Bonn, the former capital of West Germany, is a city steeped in history and culture. It is a place where you can find an interesting mix of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, beautiful cherry blossom trees, and world-class museums. I first heard of Bonn through my roommate Maria, who was moving there. Over time, I fell in love with the city and visited several times. In this post, I’ll share some of the best things to see and do in Bonn, including its museums, historical landmarks, and natural beauty.
Beethoven House (Beethoven Haus)
One of the most famous museums in Bonn is the Beethoven House, where the legendary composer was born. The museum is a treasure trove of Beethoven memorabilia, including original manuscripts, portraits, and musical instruments. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a mini-concert in the room where Beethoven himself played.
Bonn Minster was built in the 11th century making it one of the oldest churches in Germany. It was constructed over other church and temple ruins from the Roman era. The church is a mix of Gothic and Romanesque architectural design and inside you will find Baroque decoration. It is a pretty church but, I will say that after a while visiting churches and museums become tedious since Germany and the rest of Europe has so many.
Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus)
This 18th-century old townhouse still houses the mayor’s offices and has reception rooms. It looks more like a place than an administration building. Its construction started in 1730. The old town hall has a twin staircase front making it look regal. It’s a Rococo-styled building where Kennedy, Charles de Gaulle, and Mikhail Gorbachev were hosted.
Münsterplatz is the biggest square in Bonn where you can find an imposing statue of Beethoven. The Beethoven memorial includes four symbolic representations’ of the musician’s music. This is also where you will find the Bonn autumn festival and where the Christmas market stalls are placed you will walk past this square or through it.
Drachenburg Castle (Schloss Drachenburg)
This cute castle was commissioned by a wealthy capitalist who ended up never living inside it. Each room in the castle is lovely. It is also perfectly located as it’s surrounded by a nature reserve. From Drachenburg castle you can see the Rhine River. Don’t miss this if you visit Bonn it is a bit of a travel from Bonn’s city center but, it’s easy to get to.
If you’re in the mood for a leisurely hike, the Naturpark Siebengebirge is a nature reserve that surrounds Drachenburg Castle. The castle is a beautiful, fairy-tale-like structure that is surrounded by lush greenery and overlooks the Rhine River. It’s definitely worth a visit, even if it’s a bit of a journey from the city center.
Cherry Blossom festival
Bonn is also famous for its cherry blossom trees, which bloom in the spring and create a magical atmosphere. Heerstraß is a great spot to see these trees. But there are many spots in Bonn to see the cherry blossoms.
Former chancellor residence
The house where the chancellor of West Germany lived is still in Bonn. I visited it with my Masters Development and Governance class. The University of Duisburg-Essen sponsored the trip. The building isn’t over the top or grand at all. But, it was interesting to see it and hear the history of the place where heads of state visited.
Bonn Christmas market
The Christmas market in Bonn isn’t huge like the one in Cologne. But, it’s charming. I saw it on my class trip and our Professor bought us free drinks. If you happen to be in the area around Christmas time check it out Christmas markets all over Germany are great. And you can find unusual gifts such as special Christmas ornaments.
Bonn University Campus is beautiful. The building in the background of this photo used to be a castle. This alone makes it worth seeing. For me, it was where my friend was studying which made it even more special.
Bonn University Building in the background with Maria
Stroll along the riverside
The riverside is beautiful in Bonn. I never took a boat trip but, it is an option. There are many people strolling alongside the river.
No visit to Bonn is complete without sampling its delicious cuisine. Whether you’re in the mood for traditional German dishes or international cuisine, there are plenty of options to choose from. One of my favorite places to eat is Vapiano, a restaurant chain that serves handmade pasta and pizza. Another great option is Pendel, which offers a variety of food, including some German specialties.
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