Nestled in North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany is the city of Solingen. Long has it been known to be the “City of Blades” because it is at this very city where the finest swords, knives, and razors are made. In the Middle Ages, the swordsmiths of Solingen made their mark and preserved their best-kept sword-making secrets as well as the heritage of hospitality. Today, these traditions live on making it one of the most interesting places to visit in the world. So, to spark things up, here are the 10 best things to do when in Solingen.
1. Experience Medieval fantasy in Schloss Burg, the Castle of the Counts
Schloss Burg is easily found in Burg an der Wupper. Count Engelbert built this fortress and for 300 years, it has been the center of the counts of Berg. This is why Schloss Burg is also known as “Bergisches Land.” Because of its rich Medieval history, its visitors will surely be mesmerized by a walk-through of how it was to live in the Middle Ages. The structure itself speaks of so much about the past specially with the Kemenate, Gallery of Ancestors armory, the chapel, the Knights hall and its majestic walls.
As the largest castle in North Rhine-Westphalia, it is widely known as a tourist attraction and a preferred event space for the Medieval Fantasy Convention. This event is a convergence of so many fans of medieval times as well as TV shows and films that have this period as its setting. Think “Game of Thrones,” “Vikings,” and “Harry Potter.” So, excited yet? You better be!
2. Have a refreshing time with the family-friendly Fauna Animal Park
Whenever you visit Solingen, it is most recommended to make a stop at the Fauna Animal Park. Contrary to nature parks with large animals, this petting zoo is just right for that warm fuzzy feeling that comes along when anyone gets in touch with nature’s gentle side. The farm is filled with fauna like llamas, nasenbären, goats, porcupines, and meerkats. Upon every visit, animal feed packs are readily available for purchase to fully enjoy the experience. In addition to the fauna, the park also has a cafe by the garden and a playground for children.
3. Enjoy a leisurely visit to the Freizeitpark Itterta
When visiting the mountainous Solingen, it is necessary to go to Freizeitpark Itterta. The amusement complex is located in the Itter Valley far off village Obenitter. Specifically, it is situated in the forest area near Sonnenschein, the Hedgehog Forest, and the Mittelalter. The park has its own restaurant, a historic water carousel (1907), an animal walk, an outdoor pool, an outdoor ice rink, a pond, and of course, a fairytale forest. What is most special about the fairytale forest is that it features twelve huts through some old trees that show some scenes, props, and dolls from famous fairytales.
4. Appreciate birdwatching at Solingen’s bird haven, the Solingen bird and zoo
Birdwatchers are in for a treat! Located northwest of the Ohlig heath, this animal park is home to about 400 animals from 125 species. Its main attraction is the bird population including rare species of parrots, songbirds, palm vultures, and vulture trenches. Adults who visit the bird sanctuary will need a ticket worth 5.29 USD, while children will only have to pay 2.35 USD. Aside from regular visits, booking the park for private celebrations is welcome. They even have a kiosk that provides sweets, drinks, and souvenirs.
5. Go for a walk in the park at Botanischer Garten Solingen
The garden dates back to 1952 but formally opened in the 1960s. It is located at Vogelsang 2a, Solingen, and is open to anyone who needs some peace and quiet at any time of the day (and any day of the week). The beautiful landscape has various sections. One is the Alpine Garden that includes the Aster, Arabis, and the Geranium, to name a few. Another section is the Mediterranean Garden that is home to plants from Southern Europe and Central America like fig, olive, and laurel trees, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme. The Tropical House features the palm trees, sugar cane, cocoa, cinnamon, wild rice and a large aquarium. It also has some orchids from Nicaragua and Vietnam. Other sections include the Cottage garden, the Biblical Garden, the Flora Frey Garden, Pergola, Perennials Garden, Rose Garden, Medicinal Garden, Herb Garden, Wild Bee Trail, Fern Walls, Iris Garden, Primelgarten, Heather Garden, and the Pond Area. The Botanischer also has its own Reading Room and a collection of conifers.
6. Have a good memorable laugh at the Laurel and Hardy Museum
Some good ‘ole American slapstick comedy from the 1920s could be just the trick to make a Solingen visit instantly delightful. Thanks to the privately-owned Laurel and Hardy Museum, the City of Blades has a lighter side to it. The museum prides itself with a curation of movie posters, programs, press materials, photographs, sculptures, and private documents of the two artists – Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Some interesting things to see here include Laurel’s checks and the only copy of a recording by Stan and Olli. Of all the exhibits here, the Kinofilme films by Laurel & Hardy are the most valuable. It is only in the museum of Solingen that these films are performed.
7. Get schooled on brand piracy and plagiarism at Museum Plagiarism
In the 70s industrial designer, Rido Busse wanted to make a bold statement about plagiarism. This declaration led to the establishment of Museum Plagiarism. Nothing quite explains what plagiarism really means other than Plagiarism. The museum exhibit displays more than 350 originals along with their plagiarized versions. Every year, the institution also publishes the most disrespectful plagiarism from every country in the world. The museum’s main goal is to teach the public about the risks and negative effects of counterfeiting.
8. Satisfy your thirst for curiosity at the Sengbachtalsperre, Solingen’s drinking water dam
Sengbachtalsperre is kept in the quiet valley of Wupper. This reservoir provides the locals with its essential drinking water. It was constructed in the 1900s and is one of Germany’s first drinking water dams. Knowing these useful and important pieces of information while hiking on the reservoir’s walkways and its surroundings will leave visitors with a deeper sense of appreciation for the life-giving resource.
9. Experience floating over the Wupper at the Müngsten Bridge Park
The famed hanging ferry at Müngsten Bridge Park is a must-try! Interestingly enough, this is the highest railway bridge in Germany. It interlinks Remscheid and Solingen and it was specifically designed for the park. The unique ferry allows visitors to be transported in mid-air to the other side of the river via two cables. It operates on a mechanism similar to the muscle pumping pedal train. The ferry is open every day of the year.
10. Take your fill in the one-of-a-kind dining experience with Schloss Burg Gastronomie
If the Schloss Burg isn’t quite enough to satisfy your craving for all things Solingen, then enjoying a meal in its very own restaurant is promising. The medieval castle that was built in about 1130 was a place where people would take their fill on hearty meals and beverages. This traditional hospitality is very much alive today with every dinner plate that serves the best of Solingen’s dishes. For the family, lunch includes a variety of cold and warm dishes, and of course some wicked desserts and table wine. So, when in Solingen, this dining experience is highly recommended.