Its summer and you’re probably thinking about taking the family out for a road trip! In this final instalment, we look at Germany.
Road trips from the Netherlands: where to go
One of the advantages of living in the Netherlands is being so close to three amazing countries: Belgium, France and Germany. Rich in History and Art, these destinations offer so many attractions that you will find quite difficult to make a choice. My recommended routes will drive you away from the best-known cities and landmarks to discover some of the most authentic regions. Follow your instincts and go for the one that you love the most.
These road trips are planned to take into account some basic requirements I always try to fulfil when I travel with kids:
-Every stage of these routes is less than 4 hours driving. Keeping children entertained for longer can be quite difficult.
-Since kids can get fussy in new places and packing and unpacking during the trip is so much work, these routes are planned to stay in only one city and do day trips by car.
-All the destinations are kid-friendly, but also enjoyable for mum and dad.
Western Germany: Düsseldorf, Cologne, Aachen and Bonn
I have to confess that I decided to travel to this area of Germany just because of the proximity with the Netherlands. Although many of these cities were on my wishlist, I really fell in love with these four after the road trip.
I came here for the first time to visit the Christmas Markets that take over the city every December. My next time in Cologne was in spring and the city looked completely different without all the decorations! Cologne was our base city for the German road trip and we stayed in a hostel close to the centre.
Any visit to Cologne is not complete without a stop at the cathedral. This outstanding Gothic building is the most visited landmark in the country. Take the elevator at the Koln Triangle and enjoy a perfect view of the cathedral over the Rhine. Tickets are just 3€ and children will love it.
If the weather is nice, I highly recommend spending the afternoon at Koelner Zoo. Much bigger than we expected, the zoo ticket also includes entrance to the aquarium. Our baby had a blast taking a look at gorillas, penguins, elephants and many other animals.
We had beautiful weather in Düsseldorf and made the most of the main city attractions: the Old Town and all the historic sights, the boulevard Konigsalle, very recommended for window shopping, and Hofgarten, a huge park with several playgrounds for kids.
My favourite part was strolling through Rheinufer, a very nice promenade with many good options to have lunch or dinner. Seating and watching the boats navigate the river was so relaxing…
I love chocolate, so as soon as I found out there was a Lindt outlet in Aachen I wanted to go there. I bought many flavours I had never tried before and paid a very good price. Really close to Lindt factory there is another outlet, Lambertz, where you can also buy biscuits and other goodies with great discount.
After shopping, we went downtown to visit two of the most interesting landmarks in Germany:
-Aachen cathedral. Don´t miss the opportunity to go inside and take a look at the magnificent interiors. Charlemagne is supposed to be buried here, although the exact spot remains unknown.
-Treasure of Aachen cathedral. This museum has an impressive collection of art pieces from Roman to Gothic time, but the most interesting part was the one dedicated to relics and pilgrims. Both landmarks were the first German monuments to be listed as World Heritage Sites.
Before visiting Bonn we decided to make a stop at Haribo Factory. The famous candy company was born here, so how could we go to Bonn and not buy some sweets? This little shop offers any Haribo product you can imagine at a lower price. Our baby was too small to enjoy the visit; nevertheless we had a great time choosing among so many candies. If your kids love this famous gummy bear don´t miss this spot.
The best season to visit Bonn is spring. Then you can discover one of the big attractions of the city, the cherry blossom. Heerstrasse is the main street to enjoy these pink blossoms that attract many travellers every April. After walking around and taking some nice pics we headed for Beethoven´s House, a wonderful little museum located in the home birth of the musician. Here we spent our last hours in Bonn and closed this great road trip to Germany.