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Holding the title of fanciest city in Germany, Dusseldorf does not disappoint, offering travellers a glittering nightlife, the most stylish restaurants and a slick business sector to rival the greats. That said, the city is located in particularly humble surroundings, perhaps necessary at times to keep it humble. Travellers who choose to hire a car and do some exploring will find quaint villages, rustic pathways and some of the most stunning natural beauty the country has to offer. The region certainly is the prime example of the meeting of old and new; a fact of which visitors can take full advantage.
Who to Book With
Travellers can expect to find the regular international car rental companies in the city including the well-known Avis, Hertz, Sixt and Budget. These companies are generally located at the airport and at several other locations in and around the city. During peak seasons securing a rental car can often be difficult so making an online booking in advance is advised.
Best time to go
Dusseldorf’s climate can best be described as temperate boasting hot summers and pretty cold winters. Peak season is experienced during the summer months of July and August. During this time travellers can expect large crowds at most of the popular sites. Travellers should try to make all bookings in advance to avoid high prices.
Need to Know Essentials
When collecting your rental car remember to bring the following:
- An International Driver’s Permit
- A valid passport or ID card
- The credit card used to make the booking
As with most cities in Germany, the city centre has been declared an Environmental Zone into which only cars with permits are allowed to enter and park. Cars found without the permit will be fined up to €40. Driving in the centre is thus not recommended as it can be quite a hassle. Parking in the centre can be difficult to find, especially street parking. There are a few parking garages in the city where drivers can pay an hourly rate and use another form of public transport to get to their desired destination.
The outskirts are, however, far less complicated and exploring Dusseldorf’s beautiful countryside by road is actually quite enjoyable. The autobahn is a highlight for most visitors to the city as there are few speed limits and restrictions, making for a particularly thrilling ride.
While much of the city can be navigated by foot, there is an impressive network of public transport systems on offer. Operated by Rheinbahn the integrated system includes buses, trams and the metro. Hiring a car is still one of the best options when travelling outside of the city centre, though, especially for tourists who enjoy independent travel.
Single journey tickets can be bought at any station in the city and are valid for any form of transport. There are, however, multi-destination and multi-day passes available. Different prices apply to different modes of transport over different distances. Visitors who are planning on staying in the city for while should consider purchasing a Welcome Card which is specifically focused on the main sites in the city.
The network of trains in the city, known as the U-bahn, is comprehensive, travelling to many different areas. Trips in the downtown area usually cost around €2 while trips to the outskirts amount to about €4. Tickets need to be validated before boarding and passengers without validated tickets face being fined. Validation machines can be found on all platforms.
The buses are just as convenient as the trains, and equally as economical. Buses often tend to be a bit more popular as they travel to more areas than the trains. Tickets can be bought from bus stations or from the vending machine aboard the bus. In similar fashion to the trains, all bus tickets also need to be validated.
For a more private travelling experience, visitors can always use the local taxi services in the city. Taxis can be found in all parts of Dusseldorf and can simply be flagged down from the side of the road. These taxis can be recognised as the white and yellow taxis with illuminated taxi signs on top. Alternately taxis can also be pre-booked with one of the many private taxi companies like Taxi-Düsseldorf and Rhein-Taxi.
Dusseldorf is a sprawling metropolis but it is also located in one of the greenest and lushest parts of the country. Only a few hours away by road, travellers will find majestic mountain ranges, serene river valleys and even a few towns and cities perfect for a weekend of exploration.
Ardennes - Located about two hours outside of the city is the beautiful Ardennes mountain range. The highest peak in the range is 650 metres making it the ideal place for a hiking and trekking excursion of any intensity. With its river valleys and stunning vistas this really is the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Dusseldorf.
Neandertal - Travellers interested in the origin of Europe’s inhabitants, should head to the region now known as Neandertal, a valley in which the very first human-like specimens on the continent were found. There is an extremely informative museum on the site at which visitors can learn more about this fascinating discovery.
Cologne - Many great cities surround Dusseldorf but by far the most popular day trip destination is Cologne. The fourth-largest city in the country, located only 40 minutes away by car, Cologne is home to some stellar architecture and terrific cultural landmarks.