In the Ruhr area industrial culture meets nature.

The Ruhr area is one of the most diverse regions in Germany. Hundreds of industrial monuments reflect the past and are today impressive places for culture and leisure. And the best thing is: You can visit many sights free of charge.

  • Travel duration: 3 days
  • Best time to travel: from May to September
  • Main dish: 15 €


The Essen main railway station is the most important traffic junction in the Ruhr area, with direct connections to many German cities. From Düsseldorf Airport you can reach Essen easily by regional train or S-Bahn.


We recommend the Hotel the niu Cobbles* in Essen. The trendy accommodation in industrial design is located only a few minutes' walk from the underground station and Essen main railway station. An alternative is the GHOTEL hotel & living Essen*.

Places of interest

In ESSEN the Zeche Zollverein is known as the "Eiffel Tower of the Ruhr Area". Once the largest coal mine in the world, it was closed in 1986 and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001 as a total work of art. Information about the varied cultural programm, light installations and ticket prices for the museums can be found on their website. You can visit the site free of charge at any time.

You can take a free journey through art history at the Museum Folkwang for modern and contemporary art, which presents an extensive collection of paintings, statues, photographs and posters. Nearby you will find the grill and burger restaurant 200g, which uses regional organic meat and offers vegetarian & vegan dishes.

The historic Margarethenhöhe was the first garden city in Germany and is worth a visit. It is located in the south of Essen near the Grugapark, a botanical garden with numerous works of art and sports facilities, a nice zoo as well as theatre and music events at weekends.

The Baldeneysee is a reservoir of the Ruhr and a great area to relax. Here you can spend a whole day. Seaside Beach offers a Caribbean feeling with bars, palm trees and white sand. A boat trip or a canoe tour can also be relaxing. The cycle and foot path around the lake is 14 kilometers long. There is a bike and inline skate rental near the dam wall. Villa Hügel above the lake was once the home of the Krupp family and is a symbol of the age of industrialisation in Germany.


In DUISBURG you can climb, dive and party on the grounds of the former ironworks. The Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord offers a lot of variety with a large adventure playground, a hall for skating and biking and a learning farm with various animals. On weekends, light installations provide magical lighting of the former blast furnaces in the evenings. The visit is free day and night.

In the Duisburg's inner harbour (Innenhafen) , you will find many restaurants and bars between glittering office complexes and nostalgic storage rows. The Bolero Bar offers a huge selection of cocktails, but also many vegetarian dishes.

The Duisburger Zoo has gained worldwide attention with its koala babies. In spacious facilities animals from all continents live here. There is a dolphin show, too.

In the XXL Moonlight 3D Minigolf black light provides an extraordinary minigolf experience. On weekends it is even open until midnight. We recommend an online reservation.

Tiger & Turtle – Magic Mountain is a walk-on roller coaster sculpture, which is illuminated in the evening and can be visited at anytime for free.


In OBERHAUSEN there has been the largest gas tank in Europe for over 90 years. The Gasometer is today an extraordinary place for art and the highest exhibition hall in Europe. In the glass elevator you can ride up. CentrO nearby is the largest shopping centre in Europe. During the winter season the beautiful Christmas market attracts many visitors. Parking is for free here. The Sealife advertises with Germany's largest shark breeding and more than 5.000 sea animals. A glass tunnel brings you through the huge ocean basin, where you can also take a ride in a glass-bottom boat.

In BOTTROP you can see the Tetraeder. The steel pyramid is free to walk on and it is illuminated at night. Nearby is the Alpincenter with the world's longest indoor ski hall and exciting outdoor attractions such as a summer toboggan run, a high rope climbing garden, Air Jump and the highest beer garden in the area.


In DORTMUND , the Phoenix West blast furnace plant invites you to a guided Skywalkwhere you can learn a lot about industrial heritage and enjoy a fantastic view. We recommend booking tickets online. In the beer hall of the Bergmann Brewery freshly brewed beer is offered for tasting. The German Football Museum  is located directly at Dortmund's main station and is very distinctive with its modern architecture. Here you can discover over 140 years of German football history. The Dortmunder U was once the warehouse of the Union Brewery. Today it is a center for art and creativity and the city's landmark.

BOCHUM is famous for the Musical Starlight Expresswhich has been performed for over 30 years. But also in the planetarium you can get to different worlds far away. 9.000 shining stars on a huge dome turn day into night. In the Botanical Garden you can relax and observe the plants growing. Highlights are the Chinese Garden, the giant water lilies and the desert house. The entrance is free.


Transport in the Ruhr Area

The Ruhr area has a dense network of cycle paths of more than a thousand kilometers. This includes the Ruhr Valley Cycle Route. Have a look here for the digital cycle route .

The The Rhine-Ruhr Transport Association VRR has a dense network of routes. The 24-/48-hour ticket is worthwhile from the 3rd journey onwards.

All available parking spaces including prices can be found via Parkopedia.

Rental car

With a rental car you can explore even more beautiful places in the west of Germany. If you don't feel like using public transport in the Ruhr area, or want to see Düsseldorf and Cologne you can book your car now by clicking on the following link:

The industrial monuments in the Ruhr area remind us of the hard work of the past. I grew up in the Ruhr area and still enjoy the buildings today.
Cengiz Ünal theTravellers

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