Park, Düsseldorf, © Felix Gemein

Green oases in the city

Re­lax­ing in nature

City and nature often are quite close together in North Rhine-Westphalia. At times, some proper green oases can be found even right in the middle of bustling cities and large metropolises, beckoning to relax and unwind, to go for a walk, or to recline and observe animals or take pictures. Just let your mind wander – the closest green oasis often is merely a stone’s throw away.

Arboretum Burgholz, © Ute Nolden-Seemann

Trees from around the world

Tip 1

You can’t see the wood for the trees in Wuppertal, where the Burgholz Arboretum is the largest cultivation area by size with foreign tree species in Germany. It has silver firs, giant sequoias, and almost 100 deciduous and coniferous tree species to offer. Three easy-to-walk trails lead to trees from North America, Europe, and Asia, marked for the hikers with either a sequoia, a chestnut leaf, or a katsura tree leaf.

The pinecone trail marker will let you hike the forests of the world on a somewhat longer trail.

Lousberg Aachen, © @sauldejongh @vincentcroce

Lous­berg Aachen

Tip 2

Mountain climbing in the middle of Aachen - at 264 metres, the Lousberg is the highest of Aachen's three local mountains. There is a real holiday atmosphere here: hammocks on the northern slope invite you to switch off and enjoy the magnificent views over the Soers, a wetland with a stream that flows into the Wurm, and Aachen.

If, after all this greenery, you still fancy a stroll through the city, visit Aachen's old town and wander through romantic alleyways, browse small shops and take a break in pretty cafés.

Naturlinie 105 in Essen, © Ruhrbahn GmbH

In­to nature by tram

Tip 3

About 20 kilometres of the Naturlinie 105 line from the Emschertal valley to the Ruhrtal valley run right through Essen. The route leads past idyllic green valleys with small brooks, planted residential areas, as well as forests and nature reserves. Choose the green oasis to be your stop to your liking: the Naturlinie 105 line is operated as part of the regular transport service. All stops have signs with information on nature walks, walking directions, and distances. Come on then: All aboard!

Park Castle Heltorf in Düsseldorf, ©

Düs­sel­dorf’s “Thick Bush”

Tip 4

Huge rhododendron plants give the “Dicker Busch” (thick bush) near Heltorf Castle in the northern part of Angermund, which is counted among the most beautiful forest parks in the English landscape style along the Lower Rhine, its name. The rhododendron plants there are the second-oldest ones in Germany. They are in full bloom from early April to the end of June, offering an ideal photo motif with their great colours.

Wahner Heide, Köln, © Frank Mertens, frankmphotography

Co­logne’s green front garden

Tip 5

An oasis of peace and a habitat for wild animals and plants is waiting right at the gates of the metropolitan city of Cologne with its busy streets and numerous highlights such as Cologne Cathedral: The Wahner Heide is the nature reserve with the greatest number of different species in North Rhine-Westphalia, an ideal retreat for anyone looking to take a break from the big city. Flocks of sheep and goats are roaming hilly dune landscapes here while seemingly enchanted paths lead through heather landscapes, and the Telegraphenberg and Fliegenberg hills afford walkers and hikers some great views across the heath and at times all the way to the Siebengebirge mountains.

If you are missing the hustle and bustle of the big city, you can return to Cologne quickly to enjoy the sights of the city on the Rhine.

More short tips for short trips

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