Located on the Rhine, Bonn was once the capital of West Germany, and remains an important player in the country's political scene. Its most famous resident was Ludwig van Beethoven, but Bonn is highly regarded today for its high-quality universities, vibrant culture and stunning architecture.
Bonn's city center is characterized by the pedestrian district, with its many shops in the
This district on the eastern side of the Rhine is connected to the city center by the Kennedy Bridge, and is well known for its "fifth season"
Endenich and Ippendorf
This area is particularly known for the
If you're attracted by nature, then the Ippendorf area should please you; the Bonn city forest can be found there. It is a recreation area containing
Bonn Altstadt (Old Town)
The Old Town extends to the council office buildings to the north, and has a distinctly urban feel. Here there is a multitude of pubs and restaurants for those who like a bit of fun. If you're inclined towards art, then you should visit the Kunstcarré (Artists' Square) as well as the
The Plittersdorf district has rather different sights to offer. The
Poppelsdorf, Muffendorf and Schweinheim
The Poppelsdorf is a classical Bonn district. With its lovely art nouveau houses dating all the way back to 1871, this area is popular among families for its safe, mostly residential streets. Around the
Often undiscovered, since it is quite far from the center, is the magical city district of Muffendorf, with pretty half-timbered houses and picturesque courtyards. This area was once a wine growing industry, though today only a few wine bars are reminders of this time. A look at the
Bonn has a wide variety of restaurants, bars, pubs and cafés to offer its visitors. Those who would prefer to stay in just one of the city's districts will be best served in either the city center or the student quarter of Poppelsdorf. But good food is found not only in these districts, there are also many opportunities to eat out in Bad Godesberg, Südstadt and the Old Town.
The city center is the culinary hub of Bonn, and there are so many places to have a meal or drink here that it is extremely hard to choose between them. The Salvator is a typically Bavarian pub in the middle of the Rhineland. A typical Cologne pub is the Em Höttche, where you can order a meter-long row of Kölsch beer. Younger people like to go to Bellini, a scene café-bar, where mainly Italian specialities are served. Around the corner is the Cafe Blau, Bonn's student pub, well known for its cheap breakfast and good coffee. For rock music fans, the Zebulon is just twenty meters away, where you can enjoy a tasty sandwich. Cartoon is a cafe specializing in tasty French dishes and a variety of coffee drinks for breakfast.
If you come to Poppelsdorf, you'll find yourself in Bonn's student quarter. The cocktail bar Extra Dry is worth a visit, as there are over fifty different cocktails on offer here, as well as sandwiches and good coffee. The Cafe Anders is always a good choice—it's a mixture of a restaurant, café and bar. Meyer's is a popular local pub that is often packed at night, when guests can often be found gyrating on the dance floor. Get there earlier and try something from their menu, like the Spaghetti Bolognese. Henner's is another popular pub restaurant with a spacious bar and a terrace out front that is perfect for an intimate evening. Zur Lese was once a meeting spot for a book club. Today, the owners have used this appeal to their advantage, indicative in the paintings on the wall. Try some of their classic German fare, like sauerkraut with sausages and some pumpkin soup.
German-French fusion can be found at Halbedels Gasthaus, where the crowd is chic and the service is impeccable. Restaurant Arabesque gives guests something a little more exotic: pulsing music and belly dancers. The menu is filled with Asian and Middle Eastern dishes that will make your mouth water. Beer is on everyone's minds at Stadthalle Bad Godesberg, which serves up some traditional German fare alongside cold brews. All those who prefer Italian cuisine only have to go to the Trattoria Pizzeria Italia. Classic Italian dishes like spaghetti and meatballs served with complimentary garlic bread amid regional paintings and decor. The staff here also welcomes guests in a warm-hearted, distinctly Italian way.
Beuel and Altstadt (Old Town)
Many pubs and cafes can be found right by the Rhine in Beuel. A fine Spanish-inspired option is Castillo Malagueler, where the decor is distinctly regionally-inspired with regional paintings featuring bullfighting and Spanish music playing through the speakers. Guests are sure to enjoy a meal here, and the dessert can't be missed. The Chinese offerings at Ocean City are not to be missed, and the beautiful decor indicative of the region makes this a peaceful dining experience.
As well as its many museums, the Old Town has much to offer in the way of food and drink. The Borsalino is a cozy wine bar with a rustic Italian atmosphere. In the Anno Tubac, the themes of art and food are brought together.
What makes this pretty town on the Rhine so attractive is a mixture of the personal flair of a small town and the large, versatile range of cultural entertainment usually found in a big city. In Bonn's city center there are cinemas, museums, nightclubs and theaters. The suburbs of Bad Godesberg and Beuel also have plenty to offer.
Bonn's biggest and most modern multiplex cinema is the Kinopolis, in Bad Godesburg. Premieres of international films are held here, and some are shown in English. In the city center, at Beethovenplatz, you have a choice of three cinemas: the Comet, the Rex and the Metropol. Bonn's cheapest cinema is the WOKI at Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz. Many real classics are shown, but also the latest releases, and all that for around EUR 3.
Bonn's many museums are not to be missed. Museum Mile, which stretches from the southern end of town up to Bad Godesberg, offers a variety of changing exhibitions. The Museum Alexander König holds an important zoological collection of preserved animals of all kinds. The Haus der Geschichte entertainingly informs visitors about Germany's history after 1945, with many photographs and exhibits. Bonn's Kunstmuseum is also worth mentioning. It focuses on 20th century expressionist art and attracts many visitors.
There are also other museums outside the Museum Mile, such as Deutsche Museum Bonn in Bad Godesberg. It specializes in the major technological developments in Germany, and features many hands-on exhibits.
Clubs and Discos
Bonn's nightlife is not to be underestimated. There are three discos in the city center, which attract a younger crowd. The Carpe Noctem close to the station mainly plays rock music, and the Falle spins a rather good mix of soul and hip hop. In the Halli Galli at Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz, party vibes à la Mallorca can be enjoyed—if you're into that kind of atmosphere. The Pantheon at the Bundeskanzlerplatz is to be particularly recommended, as it is a multi-functional center for either disco nights, comedy shows or concerts. For a night out dancing during the week, the N8schicht is the place to be.
Bonn has a good selection of small and larger theaters in the city center, but also in all other parts of town. The best place for cabaret is the Springmaus in Beuel. The Seidenfädchen in Bad Godesberg is a marionette theater and performs especially for young children. A few years back the University of Bonn founded the Bonn University Shakespeare Company and now regularly performs plays by the great English poet. If you prefer traditional theater, see a play at the Kammerspielen or in the Gustav-Heinemann Haus.
Aside from numerous sport associations, there is a wide range of opportunities for sports enthusiasts. The Beueler Hallenbad you can swim in summer or winter. An ideal place for relaxation is the Kurfürstenbad in Bad Godesberg. The basketball team Telekom Baskets Bonn play in the national league and offers fans exciting live games. For your own health and fitness, the Tennis- und Squash Park in Pützchen is a good location. They offer ten courts for a low price. After an exhausting match you can go straight to the sauna.
There are many lodging options available in Bonn. You'll find the most variety in places to stay throughout the city center, Bad Godesberg and, further afield, in the area around the Siebengebirge mountains.
If centrally located hotels are your preference, then Hotel Bristol by the Poppelsdorf Palace is ideal. There is a swimming pool and comfortable, well-appointed rooms. The Hotel Residence on the Kaiserplatz is also a good option, with a sauna, solarium and complimentary breakfast buffet available to guests. The Savoy Hotel and the Hotel Beethoven both offer guests easy access to the bustling pedestrian zone. The view of the Siebengebirge from the balcony at the Beethoven is also a major draw. Don't miss the traditional German offerings created by the remarkable staff at the Savoy's bistro. Be sure to look into the centrally-located Hotel Collegium Leoninum, which features stunning neo-classical architecture and sleek and modern refurbished rooms.
The Holiday Inn is always a good choice for those looking to save some money, and the Hotel Europa is a nice option if you want to stay in the city center. You can also take advantage of a package stay, with options like travel tickets to Phantasialand in Brühl or a three day cycling tour. The Ibis Hotel and the Hotel Consul are popular with business travelers, while the Hotel Baden evokes an elegant, 18th century décor that couples and families appreciate.
Deluxe accommodation can be found at the Maritim Hotel in Bad Godesberg, where an entire fitness area is at your disposal. If you can live without lavish amenities, you'll definitely be able to find a room in a four-star hotel in Bonn. The Rheinhotel Dreesen has been around for the last 100 years. Like the Best Western Kaiserhof, which has been around since 1902, the house has a great view of the Siebengebirge mountains. The Hotel Burgblick offers comfortable rooms equipped with water-beds, and a little something extra: a free three-day public transit pass with their rooms. The hotel is located in a secluded area, and so is a popular alternative to the accommodation that can be found in the city center, since it is still just steps away from the central station.
One hotel that comes highly recommended is the Hotel Eden, which is situated on the Redoute close to the Godesburg. The Hotel Flora is just as good a choice. Emphasis here is placed on exquisite furniture and the atmosphere is in keeping with the building: a Jugendstil villa. The cafe on the outdoor terrace at the Insel Hotel offers a haven of relaxation for those looking to kick back and relax. Check their website for route planning services, to ensure you get the most out of your stay.
Poppelsdorf and Old Town
The Amber Hotel President is close to the Botanical Gardens and the Poppelsdorf Palace. Tourists will find it convenient, as many major transit lines are located just a few blocks away. The Kaiser Karl Hotel is situated in a central location and decorated with classic Jugendstil furniture. Guests also enjoy the traditional English-style bar and indulge in the gourmet cuisine at the in-hotel restaurant. The elegant courtyard at the Hotel Avalon features a lush garden, perfect for taking a relaxing stroll through. Balconies come with every room, which are decorated with 17th century-style furnishings.