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October 30, 2016, Düsseldorf, Germany

German gateway to Europe

Centrally located Düsseldorf is an excellent base to explore Rhineland, its Dutch and Belgian neighbours and other European cities

Meredith Woo

DÜSSELDORF, capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, is famed for its Rhine embankment promenade, one of the most beautiful esplanades in the world.

The best time to experience Düsseldorf ’s Mediterranean lifestyle is during summer, with events such as the fascinating Stadtsparkassen-Radschlägerturnier (June 2017) — a traditional cartwheeling tournament — and the biggest funfair on the Rhine (July 14 to 23, 2017; fireworks on July 21, 2017).

Apart from the promenade, a visit to the city’s traditional Altstadt (Old Town) is a must.

History buffs will flock to the Markplatz for the imposing Town Hall (Rathaus) and a large equestrian statue of Elector John William II that was erected in 1711, while art lovers can visit the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen museum.

The Old Town is also internationally referred to as the World’s Longest Bar for its over 260 pubs that offer rare beverage Altbier (old beer), brewed from a traditional recipe that uses a warm top-fermenting yeast.

Other Düsseldorf highlights are Königsallee (King’s Avenue), an elegant shopping and sophisticated lifestyle destination, and Media Harbour for its creative skyline and culinary gems.

Düsseldorf ’s excellent location makes it the ideal base to explore West Germany and other European cities.

Easy day trips

It takes only 35 minutes to reach Cologne, which is just 60km from Düsseldorf. A feature of its skyline is the Cologne Cathedral, its magnificent twin spires rising high above the city. The shrine containing the mortal remains of the Three Magi makes this one of Europe’s most important Christian pilgrimage sites.

Cologne Cathedral is a Unesco World Heritage Site, which attracts over 20,000 people daily, making it Germany’s most visited landmark.

A similar distance from Düsseldorf is Dortmund, a city passionate about football. Its newly opened German Soccer Museum aims to present the phenomenon and universal appeal of football in a captivating way.

Dortmund is also the homeground of successful German football club Ballspielverein Borussia 09 e.V. Dortmund, better known as Borussia Dortmund.

An hour’s train ride from Düsseldorf is Bonn, a diverse city steeped in over 2,000 years of history. Also known as Beethoven City, one can tour the German composer and pianist Ludwig van Beethoven’s birthplace (beethoven-haus-bonn.de).

If you have a whole day to spare, explore the Upper Middle Rhine Valley by boat. This busy waterway’s banks are lined with hundreds of mediaeval castles, palaces, vineyards of the Riesling variety and valleys.

Crossing the border

A 30-minute drive from Düsseldorf will get you to the German-Dutch and German-Belgian borders. From there, one can embark on a road trip towards Amsterdam in the Netherlands or Brussels in Belgium.

Amsterdam, one of Europe’s most romantic cities, is renowned for its canals, museums such as the re-opened Rijksmuseum, and vibrant nightlife. The Fortress Stretch and the inner city with its canal system are Unesco World Heritage Sites.

Visit the Netherlands in spring for Keukenhof, an annual eight-week international showcase of Dutch floriculture — on display are over 7 million flowers that include 800 different varieties of tulips.

Beer, chocolate and the European capital of Brussels make Belgium an attractive destination. The multicultural city’s main draw is its historic centre that revolves around the market square and its proud baroque and guild houses.

Also make time for Bruges; the entire Belgian city is a Unesco World Heritage Site, characterised by mediaeval buildings, historic churches and charming canals.

Hop on a short plane ride from Düsseldorf to reach the amorous French capital, Paris.

Linger at world-famous art museums the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay, then visit central Paris along the Seine River, a Unesco World Heritage Site. There, marvel at the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower and more breathtaking icons.

Bordered by Belgium, Germany and France is Luxembourg, a cosmopolitan country and the world’s only remaining grand duchy. Its eponymous capital, Luxembourg City, is perched high on a cliff, boasts mediaeval fortifications on the Unesco World Heritage list and is home to a handful of Michelin-starred establishments.

Thrice weekly flights to Düsseldorf on Singapore Airlines’ A350

In addition to Frankfurt and Munich, Singapore Airlines also flies to Düsseldorf, a great base for exploring the continent.

Conveniently located in the centre of Europe, Düsseldorf is just two-and-a-half hours by train from Amsterdam and less than a 90-minute flight from London. Singapore Airlines offers three non-stop flights weekly to Düsseldorf on the world’s newest aircraft, the A350.

Join the #SingaporeAirMoments Düsseldorf contest to chart a 72-hour trip across Düsseldorf and its surrounds, and stand to win a pair of Economy Class tickets to Düsseldorf.

Visit SingaporeAirMoments.com for details.

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