are these cities in North Rhine-Westphalia already on your bucket list? Let me know in the comments below.

Read more about Germany?

Thank you for reading! 

Yours truly,


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3 cities in North Rhine-Westphalia that need to be on your bucket list
3 cities in North Rhine-Westphalia that need to be on your bucket list

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