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From Düsseldorf to Bonn, Along the Rhine

A river plus three major cities: a journey along the Rhine through parks and green spaces on your trusty Vespa.
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Duration: 4 days

Itinerary: about 90 kilometres from Düsseldorf to Bonn

Equipment: comfortable sneakers, picnic blanket

Take your Vespa to Europe's greenest city. That's right, in Düsseldorf nature is rich. For this reason, the German metropolis is often at the top of the rankings as the best city to live in. Before deciding to move there, go and check it out. Start your journey of discovery from the Rhine embankment promenade. Continuing on the same path, at some point you will encounter abandoned tracks; it is a sign that you are going in the right direction towards the port. Meanwhile, if you just look around, you’ll notice that the architecture is all contemporary. On a nice sunny day you won’t be able to resist the temptation to see your reflection on the facades of the buildings designed by Frank Gehry, David Chipperfield, Jo Coenen, Steven Holl and Claude Vasconi.

If you feel a bit peckish, find the right place for a quick break, preferably with a panoramic view of the city. Within the Rhinepark, you will see the Rheinturm, which besides being the telecommunications tower of the city, is also the tallest digital clock in the world. The M168 bar lounge, as the name suggests, stands at 168 meters above the ground, so make sure to queue for the lift.

After lunch, go and discover the old town, the Altstadt. In reality, it is not so old, because it was almost completely rebuilt after WWII, but it still maintains a really nice atmosphere, among small buildings, streets and lots of bars – so many that it’s been nicknamed "the longest bar in the world", as if it were one long open bar. It will almost be time for an aperitif so park your Vespa in a safe place and go for a tasting of the local beer. There are five breweries that produce handcrafted Altbier, a top-fermentation beer served in small glasses: Uerige (Berger Strasse 1), Füchschen's (Ratinger Strasse 28), Schumacher (Osstrasse 123), Schlüssel (Bolkerstrasse 43) and Kurzer (Kurze Strasse 20). If you get hungry, stop in one of these typical breweries to continue with local traditions, of course. But don’t forget that Düsseldorf is also the city with the best Japanese restaurants in the world outside Japan. A must is Nami Wa. After dinner, head back to the hotel Meliá Düsseldorf where maximum comfort awaits.

Start the day early so you don’t miss a single minute of this fantastic tour. Cologne is located two hours from Dusseldorf by Vespa. You can take your time and follow the path of the Rhine, hunting for landscapes, villages and castles to photograph, and why not stop for a snack along the way, so you get to Cologne and immediately immerse yourselves in the greenery and vitality of the city. Apparently, the most beautiful park in all of Germany is here, stretching over 40 acres of land with trails and artwork – perfect for an afternoon of relaxation after the long journey. Before dinner, settle into the hotel, the centrally located Koncept Hotel Zum Kostbaren Blut, not far from the Hard Rock Cafe.

The next day, take a nice walk, reach the old town and get to the Cathedral. Tall spires and a dark facade, it is the symbol of the city. Inside, special relics are preserved, those of the three Kings brought from Milan by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and given to the Archbishop of Cologne, Rainald von Dassel in 1164. Upon leaving the Cathedral, make sure to get a souvenir: the Eau de Cologne. The original one is on sale here in the Italian Farina family shop.

Lunch is approaching, try the Flonz with mashed potatoes, a typical local dish similar to a sausage. Also indulge in a local beer, Kölsch, served in a cylindrical glass called Stange. To be authentic, the beer must be produced within the city limits, and there are 24 different types. Although you can't try them all, a glass will do it. After lunch, move to the Rhine promenade for a short River Cruise – so worth it – and once back on dry land, attend one of the many concerts that the Philharmonic orchestra holds outdoors in the small Amphitheater overlooking the Rhine, next to the Cathedral. If you feel tired, get back to the hotel and start packing to leave for Bonn in the morning.

Aboard your Vespa, you will reach Bonn in an hour or so, but you might want to take a break in the natural reserve of Siegmündung, along the river just outside the city and enjoy some time immersed in the greenery. As soon as you hear the call of the city, get back on the Vespa. In Bonn, you will visit a special house, the birthplace of Ludwig Van Beethoven. In these rooms you’ll get to see the largest collection of his personal items.

Speaking of special places, with the Vespa you will arrive in less than no time at the Poppelsdorf Palace, the summer residence of Prince Clemens August, which with its rich Botanic Garden attracts lots of visitors every year. After a quick lunch at one of the cafes, go to the old city cemetery, where lots of artists and intellectuals are buried. Don’t leave without visiting one of the most beautiful churches in Germany, the Bonn Minster (Bonner Münster), with its five towers that can be seen from any point of the city centre. Amazing to think that here there was a Roman necropolis, where later a Carolingian church was built, and then a basilica: a true testimony of a history that we will remember forever.

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