Bright pink cherry blossoms line a street in Bonn, Germany
Photo by herbert2512  –  Link

Bonn

Germany

Bonn's claims to fame are varied and numerous; it's the birthplace of both Ludvig von Beethoven and Haribo sweets, it's the gateway to Germany's celebrated Ahr wine region, and it's overlooked by the nearby Drachenburg Castle (Schloss Drachenburg), one of the most whimsical, fairytale-esque palaces in the world. Thanks to its picturesque setting on the Rhine river just 30 minutes south of Cologne, Bonn is truly a traveller's dream at any time of year. In springtime, the dozens of Japanese cherry trees lining Bonn's streets burst into bloom, turning the city into a pretty pink paradise. When winter hits, two delightful Christmas markets add a festive cheer to the town. And if you're after history and culture, there's no shortage of events to discover and fascinating museums to explore year-round.

In 2020, Bonn will celebrate Beethoven's 250th birthday, with lots of festivities and parties planned. If you're a fan of classical music, sweets, high-quality wine or stunning scenery (or all of the above), a visit to Bonn will not disappoint!

Museumsmeile

Attracting more than a million visitors every year, Bonn's Museum Mile is a collection of five well-respected museums dedicated to art, science, history and technology. It includes:

  • The Alexander Koenig Museum: As one of the largest research museums of natural history in the country, the museum studies and explains a wide range of animal species and their habitats all over the world.
  • The Museum of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany (Haus der Geschichte): Exhibitions of photographs, documents and artefacts on display here illustrate the contemporary history of Germany.
  • The Bonn German Museum (Deutsches Museum Bonn): Small and easily accessible, the Bonn German Museum houses about 100 artefacts relating to scientific and technological discovery over the last 50 years..
  • The Fine Art Museum (Kunstmuseum): This institution houses a collection of more than 7,000 Expressionist works and German masterpieces produced in the post-war period.
  • The Art and Exhibition Hall (Bundeskunsthalle): Opened in 1992, this museum features rotating exhibitions on everything from science and technology to fine art.

Haribo factory tour

Fun fact of the day: Haribo is not just a made up word; it's actually an acronym for Hans Riegel Bonn, the founder of those colourful jelly sweets and the town where he brought them into being back in 1920. Today the original Haribo factory is shut, but visitors can check out the Haribo factory outlet, a sprawling sweets shop selling a massive variety of candies at a discounted price. Picture Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, but for Haribo. Whether you've got a sweet tooth yourself or you're travelling with kids, it would be silly not to visit!

Christmas markets

When winter rolls around, Bonn plays host to not one but two charming Christmas markets. The first is a weekend fair that takes place inside Drachenburg Castle itself, featuring storytellers, sweet treats and mulled wine. (Adults get in for €7, children for €5).

The city itself also hosts a bigger Christmas market with more than 100 vendors between the historic Minster and the Bottlerplatz. Expect exotic foods, pretty Christmas tree ornaments, beeswax candles and cosy knitwear.