Bonn is a modern, vibrant and cosmopolitan city with over 2000 years of history. It is among the 20 largest cities in Germany and probably best known for being Beethoven’s birthplace. It is located directly on the River Rhine and surrounded by the area known as Seven Hills (Siebengebirge). The picturesque old town, around 30 museums and numerous sporting and musical events provide entertainment and authentic “rheinische” joie de vivre.
Things to see and do
The city’s important son world-famous composer Ludwig van Beethoven. His legacy is highly honored and respected in and around the city. Beethoven House in Bonngasse, right at the heart of the city, is now a museum and counts as one of Bonn’s landmarks. Beethoven lived here for over 22 years, received his musical education and played the organ in the castle church. Dozens of monuments dedicated to his genius can be spotted around Bonn.
The Beethoven Orchestra and the annual Beethoven Festival Bonn connect with music lovers around the world. In 2020, the city of Bonn is celebrating the great Beethoven Jubilee with a festival involving the local authorities, Beethoven institutions and initiatives as well as companies.
Political Bonn — an authentic place of contemporary history
Once the capital of former West Germany, the political spirit is still well noticeable in Bonn, as it still hosts five of the federal ministries, among them the Ministry of Education and Research and the Ministry of Defense.
Special exhibitions and sightseeing opportunities in places like Palais Schaumburg, Kanzlerbungalow, Villa Hammerschmidt, former embassies and Adenauer House in Rhöndorf are hugely popular as they serve as authentic places and testimonies of historical relevance. The plenary hall, located directly next to the Rhine, is one of the most beautiful parliament buildings in the world. Its Chamber can be visited as part of guided tours.
The so-called museum mile houses some of the most renowned museums of the country, among them Deutsches Museum, Bundeskunsthalle, Kunstmuseum, Museum Koenig and Haus der Geschichte.
Pützchen, a place in the district of Bonn-Vilich, is said to have become a place of pilgrimage in the mid-14th century. From a small marketplace covered in tents and stalls where goods were sold, slowly, Pützchen’s market transformed itself into a large fair as traders, travellers, minstrels, jugglers, animal trainers and artists started flocking there. Today, the annual “PüMa” is one of the most authentic and exciting attractions in autumn, offering exceptional attractions, local food and drink (such as Bönnsch beer), live performances, spectacular rides and frolicsome atmosphere in a number of beer tents.
Freizeitpark Rheinaue (Rheinaue Leisure Park)
Upon a surface of 160 hectares, this beautiful park, former host of the National Horticultural Show, with its fascinating flower beds, a great number of ponds and the splendor of well-cultivated green areas, is a great place for all kinds of outdoor activities. If you are passionate about flower arrangements, take a fascinating walk through the Japanese garden. If you prefer authentic German beergarden-atmosphere, go for a drink in one of the cosy restaurants on the hills, and enjoy the spectacular view on the Ceasar research centre and the Post Tower. You can also hire a boat, challenge a friend on a miniature golf course or have a picnic by the water.
In summer Rheinaue hosts a number of concerts and festivals such as Rockaue Open Air and Reimaue. It serves as a prominent place to watch the famous “Rhein in Flammen” fireworks from, accompanied by a range of stage performances and funfair. Rheinaue flea market is open every third Saturday between March and October. It is one of the biggest and most attractive flea markets in Germany.
Old City (Altstadt)
Explore the most colourful and picturesque quarter of Bonn in all its facets: because in spring it is covered by an incredible splendor of cherry blossoms, the old city has become one of the most well-known venues for professional and hobby photographers from all over the world. If you come to the area, enjoy a walk through the small alleyways of this lively neighbourhood, surround yourself with the pink sea of flowers and don’t forget to enjoy a coffee or beer in one of the incredibly diverse taverns — the great pride of the Bonner!
Drachenfels (Dragon‘s Rock) is located in a hill range called Siebengebirge just a short (and very scenic) ferry drive away from Bonn.
The hill with a castle ruin on its summit is one of the most well-known tourist attractions in the area. The castle was built in the 11th century by the Archbishop of Cologne. It is the perfect destination for a day trip.
The hike to the top takes an hour at most and if a mid-hike break is needed, visitors can take a look inside the neogothic castle “Schloss Drachenburg” that is located lower on the hill.
Alternatively, a little old-fashioned train called “Drachenfelsbahn” drives its passengers up the hill in a pace slow enough to look at the beautiful nature around. In the summer, kids can ride to the top on the back of a donkey — which will probably be their highlight of the whole trip.
The view from the top of Drachenfels is beautiful, especially when it’s sunny.
Both tourists and locals gather here to enjoy the beautiful sight of green hills and the Rhine from above — and to relax in the modern beer garden.
British-German Town Twinnings
Town twinnings between British and German cities play an important role in promoting cultural exchange. Bonn has been twinned with Oxford in Oxfordshire since 1947.