A few weeks ago I decided that I would like to visit Germany again. I only had two wishes. It had to be a town that wasn’t far from my hometown and it had to be a place I had never been to before. The first was easy as I live an hour from the German border. The latter was a little more difficult because I had already visited many German cities. Looking at the map, my eye fell on Dortmund. Not too far away, never been there so this would be a perfect choice.
I stayed at the NH Dortmund hotel during these few days because of its excellent location in the heart of the city, close to the train station, and its on-site underground parking. I decided to drive there because Dortmund is just a two-hour drive from my home. This also gave me the chance to explore the Autobahn on my own.
The underground parking garage had plenty of space when I got to the hotel. I could take an elevator one floor up to the hotel’s reception from inside the parking garage.
The receptionist was a warm and welcoming person. She showed me some great restaurants on a city map and spoke to me in English to explain everything.
A nice street view could be seen from my fifth-floor hotel room. I did glance over the train station’s taxi stand. I was a little concerned about noise at night because of this, but the nights were completely silent. The room was quite large and was designed for one person. It included a queen-sized bed, a desk and comfortable chair, a decent bathroom, and a decent-sized wardrobe.
The Intermezzo Bar is located inside the hotel. Here, you can unwind in the evenings with a drink-I highly recommend the Pina Colada-and a conversation with the welcoming bartender, other hotel guests, or even locals who frequently visit the bar.
The following morning, I went downstairs to find a really good German breakfast because my reservation had breakfast included. There was a wide selection of food and beverages.
As I chatted to the locals at the café, I was blown away by the amount of things to see and do in Dortmund. Since I was only here for two days, I had to make choices. The main reason for my visit was to relax, get away from the busy everyday life and enjoy some free time for myself. I wasn’t looking for a busy and fully booked few days so decided to stay in the city center.
One person recommended the Mahn- und Gedänkstätte Steinwache museum, just a 5-minute walk from the hotel. This slightly hidden building is a more than 100-year-old police station that served as a prison during World War II. Since 1992 it has been the permanent location of the exhibition “Resistance and Persecution in Dortmund 1933–1945”. I really recommend this museum if you are interested in WWII.
In the city center is the Protestant Lutheran church Reinoldikirche, the oldest church in Dortmund. Located in the busy streets of Dortmund, it is a place of peace and quiet.
One place I haven’t visited, as it’s outside the city center, is the newly developed Phoenix See recreation area. It’s a great place for walking or cycling. You will also find many good restaurants here. I will definitely visit this place next time I’m in Dortmund.
The last place I want to mention that was recommended to me by locals is Westfalenpark. It is one of the largest city center parks you can find in Europe. One of the highlights of the park is the Florian Tower, a 219.6 meter high television tower with an observation deck that gives you fantastic views of the city.
Food and drinks
Since this is Germany, finding good food and beer isn’t too difficult. There are many restaurants in town. If you’ve happened to chat with the locals at the Intermezzo bar, they can point you to the best spots.
My favorite restaurant is Hövels Hausbrauerei. It’s a local brewery that makes fantastic beer and you can come here for lunch and dinner at a reasonable price. It’s the perfect place to enjoy an authentic Jägerschnitzel and locally brewed beer in a cozy atmosphere, while the staff are very friendly.
If you like shopping, Dortmund is the right place for you. There is a very long street with only shops. And if that’s not enough for you; there’s also a massive multi-story mall with even more stores and a food court.
I must say that I fell in love with Dortmund. These days I met some great locals, ate some great food and beer, had a great time at the bar and had a blast exploring this beautiful city. Two days weren’t enough to explore Dortmund. There is much more to see. I will definitely come back here.