West Germany – Travel Tips by Desmond Yuen

Drosselgasse- Old School Cobblestone Street in Rüdesheim am Rhein

What type(s) of travellers would your recommendations for West Germany suit?

My recommendations for West Germany will suit solo travellers, those who love culture and also those looking for a romantic getaway.

How many days would you recommend for one to spend in West Germany?

10 to 14 days. I started my trip with 3 nights in Dusseldorf, did a 4-day road trip from Dusseldorf towards Cologne (see recommendation 3 below), where I stayed for the remaining 4 nights of my trip.

What are the top things to do in West Germany that you would recommend?

1. Visit Christmas Markets

A booth at the Christmas Markets
A booth at the Christmas Markets

– If you happen to visit during the Christmas season, do visit as many Christmas Markets as you can!

– Best to visit during the evenings for the festive spirit and atmosphere

– If you prefer to avoid the crowds, the markets are open from the afternoon

– Prepare your appetite for good food and your wallets for a great shopping experience

– Find your Christmas Markets here

2. Join a Free walking tour with Freewalk Cologne

Cologne Cathedral
Cologne Cathedral

– Join a free walking tour (Walking tours usually take half a day and are purely tip-based!)

– Get to learn more about the (entertaining) history of Koln (Cologne)

– Tip: After the walking tour, do check out the shopping streets too!

Book your free walking tour here!

3. Drive out to the countryside

Burghotel Auf Schoenburg (Schönburg Castle), West Germany
Burghotel Auf Schoenburg (Schönburg Castle)

– Take 3 to 4 days for a drive along the Rhine River between Rüdesheim am Rhein and Koblenz

– We set off from Dusseldorf, drove down to Rudesheim for a night, up to Burghotel Auf Schoenburg for our second night, then up to Koblenz for our third night, and went back to Cologne thereafter

– Do note some of the many historical sites that you can visit along the way, such as the Marksburg Castle and the tiny medieval old town of Bacharach

– For something special, book a night’s stay in castles such as the Burghotel Auf Schoenburg (Schönburg Castle)!

What are the top things to eat in West Germany that you would recommend?

1. Die Fette Kuh (Cologne)

– Amazing burgers at decent prices! Burger-lovers don’t need any other reason…

Address: Bonner Str. 43, 50677 Köln, Germany (View on Google Maps)

2. Glühwein and Glühbier at Christmas

Glühwein and Glühbier at Christmas Market, West Germany
Glühwein and Glühbier at Christmas

– Warmed spice wine and beer, great for the winter cold

– Collectable mugs/glasses you can take home with you (if you forfeit your EUR3 deposit)

– Other drinks worth trying are the “Eierpunsch” (Egg liquor) and “Kinderpunsch” (non-alcoholic)

3. Maximilians Brauwiesen (near Koblenz)

– Always ask for an English menu (Tip: Most German restaurants do provide an English menu)

– Uniquely located within an old industrial building

– Serves great local food and beers, an excellent place to chill out with loved ones or friends while on a road trip

Address: Didierstraße 25, 56112 Lahnstein, Germany (View on Google Maps)

Any recommendations on where to stay in West Germany?

For something special, book a night’s stay in castles such as the Burghotel Auf Schoenburg (Schönburg Castle) for SGD300+ per night. We loved it!

When is a good time of the year to visit West Germany?

End Nov-Dec for all the Christmas Markets! And of course the beer!

How should one get around in West Germany?

Walking and/or the public transport are options within the cities. Do consider renting a car for travelling around the countryside.

What are the acceptable payment currencies and modes in West Germany?

Euros & Credit Cards are widely accepted.

Any other tips/things to be aware of in West Germany?

We usually gave a 10% tip at restaurants. Interestingly, tipping is done while you are paying (instead of when you get the change) e.g. If the bill is EUR30, you’d tell the server “EUR33 please” and he/she will bring the remaining change.

We did get pickpocketed in Cologne, so I guess it’s always good to take precautions. Otherwise, there were no other unpleasant experiences.

Do keep note while planning your trip that days are also much shorter during the Christmas seasons, though that just means less time driving and more time for Christmas markets!

How should one stay connected to the internet in West Germany?

We opted to use data roaming on M1 for SGD25/sim card (using quota from your Singapore local data bundle) – For M1 customer from Singapore only!

Cost of Trip

Airfare – Singapore Airlines, Direct (return) flight to Düsseldorf, SGD1,300/pax

Accommodation – Average of SGD100-150 per night for 3-4 Star accommodations

Food – 10-20 Euros per pax per meal (including a beer!)

Transport – Take the public transport (intracity) – SGD3-4 per trip or SGD45 for 7-day pass in Cologne, note that the 7-days follow the calendar week (Mon to Sun), so the pass expires on the Sunday of whichever week you buy for.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I always have a mix of comfort and adventure on my trips, love taking landscape photos and experiencing local cultures. Follow my Instagram @dessmind