21 days in North Rhine-Westphalia Itinerary

21 days in North Rhine-Westphalia Itinerary

Created using Inspirock North Rhine-Westphalia tour planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Essen
— 3 nights
Drive
2
Muenster
— 5 nights
Drive
3
Cologne
— 7 nights
Drive
4
Aachen
— 5 nights
Fly

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Essen

— 3 nights

Shopping City

For centuries one of Germany's major coal and steel centers, Essen offers some of Germany's best shopping, religious sites, and historical atmosphere.
Venture out of the city with trips to Dusseldorf (Altstadt, Rheinturm, &more) and Sechs-Seen-Platte Duisburg (in Duisburg). The adventure continues: steep yourself in history at Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen, make a trip to Salvatorkirche, walk around Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord, and admire the sheer force of Botanischer Garten Grugapark.

Plan a Essen trip in moments using our itinerary builder.

Billund, Denmark to Essen is an approximately 4.5-hour flight. You can also drive; or do a combination of bus and train. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Sun) so you can drive to Muenster.

Things to do in Essen

Parks · Historic Sites · Nature · Shopping

Side Trips

Muenster

— 5 nights

Bicycle Capital of Germany

Though relatively small and often overlooked by tourists, Muenster offers an interesting combination of a hip social scene and visible medieval history.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Muenster: Schopketal Oerlinghausen (in Oerlinghausen), Bielefeld (X-it-ADVENTURES - Escape Room Bielefeld, Botanischer Garten, &more) and Kurpark (in Hamm). There's still lots to do: contemplate the long history of Muenster Cathedral (St. Paulus Dom), learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at Allwetterzoo Munster, take in the architecture and atmosphere at St Lambert's Church, and browse the collection at Stadtbucherei Munster.

Plan trip to Muenster with our itinerary maker to find out where to go and what to do.

Traveling by car from Essen to Muenster takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. In July in Muenster, expect temperatures between 28°C during the day and 16°C at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 9th (Fri) early enough to go by car to Cologne.

Things to do in Muenster

Parks · Historic Sites · Outdoors · Shopping

Side Trips

Cologne

— 7 nights

City of Churches

Though Cologne famously contains 12 Romanesque churches, the city's top prize remains its landmark Gothic cathedral.
Change things up with these side-trips from Cologne: Kurpark Bad Godesberg (in Bonn), SinnesWald (in Leichlingen) and Koenigswinter (Drachenfels, Schloss Drachenburg, &more). Next up on the itinerary: take in the architecture and atmosphere at Cologne Cathedral, don't miss a visit to KolnTriangle, see the interesting displays at Chocolate Museum, and meet the residents at Koelner Zoo.

To see photos, traveler tips, more things to do, and other tourist information, read our Cologne trip planner.

Drive from Muenster to Cologne in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train. In July in Cologne, expect temperatures between 29°C during the day and 16°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Fri) to allow time to drive to Aachen.

Things to do in Cologne

Museums · Parks · Theme Parks · Historic Sites

Side Trips

Aachen

— 5 nights

City of Water

Aachen, a spa town, was once a prominent royal city where German kings were crowned and Charlemagne built his favorite residence.
Change things up with these side-trips from Aachen: Monschau (Evangelische Stadtkirche Monschau, Museum Rotes Haus, &more), Burg Laufenburg (in Langerwehe) and Deutsches Glasmalerei-Museum (in Linnich). And it doesn't end there: take in the spiritual surroundings of Aachen Cathedral, learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at Tierpark Aachen, ponder the design of Paradiesbrunnen, and revel in the low prices at Werksverkauf Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprungli.

To see photos, where to stay, other places to visit, and other tourist information, use the Aachen route planner.

Getting from Cologne to Aachen by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a train. In July, daytime highs in Aachen are 28°C, while nighttime lows are 17°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 21st (Wed) to allow enough time to fly back home.

Things to do in Aachen

Museums · Historic Sites · Parks · Zoos & Aquariums

Side Trips

North Rhine-Westphalia travel guide

4.4
Churches · Specialty Museums · Landmarks
North Rhine-Westphalia is in many ways almost a country unto itself. It's noted for its dense concentration of museums, art galleries, theaters, concert halls, and opera houses. The most populous German state, North Rhine-Westphalia was created at the end of World War II. It joined two Prussian provinces and a small fiefdom. The region's landscapes include flat expanses, densely forested hills, mighty rivers, and rugged mountains. Known for more than a century as the land of coal and steel, this was one of Europe's most important industrial regions in the post-war recovery period. Facing new demands of the ever-changing European markets, the region shifted its energies in the second half of the 20th century. Now it focuses on high-tech industries, media, and culture. Your itinerary may include days sightseeing in the region's bustling metropolises, but don't miss a chance to drive out into the sprawling countryside. You'll find a trove of quiet villages virtually unchanged since the Middle Ages.