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10 Top attractions and things to do in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

10 Top attractions and things to do in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

North Rhine-Westphalia is a state in western Germany. In this region, you can find the city of Cologne, known for its Gothic Cathedral with two spires and views of the Rhine River. There’s also the Museum Ludwig, which displays art from the 20th century. The state capital, Düsseldorf, is famous for its stylish shopping street called Königsallee and the tall modern tower called Rheinturm.

Düsseldorf is the main city of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most crowded state in Germany. It’s the second-biggest city in the state and the seventh-largest in all of Germany, with about 617,280 people living there. Let’s explore the 10 top attractions of North Rhine- Westphalia, Germany

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About North Rhine- Westphalia

Cologne Cathedral

1. History

After World War II, in 1946, North Rhine-Westphalia was formed from the merging of Westphalia and the northern part of Rhine Province (North Rhine), along with the Free State of Lippe. The British military administration in Allied-occupied Germany played a role in its establishment. In 1949, it officially became a state within the Federal Republic of Germany.

2. Geography

It shares borders with Lower Saxony to the north and northeast, Rhineland-Palatinate to the south, and Hesse to the southeast. About half of the state lies in the flat areas of the Westphalian Lowland and the Rhineland, which stretch into the North German Plain.

3. Education

University of Münster

North Rhine-Westphalia is also the home of dozens of accredited German universities, universities of applied science  and private universities. North Rhine-Westphalia offers a wide variety of study choices. Some universities are- the RWTH Aachen University, the University of Bielefeld, the University of Bochum, the University of Bonn, the University of Cologne.

4. Economy

North Rhine-Westphalia has consistently been the strongest economic force in Germany, boasting the largest economy among all the German states in terms of GDP. Many companies, both German and international, find North Rhine-Westphalia appealing. In 2009, it led all German states in foreign direct investments (FDI), attracting around 13,100 foreign companies. These companies, from key investment nations, use North Rhine-Westphalia as a base to oversee their operations in Germany or Europe.

10 top attractions of North Rhine- Westphalia, Germany

1. Aachen Cathedral

Aachen Cathedral is a really special place in North Rhine-Westphalia. It’s considered super important because it’s where Charlemagne was buried, and it was also one of the first places in the world to become a UNESCO World Heritage site.

2. Cathedral and old town in Cologne

One of the top attractions in North Rhine-Westphalia is the cathedral and old town in Cologne, which is the biggest city in the state. Cologne Cathedral is the most popular landmark in Germany. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has the tallest twin spires of any church in the world.

3. Monschau

Monschau is one of the most beautiful places to explore in North Rhine-Westphalia. The Rotes Haus, or Red House (though it’s more like a peachy-pink color), is the most famous building in Monschau. It’s a museum that gives a glimpse into the life of the wealthy cloth merchant who originally owned it.

4. Xanten

Xanten is a great spot to check out in North Rhine-Westphalia, especially if you love Roman history. It’s home to one of the world’s biggest open-air museums with lots of archaeological treasures. In addition to its Roman history, Xanten has a charming medieval Old Town center to wander around, featuring a really impressive cathedral.

5. Eifel National Park

Eifel National Park, located on the border with Belgium, is one of the most stunning places in North Rhine-Westphalia. This wild area was formed by volcanoes long ago, creating really dramatic landscapes.

6. Schloss Drachenburg

Schloss Drachenburg is a top pick for tourists in North Rhine-Westphalia, especially if you adore castles that look straight out of a fairytale!

What makes this palace extra interesting is that it was built surprisingly quickly—just two years, which is quite unusual for castles.

7. Externsteine

One of the amazing sights in North Rhine-Westphalia is Externsteine, an unique rock formation made of sandstone, and it comes with a fascinating and somewhat strange history.

These stones are natural, but back in the late 700s, Christian monks settled there and started carving stairs and reliefs into them. Over the centuries, lots of myths and wrong stories developed around these rocks.

8. Schloss Benrath

If you’ve ever dreamt of having a life-sized Barbie Dreamhouse, visiting Schloss Benrath is like stepping into your pink fairytale dreams!

Built in the Baroque style between 1755 and 1770 for Elector Palatine Charles Theodor and his wife, this pleasure palace is not only extravagant on the outside but also has some pretty pink interiors. No wonder it’s a favorite among the Instagram crowd!

9. Düsseldorf

In Düsseldorf, famous for fashion and art, the coolest place to visit might surprise you – Düsseldorf-Hafen, the port borough. Situated along the River Rhine, Düsseldorf-Hafen is not just a regular docks area; it’s a trendy spot with lots of restaurants, bars, and even a few clubs. Plus, it boasts the most modern architecture in the city.

10. Hattingen

If you’re into charming old houses and three castles all in one town, Hattingen on the Ruhr River is the place to be. Dating back to 1396, Hattingen has a bunch of well-kept medieval buildings. The Old Town, still partly surrounded by its original walls, has a rich history – it was a significant trading city and a hub for coal production in the region, once part of the Hanseatic League.

Local dishes of North Rhine- Westphalia, Germany

1. Bergische waffles

Bergische waffles are traditional German waffles originating from the Bergisches Land area. They’re usually made with a combination of flour, sugar, butter, vanilla, eggs, baking powder, and milk.

2. Flönz

This delicate smoked blood sausage from the Rhineland region consists of lean meat and small pieces of fat. Flönz has been popular in Cologne for a hundred years, and it is the least expensive local sausage.

3. Halve hahn

Halve hahn, a Rhenish sandwich, comprises a split rye roll (röggelchen), usually buttered, with a thick slice of medium-ripe Gouda cheese, pickles, and raw onions on top. People commonly add mustard. This sandwich enjoys popularity throughout the Rhineland.

4. Aachener Printen

This is a special variety of brown, firm gingerbread that has been baked in Aachen since the 1820s. The term printe refers to the use of carved wooden molds into which the dough is pressed during production.


In conclusion, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, enchants with a blend of historical landmarks like Aachen Cathedral and the fairytale-like Schloss Drachenburg. Diverse landscapes, from the Eifel National Park to the charming town of Monschau, create a visual feast. Xanten brings Roman history alive, while Schloss Benrath and Düsseldorf-Hafen offer opulence and modern charm. Hattingen’s historical significance unfolds with old houses and castles. Culinary delights, including Bergische waffles and Aachener Printen, add flavor to the exploration. North Rhine-Westphalia invites visitors to immerse in its rich tapestry, seamlessly blending history and modern allure.

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