City-Strand Köln 2, © KölnKongress GmbH

High­lights 2019

11 reas­ons why you should come to NRW in 2019

Obviously, everyone knows Cologne Cathedral. And you’ll also have heard about Borussia Dortmund. However, those are just two reasons of many to get on a plane or train and come to Germany – or more precisely, to North Rhine-Westphalia.

Summer in Cologne, © Tourismus NRW, Dominik Ketz

We have culture and sport, nature and excitement, history and the present on offer – and are sometimes a little bit different. Exciting and unusual. And the best thing of all: North Rhine-Westphalia is not at all far away, and is easy to reach wherever you come from. Several hundred planes from all over the world land at the Düsseldorf and Cologne/Bonn airports every day. The journey is only slightly longer when you take the Eurostar. And you can also easily reach the more remote locations with their beautiful landscapes by bus and train. In other words, there are plenty of good reasons to visit NRW. We’ve compiled a list of eleven of them for you. Simply pick one – or better still, pick several. You won’t be disappointed!

Wintersport im Sauerland, © Wintersport Arena Sauerland, Siegerland-Wittgenstein

1. Like a world cham­pi­on in the winter

NRW doesn’t just play Champions League football. We’re also not bad at winter sports, either. On 23 and 24 March, you can be there live when the best snowboarders compete against each other for important world cup points in the parallel slalom at the FIS Snowboard World Cup in Winterberg. In January, there’s even a world championship for toboggan racing on the toboggan track in Winterberg. And the best ski jumpers in the world can be seen every year in the Sauerland region. While they fly high up through the air from the Mühlenkopfschanze ski jump in Willingen, they are cheered on enthusiastically by their supporters on the ground.

Der Altenberger Dom in Odenthal im Frühling., © Das Bergische

2. Cathed­rals in a green set­ting

The largest Gothic church window in Europe is not in Cologne, as you might think. The impressive depiction of heavenly Jerusalem from the 14th century adorns the Altenberger Dom cathedral in the rural Bergisches Land region. After a guided tour (also available in English) through the monastery grounds, which are surrounded by meadows and woods, and the historic town centre of Altenberg, it’s worth stopping in one of the cosy restaurants.

Der Aachener Dom aus der Vogelperspektive., © Tourismus NRW e.V.

3. Fol­low­ing in Char­le­magne’s foot­steps

Aachen is one of the most historically important cities in the country – and is also a vibrant, cosmopolitan place where the sun (nearly) always shines. You can follow in Charlemagne’s footsteps in the old city centre. It is here that he ordered one of the highest churches north of the Alps to be built. Already on entering the imposing choir of Aachen Cathedral with its Gothic stained glass windows, your breath will be taken away. You can gain an impression of the 1,200-year-old history of the city in the cathedral treasury of this first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Germany.

Ein Paar auf dem Rheinradweg., © Dominik Ketz, Tourismus NRW

4. From your bike onto a boat

Many motorway bridges lead over the Rhine. But how about taking a boat from Cologne to Bonn? The best way is to combine the journey with a bike tour. Along the Rhine cycle path, there are not only numerous attractions such as the legendary “Drachenfels” (“Dragon’s Rock”) in Königswinter and the impressive Augustusburg and Falkenlust palaces near Brühl. There are also numerous tourist boats anchored on the banks, which will conveniently take you to the other side of the Rhine.

Monschau, © vennbahn.eu

5. Pic­tur­esque Mon­schau

It is as though time has stood still. Wander through the narrow, romantic cobblestone streets in the medieval town of Monschau in the Eifel region. Around 300 picturesque half-timbered houses are lined up in rows, and the Rur river burbles gently through the old town. Enjoy the romantic atmosphere in cosy pubs, stylish restaurants and cafés, and immerse yourself in the heyday of the clothmaking industry during the 18th century.

Leuchtender Schmetterling auf dem Haldenzauber, © Peter Wieler

6. A sea of lights

The view from the former colliery slag heat on the Lower Rhine is already impressive by day. But when the lights are switched on during the evening on the Millicher Halde heap and the “Sleeping Beauty” is brought to life, you won’t be able to tear yourself away from the magical beauty of this industrial backdrop. At the “Haldenzauber” festival from 23 November 2019 to 5 January 2020, you can wander through a course of light installations, art objects and interactive figures, accompanied by music.

Der Kaiserwagen der Wuppertaler Schwebebahn, © Anna Schwartz

7. Drink cof­fee on a trip in the im­per­i­al car­riage

Buses and trains are for ordinary people. In Wuppertal, you can travel like Kaiser Wilhelm II in a suspension railway. During a cosy trip with coffee and cake or an atmospheric tour of the city lights, you can experience Wuppertal from above and can be sure to avoid the traffic jams. The historic, stylish imperial carriage from 1900 travels between the 20 stops on the line, which are worth a visit in themselves. Hop on, hop off in a rather different way.

Kultur Pur, © BLB Tourismus

8. Mu­sic sum­mer

During the summer, the music plays in Siegen-Wittgenstein. At the KulturPur culture festival in June, you can enjoy the performances on the green field with tens of thousands of other guests. For five days, top acts from the German music scene, theatre, poetry slam and cabaret create a relaxed and happy atmosphere on the Ginsberger Heide heath in Hilchenbach. You can hear classical music at the International Music Festival Week in Bad Berleburg. The baroque Corps de Logis from the palace forms the impressive backdrop to concerts with international artists.

Rothaarsteig Spuren Kahle Poen, © Rothaarsteigverein Foto Klaus-Peter Kappes

9. Sports, of course

Liverpool has Jürgen Klopp, and we have Borussia Dortmund, Schalke 04 and the best fans in the Bundesliga football league. Experience the legendary “yellow wall” live on Europe’s largest standing stadium gallery, or take a look at football history legends in the German Football Museum. Not interested in football? Then simply lace up your hiking boots and discover the particular beauty of the Sauerland region on the 119th German hiking day in July. Or come to Duisburg and give your support to the young people and top athletes competing in canoe polo, climbing or skateboard racing at the 2019 Ruhr Games.

UNESCO-Welterbe Zeche Zollverein Essen bei Dunkelheit, © Ruhr Tourismus, Jochen Schlutius

10. Cel­eb­rat­ing Bauhaus

The 100-year anniversary of the founding of the state Bauhaus will also be celebrated in NRW. Around 35 exhibitions, an international dance festival and other events and conferences are on the agenda. As well as current exhibitions, there are also other destinations that are worth visiting all year round here. Whether it’s in Krefeld, Hagen, Essen or Oberhausen, there are buildings with a connection to modern architecture to be found in many places.

Japantag Düsseldorf Goldregen beim Feuerwerk, © Düsseldorf Marketing & Tourismus GmbH

11. Fire­works along the Rhine

The spring and summer months are the brightest of the year – but what about lighting up some parts along the Rhine in a very special way? The light show of „Rhein in Flammen“ on 04 May 2019 as well as the „Kölner Lichter“ on 13 July 2019 are popular for their big fireworks and impressive shows – which are even more beautiful with their reflection on the water.
You want to feel Japanese for one day? Then don’t forget the Japan Day on 25 May 2019, when Düsseldorf turns into Japan for a day and a huge firework display will light up the city.
Find more events here: www.nrw-tourism.com/events

The Wan­der­lust mini guide

Dis­cov­er Wan­der­lusts 10 reas­ons to vis­it North Rhine-West­phalia in 2019!

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Zeche Zollverein aus der Luft, © Jochen Tack  Stiftung Zollverein

In­dus­tri­al her­it­age

Sicht auf den Düsseldorfer Medienhafen inklusive Rheinturm, © Tourismus NRW e.V.