At first glance the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia appears to be just another affluent, sterile business hub.

But dig deeper and you’ll be rewarded with a cutting-edge art scene, innovative architecture and a brilliant, booze-fuelled nightlife.

Given their proximity to The Netherlands, Düsseldorfers see themselves as the most broadminded of Germans.

Here’s our top reasons to visit Düsseldorf

1. See Düsseldorf’s art collections

The K20 on Kunstsammlung am Grabbeplatz is a must-see for its collection of works by Picasso, Matisse, Joseph Beuys and Paul Klee.

If it’s contemporary art you’re after see K21 on Kunstsammlung im Ständehaus.

The NRW Forum Kultur und Wirschaft may have a clunky name, but it has one of the loveliest gallery interiors you’ll ever see (check out the café). It currently has an exhibition of Robert Mapplethorpe photography.

2. Climb the Rheinturm Tower for fantastic views

The Rheinturm Tower makes a fantastic vantage point for panoramic views of the city.

From its 168m high viewing deck you can get a bird’s eye view of Frank Gehry’s famous warped buildings and the Medienhafen – the revamped harbour area.

This posh boulevard is home to Düsseldorf’s designer boutiques and department stores. The Triton fountain is also worth a look.

3. Taste bratwurst, schnitzels and rhenish sauerbraten

With the largest Japanese population in Europe, the city has no shortage of sushi bars.

In fact, Düsseldorf’s cosmopolitanism ensures a good range of other cuisines too.

But when it comes to local food the usual meaty stodge of bratwurst, schnitznels and slabs of pork served with potatoes and sauerkraut is pretty much the norm here.

But Düsseldorf does have a few local specialities worth seeking out.

One of them is their delicious smoked herring served on slivers of rye bread, while another is rhenish sauerbraten: pickled roast beef with stewed apple. Yum.

4. Go for a drink in the Altstadt area

Dusseldorf has more bars and clubs than you can poke a stick at. These can be found in the Altstadt area, the perfect place to enjoy some of Düsseldorf’s local brews, which include altbier, (old beer) such as Schumacher, Füchschen, Schlüssel and Uerige.

Make sure you also sample the local Killepitsch, a herb-based liqueur served in shot glasses, which goes down a treat on freezing nights.

What’s more, most locally brewed drinks are organic so the subsequent hangovers aren’t too bad at all!

» Alison Grinter travelled to Dusseldorf with Air Berlin (, Dusseldorf Tourism, and Melia Hotel (

What you need to know about travelling to Düsseldorf

When to go Any time. Düsseldorfers are always up for a party.

Getting there Düsseldorf International Airport is 7km from the city centre. Extensive bus and train routes exist between Düsseldorf and many European cities.  

Visas South Africans need a Schengen visa.

Currency Euro. 1 GBP = 1.14 EUR.

Language German

Getting around An extensive network of U-Bahn trains, trams and buses. Day tickets cost about €4.70.

Going out A beer costs €3.50.

Accommodation A dorm bed costs about €20, while a hotel is about €45.