Brilliant Bonn – The 15 best Bonn tips for your perfect day trip

In April, when the cherry trees are in bloom, Bonn is well worth a day trip. But a visit to Bonn’s old town and the surrounding neighbourhoods is also worthwhile in any other month. The city is just the right size to see all the important spots in one day. I’ll tell you the best way to do this in this article with lots of Bonn tips.

Bonn is not just any city in the centre of NRW. No, Bonn is also the birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven, was once the capital of Germany before Berlin and even the Romans left their mark here. So there is a lot to discover.

Woman holding up cherry blossom in front of office building
Contrasts in Bonn: cherry blossom vs. office building

You can still really feel how important Bonn once was when you stroll through the city’s villa neighbourhoods. During my own visits, I always had the feeling that the people of Bonn still miss that time a little.

The districts in Bonn are quite simple. There is the centre west of the Rhine and around it the “Südstadt”, the “Weststadt” and the “Nordstadt”. You can explore all of these neighbourhoods on a day trip in Bonn. Conveniently, you can start at the main railway station and explore Bonn’s highlights step by step from there. Everything is within easy walking distance.

The best Bonn city tours

But if you don’t fancy exploring everything on foot, then a day ticket with a hop-on hop-off bus is worthwhile. These buses stop at all the main Bonn sights and you can hop on and off at any time. You can get a ticket for as little as €20 per person.

red double-decker bus in Bonn
You can recognise the typical double-decker buses for the hop-on/hop-off trips from afar thanks to their red colour.

An alternative to exploring by yourself are guided tours with a guide. Here are a few well-rated providers for this:

But enough of the introductory words. Let’s get straight on with the best sights in Bonn and Bonn tips for your perfect day trip.

1. Cherry blossom along Heerstraße and Breite Straße

There is a lot of hustle and bustle in the Nordstadt especially between March and April along Heerstraße and Breite Straße. Whenever the Japanese cherry blossoms, which were planted here in the 1980s, open in full splendour, thousands of tourists flock to the area to take a selfie, which hundreds of thousands have done before them.

Cherry blossoms lie on Breite Straße in Bonn. People walk past them
Pink touch: After the cherry blossom, many of the flowers lie on the ground.

However, the timing has to be right. This is because the flowering period is often only for a few days. If you arrive a few days too early, the buds will still be closed. If you arrive a few days too late, the flowers will all be on the ground.

Heerstraße mit Kirschbaumallee in Bonn
One of the most visited streets during the cherry blossom season is Heerstraße.

However, the area with its cherry tree avenues is always great. If you really want to come during the cherry blossom season, I would even avoid the main flowering period. Because then the crowds of international tourists here are so big that it’s not really any fun.

Blossoming cherry blossom on a cherry tree in Bonn
The pink-coloured splendour awaits you in the avenues only on a few days in April during the cherry blossom

2. Beethoven House

Da da da da – Da da da da !

From Beethoven’s 5th Symphony

Everyone knows Beethoven’s melodies, such as “Für Elise” or the 5th Symphony. But only a few people know that Beethoven was born in Bonn. You can also visit his birthplace there and learn some interesting facts about the musical genius.

Woman standing in front of the Beethoven house in the garden
Beethoven was born in this house.

The Beethoven House is a museum in a historic listed building that houses a permanent exhibition on Beethoven’s life and work and is one of the most visited music museums in the world.

Piano by Beethoven in the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn
Which compositions did Beethoven probably compose on this piano?

Admission isn’t exactly cheap, but Beethoven wasn’t just anyone. You can get tickets either in the shop opposite the house or here in advance online (you have to select the date of your visit and can then choose a time slot). By the way: From 17:00 there is a Happy Hour with reduced admission. For all times before 17:00 you pay the normal admission price.

3. The historic town hall

The historic town hall is located directly on the market square and is a great photo opportunity. The front façade facing the market, which dates back to the Rococo period, with its many decorations is a feast for the eyes.

Bonn Rathaus Fassade
All just a facade: The front view of Bonn’s beautiful town hall on the market square.

You can’t just visit the interior of the town hall. But you can take a virtual tour on the website of the “Altes Rathaus e.V.” association.

4. Stroll along the Rhine embankment promenade

Like every city on the river Rhine, Bonn also has a great riverside promenade that invites you to take a stroll. I thought it was great that you can see as far as the “Siebengebirge”. If you look closely, you can even recognise the famous Drachenburg Castle and the Drachenfels rock.

Woman looking from the Rhine promenade to the Siebengebirge near Bonn.
You can recognise Drachenburg Castle in the background and the Drachenfels a little further up.

The historic Rheinpavillon is a popular place to enjoy a coffee. They also serve tarte flambée and other dishes. You have a great panoramic view from here.

The Rhine pavilion serves coffee and cake.

5. Take a boat tour on the river Rhine

Once you’re on the Rhine promenade, you can take a boat trip, especially when the weather is nice.

Rheinuferpromenade mit Boot in Bonn
Good idea: Cruising along the Rhine on a boat.

There are various providers for this. The most beautiful are the sunset tours. Take a look here:

6. Botanical Gardens of the University of Bonn

The Bonn Botanical Gardens are not only beautiful, but also free to visit. I found the many different greenhouses with their very different planting particularly cool. There is a super warm tropical area but also an area for cacti or aquatic plants.

Woman walking through the monsoon house in the botanical gardens in Bonn
It is always warm and humid in the monsoon house.

At the entrance to the garden, there is also a cosy café with a view of the garden’s outdoor area.

Cacti in the desert house in the botanical garden in Bonn.
There are lots of cacti in the desert house.
Poppelsdorf Palace in Bonn
The Poppelsdorf Palace is right next to the gardens.

7. Bonn Minster

The Bonn Minster is almost 1000 years old and a landmark of the city. The almost 900-year-old cloister in the cathedral is unique. There are 2 heads lying around in front of the cathedral. These are the two patron saints of Bonn, Cassius and Florentius.

Bonn Minster with sculpture Erwin Wurm - Walking Bag
The sculpture “Erwin Wurm – Walking Bag” stands right next to the minster.

8. Haribo Shop

The most famous confectionery manufacturer in Germany – Haribo – has its roots in Bonn. In the 350 m² shop in the birthplace of Haribo Goldbären, you can buy the entire HARIBO and MAOAM range, as well as various fan articles. One highlight is the large candy bar, where you can mix your own colourful HARIBO bag.

Haribo Shop in Bonn
Here in the HARIBO Shop there are lots of treats.

9. Ernst Moritz Arndt House

Ernst Moritz Arndt was a German poet. In his honour, a museum was set up in the oldest Rhine villa in Bonn, which is part of the Bonn City Museum. Incidentally, he also lived there.

Frau läuft vorm Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Haus in Bonn
Also beautiful to look at from the outside: The Ernst Moritz Arndt House.

The house regularly hosts literary and musical events. You can also visit various special exhibitions here.

10. former government district

Bonn was the seat of government of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1949 to 1999. The former government district stretches along the Districts of Gronau and Hochkreuz in the south of the city.

There are many sights to discover here, which are best explored on a guided tour: Former government district private tour (1.5 hours).

11. House of History

The House of History (Haus der Geschichte) is all about the history of Germany on the road to democracy. From the end of the Second World War to the present day, many topics are examined in detail.

The cool thing is that admission to the museum and all exhibitions are free of charge.

12. Arithmeum

This museum is primarily, but not only, for nerds. Because at the Arithmeum it’s all about arithmetic and you can marvel at the world’s most comprehensive collection of historical calculating machines.

13. Church of the Name of Jesus

The “Namen-Jesu-Kirche” is located on the way from the “Beethoven-Haus” to the market square in the centre of the city. It was built in the 17th century for the Bonn Jesuits and is a listed monument.

Namen-Jesu-Kirche in Bonn Front Fassade
A magnificent building in the centre of the city.

14. La Sorbetierra – Lick the best ice cream in town

The La Sorbetierra looks back on a long tradition of ice cream making. The family has been making ice cream in Germany since 1934 and even before that in Italy. The ice cream is made according to recipes handed down in the family and from good ingredients.

Ice cream parlour in Bonn with a long queue
In summer, really long queues form here because everyone wants the delicious ice cream

15. Explore the villas in the villa district

The Godesberg villa district lives up to its name. When it was the seat of government, many of the villas here were embassies of various countries. Since the relocation of the government to Berlin, many of the former embassies are still used as branch offices or consulates.

Yellow-painted villa from the Wilhelminian era in Bonn
There are many such pretty villas from the Wilhelminian era at the end of the 19th century, especially in the Südstadt district.

You can discover one or two architectural highlights from the Wilhelminian era on a walk through the neighbourhood. But you’ll also find some great villas in other parts of the city, such as Südstadt.

Accommodation in Bonn

Especially if you also want to see the entire government district and a few museums in Bonn, then just one day trip will probably be a bit too short. It’s a good thing that Bonn also offers some excellent hotels for overnight stays.

One of these, fittingly for the city’s most famous son, is the Bob W Beethoven. It is very centrally located and only 100 metres from the Beethoven House. It also has one of the best ratings of any accommodation in Bonn.

But of course this is not the only great hotel in the city. Bonn offers plenty of hotels in different price ranges.Find the best hotels in Bonn

Bonn is great. If you think so too, just write it in the comments!

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