Though North-Rhine Westphalia is often associated with declined heavy industry rather than holidays, those who make the effort to scratch the surface of Germany’s most populous state will find that it offers more diversity than any other in the country. Home to bustling urban centers and medieval gems unchanged by time, it offers a number of fascinating spots to visit – here’s our pick of the best.
Düsseldorf, by the River Rhine, is a city of amazing contrasts. The city skyline boasts lovingly preserved ancient churches, the ornate pink Benrath Palace and the Kaiserpfalz ruins, while at the same time dazzling visitors with glitzy futuristic architecture like the Gehry buildings. While a stroll along the old town square is equivalent to a walk down history, Königsallee treats you to some of the most glamorous shopping in Europe. Whatever you do, don’t leave town before feasting your eyes on a city panorama from the Rheinturm observation deck and sipping a chilled Altbier at the longest bar in the world by the Rhine.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
When it comes to exciting cities, Cologne has few contenders in Germany. The city is chock-a-block with attractions, the most noteworthy among which is undeniably the UNESCO-listed captivating Cologne Cathedral. Additionally, a holiday in Cologne promises picturesque bridges, unique museums and many nature spots. Thanks to its myriad attractions, adults and children enjoy the city alike. And, should you visit in February, you’ll get to witness the happiest carnival in all of Germany.
Münster is a 1,200-year-old university town that shyly awaits you with its treasure trove of stunning medieval architecture, rich culture and green oases. The ancient Münster Cathedral (St Paul’s Cathedral) defines the skyline of Münster and the Gothic architecture of Münster’s City Hall (Rathaus) right next door prompts every passer-by to stop and admire its beautiful facade. When you wish to break away from the concrete and unwind in the midst of nature, simply hop away to Münster’s very own lake, Aasee.
Bonn has many feathers in its cap – it is among the most ancient German cities, the legendary Beethoven was born in this town, it is the former capital city of Germany, has an enviable heritage and boasts top-notch educational institutes. When in town, don’t miss the stunning Poppelsdorf Palace, the 1,000-year-old Bonn Minster and a visit to Museum Koenig.
If bricks, arches and walls could talk, Aachen‘s would tell stories of centuries of fascinating history. Today, thousands of travelers head to Aachen to treat themselves to luxurious spa and wellness holidays. However, the real appeal of Aachen for travelers lie in its painstakingly-preserved architecture dating back several centuries, the most important among which is the magnificent Aachen Cathedral.
Monschau, a gem of Germany’s Eifel region, arouses even the most pragmatic heart with its palpable air of romance. Set aside a few hours to simply get lost in its winding alleys lined with half-timbered houses. Fill the rest of your time in town visiting Rotes Haus (the former headquarters of the textile-industrialist Scheibler family turned into a museum), Monschau Castle and Glass Works. Hiking the Eifel region and taking a cruise down the Rursee are also tempting and vastly enjoyable options.
The entire town of Xanten resembles a page torn from a history book. While most of the world has changed beyond recognition in the past centuries, time seems to have overlooked Xanten. Each of its landmarks, like the medieval town square, the stunning cathedral, picturesque lakes, and museums – breathes stories of millennia of history.
Once a ‘steel city’, Dortmund has today acquired a worldwide reputation as the hub of technological advancement. But the city is not only for business travelers. This glitzy, bustling spot promises enormous doses of culture in the form of interesting museums, theater and media art. For families, the best destination in town is undoubtedly Dortmund Zoo, home to 1,500 creatures across 230 species.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.