Full moon over Düsseldorf Medienhafen
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Full moon over Düsseldorf Medienhafen

© Creative Commons / Dirk Hartung

Düsseldorf travel guide

Düsseldorf Local time

With a slew of classy fashion boutiques, plus bars and restaurants aplenty, Düsseldorf is a city that has it all - even its own beer.

As the state capital of North Rhine–Westphalia, Düsseldorf is one of the richest cities in Germany - and it shows. Straddling the mighty Rhine and the blink-and-you’ll-miss–it Düssel rivers, it’s a smart, fashionable metropolis with a confident (but certainly not arrogant) swagger. It is also extremely cosmopolitan, with a sixth of the total population foreign-born.

Although Düsseldorf made its fortune from international banking, it's not filled with faceless accountants in suits. Prosperity has turned the locals into enthusiastic patrons of the arts and fashion. There’s the Königsallee with its ultra-trendy shopping, plus a wide range of galleries and museums. Its mouth-watering choice of quality dining options reflects both the city’s multinational ascent and a willingness to pay for top-quality nosh.

It hasn’t always been one long success story, however. Düsseldorf suffered enormous damage in WWII with more than three quarters of the centre all but wiped from the map. Much of it had to be rebuilt virtually from scratch.

But rather than throw up a faceless concrete metropolis, lost medieval landmarks were meticulously and lovingly recreated in their original forms, meaning the central Altstadt (Old Town) remains an enchanting warren of cobbled streets. This is where over 200 popular bars (many serving locally brewed Altbier), and countless restaurants and nightspots, rub shoulders with vestiges of the past, turning it into one of the hippest spots in the country.

Contrasting with the historical core, there’s also a thriving new scene in the rebooted and rejuvenated harbour district, MedienHafen, with its modern glass buildings and an abundance of chic drinking dens and eateries.

Although Düsseldorf is known for its nightlife year-round, things get especially lively during the pre-Lent carnival, which turns the city into one giant party zone. December, when several Christmas markets spring into action, is also a great time to be in town, but Düsseldorf will still enchant whenever you decide to visit.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.