Europe,  Germany,  Travel

Spending the Day in Bonn, Germany

It’s Cherry Blossom Season in Bonn, Germany, and we’re still under some Covid restrictions here in Germany.  Nevertheless, we are still able to make day trips, but no overnight stays.  With this, we decided to spend the day in Bonn and enjoy the cherry blossoms and other fun activities this wonderful city has to offer.  So come tag along with us to see the highlight of what we did in Bonn for the day.

 

Fun Facts about Bonn

  • Bonn is a German city on the Rhine river.

  • It was once the capital of West Germany from 1949-1990 (during the Berlin Wall before the German reunification)

  • It is the birthplace of the one and only Ludwig van Beethoven

  • It’s the birthplace of the HARIBO gummy bears (more on that in this blog post) 

  • They have an amazing Christmas market (more on that in another blogpost)

 

 Arriving at Bonn

We arrived mid-morning; we had intended to arrive earlier, but life.  Parking was easy peasy, and we used this parking garage.  I chose this parking garage as it was in the middle of Old Town, but you can find other parking areas here.  As we exited the garage to start our walk into the city, we stumbled upon this flower market right outside the door of our parking garage.  I was already beaming with excitement to see this surprise.

 

 

Due to Covid restrictions, stores are only accessible with a negative covid test result less than 24 hours.  We intended to go inside a few stores, so we wanted to get our free Covid test first.  We headed to Biber Apotheke (local pharmacy) as it was listed as one of the places to get your free Rapid Covid Test here. 

 

On our way, we stopped to admire the Sterntor Gate, where we found our first Cherry blossom blooms.  I couldn’t contain my excitement and started taking as many photos as I could.  Pretty sure I wasn’t the only one trying to capture these blossoms. 

 

Walking towards the Apotheke, I noticed quite a few people meandering along the streets of the city.  One of the stores already had a line of people out the door; I’m not sure if this was due to limiting the number of people in the store and if they were only letting people in with negative covid test results for the day.     

 

Rapid Covid Test

There was already a long line outside the door of Biber Apotheke.  We hesitantly got in line and filled out the paperwork that required our names and address for each person taking the Rapid test.  We brought our passport, ID, and a current bill with our German address. We were in line for a total of 1 hour as each person took 15 minutes per test.  It was a nasal swab test, and the staff was wonderful and able to speak English.  They accepted our passport as ID, which an ID and your home German address were all that was needed.  

 

 

Whoo-hoo!  Negative Covid test all the way around!  We celebrated by picking up a quick snack at this sandwich/bakery shop next to the Apotheke.  On the way to the blossoms, we ate our goods.  It took us less than a minute to get to Maxstraße and BreiteStraße, where we found the Alstadt sign and the start of our Cherry Blossom excursion.  

 

*** For more Covid rules in Bonn, visit the Bonn Tourism website.  

 

Cherry Blossom Avenue

Now comes the important part, our main reason for visiting Bonn for the day, to admire the beautiful Cherry blossoms along Heerstraße and Breite Straße and surrounding streets.  I won’t go into details about where and how to find these beautiful trees as I’ve already got a wonderful blog post that I’ve shared here that I’d love for you to peek at.  It’s got some wonderful information on the Cherry Blossoms of Bonn.

 

The first tip of the day when visiting these blossoms, come early!  We intended to come early, but life and the Rapid Covid testing took way longer than we intended.  We arrived around noonish to a crowd already forming along the streets of Breite Straße.  Several people were already taking their photos, and rightly so!  This street was so, so beautiful!  How could you not take your photos!

 

 

 

 

Meandering along the street, it felt like we were in a dream, walking along tunnels of pink beauties lined up along the street, hanging from the trees.  I can see why this is a bucket list location and why it’s so appreciated.  Many people were taking advantage of photo opportunities.  Though it was mandatory to keep your masks on, it seemed that many were taking a few seconds to take the masks off for a quick photo snap, and I don’t blame them.  I admit we did this too for that brief second of photo goodness.

 

 

Walking along Breite Straße, there were several mom-and-pop cute shops along the way. However, Covid restrictions were in place (you can only enter any shops with a negative covid test result less than 24 hours old), many offered sidewalk services.  I stopped by the Print & Paint Shop. I wanted to support the local shops, plus the owner of this shop has a wonderful blog where she provides updates on when to see these glorious Cherry blossoms in bloom (more on that on my other blog post).  

 

We continued on our Cherry blossom viewing by making our way down Breite Straße all the way to the end of the street.  We made a left, and then another left at the next street, Heerstraße, and followed the cherry blossoms down that street.  This is the street that makes that Instagram-worthy photos (Breite Straße too).  On this street, you’ll find several statues to take photos of with the cherry blossoms as your backdrop. 

 

We continued walking past Heerstraße and finally bumping into MaxStraße, where the pink cherry blossoms had clearly ended.  At Maxstraße, we made a left and walked down that street where we found some white/light pink (they looked more white) blossoms.  It was quieter on this street, but I appreciated the quietness.  

 

On the way back to the city, we found a small cafe shop that offered Baklavas and other goodies along Maxstraße.  We made a pit stop here because we’re suckers for baklavas.  Here’s our haul for the day.

 

As we were walking down MaxStraße, we stumbled back at BreiteStraße to find the Alstadt sign again.  I took last-minute photos before heading back into the City of Bonn, but not before we stopped by another local shop my daughter and I wanted to look inside for (need to take advantage of our rapid Covid test papers, which they did ask for).  We ended our city excursion around Bonn by grabbing boba tea from this place before heading back to the car for our next destination (they didn’t ask for our papers here). 

 

Drachenfels

About 20 minutes past Bonn, we added the Drachenfels Ruins as one of our stops for Bonn for the day.  We could have meandered more around the city of Bonn, but the kids and I had already done this during one of the Christmas markets (posting a blog post on that soon). The family was ready to get out of the city and try something new. 

 

Drachenfels Railway

Drachenfels Ruins and Castle can be combined for this trip since they are near each other.  Parking can be found here.  For this visit, there are two options:

1.) You can take the Drachenfels Railway up to the top,

2.) Or, you can hike up about a 45 minutes steep hike up to the castle. 

We opted to take the Railway for convenience.  There is a fee; see below for pricing.

      • Drachenfels Railway cost:

        • Family:

          • 30 Euros to go up and down

          • 25 Euros to go either up or down

          • (cheaper to go up and down, in my opinion) 

        • Adults: 

          • 12 per person to go up and down

          • 10 per person to go up or down

        • Children 4-13 years:

          • 6 euros per person (up and down)

          • 5 euro per person (up or down)

        • For more pricing, find it here

      • Save your ticket as you’ll need it to access the tram each way (if you paid to go up and down)

 

Drachenfels Ruins:

Perched above the Castle of Drachenfels (Dragon’s Rock in English) is one of the oldest ruins in Bonn called Burg Drachenfels.  It boasts a beautiful view of the Rhine River and surrounding villages and towns near Bonn.  You can even see the city of Bonn from a distance. 

 

** Quick history: The Archbishop of Cologne built this ruin in 1138 (a castle then).  The castle was then destroyed in 1633 during the Thirty Years’ War and was then left to ruin and was one of the first ruins to be saved as a historical monument to preserve history.  ***

 

The tram up to the Ruins was a pleasant ride.  It was worth the euros to enjoy the scenic ride up while resting our little feet.  I would not have minded the walk to the ruins, but my kids would not have enjoyed doing the 45-minute hike up. 

 

 

 

The ruin was open when we visited and had multiple signs for Covid rules.  Unfortunately, the restaurant was closed, but access to the indoor bathroom was available (with a 1 euro drop collection) and a small cafe for ice cream and souvenirs (don’t forget your postcard).  There was a line to order food outside the restaurant, so food was available for consumption; obviously, practice Covid safety measures.

 

 

Drachenfels Castle

On to the next stop, we trammed it back to the middle of the Tram pathway to Drachenfels Castle.  We could have easily walked down to the castle from the ruins above, but we didn’t feel like it, lol.  Again, the tram will also make this the first stop when going up to the Ruins.  We opted to do it on the way back down.  

 

Unfortunately, I have nothing much to say about the castle except it looked beautiful and grand from the outside.  The gate was closed and locked for visitors.  Due to Covid, the castle was closed to visitors, so no tours were taking place.  We walked the premises and enjoyed the view from the outside.  You can take a trail to walk back down to the Tram entrance and another trail that I’m unsure where it would have taken you.  But it was nice to walk around the outside premises and enjoy the view from there.  

 

** Brief history of the Drachenfels Castle based on my research, it is actually not a very old castle as opposed to the other castles in Germany.  The castle was built in the 19th century by a stockbroker/banker named Stephan von Sarter, a Baron who built the castle as a villa to live in.  It took two years to build the castle, but the Baron never had the chance the live in it.  You can find more information and history here.

 

*** For further information about the castle and for openings and closures visit their website here

 

 

Final Thoughts on Drachenfels:

I think, for now, you could skip it due to the closure of the castle.  Once the castle opens back up, it’s definitely one that you should add to your list.  It will remain on ours.  The ruins are nice with the view of the Rhine.  If this is your thing and you want to have that wonderful, scenic view of Bonn and surrounding areas, then definitely do this; but if you want to wait for the Castle to open back up, then wait till then to visit.  I hear their Christmas market is amazing!  The tram is worth it for the convenience, but I am pretty sure we could have walked the whole way up if we had wanted to.  

 

 

Haribo Factory

Our final destination took us to the Haribo Factory Outlet.  A perfect, sweet ending to our trip to Bonn.  Why the Haribo factory, you ask?  Well, let me list some cool facts about why Haribo is so big in Bonn.

    • Hans Riegel founded HARIBO in Bonn, Germany, in 1920

    • The name HARIBO was derived from the founder’s first two letters of his first and last name and the first two letters of Bonn.  HAns RIegel, BOnn.  Nifty, huh?

    • The company is still family-owned

    • Locations can be found here on their website.  They have several locations in Germany.

    • I was really hoping for a tour, but sadly, they do not offer factory tours, even before Covid.  See their response on their website here.

    • I mean, you have to visit the birthplace of HARIBO, at least while in Bonn. 

 

Ok, so there you have the cool facts of HARIBO, but there is more if you want to read about it here.

 

We visited the location here:

Bad Godesberg, Germany

Friesdorfer Str. 125
53175 Bonn
Germany
Phone: +49 228 9092930

 

The factory store had so many varieties of gummies and candies along with souvenirs.  I had never seen some of the flavors before, so yes, we bought a few to try.  I was impressed with the price too, the price for gummies was way lower than what you would find at the store and/or back in the States.  You won’t be disappointed if you are a HARIBO fan.  My husband specifically was living his life like a kid in a candy store, literally speaking.  It’s a great, sweet stop and the perfect ending to your Bonn trip.  

 

 

The happiest kid out of all of us! Lol!

Final Thoughts

Bonn has so much to offer!  It’s a hidden gem, and though it’s not given credit like other German cities, such as Berlin or Munich, it’s one of those cities you still have to visit, especially during Cherry Blossom Season.  I hope you enjoyed tagging along with our adventure in Bonn today.  I can assure you; we have lots of other trips planned for this wonderful city!  Until next time!  Bis Zum nächsten Mal!  

 

*** Disclosure: All views expressed on this site are my own and do not represent the opinions of others and in no means an affiliate to any of the companies discussed.***

 

 

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