Exploring German cities– Aachen, Bonn and Cologne

Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt. These are the most probable cities one can think of of visiting in Germany. However, the beauty of German cannot be fully embodied by just these three metropolitan regions. Here, I would like to introduce three other cities from the North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) region, the most populous state of Germany, Aachen, Bonn, and Cologne.

Aachen is a university-town, home to RWTH Aachen University, one of the most renowned German technical university outside of Bavaria. For history-lovers, it was also the preferred medieval residence of Charlemagne, who united and ruled most of Europe during the Middle Ages.

Aachen contains many significant historical sites like the Aachen Cathedral. The cathedral was documented as one of the oldest cathedrals in the whole of Europe and was also the first German site to be included in the UNESCO list. Along with the cathedral, Aachen Rathaus is also a spectacular sight to catch. In the day, the city hall stands majestic, overseeing visitors in the city centre. Yet at night, this iconic building turns into a glowing beauty.

Located near the borders of Belgium and Netherlands, Aachen is ideal for one to include in the itinerary as a resting spot to transit among these nations. Alternatively, one can also consider staying in Aachen to travel about in the North Rhine-Westphalia region. Do check out my travel post specifically on Aachen to find out more on transport, food recommendations and others!

Less known to tourists, Bonn held an important position in German history, acting as the capital of West Germany between 1949 and 1990. Upon the unification of Germany, Bonn continued to be the de facto joint seat of government of Germany, together with Berlin. Unlike Berlin where recommended attraction sites are solemn reminders of the past world wars, Bonn is definitely a place for leisure and relaxed sight-seeing to appreciate the German city.

And for the classical music lovers, this is definitely the city to visit: the birthplace of composer and musician Ludwig van Beethoven. For more information on the sight-seeing locations, including Schloss Drachenburg, check out my travel post on Bonn.

Last but definitely not least, Cologne, home to magnificent Cologne Cathedral that currently stands at 157 m, the tallest twin-spired church, is one of the three most popular tourist sites in Germany. If one has the chance to spend Christmas in Europe, be sure to visit its annual Christmas market located right in front of the beautiful landmark.

And just along the same Rhine river, I recommend a trip down to Düsseldorf, capital city of the NRW region. It is often reported that Düsseldorf and Cologne has a “love-hate relationship” due to their proximity yet social differences, for instance, preference in beer tastes. One would have to check out Düsseldorf in order to understand, and also appreciate, the differences in German culture.

To learn more about the cities mentioned above, Berlin, and Munich, and a guide on how to plan your itinerary through these cities, check out the individual links to my travel posts specific to each city. Stay tuned as I continue to update here at The Fifth Parlour website.

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