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The city of Dusseldorf is situated on the River Rhine and could be worthy of the title 'The Trade Fair Capital of Europe'. This is by no means intended as a derogatory remark and it does not detract from the charm of the city. In fact it makes it the ideal choice for a weekend break, because as a commercial centre there are daily flights to Dusseldorf from many UK airports. The city is also well served with rail links.
But it's not just trade buyers who fill the city's hotels; thousands of tourists flock into Dusseldorf every year to party. The city has a reputation for street-based fun, starting with the February 'Karneval'. For five days the city is thronged with revellers enjoying one of the largest street carnivals in Germany. It's estimated that over four million people are out on the streets, enjoying the free spectacle, the famous Dusseldorf 'Altbier' and the amazing atmosphere.
If this is your scene it's a great time to visit, but check out the flights to Dusseldorf well in advance, as it's a popular destination at this time of year, particularly for stag nights.
There are plenty of other events, taking place all year round, to satisfy most tastes. There are numerous beer festivals, culminating in the Oktoberfest, which is another big draw for stag weekends. Fortunately, the expansion of low cost airlines has meant that there are cheap flights to Dusseldorf. Dusseldorf International Airport, the third largest airport in Germany and the primary airport for the Rhine-Ruhr region, is located a mere half hour away from the city and boasts excellent high-speed rail connections to the city centre.
For those visitors who prefer something quiet and a little more cerebral there is plenty of culture on hand and if ecclesiastical buildings are for you, then you won't be disappointed. One of the strangest is the 'Petruskirche, on the Am Rotchen, which from the outside resembles a beached boat. The building is now a popular venue for concerts and comedy nights.
The Old Quarter is a lively area of quaint cobbled alleys lined with ancient buildings, many of which now house bars and restaurants. In fact, with over 260 different bars in the same row of streets, it can boast the longest bar in the world. While in the Old Quarter, be sure to walk down to the Media Harbour, which has been tastefully developed and now contains elegant buildings designed by some of the world's leading architects. The whole district is a perfect blend of the ancient and modern.
If you are a culture vulture looking for art galleries, Dusseldorf has them all thoughtfully situated in the same 800m area, which is an absolute boon if you want to pack in as much as possible in the time allowed.
On the southern outskirts of Dusseldorf is the beautiful Benratt Palace, which was commissioned in the 18th century by the Elecktor Karl Theodor as his summer residence and hunting lodge. It is an impressive building of great historical and cultural importance and houses a rare collection of rococo art and the Museum of Garden Art.
If you're in search of retail therapy, there's some serious shopping to be had in Dusseldorf. The Konigsallee or the Ko as Dusseldorfers call it, is an elegant boulevard full of designer shops, while the nearby Schadowstrasse is the bustling centre of commerce. For avant-garde clothes shops, the Old Quarter is the place to browse.
When it comes to nightlife Dusseldorf is no slouch, with top class restaurants and of course, endless bars. There are plenty of dance clubs in the Bikk district and theatres and cinemas in the ever-popular Old Quarter.
It's in the Old Quarter that some of the best restaurants can be found and throughout Dussseldorf, whatever your budget, you'll find something to suit, from gourmet to fast food. There are loads of deli-style cafes offering super-fresh food, but as Dusseldorfers usually take lunch as their main meal, there are plenty of restaurants offering a slap-up three course lunch, accompanied by some German Riesling or the city's own altbier.
Dusseldorf is a city made for sightseeing, eating, drinking and dancing, but if you feel like stoking up the calories for the flight home, while nailing that hangover, make for the Café Florian in Nordstrasse, where they serve a full English breakfast.