Once a center for the steel industry, modern Dortmund is now known as a high-tech "green" city and a center for both culture and commerce. Busy and prosperous, this regional center was founded in 882 AD, and has a long history to discover in its museums and monuments. It's both a sport-minded city, with some of soccer's biggest fans - it's home to the team Borussia Dortmund of the Bundesliga and the German Football Museum - and a cultural center, with a vibrant arts and culture scene.
Along with historic churches like the Reinoldikirche (built in 1233), the area in and around the city is home to three 13th century castles, including Haus Bodelschwingh, which includes a moat and much more to discover.
Dortmund is a center for the arts and culture in the east Ruhr region of Germany and you'll find many ways to enjoy it, including impressive museums like the Museum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, concert halls, art galleries, live music and much more.
Once a major center for the coal and steel industries, nowadays about half of the city's municipal territory is green space to enjoy, including large parks like the Westfalenpark, woods, waterways, hiking trails, and more.
Historically, Dortmund's fortunes were built on coal, steel and beer. Nowadays, coal and steel have been replaced by high-tech industry, but beer is still king here, and you'll find several local brews to try, including Dortmunder Export lager and a wealth of bars and beer halls to try them in.
About 10,000 people shop their way through Dortmund's commercial areas every hour; you can join them along more than a mile of retail along Westenhellweg, the main (but not the only) shopping area in the city.
The Reinoldikirche, or Church of St. Reinold, is Dortmund's oldest church. It was built from 1250 to 1270 and was dedicated to the patron saint of the city, Renaud de Montauban. It stands in the very center of the city on the historic trade route between Cologne and Bremen, where it has become an enduring symbol of Dortmund. Lovers of architecture will enjoy the Romanesque exterior with Gothic quire, while the more adventurous will perhaps tackle the climb to the top of the bell tower. It's 341 feet tall and at the top you will find six huge bells totaling 20 tons in weight. The largest is more than eight feet in diameter and weighs 6.5 tons.
The Zeche Zollern II/IV (Zollern II/IV Colliery) was built in 1898 as a model colliery. It operated until 1966 and then in 1969 was named as the first technical building monument of international importance in Germany. In 1981 it became home to the Westphalian Industrial Museum. Most of the buildings have been constructed with brickwork in the Art Noveau style. You can visit the huge and impressive machine hall, the fire station, pithead baths, blacksmith's shop, tool store and administration offices. It makes for a fascinating visit for anyone interested in engineering and the architecture alone is fabulous.
Signal Iduna Park is home to the German soccer team Borussia Dortmund. With a capacity of 81,360, it is Germany's largest soccer stadium and the third biggest in Europe. It is renowned for the atmosphere it creates during games, much of which emanates from the famous south terrace. This is the largest standing area in European soccer and holds 24,454 fans. It's become known as the Yellow Wall due to the steep terracing and fans in their team colors. If you can't get to a game, the stadium tour is a great way to see inside this impressive sports venue.
Westfalenpark is a beautiful city park with lots to do for visitors of all ages. It has a number of themed gardens, focused on steppe, moor and heath and containing rare plants from each of these areas. There are lots of activities and educational opportunities, along with festivals, concerts and markets. You can also enjoy some of the best views in the entire Ruhr valley from the visitor platform or the 700-foot Florian Tower. Westfalenpark is an oasis in the city, providing the opportunity for a peaceful and relaxing break in some of the most beautiful gardens you will find anywhere.
The Deutsches Fußballmuseum is the national football (soccer) museum of Germany. It has a huge number of exhibits, memorabilia, audio-visual presentations and activities to enjoy. The top floor is dedicated to the history of the German national team, while the first floor focuses on club soccer. This is a truly impressive museum and if you have an interest in the sport it is an absolute must-see on any trip to Dortmund. Even if soccer is a mystery to you, a visit to the museum will help you understand the passion that the game arouses. The mission of the museum is to share that passion and the well-deserved motto is "We are Football".
With a temperate climate, most tourists opt to visit Dortmund in the summer between May and September, when average temperatures fall between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dortmund airport (DTM) serves European and domestic carriers. It's located about 8 miles from the city center. A shuttle bus takes you to the main railway station in Dortmund for EU8.50, while a taxi should cost about EU25-30. Dusseldorf International Airport (DUS) is an alternative at a distance of just under 40 miles. Easy train connections are available starting at EU15.
Dortmund Hauptbahnhof or central train station is a major transportation hub in Germany, with connections to all major centers in the country and beyond.
Dortmund is well connected to other major centers in Germany through the Autobahn network in all directions.
Flixbus, Eurolines and many other bus companies operate out of the Dortmund main bus station, linking the city to major centers throughout Europe.
Hotel der Lennhof offers modern luxury and conveniences with a lively bar on site. At the Mercure Hotel Dortmund City, you'll stay in comfortable, soundproofed rooms in a convenient downtown location.
City Center - the modern heart of the city is where you'll find great shopping and dining options, along with the city's commercial and retail areas.
Kreuzviertel - this historic area of the city is where you'll find landmarks like the Kreuzkirche at Kreuzstraße, along with a trendy dining and shopping scene and a number of parks.
Kaiserviertel - you'll want to start your shopping spree in this historic neighborhood, where you'll find Cherry Blossom Avenue that blooms in the spring, along with the beginning of Kaiserstraße, which leads to the shopping district.
Public transportation in Dortmund is provided by VRR, or Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr, which extends the city's network of buses, trains and subways to the entire Ruhr region. It is possible to travel to neighboring cities like Düsseldorf, Essen and Köln via municipal transport. Pricing varies by zone, starting at EU2.75.
Taxis are plentiful throughout the city. Fares start at EU3.50, with an additional EU1.60 per 0.6 mile.
Street parking may be at a premium in some areas, but there are large car parks available throughout the city. A compact rental starts at about EU45.
Westenhellweg, a car-free area, is the city's prime shopping street, with large retailers like H&M, Karstadt and two other shopping malls, along with smaller boutiques. Kleppingstraße is lined with upscale stores and Kampstraße is a favorite of younger shoppers.
Kaufland and REWE are two of the city's major supermarket chains with a good selection, including wine, beer and spirits, and reasonable prices. REWE To Go is an alternative for basics. A gallon of milk costs about EU2.20 while a dozen eggs costs EU1.65
Brauhaus Wenkers brews its own craft beer and is a favorite spot for football (soccer) fans. You'll enjoy classic German cuisine like sausages and more starting at EU7. Enjoy the historic ambiance of Zum Alten Markt, where classic German and European mains start at EU15.