Ten ways to tie-up a trip | Monocle

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Watch a home game

Hardly any other German state values football as much as nrw. It’s not just the most popular sport, it’s also part of the fabric of regional culture. You’ll be able to spot Borussia Dortmund (bvb) fans from miles away thanks to their top-to-toe yellow-and-black outfits. Enjoy the buzz.


Take a hike

Yomp the Siebengebirge, a range of hills southeast of Bonn that served as inspiration for many myths and Brothers Grimm fairy tales, including Snow White. The most prominent sight here is the Drachenfels ruin overlooking the Rhine. It dates from 1167 and was first brought to fame by British poet Lord Byron. Worth the climb.


Hit the slopes

It’s not just Bavaria that’s blessed with snowy peaks; nrw has its own winter wonderland in aptly named Winterberg. With 83 ski and toboggan runs and about 170km of cross-country ski trails, this resort is the heart of the Wintersport Arena Sauerland. Last one down buys the beers.


Celebrate carnival season

Slip on your fancy dress and shout “Helau” and “Alaaf” (only in Köln) while watching the carnival parade, an annual tradition that dates back to 1296. Carnival season begins on 11 November and builds up to the big celebration in spring. The highlight is a procession with floats and people in costume on Rosenmontag (Shrove Monday).


Drink local

In Düsseldorf, aka “the longest bar in the world”, the very many pubs brew and serve the city’s traditional Altbier. Bottoms up.


Do as the Romans did

The Romans left their mark on nrw too. Venture out to the more than 2,000-year-old Roman town of Colonia Ulpia Traiana in Xanten. Once one of the largest Roman settlements north of the Alps, it has been transformed into an open-air archaeological park that’s worth a visit as much as the charming city of Xanten itself.


Go to a gallery

Kick off your tour of nrw’s art scene with some gallery hopping in Düsseldorf and Köln – don’t miss the Julia Stoschek Collection. Then head to the museums and check out the famous Kunstakademie, whose alumni include Gerhard Richter and Anselm Kiefer. You’re in good company.


Ride the river

Cycle or cruise along the River Rhine, which flows 1,230km from the Swiss Alps into the North Sea, to get a real sense of nrw.


Meet the neighbours

Take a road trip across nrw (with 30 Autobahnen,this is the state with the densest transport network in Europe) and stop off in neighbouring Belgium or the Netherlands, as many do, for a day out in Antwerp or a weekend by the beach in Domburg. nrw’s prime location is hard to beat.


Tune in

Spend your Sunday night watching Tatort (Crime Scene) with the rest of the country, which is on at 20.15 cet following the Tagesschau – the beloved news bulletin. The classic way to end the weekend in the know.

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