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The capital city of the state of North Rhine-Westphilia and Germany’s 7th largest city. It is home to around 600,000 people. It is one of the main cities of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area, alongside its regional rival Cologne, which has 11 million people living in this area.
The first mention of Dusseldorf comes from 1135 and the city came under control of the counts of Berg in 1186. The city suffered many years of decline during the early modern period however the Industrial Revolution completely transformed the city. Dusseldorf was the target of heavy, strategic bombing by the allies during World War 2.
Today, Dusseldorf is a centre of culture, with may famous artists spending their formative years in the city. It is also home town of the electronic innovators Kraftwerk. Fashion is big business here, and you will find many opportunities to buy high end and luxury goods. Its Old Town offers a chaotic, beer-filled night you may hope to forget.
For information about gay rights in Germany, please check out our Gay Berlin City Guide page.
While neighbouring Cologne is one of the best destinations for gay nightlife in Germany, Dusseldorf has a vibrant and varied gay scene. There is a good selection of Gay Bars, Dance Clubs and a Gay Sauna catering for gay visitors. The city is very open-minded and gay guests will have a great night wherever they chose to visit.
At the end of May, Dusseldorf celebrates its Christopher Street Day (CSD) celebrations and is a hugely popular event in the city. One of the main draws of February’s Carnival is the drag queen catwalk show, known locally as Tutenlauf. The Kirmes funfair in July also has Pink Monday which is popular with gay and lesbian guests.
Dusseldorf Airport (DUS) is located 7km north of the city centre and is Germany’s 3rd largest airport. It is well connected to destinations in Europe and is a hub for Eurowings. It offers long-haul connections to North America, Africa, Asia and the Far East.
From the terminals you can take a skytrain (H-bahn) to the airports rail station. From here S-bahn lines S7 and S11 will take you into the city centre in 12 minutes for €2.50. The same price also applies to bus travel but the journey time is longer (around 35 minutes).
There are taxi ranks in the airport arrivals and departure area. The drivers are likely to speak some level of English and you will be able to pay by card. Journeys cost around €30 into the city centre. Car hire desks of major companies can be found directly in front of arrivals. The drive into the city will take around 15 minutes depending on traffic.
Alternatively, it is possible to fly into Köln Bonn Airport (CGN) or Weeze Airport (NRN). Weeze Airport is a hub for Ryanair and you can get very cheap flights here. A direct bus will take you 75 minutes. From Cologne Airport you can get a coach that takes an hour or a train (with transfer) from the airport.
Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof is located just a short walk away from the action. It is a major rail hub in Germany with fast and regular services to the big German cities. It has several international routes to destinations in Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Poland, France, Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands.
Dusseldorf’s city centre is easy to traverse on foot. Most sights are within walking distance and it really is the best way to take in the majesty of Königsallee and the chaos of the Altstadt.
By public transport
Rheinbahn AG operates the bus, tram and Stadtbahn network. Most sights of interest are within the A zone and it is unlikely that you will be travelling out of this zone. Tickets can be purchased at stops from vending machines (remember to validate). A 30 minute journey costs €1.60, a 90 minute journey is €2.50 and a day ticket is €5.90.
The NachtExpress service of buses and subways runs from 1am to 4am on Fridays and Saturdays and is a great way of getting to and from the parties. The public transport system in Dusseldorf is connected to the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region so it is possible to travel long distances just using public transport.
Taxis in Dusseldorf are clean and efficient (and mostly Mercedes!). There are taxi ranks at major locations throughout the city and they can be hailed on the street. Taxi apps such as Uber and myDriver are gaining in popularity.
Dusseldorf has many great-value hotels to choose from. For a list of the best hotel deals, please check out the Dusseldorf Hotels page.
Königsallee – this beautiful, tree-lined street is Germany’s Champs-Élysées. Here you will find a variety of high end shops and restaurants.
Altstadt – the old town was mostly destroyed during World War 2 and was rebuilt to within almost exact specifications. It is colloquially known as the “longest bar in the world” due to having 250 bars within a 1 km radius. It is chaotic and exciting on a weekend.
Rhine Tower – one of Dusseldorf’s most iconic sights. This tower can be seen for miles around. You can travel to the top where there is a (overpriced) restaurant offering 360 degrees views of the city.
Kunstsammlung NRW – Dusseldorf’s excellent art museum has two locations- K20 in Altstadt and K21 in Downtown. Here you will find works by Klee, Picasso and Warhol.
The Rhine Promenade – a perfect place to stroll in the summer. There is a selection of good bars here that are perfect for people watching.
St. Lambertus Basilika – this brick built church is a great example of Lower Rhinish Gothic architecture. Its winding tower is of special note.
Hofgarten and Goethe Museum – the first public park in Germany. A perfect spot for a picnic and in the Jägerhof tower you will find a fascinating museum dedicated to the writer Goethe.
Schifffahrtmuseum Düsseldorf – one for the anoraks. This museum is dedicated to inland shipping and is housed in the city’s old castle tower.
Dusseldorf has extremely hot summers, which can sometimes border on unbearable. By contrast, heavy snow is common in winter. Late spring and early fall offer weather that isn’t too extreme and also avoids the crowds that come in the summer.
There are many festivals and events occurring in Dusseldorf throughout the year. Its Christmas Market is a fantastic place to sample bratwurst and gluehwein. It’s Carneval is not a public holiday but many venues treat it as such and the Monday parade is a must see. April’s marathon is incredibly popular with participants and spectators.
Germany is within the European Schengen visa area. If travelling from outside Europe, check to see if you require a Schengen visa.
Germany is a member of the Eurozone. Cash dispensers are widely available. You may be asked for photo ID if paying with a credit or debit card in a shop.
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