Visit the German city of Bonn for art, music, beer and nightlife. We’re sold!
And here are five things not to miss.
1) Art on Museum Mile
Bonn’s highbrow attraction, Museum Mile, claims 1 million visitors every year and has five major museums, which focus on art, zoology, history and technology, spread along its length.
Art lovers should head straight to the Kunstmuseum Bonn. With everything from local boy August Macke’s Rhenish (Rhine-ish) expressionism to contemporary artists Joseph Beuys and Daniel Richter, it’s a great introduction to 20th century German art.
Delicious treats are sold in the museum café, so go native and stop for ‘kaffee und kuchen’ (coffee and cake).
2) Chill out in the parks
Bonn is a green city, and marks the start of the 320km-long Rheinsteig (Rhine Way) hiking trail south to Wiesbaden.
Outdoor shows take place in some of Bonn’s 25 parks and gardens in the summer, while the German indie stars of tomorrow cut their teeth at July’s free Rheinkultur festival (rheinkultur-festival.de).
3) Nightlife – bars and clubs
After dark, thrifty students at University of Bonn refuel tired brains with €3 pints of Guinness in the old town (Altstadt), before heading to late bar Blow Up.
It’s not Berlin nor Barcelona, but, in its own low-key way, culture-loving Bonn isn’t boring either.
4) Try the local beer
Local rivals Cologne have their famous Kölsch beer, but Bonn is fighting back with Bönnsch.
Only available at Brauhaus Bönnsch (4 Sterntorbrücke), it too comes in tiny 200ml glasses (€1.60) with lots of foam, but is unfiltered.
It is brewed on site – try with flammkuchen (Alsatian pizza).
5) Beethoven in Bonn
Celebrated resident Ludwig van Beethoven is one of Bonn’s claims to fame.
The attic room where the composer was born is on show in an equally modest museum, along with the ear trumpets he used when he became deaf.
What you need to know about Bonn
WHEN TO GO: Bonn’s five-month summer festival runs from May to September – it’s a packed programme of music, theatre, dance and cabaret shows.
GETTING THERE: German Wings (germanwings.com) flies London Stansted to Cologne-Bonn from £13.99. Bonn is about 30 minutes by bus (€6.70) from Cologne.
GETTING AROUND: The Bonn Welcome Card (€9, bonn-region.de) covers more than 20 museums for 24 hours. It includes subway travel.
VISAS: South Africans need a Schengen visa.
CURRENCY: Euro. 1 GBP = 1.15 EUR.
LANGUAGE: German, but English is widely spoken.
GOING OUT: Beer starts at €3 a pint.
ACCOMMODATION: Bonn only has two hostels, but a double room in a hotel starts from €50. See bonnhotels.de.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON BONN: bonn.de