Dusseldorf Introduction Walking Tour, Dusseldorf

Dusseldorf Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Dusseldorf

The area at the confluence of the Rhine and Dussel rivers was on the outskirts of the Roman Empire and settled by Germanic fishing tribes. It is from these small beginnings that the town takes its name. "Dorf" translates to "village" in English. The city of Dusseldorf has since grown far larger than that original eighth-century fishing village.

Dusseldorf was first elevated to a town in 1186 by Count Adolf VIII of Berg. In those early days, the town struggled with its neighbors, including Cologne. These cities were commercial rivals on the river, but today, the only rivalry that exists is in sports.

1288 saw the famous Battle of Worringen, waged between John of Brabant and the Archbishop Siegfried II of Cologne. The battle shuffled cities and alliances in the region. As a result, Cologne became a free independent city, and Dusseldorf was raised to city status. Today, the City Founding Monument is a testament to those days and that fateful history.

The city became the regional capital in 1380. Market Square had been built on the Rhine, and city walls had been added by that time. This period of growth can be toured today--starting from Castle Square on the river, the site of the original town. Don't miss St. Lambertus Church, which was begun in 1288--the same year the city was founded.

One of the city's most famous residents is Johann Wilhelm II, immortalized by a monument in town. Wilhelm founded the art gallery, originally housed in the city castle. Unfortunately, the castle was destroyed by fire in 1872, but you can still see the five-level Castle Tower.

During World War II, Dusseldorf was bombed by the Allied Forces, particularly during the British Royal Air Force's bombing campaigns of 1943. Since the war, the city has been the capital of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Today, Dusseldorf is a bustling city with notes of history and exciting culture. Enjoy the canal views as you stroll the shops along King's Alley, walk along the Rhine on the Rhine Embankment Promenade, or explore the old town along Bolke Street. No matter where you start, you're sure to love Dusseldorf. So come to meet the city on our introductory walking tour.
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Dusseldorf Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Dusseldorf Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: Germany » Dusseldorf (See other walking tours in Dusseldorf)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 13
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles
Author: Caroline
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Burgplatz (Castle Square)
  • Stadterhebungs Monument (City Founding Monument)
  • Lambertuskirche (St. Lambertus Church)
  • Schlossturm (Castle Tower)
  • Rheinuferpromenade (Rhine Embankment Promenade)
  • Jan Wellem Reiterstandbild (Jan Wellem Monument)
  • Marktplatz (Market Square)
  • Rathaus (Old Town Hall)
  • Bolkerstrasse (Bolker Street)
  • Heine House
  • Andreaskirche (St. Andreas Church)
  • Carlsplatz Markt (Carlsplatz Market)
  • Königsallee (King's Alley)
Burgplatz (Castle Square)

1) Burgplatz (Castle Square) (must see)

Castle Square is located on the Rhine River, near the location of the original town. This open space was named after Dusseldorf Castle, which was originally built during the 14th century. The castle was built to collect tolls, hence its location right on the river. Dusseldorf Castle was mostly torn down in 1892, and the remaining castle tower houses a museum.

Dusseldorf Castle and Castle Square were the city's center for centuries. When the castle deteriorated and was removed, Castle Square became a bigger, more open area. The area changed again when a busy highway was built here after World War II.

Finally, the area was redesigned in 1995 when the Rhine Embankment Promenade was built. Visitors can take a flight of steps to reach the Rhine's banks from Castle Square. The square often hosts different festivals and events and the open space offers visitors and residents a convenient meeting place.

The northern part of Castle Square faces the Rhine and the castle tower. The square is paved with cobblestones, which adds to its charm. The Radschlager fountain was added in 1954 and features a depiction of two cartwheeling boys.

Castle Square features the popular Wheel of Vision Ferris Wheel. This is a popular attraction day and night and offers a relaxing way to get the best views of historic Dusseldorf.
Stadterhebungs Monument (City Founding Monument)

2) Stadterhebungs Monument (City Founding Monument)

The City Founding Monument was created in 1988 to celebrate Dusseldorf's 700th anniversary. Bert Gerresheim crafted the bronze monument that depicts important scenes from Dusseldorf's history. The monument shows the Battle of Worringen, the city's original deed, and celebrates Saint Lambertus church.

The Battle of Worringen was fought on the 5th of June 1288 near the town of Worringen, which is now the northernmost borough of Cologne. Dusseldorf and Cologne residents fought against the Archbishop of Cologne's army during this battle. It was one of the largest battles in Europe in the Middle Ages and over 1100 people died during the battle. The Archbishop of Cologne was defeated.

After the battle, Count Adolf von Berg granted the Dusseldorf city charter. Cologne gained its independence from the Archbishopric after this decisive battle and finally became a free imperial city in 1475.

The monument's helmets and breastplates represent the famous 1288 battle. The cart represents Dusseldorf's market rights. The monument also shows the original town survey.

The bronze monument is very detailed and has many artistic layers. Visitors can gain an appreciation of the city's long history and storied birth.
Lambertuskirche (St. Lambertus Church)

3) Lambertuskirche (St. Lambertus Church)

St. Lambertus Church is one of Dusseldorf's favorite landmarks. Construction began in 1288, the same year that Dusseldorf was officially founded. St. Lambertus Church was consecrated in 1394 and dedicated to Our Lady. In 1805, the church was reconsecrated and dedicated to Saint Lambertus, who was martyred in 705.

Lambertus was the bishop of Maastricht from about 670 until his death in 705 AD. Lambert denounced Pepin's liaison with his mistress Alpaida. He was murdered during the political turmoil that developed when various families fought for influence as the Merovingian dynasty gave way to the Carolingians. Lambertus is considered a martyr for his defence of marriage.

Visitors can see the impressive tomb of Wilhelm V of Julich-Kleve-Berg in the church. The interior features an intricate Gothic tabernacle and several distinctive statues.

In 1815, a fire destroyed the church's original spire. The spire was rebuilt and now features a fascinating twist. The twist is probably due to damp, fresh wood used during the reconstruction. However, legend says that the devil tried to uproot the church and twisted the tower during the failed attempt.

The tower was damaged again during World War II. Residents were so attached to the spire's unusual twist that they rebuilt the spire and incorporated the twist.

In the 1950s, sculptor Ewald Mataré added a new west portal to the church.
Schlossturm (Castle Tower)

4) Schlossturm (Castle Tower)

The Castle Tower is the only remaining portion of the Dusseldorf Castle. Dusseldorf Castle was originally built in 1260, and the tower's first three levels date to the 13th century.

Alessandro Pasqualini added the fourth level in 1552, which features a polygonal design with Tuscan columns. In 1845, King Friedrich Wilhelm IV commissioned architect Friedrich August Stuler to design the fifth level with a round arch style. In 1882, a tent roof was added.

Over the centuries, Dusseldorf Castle fell into disrepair and was mostly destroyed by a fire in 1872. The tower's wind vane represents a fire blower designed to commemorate the castle fire.

The Castle Tower now hosts the Rhine Maritime Museum, which focuses on Dusseldorf's water transport history. The exhibits feature ship replicas and interactive displays. In addition, visitors can get an excellent view of current Rhine river ships from the museum's top floor.
Rheinuferpromenade (Rhine Embankment Promenade)

5) Rheinuferpromenade (Rhine Embankment Promenade) (must see)

The Rhine Embankment Promenade was designed by Architect Niklaus Fritschi and built between 1990 and 1997. This riverside promenade is popular with residents and visitors alike and is considered the Rhine's most attractive promenade. Visitors can enjoy the river views and breezes or stop for a cafe beverage or treat.

The promenade was originally built around 1900 and featured two levels. The lower level was used by shipping traffic, and the upper level was used as a promenade. The Rhine River's bank was redesigned after World War II, and a multi-lane street was constructed.

Road traffic used to run parallel to the river, but the Rhine bank tunnel was completed in the 1990s. This new infrastructure means that traffic runs underground. Pedestrians can now enjoy walking or biking along the promenade without road traffic. One million visitors celebrated the promenade's opening in 1995.

There are many historic and landmark buildings on the promenade. In addition, visitors can access the Dusseldorf Art Academy, the maritime museum, the state parliament, and the Apollo Variete.

The promenade hosts several Rhine boat tour operators, where you can enjoy seeing the city from another perspective. The promenade's staircase is a popular spot for people-watching and sunbathing.

The promenade hosts almost 300 cafes, bars, restaurants, and discos. Most of these venues are connected, so you can hop along the row and enjoy non-stop entertainment and fun. Promenade bars serve Dussedorf’s favorite brew, the Altbier. Be sure to order one to get a true taste of Dusseldorf.

The promenade hosts festivals and events throughout the year. For example, visitors might catch an exhibition, open-air movie screening, or festive market.

The promenade is a fantastic place to watch the sunset from. The city's lights start to come on and are beautifully reflected in the water.
Jan Wellem Reiterstandbild (Jan Wellem Monument)

6) Jan Wellem Reiterstandbild (Jan Wellem Monument)

Jan Wellem, also known as Johann Wilhelm, was born in Dusseldorf in 1658 and died in 1716. He was the Duke of Julich and Berg, the Elector Palatinate, and the Arch-Treasurer of the Holy Roman Empire. The statue, also known as “The Rider” is located steps from Dusseldorf Castle where Jan Wellem lived.

Jan Wellem founded the Düsseldorfer Art Gallery which established Dusseldorf as an art destination. He gave work to many artists and artisans and built an enormous collection of paintings by Rubens and other famous artists.

The equestrian monument was begun in 1703 and completed in 1711 by sculptor Gabriel Grupello. A local legend says that Grupello ran out of silver and sent his helper to ask for donations. The young boy knocked on doors, and Dusseldorf residents donated silver cutlery to complete the memorial.

The monument shows Jan Wellem dressed in full armor with an electoral hat and marshal's baton. The sculpture now has a green patina.

Grupello originally planned to place the statue on a higher base with a more ornate design. However, he created a simpler base, which was replaced in 1830. The current base features laurel wreaths, bronze palm fronds, and a dedication.
Marktplatz (Market Square)

7) Marktplatz (Market Square)

Market Square was first mentioned in historical records in 1392. Since then, Market Square has hosted a market in addition to many historical events and public announcements. The square is dominated by the Old Town Hall and the iconic Jan Wellem monument.

Markets have been hosted in the square since 1482. In the early 1500s, a follower of Martin Luther preached in an inn on the square. The town hall moved to Market Square in the late 1500s. The square was also home to the Old Theater, which was built in 1739 but destroyed during World War II.

Market Square hosts a Saturday market where visitors can shop for produce, German sausages, cheese, flowers, and prepared food. In addition, Market Square hosts wine festivals, art and crafts events, and a Christmas Market.

Carnival begins on November 11th outside the Town Hall, and the parade moves through Market Square.
Rathaus (Old Town Hall)

8) Rathaus (Old Town Hall)

Old Town Hall was built in 1573 and has hosted the city council and municipal administration ever since. Old Town Hall also hosted the estates of the Duchies of Julich-Berg until 1806.

Old Town Hall was built in the Renaissance style. It features two curved gables and a five-level, eight-sided stair tower.

Johann Joseph Couven renovated Old Town Hall in 1749. Couven added pilasters to the tower and added cornices between each level. In addition, Couven added a new portal with a balcony.

The current building features five wings. It is located at Market Square 1. In addition, other wings include the New Town Hall and the 1706 Grupello House.

After World War II, Old Town Hall's facades were restored. Visitors can find the city's coat of arms and an inscription in the stair tower.
Bolkerstrasse (Bolker Street)

9) Bolkerstrasse (Bolker Street)

Bolker Street is one of Dusseldorf's oldest streets, first built in 1384. At around 300 meters here are over 50 bars, pubs, and restaurants, owing to which the street is considered to be the heart of the "longest bar in the world", which is the nickname awarded to Düsseldorf's Altstadt (Old Town).

Bolker Street used to be a vital business, shopping, and residential destination. Back in the day, merchants and craftsmen settled here in great numbers and sold their goods. The city's first department store, on Bolker Street, was built in 1896 and further expanded in 1905. The store was destroyed during World War II and then replaced by the current Schneider-Wibbel-Gasse building.

Since the 1960s, many commercial outlets have been replaced by restaurants and bars. Presently, Bolker Street is a pedestrian-only area, lined with numerous eateries and watering holes, many of which offer outdoor seating, facing the street, all year round.

There are over 60 historical buildings on Bolker Street, including the Hausbrauerei Zum Schlüssel Brewery, producing the legendary Schlüssel-Alt beer since 1850. Opposite the brewery is the 1684 Neander Church; its churchyard regularly transforms into a beer garden on weekends.
Heine House

10) Heine House

Heinrich Heine is known as Dusseldorf's most important local author. He was a poet, writer, and critic best known for lyric poetry.

Heinrich Heine was born in Heine House in 1797. The house was originally built in the 17th century. It was damaged during World War II and rebuilt in 1947.

Heine's lyrics were set to music by famous composers like Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann. He was also famous for writing feature articles and the epic "Germany. A Winter's Tale" poem. Heine was a contemporary of Karl Marx and published articles in Marx's journal. However, the two did not share the same ideology.

Heine’s political stance caused many of his writings to be banned by German authorities, and he spent his final 25 years as an ex-pat in Paris.

The Heine House houses the Muller & Bohm bookshop. The Heine House aims to promote contemporary German literature and celebrate Heine's achievements. In addition, Heine House hosts an annual three-day literary program devoted to poetry and awards the Dusseldorf Debut Poetry Prize.
Andreaskirche (St. Andreas Church)

11) Andreaskirche (St. Andreas Church)

St Andreas Church was built between 1622 and 1629. It is considered an architectural masterpiece and represents the end of the German Renaissance and the start of the Baroque era.

The church was built for the Jesuits and served as the House of Palatinate-Neuburg court church. The church was commissioned by Duke Wolfgang Wilhelm, who had converted to Catholicism. The Jesuit order was disbanded in 1773, and the church became a parish church and then a monastery church.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the church served as Dusseldorf's musical center. Composer Johann Hugo von Wilderer was the church's organist during this time.

St. Andreas Church has a stunning interior that features sculptures of the apostles and saints. The mausoleum contains Johann Wilhelm's tomb and many other Electors Palatine.

The original high altar was destroyed during World War II and replaced by an altar designed by Ewald Matare. In the church's side chapels, visitors will find paintings by Ernst Degar.

The organ was originally built in 1782 and has been restored several times.
Carlsplatz Markt (Carlsplatz Market)

12) Carlsplatz Markt (Carlsplatz Market)

Carlsplatz Market is the city's most important market square. The market has over 60 stalls that feature fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, cheese, and fresh bread. In addition, visitors will find specialty coffee, desserts, and baked goods.

Carlsplatz Market also features gourmet ready-to-eat lunch options. Visitors will find local German specialties and international cuisine from India, Turkey, Italy, and France. The food is always fresh and seasonal.

Carlsplatz Market is named after Elector Carl Theodor. The Carlsplatz Square was built in the late 18th century and used as a parade ground during the French Occupation in 1797.

An annual market first took place in Carlsplatz in 1804. In 1808, Carlsplatz started hosting week-long annual fairs. The square began hosting a weekly market in 1910. The glass roof was built in 1998, and the glass pavilions were completed in 2002.

Carlsplatz Market is open Monday through Saturday.
Königsallee (King's Alley)

13) Königsallee (King's Alley) (must see)

King's Alley is a shopping street that runs along a picturesque canal. King's Alley, also known as King's Avenue, is one of Germany's most attractive upscale shopping streets.

King's Alley was redeveloped in 1802. City planners dug the canal, which is fed by water from the Dussel River. The attractive canal is 32 meters wide (105 feet) and five meters (16 feet) deep.

Chestnut trees were planted along the canal, and the street was named Chestnut Avenue. Legend tells of a story where someone threw horse manure at King Friedrich Wilhelm IV in 1848. The street was then named King's Alley as a goodwill gesture.

Shoppers will find luxury brands such as Armani, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Cartier, Prada, and Jimmy Choo. Visitors can also visit gorgeous boutiques and shops for clothing, shoes, designer bags, and one-of-a-kind jewelry.

The street is also home to the Ko Galerie, a three-story mall. This beautiful building features steel, aluminum, and marble construction. Here, visitors will find a variety of clothing, home decor, and accessories. In addition, the mall features several restaurants.

King's Alley is a beautiful street to stroll, and the trees provide welcome shade during the summer. The street also boasts interesting architecture. The Ko-Bogen has a modern glass, stone, and aluminum exterior and houses several stores, restaurants, and offices.

There are many luxury hotels along King's Alley, such as the Steigenberger Park Hotel, the Leonardo Royal, and Hotel Favor. Visitors can also stop by several great art galleries. For example, Galerie Paffrath and Galerie Ludorff both feature modern art.

King's Alley has dozens of fantastic restaurants. You can enjoy a quick meal at a casual cafe, stop for a bakery treat, or make a reservation at a Michelin-starred restaurant.

In addition to the shopping, architecture, and hotels, King's Alley is home to vibrant nightlife. Visitors will find exciting nightclubs, bars, cocktail lounges, and discos along the busy street.

During the festive season, King's Alley hosts two Christmas markets that feature beautiful lights and delightful treats.

Walking Tours in Dusseldorf, Germany

Create Your Own Walk in Dusseldorf

Create Your Own Walk in Dusseldorf

Creating your own self-guided walk in Dusseldorf is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Dusseldorf's Old Beer (Altbier) Walk

Dusseldorf's Old Beer (Altbier) Walk

Just as London has given us Porter, Dublin – Stout, Burton – the original (English) IPA, and Cologne – Kolsch, Dusseldorf has contributed to the world of beers its signature Altbier. They say, Dusseldorf and Altbier go together like onion rings and blood sausage. Curiously enough, though, this delicious, cool-fermented and malty brew, ranging in color from dark brown to copper, is not...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 Km or 0.7 Miles
Rhine River Promenade Walk

Rhine River Promenade Walk

The scenic Rheinuferpromenade (Rhine Promenade) is the lifeline of Dusseldorf. Currently one of the most beautiful places in the city and a very popular destination for both locals and tourists, this approximately 1.5-kilometer-long embankment was developed between 1990 and 1997 to a design by architect Niklaus Fritschi.

The project was easily one of the most successful waterfront...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles