20 Things To Do In Bonn

- This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure.

Bonn was the capital of West Germany from 1949 until 1990, during which time Germany was divided in two. However, after the Berlin Wall came down, East and West Germany were united, and Berlin was declared the capital. Despite losing this status, Bonn is an interesting city to visit and you won’t go far wrong by adding it to your itinerary. There are museums to explore, including Beethoven’s House, a historic cathedral, a palace, and many green spaces where you can relax, have a picnic, or enjoy a long walk.

Bonn is also famous for being the birthplace of the famous gummy bear company, Haribo. There is a massive Haribo shop in the city where your children can stock up on sweets, that is if you let them! Bonn is situated on the banks of the River Rhine, and one of the best things to do is to take a boat trip on the river. Take in the stunning views, disembark at picturesque villages, and pass by castles and mansions. Bonn is well worth visiting for longer than just a weekend so let’s take a look at what you can do there.

Bonn, Germany

20 Things To Do In Bonn

1- Explore The Old Town

Old City Buildings
Exploring the Old Town is one of the things to do in Bonn.

European towns and cities are well-known for having an old part of town, often dating back hundreds of years, even as far back as the Medieval Ages.

The old part of town is usually situated in the centre of the city, with the new town built around it but Bonn is a little different.

The original old town was bombed and destroyed during WWII, and it was decided that a different neighbourhood should be declared the old town.

This is now in the north of the city in a 100-year-old working-class neighbourhood.


Despite this change, you should visit the renamed old town as it’s charming and has the typical narrow streets with cobblestones.

Wander through these and discover small traditional shops, as well as traditional restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy a coffee or a meal.

It is much calmer than the city centre and is a lovely place to spend a couple of hours.

2- Visit Poppelsdorf Palace And Botanical Garden

Castle Poppelsdorf
Visiting Poppelsdorf Palace and Botanical Garden is one of the top things to do in Bonn Germany.

A fantastic day can be had indulging in the luxury and style of Poppelsdorf Palace, which was built between 1715 and 1746 on the commission of the Archbishop of Cologne who wanted to use it for leisure and hunting purposes.

It is now open to the public, and when you go inside, you will see stunning frescoes and stucco work.

Although it was damaged during WWII, it has been restored to its former splendour.

Inside the palace is the Mineralogical Museum of the University of Bonn, which houses stunning gemstones and other minerals.

The garden surrounding Poppelsdorf Palace is now a Botanical Garden which you can enjoy after visiting the palace.

It covers 12 ha (29.65 acres) and is split into themed gardens, such as the Japanese Garden, the Alpine Garden, and the Mediterranean Garden.

There are also wooded areas and greenhouses with subtropical plants and cacti.

The Victoria House is particularly stunning as it exhibits giant water lilies and other wetland plants.

In total, the Botanical Garden houses around 8,000 plant and tree species.

If you are in Bonn in the summer, you might be lucky enough to catch an evening classical music concert in the gardens.

Poppelsdorf Palace and Botanical Garden is at Meckenheimer Allee 171, 53115, Bonn.

3- Learn About Beethoven In Beethoven House

Beethoven House In Bonn
Learning about Beethoven at Beethoven House is one of the things to do in Bonn.

Beethoven was born in Bonn in 1770 and his home is now a museum dedicated to his life and works.

The museum is in two parts: in the back, where he was born and grew up, you will find artefacts from his time in the city until 1792 such as his baptism entry and greeting cards he received.

In the front building, there are memorabilia from his life in Vienna, such as his handwritten sheet music, his instruments, and the ear trumpets he used when he became deaf in his mid-twenties.

Amazingly, he was still able to produce fantastic music even when deaf, such as the Sixth Symphony.

The museum features interactive exhibitions and you can listen to his music.

It also holds temporary exhibitions from time to time and hosts concerts with his music.

Beethoven House is at Bonngasse 20, 53111, Bonn

4- Visit Bonn Minster

Bonn Minster
Visiting the Cathedral (Bonn Minster) is one of the top things to do in Bonn, Germany..

You will find Bonn Minster in the centre of the city.

It is a stunning and historic Catholic church, built in the 11th century on top of ancient Roman ruins of temples and churches.

It has gone through many renovations over the years, meaning that it is an amalgamation of Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque architecture and decoration.

Bonn Minster has five spectacular Romanesque square towers with typical semi-circular arched windows.

Unfortunately, you can’t climb the towers, but you can admire them from both inside and out.

On the south side of the church is a well-preserved Romanesque cloister.

Inside the church, you will find both Romanesque and Gothic architecture, with Baroque decorations.

There is stunning religious artwork adorning the walls and a spectacular crucifix.

Don’t miss going into the apse as the red and blue stained-glass windows are outstanding.

Bonn Minster is at MunsterPlatz, 5311, Bonn

5- Head To The Bustling MunsterPlatz

MunsterPlatz is a busy square in the centre of Bonn.

It is pedestrianised so you can admire the historic buildings without worrying about cars and motorbikes.

One of the buildings is the old post office, which is now a shopping centre where you can indulge in a little shopping or browsing, or have a drink in one of the cafes while people-watching.

One of the highlights of the square is the Beethoven statue in front of the old post office, which was unveiled in 1845 during a festival directed by Franz Liszt.

In December, a Christmas market is held in the square, offering Cjristmas ornaments, gifts, and delicious food and drink.

It is less hectic than the Christmas market in nearby Cologne which adds to its charm as you won’t be fighting with hoards of people to get to the stalls.

You will definitely leave feeling full of the Christmas spirit.

6- Catch The View At The Alter Zoll Historic Site

Head to Zoll Historic Site for some of the best views of the city, the Rhine and Siebengebirge, a range of volcanic hills to the south of the city.

The site is part of what were the fortifications of Bonn, and the cannons there remind you of the past and the purpose of the fortifications.

In the area are monuments, such as the statue of the writer, Ernst Moritz Arndt, and a memorial for the Romantic poet, Heinrich Heine.

Why not head there in the middle of the day?

There is a beer garden where you can enjoy a cold glass of one of the popular German beers and have lunch.

There is curry and pizza on offer as well as traditional Bratwurst and chips.

7- Visit The Arithmeum Museum

This museum is in the University of Bonn and is an exciting concept, appealing to those who are mathematically inclined or computer savvy.

The museum recounts the history of calculators and both mechanical and electronic computers.

It goes back to ancient times when simple abacuses were used, and up to modern times, heralding the complex computers we now use.

The museum doesn’t stop at hardware, but features software, showcasing a large collection of programming languages.

The collection is massive, featuring 4,500 adding machines, 800 pieces of artwork, 2,000 books, and 500 computers.

The museum won’t appeal to very young children, but it is a good place to take older children who are interested in computing, in effect, most children nowadays.

It will give them an insight into how computers work and of the importance of programmers.

The Arithmeum Museum is at Lennestrasse 2, 53113, Bonn

8- Admire The Art At The Bonn Museum Of Modern Art, The Kunstmuseum

Planet Bonn
Admiring art at the Bonn Museum of Modern Art is one of the things to do in Bonn Germany.

This museum features German artwork, mainly paintings, from after 1945 and by such artists as Georg Baselite, Blinky Palermo, and Hanne Darboven.

There are three rooms dedicated to Joseph Beuys, who, as well as being an artist, was a performer and art theorist.

His work was influenced by environmentalism and humanism, and he is considered one of the most influential German artists of modern times.

The museum houses a large collection of Expressionist art by artists from the Rhine area, such as August Macke, a leading member of the German Expressionist group, Der Blaue Reiter, which translates to The Blue Rider.

There is also a section dedicated to video art by Klaus Van Bruch, Joan Joanas, and Dennis Oppenheim.

The Bonn Museum of Modern Art is at Helmut-Kohl-Allee 2, 53113, Bonn.

9- Take A Stroll Around Wildpark Venusberg

For a break from city life without going too far, head to Wildpark Venusberg near the city centre.

It covers over 40 square kilometres (15.44 square miles) and is on the southern slopes of the beautiful Venusberg Hill.

The park has large enclosures with fallow deer, red deer and wild boar.

If you are lucky, they will come close to the fences and you can get good photos.

Children will love it here and there is also an adventure playground to keep them amused.

Take time to go into the House of Nature, which houses exhibits about the geology and ecology of the area.

There is also a beehive demonstration and a farmer’s garden which grows plants and herbs.

End the visit with a cool drink in the cafe.

Wildpark Venusberg is at An der Waldau 50, 53127, Bonn.

10- Visit The Bundeskunsthalle Exhibition Centre

The centre is a place you can go to time and time again as it hosts temporary exhibitions, with topics ranging from ancient to contemporary art.

On display, are paintings, sculptures, photography and exhibitions relating to architecture and design.

There can be as many as 10 exhibitions at the same time so be prepared to enjoy a few hours exploring the centre.

From time to time, there are concerts and cinema screenings so check the programme online to see if anything is on while you are in Bonn.

Before you go in, check out Kattes Quadrat (Cold Square) in front of the building.

There are cobblestones here, laid by the artist, Tom Fecht, to remember those who died in the Aids epidemic, such as Rock Hudson and Freddie Mercury.

The Bundeskunsthalle Exhibition Centre is at Helmut-Kohl-Allee 4, 53113, Bonn.

11- Explore Schloss Drachenberg

Schloss Drachenburg Castle Is A Palace In Konigswinter
Exploring Schloss Drachenburg, a Gothic revival castle, is one of the things to do in Bonn.

Schloss Drachenberg translates to Castel Drachenberg, but although it looks like a fairytale castle, it was built as a private villa by Stephen von Sarter, although he didn’t end up living there.

The late 19th-century Gothic style castle only took two years to build and being only a few kilometres outside Bonn, it’s worth a day trip.

Although it was damaged during WWII, it has been restored to its original state.

You can take a guided tour of the inside where you will see beautiful stained-glass windows, frescoes covering the ceilings, and a dining table set with crystal glasses and gilt-edged china.

The word to describe the castle is opulent!

You can climb the northern tower and from the top, you will have magnificent views of the surrounding countryside and the Rhine.

There is an excellent restaurant at the castle, so it is easy to spend the day here.

Schloss Drachenberg is at Drachenfelsstr. 118, 53639, Koningswinter.

12- Visit Museum Koenig

This interactive zoology museum attracts both the young and the old with its extensive range of exhibits.

The highlight is a large collection of dinosaur skeletons.

The major exhibition in the museum is ‘Our Blue Planet – the Living Network’.

which displays recreations of different environments, such as rainforests, polar regions, deserts, and temperate landscapes.

It is all done in a way that even the young among us will understand.

The museum is named after the naturalist, Alexander Koenig, who was born in Bonn in the 19th century.

Throughout the museum, you will find specimens he collected on his journeys to Africa and the Arctic.

The Museum Koenig is at Adenauerallee 160, 53113, Bonn.

13- Try The Local Food

Bonn and the area around this part of the Rhine has its own cuisine which is hearty and is served in many of the restaurants in town.

It is called Rheinlandische Kuche and is based on seasonal vegetables, potatoes and meat.

For example, in spring, Dicke Bohnen, which is a fava bean stew cooked in vinegar, is popular.

In the summer, Spergel is served, which is asparagus cooked in melted butter and accompanied by potatoes.

In the autumn, enjoy Pfifferlinge, which is a mushroom dish served with scrambled eggs.

The traditional winter dish is Grunkohi, which is green cabbage served with potatoes and bacon.

Another dish that the people of Bonn enjoy is Sauerbraten, which is a marinated veal stew, cooked with raisins to make it sweet and sour.

It is served with apple sauce.

As in most of Germany, sausages are popular in Bonn, in particular, blood sausages, they are usually accompanied by the famous Kolsch beer, which originated in nearby Cologne.

Everywhere, you will find Kartoffelpuffer, a German-style pancake, which is made from grated potatoes, onions, eggs and flour.

These pancakes are great with a cooked breakfast.

14- Relax At Rheinaue Park

Beautiful Sunset In The Rheinaue Park Next To A Pond
Relaxing at Rheinaue Park is one of the things to do in Bonn at night.

Rheinaue Park is another beautiful green space in Bonn by the Rhine.

It is popular with walkers, cyclists and joggers, as the footpaths cover a massive 45 km (27.96 miles).

The park is big, covering 160 hectares (395.36 miles) and there are beautiful gardens to be explored, such as the Japanese Garden, the Rose Garden, and the Garden of the Blind.

An old Roman street runs through the park, with cast copies of Roman tombstones and altars which were found in the Rhine area.

Other attractions include a boating lake, an apiary, and the track of trees, where you will see a row of trees, one being planted each year since 1989.

In addition, concerts and festivals are held in the park in the summer.

Rheinaue Park is at Ludwig-Erhard-Allee 20, 53175, Bonn.

15- Discover German History At The Haus Der Geschichte

The Haus der Geschichte translates to the House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany, and it relates the social and political history of the country since 1945.

The only exception is a 2nd-century Roman workshop which was discovered when the museum was being built in the 1980s and which is now an exhibit.

The museum houses an enormous collection of photographs, documents, and other artefacts from 1945 to the present day.

It covers the division of Germany after WWII, the Cold War, and the reunification of the country when the Berlin Wall came down.

Because the museum covers the history of Germany to the present day, new exhibits are added each year.

The Haus Der Geschichte is at Willy-Brandt-Allee 14, 53113, Bonn.

16- Take A Boat Trip To The Town Of Konigswinter

Drachenfels The Famous Ruin In Konigswinter On The Rheine Siebengebirge
A boat trip to Konigswinter is one of the top 10 things to do from Bonn Germany.

A mini cruise on the Rhine on a beautiful summer’s day to Konigswinter passes stunning scenery and pretty villages and takes two hours.

Konigswinter is a lovely quaint town which was frequented by the wealthy British during the 19th century.

Because it is in a wine-growing region, you will be able to sample the local wine if you have a meal in one of the restaurants.

Another reason for visiting this town is to take a trip along the 1883 Drachenfels cog railway.

Be warned, it’s not for the faint-hearted! It only takes three minutes, but it climbs 219.5 metres (720 feet) with some inclines as steep as 22%.

To make things more exciting, the railcar is open-sided.

However, it takes you to the top of Drachenfels Mountain and the views are spectacular.

17- Admire The Canopy Of Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossom Within Forsythia Blossoms In Germany
Admiring cherry blossoms in spring is one of the fun things to do in Bonn.

If you are in Bonn between late March and early May, you will be overwhelmed by the pink cherry trees that blossom throughout the old town.

The best street for this is Heerstrasse, also known as Cherry Blossom Avenue.

The trees were planted in the 1980s and the branches from each side of the street reach each other, forming a canopy of beautiful pink blossoms.

Another impressive street with pink blossoms is Breitestrasse which runs parallel to Heerstrasse.

They are comparable to the pink blossoms you see throughout Japan.

18- Hike In The Siebengebirge Nature Park

Also known as the Seven Mountains Park, Siebengebirge offers hiking trails with plenty to see while you are enjoying the walk.

The park has some impressive woodlands, filled with beach and oak trees, there are volcanic rock formations, and there is plenty of fauna and flora to be seen.

It is a paradise for bird lovers, with nightingales, kestrels, kingfishers, eagles, owls, and more to be seen.

The park is also interesting for history buffs as there are two sites to be visited.

Although they are in ruins, you can still picture what they were like in their heyday.

There is a 12th-century fortress, Lowenburg, from where you can experience beautiful views of the valley below.

In addition, you can visit Heisterbach, which is a 13th-century Baroque abbey.

19- Visit The Rheinisches Landesmuseum Bonn

The Remains Of Fossil Bones Of The Neanderthal Man At The Bonn
Visiting the Rheinisches Landes Museum is one of the best things to do in Bonn Germany.

This is one of the oldest museums in Germany and is well worth your time.

It covers 400,000 years of history, with a focus on Rhineland history and the Bronze Age.

There is a magnificent display of gold rings from a Celtic grave dating to around 400 BC, as well as busts from the Roman era.

The building itself is impressive as it is surrounded by a glass cube shell.

You will want to take a photo of it.

Inside, you will find seven exhibition areas, taking you from Neanderthal times to the present.

A highlight of the museum is the Sun God and Zodiac Mosaic, dating to 270.

It has remained intact and shows the Sun God driving his chariot in the sky surrounded by the signs of the Zodiac.

The Rheinisches Landesmuseum Bonn is at Colmantstraße 14 – 16, 53115, Bonn

20- Mix With The Locals In Market Place

In the old town, in front of Bonn’s Old City Hall, the Altes Rathaus, you will find the market which is regularly frequented by the locals.

Expect a bustling atmosphere with lots of noise as people bump into their friends and chat.

The market is in two parts, the green food market, and the street food market.

In the green food market, you will find fresh fruit and vegetables, freshly baked bread, cheeses, and sausages.

You can easily find delicious food here to have a picnic in one of the green spaces in the city.

In the street food market, you’ll find tasty food to go, such as baked potatoes, bratwurst, and even vegan food.

The market is on every day apart from Sundays.

While you are at the market, take the time to admire the Olde City Hall.

It was completed in 1780 and is a perfect example of Rococo architecture.

It has a stunning ornamental facade which is well worth photographing.

Plan Your Trip

best car rental

Rent A Car – Find the best car rental rates at Discover Cars. They compare car hire companies to provide you with the best deal right now.

Find A Hotel – If you’re curious about this article and are looking for somewhere to stay, take a look at these amazing hotels.

Previous article20 Things To Do In Hamilton Island
Next article20 Things To Do In Kamakura
Irena Nieslony
Irena Nieslony was born in Windsor, England but now lives on the island of Crete, Greece, in a small village called Modi near the city of Chania. She has visited 32 countries in Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Africa. Her favourite country is Tanzania as she loves wildlife and was lucky enough to see ‘The Big Five”. She also loves Egypt, as ancient history intrigues her, the southern states of the US and the cities of Memphis, Nashville, and New Orleans for music. She has a B.A. Honours degree in English and Drama from Westfield College, University of London. She has been writing for over 13 years and has 13 novels, 7 short stories and thousands of articles published.