Because it’s so far inland, Dusseldorf isn’t exactly flush with beaches. But what it lacks in coastline it makes up for in its riverside scene – the Rhine snakes through the centre of the city, so there are loads of places to pitch up for a spot of sunlounging.
One of the best spots to spread out is on the banks of the Rhine River, called Paradiesstrand. It literally translates as Paradise Beach – it’s not quite a Caribbean scene, but you won’t find a better sandy spot to chill on by the waterfront. The views of the city’s skyline are great at sunset, too – you’ll see the Rheinkniebrucke bridge and the Rheinturm tower from the sand.
For one of the quirkiest spots for a bite to eat, head to a little riverside park known as Rheinpark Golzheim. The park’s pretty, but the real attraction lies in the row of cool converted boats that line the waterfront. These former vessels are permanently moored, so you can hop aboard for a drink or a bite to eat in not-the-norm surroundings.
For an eclectic mish-mash of things to buy, the Radschlägermarkt is just the ticket. It’s the biggest flea market in Dusseldorf, and has close to 400 vendors that set up stalls once a month. It’s set on the Grossmarkt, in the north of the city, and you’ll find everything from vintage clothing and antiques to handbags and books on sale.
If you’re looking for high ticket items at decent prices, there are loads of designer outlets dotted around the city. Explore the streets that wind eastwards from Kongisallee and you’ll find factory outlets that are packed with all sorts. There’s even a stylish outlet store just on the fringes of the Altstadt, so you’re never far from somewhere to browse.
Konigsallee, or ‘The Ko’ to locals, is the premier shopping street in Dusseldorf. It’s been the place for high-end buys since the 1800s, when a duke decided to build a boulevard through the city. The tree-lined canal down its centre is still a fixture to this day, and brands like Gucci, Prada, Dior and Louis Vuitton are among the big names to have stores here.
Ratinger Strasse is a great spot for a chilled evening out – this street on the edge of the Altstadt is dotted with pizzerias, classy wine cellars and cocktail bars. There’s even a brewery where you can tuck in to traditional German fare in a tavern-like setting.
Big nights out in Dusseldorf revolve entirely around the Altstadt. It’s nicknamed ‘The Longest Bar in the World’, but sadly we’re not talking about one huge pub. The moniker comes from the sheer number of bars and clubs in such a small area, and its buzzy atmosphere makes it the place to be after dark.
This beer is an absolute staple across Dusseldorf’s bars. It translates as ‘old beer’, but that’s nothing to do with its freshness – the fermenting process is done super traditionally, known as the ‘old way’. It’s a deep ruby red colour, but tastes closer to a classic pilsner than an ale. And it’s always served in smaller measures, to make sure every tipple stays cool and crisp while you drink it.
This dish is like Dusseldorf’s version of a roast dinner – big cuts of beef or venison are marinated in vinegar, wine and spices before being slow cooked. The result is almost a sweet and sour flavour to the meat, and it’s usually accompanied by potato dumplings, cabbage and a syrupy beetroot sauce.
This might sound like a rogue choice for a city break in Germany, but Dusseldorf’s bustling Little Tokyo neighbourhood is famed for its authentic eastern cuisine. Sushi bars are ten-a-penny around here, so you won’t have to look far to find something that’s as good as you’d find on Japanese soil.
Pork knuckle and ham hock are a couple of terms for what Dusseldorf residents know as haxe. This huge, on-the-bone portion of meat is a staple right across the country, thanks to its crunchy exterior and melt-in-the-mouth middle. Bratkartoffeln and sauerkraut – fried potatoes and sour cabbage – are the classic companions to this dish.
Crispy coating, fluffy middle and toppings of your choosing – that’s what these potato pancakes are all about. They’re shaped the same as their thick American namesakes, but have a texture that’s closer to a hash brown. Marmalade, sugar and butter, or lashings of cooked meat are the premier accompaniments.
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