Spending a nice holiday while staying in control of one’s carbon footprint and being considerate of the climate is becoming increasingly important to many. Everyone who comes to North Rhine-Westphalia can travel there with a clear conscience, in particular due to the dense international and regional bus and rail networks, short distances within the state, and a number of different available guest tickets, not only including some discounts and free admissions, but also permitting climate-friendly travel to and from the destination by bus and rail as well as locally for public transport.
Comfortable bus and train rides
North Rhine-Westphalia is very well connected internationally, with the Thalys and ICE high-speed trains running from Cologne and Dortmund to Brussels, Paris, and Basel respectively. Travellers from Zurich, Basel, Vienna, and Innsbruck can even complete their journeys in their sleep on the night train.
The many Flixbus connections offer an environmentally friendly alternative on the road: North Rhine-Westphalia is easy to reach from other European countries by this means of transport as well, with direct bus connections available from Basel, Vienna, Warsaw, or London, among other places. Once on site, sustainable movement can continue since the land of short distances makes it easy to get from A to B by train on Germany’s densest railway network with its roughly 6000 kilometres of track.
Good to know: Guests can also set sail sustainably in NRW
The MS Westfalen, Europe’s largest fully electric passenger ship, is operating on lake Biggesee in the Sauerland region. The vessel is clean, quiet, and CO2-neutral. A passenger ship provides sustainable boating pleasure on lake Aasee in Münster as well, where the solar-powered “Solaaris” is available for round trips from spring to autumn.
Out and about in NRW
Climate-friendly and at low cost
No matter if you prefer a museum in Düsseldorf, shopping in Cologne, or industrial culture in Essen: many cities and even some entire regions in North Rhine-Westphalia offer welcome cards that not only bring many discounts or free admissions, but also allow free travel on buses and trains.
The WelcomeCard Ruhr, for example, comes with free or half-price admission to many attractions in the Ruhr area for a specific period of 24, 48, or 72 hours, as well as free use of public transport anywhere in the Ruhr area – and even beyond at times as the ticket also covers some journeys from the Dutch border region. The DüsseldorfCard serves as a ticket for buses and trains in the city area and is available in a bicycle version as well. If you prefer to discover the city by bike, you can book the DüsseldorfBikeCard including a rental bike for 24 or 48 hours.
Some other tourist tickets are included automatically with any overnight stays at particular establishments. The SauerlandCard for Ferienwelt Winterberg, for example, is automatically handed out when the spa fee is paid. The GästeCard for the Northern Eifel region is provided with an overnight stay in any one of the participating accommodations. You can even use the card for your inbound journey if you book your Eifel holiday in time. It is worth looking out for such offers when travelling to NRW, no matter if your destination is in the city or in the countryside.
Good to know: a good climate in the city
Düsseldorf has the largest green façade in Europe to ensure good urban climate. Kö-Bogen 2 has about 35,000 hornbeam hedge plants growing both horizontally and vertically.
On foot or by bike
Strolling, hiking, or cycling
Smaller towns with shorter distances afford relaxed exploration on foot or by bike. Aachen, Münster, Bielefeld or Bonn will invite you to stroll their streets with sights that can be easily reached on foot. Anyone yearning for larger rounds and striving to cycle from town to town can do just that, too. For example, a bicycle rented through Metropolrad Ruhr in any one of the ten participating Ruhr area cities can be returned in any other one. This applies accordingly to the green bikes from “NiederrheinRad”, which can be picked up and dropped off at any of the rental stations distributed across the region in Duisburg, Krefeld Kleve, Wesel, Viersen, and Rhein-Kreis Neuss. Anyone who wants to explore NRW on two wheels has a huge choice of routes to boot since the NRW bicycle network covers trails worth as much as 30,000 kilometres. The hiking trail network is even larger, with more than 50,000 kilometres. Whether certified premium hiking trail, “Top Trail of Germany”, or insider advice: NRW will give you some experiences close to nature, beautiful vistas, and entirely new experiences at every turn.
Good to know: Award-winning sustainable travel regions in NRW
The Northern Eifel and Ferienwelt Winterberg are two regions in NRW that have already been awarded the sustainable travel destination seal by renowned certification company TourCert gGmbH.