Bonn Travel Guide
During the Cold War, Germany wasn’t Germany. Instead, geopolitics split it into West and East. At that time, West Germany’s leaders decided to run their new territory from Bonn.
Today, Bonn is no longer a federal capital. However, it is still home to numerous museums, outstanding parks, and other worthwhile attractions.
Begin your visit to Bonn by spending a morning/afternoon at the Haus der Geschichte. This museum is one of Germany’s most popular, as it covers its history. In particular, it covers Germany’s time as a republic, stretching from the post WWII period to the present.
Most displays focus on the histories of West/East Germany, and how they compared up to Reunification. However, one of this museum’s most popular exhibits focuses on political cartoons 75,000 pieces in all.
Admission is free. However, loads of visitors show up annually – about one million to be exact. As such, we recommend visiting during the week to avoid crowds.
Famous composer Ludwig Von Beethoven once called Bonn home. Learn more about his life by paying a visit to Beethoven House. When you walk into this place, you’re setting foot where Beethoven’s parents raised their budding prodigy.
From this plain townhouse rose one of the world’s musical giants. Here, you’ll learn about the world Beethoven grew up in, how he composed, and his many accomplishments. The admission fee is a reasonable 9 EUR, with a 2.50 EUR for an audio guide. Check out the gift shop on the way out, which includes CDs packed with Beethoven’s works.
Before Reunification, Bonn was the capital of West Germany. Consequently, its Altes Rathaus (or Old Town Hall) entertained many dignitaries through the 20th century. From Queen Elizabeth to U.S. President John F. Kennedy, Western leaders rallied around this precarious democracy. Today, this Rococo-style structure is fodder for many amateur and professional photographers alike.
After that, check out Bonn’s Roman Catholic church – the Bonner Münster. Its makers built it between the 11th and 13th centuries – making it one of the oldest in Germany. Currently, this basilica is under renovation – hopefully, it’ll be open when you visit.
Want to learn more about our natural world? Spend some quality time exploring Museum Koenig. Named for famed naturalist Alexander Koenig, this museum opened in the 1930s. Within, you’ll learn about biomes all over the world – Europe, the poles, deserts are just a few.
This place doesn’t hold back on displays – you’ll find stuffed animal specimens through the facility. However, when it comes to value, this place delivers. Adults pay 5 EUR, while seniors get in for 2.50 EUR.
Love gummy bears? Well, you’re for a treat, as Bonn is home to the HARIBO Factory. In 1922, HARIBO created the gummy bear as we know it. From there, it went on to become one of the world’s most beloved snacks.
Sadly, HARIBO does not allow visitors to tour the factory. However, their factory store allows you to buy up bags of the famed candy. So, take advantage of the savings and stock up!
At some point, you’ll need to take a break from sightseeing. When that time comes, spend it relaxing at Rheinaue. This park the most popular green space in Bonn – in all, it spans over 160 hectares. If you’re restless, take a walk on its 45 kilometres of paths or check out its gardens.
In particular, locals know the Rheinaue best for its Japanese and Rose Gardens. The former boasts bonsai trees and a pagoda, while the latter bursts with blooms in spring.
If you have flexibility in your schedule, try to visit Bonn during the holiday season. At that time, it hosts the Bonner Weihnachtsmarkt or Bonn Christmas Market. In all, 170 stalls fill the city square, along with a massive Christmas tree.
The festival runs from the end of November up to December 23rd. If you go, grab some gluhwein for us!
What To Eat
Bonn is in Westphalia. This region boasts a rich culinary tradition, with many unique dishes. If you’re visiting at a cooler time of year, try to track down some Grunkohl. Made from kale and sausage that cooks stew for long periods, this meal will warm you up.
Out of luck? At any time of year, it should be easy to find some Rheinlandische Sauerbraten. Chefs slow cook this pot roast with onions, apples, raisins, and a load of spices. Served with potatoes and red cabbage, you may not have room for dessert.
But, definitely try – you’ll want to sample some Bienenstich. Translating directly into English as “bee sting cake”, you won’t find an ounce of honey in this treat. Instead, it contains vanilla, buttercream, and almonds.
So, what’s up with the name? Back in the 15th century, legend states that locals came under attack from raiders. To chase them off, they three beehives at the intruders. To celebrate a successful defence, a pastry chef cooked up the cake you’re about to enjoy.