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Historische Altstadt Monschau, © Oliver Franke/Tourismus NRW e.V.

Historic town and local centres


Picturesque half-timbered houses, sweet narrow passages and historic monuments

In the historic local and town centres in NRW, visitors can immerse themselves in the past and experience the particular charm of these places in cosy cafés or on romantic squares - usually away from the congested areas and the streets where tourists usually go. Here, you’ll find a selection of historic local centres in NRW. For anyone wanting to see more half-timbered buildings, there are more town and local centres listed here:
www.historische-ortskerne-nrw.de

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    Historischer Ortskern Düsseldorf-Kaiserswerth, © Düsseldorf Tourismus GmbH
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    Fachwerkhäuser Freudenberg in der Region Siegen-Wittgenstein., © Tourismus NRW e.V.
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    Ansicht auf eine Gasse in Bedburg Alt-Kaster, © Rhein-Erft Tourismus e.V.
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    Monschau im Winter, © MonschauTouristik GmbH
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Ein bergisches Fachwerkhaus in der Altstadt von Bergneustadt., © Sabine Hütten / Naturarena Bergisches Land GmbH

Bergneustadt


Tip 1

The Losemund-Brunnen fountain stands in the historic centre of Bergneustadt in the Bergisches Land region. It takes its name from two washerwomen, who are said to have been gossips. Their images decorate the fountain.

More information:
www.stadt-bergneustadt.de 

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Alter Flecken Freudenberg in Siegen-Wittgenstein, © Tourismus NRW e.V.

Freudenberg


Tip 2

In the middle of forests and meadow valleys in the region Siegen-Wittgenstein, the black-and-white half-timbered houses are clustered close together and form the “Alter Fleck” (“old spot”), as Freudenberg residents call their historic old town centre, which is also a very popular photo spot.

More information:
www.freudenberg-wirkt.de

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Der Marktplatz in der Soester Altstadt, © Sven Andreas

Soest


Tip 3

The old town centre of Soest, in the Sauerland region, offers beautiful streets with half-timbered houses, and romantic narrow lanes. Beer gardens, cafés and bars are good places to stop for a rest. In March, the Soest bar festival is held here, which has now become famous far beyond the town itself, while in November, there are “Billige Jakobs” (“cheap Jacobs”) and “Bullenauge” (“bull’s eye”) at the Soest All Saints fair, Europe’s largest old town fair.

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Historische Altstadt Monschau, © Oliver Franke/Tourismus NRW e.V.

Monschau


Tip 4

A typical feature of this small Eifel town in the rocky Rur valley are the beech hedges, which are as high as the houses, and which the residents planted generations ago to protect their homes. On a guided tour, visitors can walk through unspoilt nature in the Hohes Venn upland moorland, or experience culinary delicacies in the historic mustard mill.

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Gasse der Altstadt von Bad Münstereifel, © Eifel Tourismus GmbH

Bad Münstereifel


Tip 5

In this medieval Eifel village, the Erft snakes its way past half-timbered houses and a restored town wall. Due to its similarity with the small town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Bavaria, the Kneipp spa town is also known as the “Rhenish Rothenburg”.

More information:
www.dein-nrw.de/bad-muenstereifel

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Teuto Bad Salzuflen Fachwerk, © Bad Salzuflen

Bad Salzuflen


Tip 6

Every day, 60,000 litres of salt water trickle over the gradation works in the heart of the town, and create a fresh sea breeze. Bad Salzuflen, one of the most well-known spa baths in Germany, is located in the middle of the Teutoburger Wald nature park.

More information:
wwwn.dein-nrw.de/bad-salzuflen

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Ansicht auf den Marktplatz Lemgo, © Lemgo Marketing

Lemgo


Tip 7

The historic town centre of Lemgo in the Teutoburg Forest has all the flair of the Renaissance and the idyllic atmosphere of the Lipperland region. One important urban architectural monument is the “Hexenbürgermeisterhaus” (“witch mayor’s house”). The name goes back to mayor Hermann Cothmann, who was actively involved in the witch trials during the 17th century. The town hall in Lemgo is also regarded as a monument spanning different eras that is of particular importance.

More information:
www.lemgo-marketing.de

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Historischer Ortskern Hattingen Weihnachtsmarkt, © Sandra Glomb / Hattingen Marketing

Hattingen


Tip 8

Hattingen, with its lovingly restored old town, lies on the southern bank of the Rur in the Ruhr Area. The oldest buildings are clustered around St. Georgs church: the “Wachzins” (“watch tax”) houses and the “old town hall” built in 1576. For visitors wanting to admire industrial culture in Hattingen, alongside the half-timbered buildings, it’s worth taking a trip to the LWL-Industriemuseum, the Heinrichshütte.

More information:
www.hattingen.de

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Schloss Rheda in Rheda-Wiedenbrück, © Fürstlich zu Bentheim Tecklenburgische Kanzlei

Rheda-Wiedenbrück


Tip 9

With its traditional gastronomy and many restored houses, Rheda-Wiedenbrück has retained its historic charm. However, visitors can download an app on their smartphone or tablet and discover the historic town centre of Wiedenbrück digitally. It’s also particularly worth taking a trip to the Rheda water palace.

More information:
www.rheda-wiedenbrueck.de

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Historischer Ortskern von Krefeld-Linn, © Stadt Krefeld Presse und Kommunikation

Krefeld-Linn


Tip 10

In the shadow of Burg Linn castle, visitors can enjoy traditional hospitality in the narrow lanes of the historic town centre in Linn in the Lower Rhine region. Every year at Whitsun, there’s an opportunity to visit the Flax Market, the largest handicraft market in Germany, and take a trip back in time to the Middle Ages.

More information:
www.krefeld-linn.de

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Ansicht auf eine Gasse in Bedburg Alt-Kaster, © Rhein-Erft Tourismus e.V.

Bedburg Alt-Kaster


Tip 11

Many visitors between Aachen and Cologne in the Rhine-Erft-County also know Bedburg and its historic district of Alt-Kaster as the “castle town on the Erft”. The Nikolausmarkt, which is held every year, is particularly atmospheric, when residents open up their homes and back yards to offer hand-made products.

More information: 
www.alt-kaster.de

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Ansicht auf den historischen Ortskern von Warburg, © H. Roesel / Hansestadt Warburg

Warburg


Tip 12

The picturesque Hanse town of Warburg lies at the foot of the Eggegebirge nature park, surrounded by forests. From the old town, visitors can take a trip to the castle ruins on the Desenberg hill close by. 

More information:
www.warburg-touristik.de

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Ansicht auf den Weihnachtsmarkt Xanten, © Niederrhein Tourismus GmbH

Xanten


Tip 13

During the Roman era, Xanten in the Lower Rhine region was one of the most important metropolitan towns of the Germanic province of Rome. In the LVR-Römermuseum, there are models of an amphitheatre and port temple, residential settlements, spas and town walls from the Roman period. Xanten is worth a visit.

More information: 
www.xanten.de

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Gasse im historischen Ortskern von Essen-Kettwig, © Hannah Piecha / Tourismus NRW e.V.

Essen-Kettwig


Tip 14

The municipality of Kettwig lies directly on the Ruhr river. In summer in particular, it is a popular day trip destination in the Ruhr Area for hikers and cyclists. The old town is the perfect place to take a break and enjoy an ice cream, surrounded by the romantic flair of the half-timbered buildings.

More information:
www.rheinruhronline.de

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Historischer Ortskern Düsseldorf-Kaiserswerth, © Düsseldorf Tourismus GmbH

Düsseldorf-Kaiserswerth


Tip 15

The picturesque centre of Kaiserwerth with its Baroque houses from the 17th and 18th century is a popular day trip destination, including for Düsseldorf residents. The ruins of the imperial palace of Friedrich Barbarossa are situated directly on the Rhine. Here, it’s worth making a stop in the cafés and beer gardens.

More information:
www.duesseldorf-tourismus.de

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Der Marktplatz in Solingen-Gräfrath bei Nacht., © Kristine Loew

Solingen-Gräfrath


Tip 16

A trip to Gräfrath is like taking a journey back in time. In the typical black, white and green colours of the Bergisch three region, visitors will find the historic town centre with its restored half-timbered buildings, an idyllic market square and an impressive monastery church.

More information:
www.die-bergischen-drei.de

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Gasse im Ortskern Telgte, © Münsterland e.V.

Telgte


Tip 17

Every year, around one hundred thousand pilgrims visit this pilgrimage destination on the river Ems in the Münsterland region, which is around 1,200 years old. In the medieval town centre, there are traditional Westphalian restaurants and small specialist shops. The pilgrimage destination has been immortalised in Günter Grass’ story “Das Treffen in Telgte” (“The Meeting in Telgte”).

More information:
www.telgte.de

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Ansicht auf den Burg Steinfurt Marktplatz, © Münsterland e.V.

Steinfurt-Burgsteinfurt


Tip 18

As well as the historic centre, it’s worth taking a trip to the Bagno in Steinfurt - the most beautiful green space in the Münsterland region. In the “Lustgarten”, visitors can take a journey into the 18th century - with historic locations, regional building stones, monuments and modern sculptures waiting to be discovered.

More information:
www.steinfurt-touristik.de

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Der historische Stadtkern Warendorf, © Münsterland e.V.

Warendorf


Tip 19

This equestrian centre is one of the most beautiful towns in the Münsterland region. Historic merchants’ houses from different eras surround the market square, while medieval streets and passages run through the town centre.

More information:
www.muensterland-tourismus.de

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Ansicht auf Burgruine Windeck, © Tourismus Windecker Ländchen e.V.

Windeck


Tip 20

The district of Alt-Windeck with its many half-timbered houses has already won an award as the most beautiful village in the Rhine-Sieg region several times. Windeck is also surrounded by castles. The old castle ruins of Windeck gave the municipality its name, and are also a symbol of the town. 

More information:
www.heimatmuseum-windeck.de

Historic town and local centres


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