Tourist information for Western Germany
Western Germany is the most accessible part of Germany, and the most visited
by British tourists. As well as the cities of the north, including Cologne (Koln)
and Bonn, the great attraction is the valley of the river Rhine, flowing through
spectacular gorges past magical castles clinging to rocky outcrops. In the south
is Frankfurt, vying with London to be the financial capital of Europe.
In the north of the North Rhine and Westphalia provinces are the great industrial
cities of Dusseldorf - with a lively Old Town -, Dortmund, Bochum
and Essen. With the scaling-down of much heavy industry, these cities with
their historic centres and sophisticated cultural life, are all worth a visit.
Aachen has some magnificent historical buildings, especially its superb Dom.
30 kms south is the wonderfully preserved town of Monschau, with the river
Rur rushing past its ancient houses. Cologne is a beautiful and impressive
city, with its great cathedral, Roman remains, medieval buildings and world class
museums. Bonn, Beethoven's birthplace, is a pleasant airy town with a
good range of excellent ethnic restaurants. South of Bonn are the mountains of the
Siebengebirge, land of many a Germanic legend, and a popular tourist destination
with good winter sports' resorts. The Teutoburg Forest in the north is
a popular walking area.
The province of Rhineland-Palatinate contains the most spectacular stretches of
the river Rhine. This is the land of the German legend of the Nibelungenlied;
the rocks of the Lorelei, whose song enticed sailors to their watery graves;
of delightful whitewashed towns clinging to spectacular cliffs and vine-covered
hillsides; of ruined fairy-tale castles perched on rocky outcrops. Add to this the
historic city of Mainz, the cathedral cities of Worms and Speyer,
as well as the fine classical remains at Trier, and it's easy to understand
the popularity of this beautiful region.
Situated right in the heart of Germany, the province of Hesse was the setting
for the tales of the Brothers Grimm. The dark forests, ancient castles and half-timbered
towns are typical of the tourists vision of Germany. In complete contrast is the
great modern city of Frankfurt Am Main, one of the main financial centres
of modern Europe, with skyscrapers jostling for position next to the historic Old
Town with its very lively nightlife catering for all possible tastes. In the attractive
suburb of Sachsenhausen, visit the fine museums along the Museumsufer then
try the many excellent restaurants where the speciality is the local apple wine.
The forests and highlands of Hesse abound with walking trails through delightful
scenery. The most famous area is the Rheingau in the south-west where some
of Germany's best wines are produced. There's a driving route and a walking
route to tempt you to taste and maybe buy. In the summer the area is host to a well-known
classical music festival scattered throughout the many pretty towns. In the centre
of Hesse is the Taunus range of hills, with superb hiking trails and the
attractive spa town of Bad Homburg. Don't leave without visiting Marburg,
one of the most beautiful medieval towns in all Germany.