Düsseldorf is not only Germany’s fashion capital, it’s a case study for architectural students. Home to Europe's third-largest Japanese community after London and Paris, it’s also headquarters to five Fortune Global 500 and a pioneering city of electronic/experimental music. With a population of 600,000 people and a knack for creating the perfect dark ale, it’s a fun city to explore for a campervan holiday.
Düsseldorf, the catwalk of Germany
The many guises of Düsseldorf
Königsallee, known affectionately as ‘Kö‘, is the beating heart. A boulevard lined by beautiful old chestnut trees, it rivals Fifth Avenue, with Ferraris and Porsches parked in front of Gucci and Louis Vuitton. The central stream was once the moat outside the city walls.
With more than 100 galleries and 26 museums, a renowned opera house and cutting-edge architecture, this chic city by the Rhine obviously loves its culture. Museum KunstPalasthas one of the Rhineland’s best art collections, while the K20 Kunstsammlung and K21 Kunstsammlung are both world renowned for their exceptional collections of modern international art.
The first thing you may notice about the Altstadt (Old Town) is the lack of actual old buildings. Destroyedduring WWII, it took decades to rebuild. With 260 bars and restaurants in less than half a square mile, Altstadt is the place to head for a quiet brew. ZumUerige is the oldest bar in town. There are other attractions in the area, such as the Basilica St Lambertus and the old City Hall (Rathaus) if beer is not your thing.
The Burgplatz is situated at the old town limits next to the Rhine. The castle of the Earls of Berg once stood here. The castle was later reconstructed to a Baroque palace, which burned down in 1872. In 1888 the ruins were removed completely, only a tower was left.
A great way to see Düsseldorf is to ditch the camper and board a boat. Tour prices are very reasonable and a cruise of two hours will see you from Burgplatz along the banks of the Altstadt and all the way down to the very modern Medienhafen, where harbour architecture is at its most spectacular. Or you could hire a bike and cycle along the Rheinuferpromenade towards picturesque Kaiserswerth and the ruins of Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa’s castle.
Staying in Düsseldorf
At Camping Zweckverb and Unterbacher See you can stay on either side of the Unterbacher Lake. In the north you’ll have access to a private beach and can rent out paddle boats. There’s 15km of hiking and biking trails and holders of a valid sailing license can choose to take to the water.
Situated in Rodenkirchen 7km south of Cologne City and less than 30 mins from Düsseldorf, Camping Berger has its own restaurant and beer garden. This is one of the oldest camping grounds in the region and has a great reputation.
Rheincamping Meerbusch is pretty basic but in a great location by the Rhine. The site is quiet and has three bars and restaurants only a ten-minute walk away. The ferry across the river has a train to the centre of Dusseldorf. It takes about 15 minutes, but return ferries stop at 8pm.
Wasserski Camping Langenfeld has an easy access to the city and is also within close proximity to the lake.
Dining in Düsseldorf
Try one of the region’s traditional dishes.Rheinischer Sauerbraten is beef or horse marinated for a few days in vinegar and spices, served with gravy and raisins.
The city is famous for its Alt Bier, and there’s no better place to enjoy one than at a traditional gastro pub. ZumSchiffchen has been around for 380 years and can count Napoleon as one of its previous guests. There is a beer garden and specialties of the restaurant include homemade liver dumpling soup and herring “Rhineland style”, with sour cream sauce, apples, onions and potatoes. ZumSchlüssel is a rustic brewery and pub set on Bolkerstrasse in the heart of Düsseldorf’s pedestrian zone. Here you can take a guided tour of the Schlüssel brewery.
The Golden Kettle is normally packed and offers a German platter of pork knuckle, sausages, sauerkraut and creamy mash to share. It is well recommended and very filling. Pizzeria Alberobello is a nice Italian restaurant with arguably the best pizza in the city. It’s not too expensive and staff are friendly. ImSchiffchen is a well-known two-star Michelin restaurant located in the village Kaiserwerth. They have an extensive wine list with a good choice of the best German red wines. Let the sommelier guide you.
Schweine Janes is a true gem of Altstad. It has a very small entrance in-between the bars, just look for the eye-catching pig above the door and you'll find it. The pork is very delicious, tasty and juicy.
Cartwheelers in the city
Cartwheeling is an old tradition and there are several stories surrounding the beginnings of the Düsseldorf Cartwheelers. During your camping trip in Düsseldorf, you should attempt a cartwheel. You will have seen them on many souvenirs , hundreds of sculptures around the city centre and in the fountain of Burgplatz with the inscription: No matter what happens, we will always be cartwheelers.
When to visit
Don’t be expecting a tropical summer holiday in Düsseldorf. Average annual temperature is 10.6 °C and the wind is calm. Snow barely ever falls and summers are mild to warm.