If you are looking for a nice city in Germany for a quick city trip, Essen might just be what you are looking for. With a travel time of about 3 hours from Amsterdam, Frankfurt, or Antwerp Essen is perfect for a quick weekend getaway.
Whether you are looking for a place to go shopping, a place that has a lot of history, or just a place with great food, Essen has it all. Although the city is quite big, it’s easy to get around by public transport. The city center is perfect to explore on foot.
In winter Essen is one of the many German cities that has a Christmas market. It’s quite popular so make sure to make reservations on time. Let’s take a look at what Essen has to offer to you can start planning your city trip or weekend getaway!
A little bit of history
Essen no longer has a historic city center because it was bombed in World War II. Yet you see buildings that remind you of that period throughout the city, the most famous of which is the Dom of Essen.
After the Second World War, Essen has become a real industrial city where steel and coal played a central role. Zeche Zollverein is the industrial complex you can visit to get an idea of this period. The complex is even on the Unesco World Heritage List.
Nowadays, Essen mainly relies on all the cultural activities that are organized there. In 2010, Essen (together with Istanbul and Pecs) was the European Capital of Culture. In addition, you can also shop extensively.
Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex
Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important examples of industrial heritage in the world. The complex was built in the 1920s and 1930s and was a leading coal mine and coking plant in the Ruhr Valley, which was once the largest industrial region in Europe.
The site played a major role in the country’s economic development and was a symbol of the modernization of industry. The coal mine and coking plant were active for over 135 years, providing employment and income for thousands of people in the region.
You can explore various museums, exhibitions, and art galleries that provide insight into the history and technology of the coal mining industry. Grab a bite to eat if you’re done exploring this complex.
Essen Minster, also known as the Cathedral of Essen, is a historic church located in the heart of Essen. It was originally built as an abbey in the 9th century and is now one of Germany’s oldest cathedrals. The church’s interior is impressive, with its high ceilings, intricate stained glass windows, and ornate altars.
The church hosts regular concerts, art exhibitions, and other events, making it a lively and dynamic part of the community. Whether attending a concert, admiring the stained glass windows, or learning about the history of the convent, you are sure to be captivated by the beauty and significance of Essen Minster.
Grugapark was established in 1929 as part of a horticultural exhibition. The park was designed by the landscape architect Gustav Allinger and was intended to be a permanent green space for the city after the exhibition ended.
The park is home to many gardens, including a Japanese garden, a rose garden, and a Mediterranean garden. There are playgrounds for children, a miniature golf course, and several cafes and restaurants. It’s a nice place to visit, no matter what time of year you go.
Limbecker Platz is a large shopping center located in the heart of Essen. The mall has over 200 shops, including major international brands as well as local businesses, and offers a wide variety of shopping and dining options. From fashion and beauty to electronics and home goods, there is something for everyone at Limbecker Platz.
The building’s facade is made up of hundreds of individual panels that change color depending on the time of day and weather conditions. The interior of the mall is also modern and stylish, with a spacious layout and plenty of natural light.
If you’re done exploring Limbecker Platz, follow Limbecker Strasse for more shops, restaurants, and cafes. Don’t forget to enjoy a nice cup of coffee with a German torte or grab a currywurst for lunch. Essen is the perfect destination for a shop til you drop marathon!
The Christmas Market, or Weihnachtsmarkt, is a traditional German holiday market that takes place throughout the country during the Advent season, leading up to Christmas. Essen is known for its large and festive Christmas Market.
The market is held in the heart of the city, on the square in front of the Essen Cathedral. The market features over 250 stalls, selling a variety of traditional holiday treats and gifts, including gingerbread, sausages, handmade crafts, and ornaments. There are also carnival rides, an ice skating rink, and live performances.
Where to Stay
There are a lot of accommodations to choose from, so we have collected our favorites to help you make a choice. These hotels are close to the city center, making them perfect for a city trip or weekend getaway.
Just a little outside the city center with a fun and vibrant style and comfy rooms.
Close to the city center and perfect for a stay during the Christmas market.
A modern hotel with a cozy vibe in the city center of Essen close to main attractions.
Essen is the perfect city for a quick city trip
We’ve been to Essen on several occasions and loved the vibe of the city. Given its location, it’s perfect for a city trip or a weekend getaway. Germany is not far away and there is more than enough to see and do in Essen. If you are looking for a lesser-known city, Essen might just be what you are looking for.
If you have been to Essen, share your favorite thing to do, where to eat, or where to stay in the comments. And if you haven’t been yet, put it on your list and go explore!
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