As summer is officially over now, it might be time to start looking at some fun fall getaways. Last year my bestie Petra from Sprinkles on a Cupcake and I travelled to Bonn for the weekend and had a real great time. Bonn is a small charming city, set on the banks of the Rhine River. It served as the capital of West Germany from 1949 until 1990 when reunification brought East and West Germany back together again. Bonn is also famous for being the hometown of composer Ludwig von Beethoven. Nevertheless all the history that Bonn has to offer, the city is often overlooked by travelers. In my opinion two full days is the perfect amount of time to see the main Bonn attractions and get a feel for the city. Without further ado; the best things to do in Bonn.
Explore the Old Town
Bonn’s “Old Town” isn’t actually that old. It’s only about 100 years old, in fact! The real Old Town was destroyed in WWII and wasn’t rebuilt. However, the Old Town you see today is one of the top attractions in Bonn. When strolling through the pedestrian-only cobblestone streets of the Old Town, you’ll come across the Altes Rathaus, Bonn’s City Hall. With its gilded stair railings and a pretty pink Rococo façade, it’s easily one of the prettiest buildings in the city.
The Munsterplatz is one of the largest squares in Bonn. At one side of the square, there’s the impressive Bonn Basilica, one of Germany’s oldest churches. It was built between the 11th and 13th centuries in a mix of both Romanesque and Gothic styles. On the other side of the square you can find the Beethoven Statue, erected in 1845 for the first annual Beethoven festival.
Visit Beethoven Haus
One of the best things to in Bonn is a visit to the Beethoven Haus. Famous composer Ludwig von Beethoven was born in Bonn in 1770. The Beethoven Haus is the actual home where Beethoven was born and lived. It has been preserved and turned into a museum. Upon display are several interesting artifacts from Beethoven’s life and career, such as his personal violin and many of his original compositions written in his handwriting.
Buy gummy bears at the Haribo store
Bonn is also the birthplace where gummy bears were invented back in the 1920s. Hans Riegel created the jelly-like candies. The company’s name – Haribo – comes from the first two letters of both his first and last name and his home city, so HA(ns) RI(egel) BO(nn). The factory itself is not open to tourists, but the main Haribo store is located right in the heart of Bonn. You can buy all different types of Haribo gummies at the store- some I’d never even heard of! Needless to say that we bought quite a lot to take home with us right?!
Feel like a Disney Princess at Schloss Drachenburg in Königswinter
My favorite thing to do during our trip was visiting Schloss Drachenburg and Drachenfels Castle. The gorgeous fairytale-like castle is located in Königswinter, about 14 km’s from Bonn. The castle is located below the Drachenfel mountains. It was built between 1882 and 1884 and is considered one of the most significant castle buildings from the 19th century.
The interior of the castle if also pretty impressive; Many of the rooms are decorated with dark woods, colorful murals and stained glasses, which were in style at the time the castle was built.
You can reach the castle on foot from the Lemmerzbad Carpark. It’s a bit of a climb, but it’s very much doable. You can also drive the Drachenfelsbahn railway to reach Drachenfels. Train ticket costs € 10 roundtrip.
Check out the Krewelshof Pumpkin Patch
A visit to Krewelshof Pumpkin Patch is more of a seasonal thing to do when exploring the area. But as we loved our visit so much, I just had to share it with you guys! The Pumpkin Festival takes place every year from the beginning of September until mid-November. There are plenty of cool fall-themed picture spots and a corn maze to release your inner child. There’s also a little store where you can buy pumpkins (obviously) and other local products. The store has a terrace and restaurant section, so it’s also possible to have a drink or meal there. In our opinion the food options were a bit limited (especially for veggies), but the cake looked promising, so I’d go for that!
Go on a day trip to Cologne or Dusseldorf
If you want to extend your trip a bit, I can highly recommend a day trip to Cologne or Düsseldorf.
Cologne is the largest city of the North Rhine-Westphalia region and the fourth largest city in Germany. Thanks to its rich history it’s one of the most popular city trip destinations in the country. Bonn to Cologne is 30 km’s and half an hour drive. If you travel by train the journey only takes about 20 minutes.
Like Bonn, Düsseldorf is still very much off the beaten path. Yet I really enjoyed visiting it. The city combines lots of historic charm with impressive modern day architecture. Düsseldorf is a little bit further than Cologne, but it’s still very much doable as a day trip. It’s about 75 km’s between the cities, so the drive would take you little over an hour. By train it would take you about 50 minutes.
Breakfast, Brunch Lunch & Coffee
Lighthouse Café Bonn – When staying at Beethoven Hotel Dreesen, breakfast at Lighthouse Café Bonn is included in your room rate. It’s a cozy coffee bar that serves a delicious and fresh breakfast. Staff is very friendly and welcoming. Also really enjoyed the tableware at Lighthouse Café.
Cream Company – Café with a lovely ambiance and trendy interior. For sure the place to be for yummy waffles and smoothies.
Der Kleine Muck – Without a doubt one of the most Instagrammable spots in Bonn! This thanks to it’s pink interior and pretty flower wall. Staff was very friendly and the toasts were delicious.
Italiani Bonn – You can never go wrong with Italian right?! Immediately upon arrival I was blown away with the amazing pink interior and art of this restaurant. The food was also really great, so I can highly recommend Italiani Bonn.
Where to stay?
During our trip we stayed at the lovely Beethoven Hotel Dreesen. The hotel is located in the heart of Bonn, walking distance to all mayor points of interest and the shopping streets. The reception staff was very friendly and gave us many great tips about the city. The room itself was very bright, spacious and offered all modern comfort we needed. Although we only stayed for one night, we enjoyed our time at Beethoven Hotel Dreesen to the fullest.
• From Brussels-Midi station it takes about 2,5 hours to Bonn HBF by ICE train.
• If you are travelling by car it’s important to know that Bonn has a low-emission zone where an emissions sticker is necessary for motorized vehicles. The easiest way to obtain a green emissions sticker is to order it online.
• Currency: €