First time in Bonn? Locationzapping has collected the most popular sights and insider tips for an unforgettable time in the federal city of Bonn.

1. Arrival

Anyone arriving by train at Bonn station will currently experience Bonn as a construction site (as of March 2018). In addition to renovations at the station, a huge building complex with shops, offices, hotel and parking spaces is being built on the forecourt. If you want to avoid the construction site, you can take the underground line 66 in the direction of Siegburg from the main station and get off at the Stadthaus or Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz stop (by the way, Bertha von Suttner from Bonn was the first female Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1905) or take the 66 over the Kennedy Bridge to the Beuel district (more about Beuel soon on locationzapping).

2. Beethoven Monument

Nevertheless, we start our little tour of Bonn only a few steps away from the train station on the Münsterplatz in Bonn, the heart of the city centre. Here visitors can greet Ludwig van Beethoven, probably the most famous „son of the city“. His monument was erected there in 1845, co-financed by Franz Liszt, inaugurated among others by King Friedrich Wilhelm IV and Queen Victoria from England. When the statue was unveiled, the royal guests were not badly surprised – the Beethoven statue turned its back to them and still looks to the Münsterplatz and not to the balcony on which the crowned heads once stood. By the way, on the pedestal of the monument you can find various representations of the types of music that Beethoven had composed Beethoven’s works: fantasy, sacred music, symphony, dramatic music.

Karte1-6
Karte von Bonn, Bild: Christine Siefer

3. The Bonn Cathedral and the City Patron Saint

At Münsterplatz there is – what a surprise – the Bonner Münster. It has been a landmark of the city of Bonn since the 13th century. Although the panorama of the city has largely changed, the cathedral still dominates the cityscape. Nevertheless, or precisely because of this, the cathedral is now also being completely renovated and will therefore be closed until 2019. The cloister is expected to be open until summer 2018 and is ideal for a short breather (via Gerhard-von-Are-Straße 1/5). The closest church, which can be seen from Münsterplatz, is the Protestant Kreuzkirche, where great classical concerts take place regularly. On the direct way there, however, we meet two large stone heads at the foot of the cathedral. The patron saints of Bonn, Cassius and Florentius, were Roman soldiers who died of martyrdom in the persecution of Christians under Emperor Diocletian. In the early fourth century, still in Roman times, a memorial site for the dead was erected on the site of today’s cathedral basilica, in the eighth century a collegiate church was built here. After its demolition, the construction of the church „St. Cassius and Florentius“, today’s cathedral, began in the eleventh century. (Source: City of Bonn)

Cassius und Florentius vorm Bonner Münster, Foto: Siefer
Cassius und Florentius vorm Bonner Münster, Foto: Siefer

4. Kaiserplatz

Haribo-Laden in der Bonner Innenstadt; Foto: Christine Siefer
Haribo-Laden in der Bonner Innenstadt; Foto: Christine Siefer

We leave the two behind and cross the street „Am Hof“ in the direction of Evangelical Kreuzkirche and pass a shop that will make some people’s mouths water: Haribo – a Haribo shop in the street „Am Neutor“. The name stands for „Hans Riegel Bonn“ and even if the main factory in Bonn has emigrated to the neighbouring county, gummy gold bears remain a genuine staple food in Bonn. Who resists here, can sin opposite with Lindt or a few meters further with the ice cream parlours at the Kaiserplatz. From spring to autumn, cafés, a fountain and a small bookstall invite you to linger. From Kaiserplatz you can see Poppelsdorf Castle in the distance.

Kaiserplatz; Foto: Christine Siefer
Kaiserplatz; Foto: Christine Siefer

5. Hofgarten

To the left of the Kreuzkirche is the Hofgarten, where hundreds of thousands demonstrated for peace and disarmament and the NATO double decision in the 1980s. You can find out more about the exciting time of the capital in guided tours and the museum. Today the Hofgarten is the scene of numerous leisure activities, even Quidditch, known from Harry Potter, is played here in a modified form. Otherwise, smaller groups play football or badminton on the meadow next to sun-hungry students who simply enjoy the time between lectures.

Hofgarten; Foto: Christine Siefer
Hofgarten; Foto: Christine Siefer

6. University

The yellow-painted main building of the university characterizes the cityscape, the interior of the building and the arcaded courtyard can also be reached from the courtyard garden side. Although the Electoral Palace looks old, it has often been destroyed and rebuilt in the course of its history. When it burned out in 1777, for example, the city almost went up in flames. In 1818, the Prussian king donated the building to the newly founded Friedrich Wilhelm University. In 1944 it was destroyed again by bombs. After the end of the war, the students helped rebuild their university. During the week, if you are lucky, you can hear some of the music ensembles rehearse from the auditorium. The concerts of the concerts of the university ensembles are mostly free of charge. (Link article about collegium musicum)

7. Alter Zoll

In summer, the nearby “Alter Zoll” attracts visitors with an atmospheric beer garden with a view of the Rhine, a place for free boules and open-air concerts as well as a meadow for picnics and barbecues. There is also a statue of Beethoven here, but it is controversial. Find out why.

8. Cafés in Bonn

Now a coffee break? Of course there are many cafés and restaurants in Bonn. The small, cosy parlours, however, are more likely to be found in districts such as the Old Town or the Südstadt. Near the Alter Zoll and the university, students will find time to relax in Café Orange (with Wlan!) and Café Blau (without Wlan). The latter is located in the largely vacant Viktoriakarree, which is also to receive a controversial complete renovation in the long term. The future of Café Blau is therefore uncertain at this point. All the more reason to drop in again.

Excursus: Cafés in Bonn

Tee Gschwendner in Bonn, Foto: Siefer
Tee Gschwendner

For tea fans, a visit to „Tee Gschwendner“ in the city centre is a good idea. The shop is located in one of the few half-timbered houses near Münsterplatz, in the so-called triangle. The special feature: the small tea room under the roof. On weekends it is usually occupied to the last seat, although not much advertising is done for it outside. Despite expensive prices a visit is worthwhile. Those who like fair trade coffee will find a bar with tables and chairs in the back of the Contigo-Faitrade-Shops in Wenzelgasse near the railway station. Here are two more tips for Old Town cafés: Madame Negla (colourful, small and individual), Café Frau Holle (artistic, creative).

9. Market place

From the university it is only a few meters to the market place, which still lives up to its name. Here market criers drown each other out to sell their fruit and vegetables. At lunchtime you can also have a snack at some food trucks. The eye-catcher is of course the old town hall, where famous people like John F. Kennedy and Queen Elisabeth signed the Golden Book of the city. Those who made the obligatory Selfie should have a closer look at the floor in front of the city hall. In the pavement, bronze book spines remind of the book burning of May 10, 1933. Under the ground, there is also a book chest in which some of these works are kept. On 10 May, the chest is opened and read from the books, after which new works are placed in the chest.

To the left of the town hall is the inn „Em Höttche“, almost squeezed in. It is Bonn’s oldest restaurant and is said to have been mentioned as early as 1389. Of course, the Höttche also had to be rebuilt after the war. It is worth mentioning that the restaurant was often run by women. In 1585 it passed into the hands of the mayor’s wife. Unfortunately, women who brew beer were often called witches because of their knowledge of herbs. Elisabeth Kurtzrock, who was finally burned at the Richtplatz in Bonn, also had the same fate (Quelle). The Thalia bookshop is also located at the market, which would probably not be worth mentioning if it were not in the former „Metropol“ cinema and still had a few interior design references. Among other things, readings are still taking place in its domed hall.

Karte von Bonn; Bilder: Christine Siefer
Karte von Bonn; Bilder: Christine Siefer

10. Beethoven House

Beethoven’s birthplace at Bonngasse 20 near the market square must not go unmentioned. It houses a museum. The surrounding buildings (Bonngasse No. 18 and 24-26) house the research centre with collection, library and publishing house as well as the chamber music hall, where concerts take place regularly. A must for Beethoven fans. On the way there you will pass the Name-Jesu Church, which serves the Old Catholics as a bishop’s church. It is small but beautiful and worth a detour.

11. Star Street and Star Gate

Back on the market square, head towards Sternstraße, where you will find the usual city shops for the quick purchase of drugstore articles, clothing or perfume. If you look up from the shop windows, you can still see from the colourful facades when the houses were built and, above all, what crafts were offered there. Among the decorations, for example, is a large pretzel, which allows conclusions to be drawn about the name of the street: Originally the street was called „Pisternenstraße“ from the Latin „pistrina“ for bakery. At the end of the street you can see the Star Gate, the rest of the medieval city fortification.

Karte von Bonn, Bild: Christine Siefer
Karte von Bonn, 1: Bahnhof; 2: Beethovendenkmal; 3: Cassius und Florentius, 4:Kaiserplatz; 5: Hofgarten; 6:Arkadenhof der Uni Bonn, 7: Alter Zoll; 8: Cafe Blau, 9: Markt; 10: Beethovenhaus, 11. Sterntor, 12: Brauhaus Bönnsch; 13:Altstadt; 14: Namen-Jesu-Kirche, 15: Remigiuskirche, 16: Stiftskirche; 17: Taj India, 18: Woki-Kino, 19: Oper Bonn, 20: Remigiusplatz, 21: Cafe Gschwendner, 22: Kreuzkirche; 23: Cafe Orange

Restaurants

Anyone who likes good middle-class cuisine will certainly find something at Friedensplatz. In the Brauhaus Bönnsch there is the beer which gives its name to the good middle-class cuisine. Here is a small list of special restaurants:

Excursus Restaurants:

Der Spanier: At the edge of the old town lies the sales room for Spanish delicacies, which becomes a bistro at noon and a restaurant in the evening. Meanwhile, the rush to the cult restaurant is so big that a real Spanish restaurant has opened in the neighbourhood with a little more comfort.

Taj India, near Stiftsplatz: better to reserve here too. The typical Indian restaurant is always well visited. Beside the gold-kitschy interior there are delicious Indian dishes, some of them sizzling on pans from the kitchen. For those who have nothing against smelling of curry and Co. after the visit, it is exactly the right thing.

Frittebud: Standing bistro with homemade burgers, something for every taste.

Skybar: The Skybar Konrads on the Marriots Hotel at the new WCCB is suitable for cocktail evenings. Of course you pay for the breathtaking view over Bonn. However, the drinks menu can be viewed on the Internet together with the prices:: Only the Posttower can be higher.

Old Town

Kirschblütenfest in der Bonner Altstadt; Foto: Christine Siefer

A visit to the old town, which is officially called inner Nordstadt, is especially worthwhile in the evening for a pub crawl. In the summer, the groups are sometimes standing on the street with their drinks. A listing is almost impossible, as the opinions of favourite pubs are very different. Some swear by the Maya, Lichtblick, Limes, Nyx, others swear by the safe, the music chest, the Chimera or Pawlow. Just go and let them surprise you. A special sight, not only at night, is of course the flowering cherry blossom. in April.

Wegweiser in der Bonner Innenstadt; Foto: Christine Siefer
Wegweiser in der Bonner Innenstadt; Foto: Christine Siefer

Our tour through the city centre ends now. But what if it only rains? In this case Bonn has many great museums to offer.

Museums

If you want to track down the political Bonn, you should have a look at the Chancellor’s bungalow. The Villa Hammerschmidt, the second official residence of the Federal President, can only be visited under the leadership of the City of Bonn by appointment only.

Almost opposite is the Museum Koenig. The Zoological Research Museum is one of the largest natural history research museums in Germany and has also played an important role in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany. Since no other representative buildings were available in Bonn, the ceremonial act for the meeting of the Parliamentary Council, which passed the Basic Law, took place in the museum’s large hall („Lichthof“) on 1 September 1948. The major museums are best reached by underground (16,66,68). It is not for nothing that the Heussallee stop is also called the „Museum Mile“. Here you will find the Kunstmuseum, the Bundeskunsthalle and the Haus der Geschichte. A few meters further is the Deutsche Welle and the UN (of course they are not part of the museum list).

I can particularly recommend the Haus der Geschichte, which is still exciting and vivid even after many visits. In the in-house shop great souvenirs can be bought.

For children, the somewhat remote Deutsche Museum Bonn is worth a visit. Here, young and old can experience technology, try it out and touch it. Simply take the subway 16 or 68 and go four stations further (Hochkreuz) and then walk a few meters.

If the weather is too warm for the city centre and too nice for the museum, then Bonn has the ideal place to cool off: the Rheinaue.

Rheinaue

Either take the subway 66 to the stop Rheinaue, walk along the Rhine (30-45 minutes from the city) or rent a bike at the main station and cycle there. The area of the former Federal Garden Show 1979 is huge and offers enough space for picnics and leisure fun. It is worth visiting the baseball court (http://www.capitals.de), where the Capitals train and play in the Bundesliga. Once a month there is also the large Rheinauenflohmarkt (flea market), one of the most beautiful and largest flea markets in Germany.

Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator

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