Bonn is a beautiful city located on the banks of the Rhine River. The city, best known for being the former capital of Germany, is rich in history and culture. Since it’s the home of several multi-national companies and a branch of the United Nations, it is known for being an international city that is home to thousands of ex-pats, including myself. While living in Bonn, I became accustomed to a typical German Sunday, which is usually a day of rest when shops are closed and people spend time relaxing with family or friends. When visiting Bonn, I highly suggest spending a Sunday there to enjoy it like the locals, which includes strolling along the Rhine, visiting the University’s Hofgarten (courtyard) and of course, enjoying a lovely meal in the city center.
Take a stroll on the Rhine
The Rhine River is one of the landmarks of Bonn, Germany. The river flows from Switzerland to the Netherlands and is still used as a shipping route. Taking a stroll by the Rhine and its meadows is something you definitely should start your Sunday with. The best place to start is from the tram station “Rheinaue” (a beautiful park) and working your way towards the city center. You can take the number 16, 63 or 66 tram to get to this station. Once you get off the tram, follow the signs to start your walk toward the city center.
If you are in the mood to take a boat trip, there are plenty of cruising ships you can get on that will take you down the Rhine. If you have the time, I definitely would recommend doing this, as you get to see many fortress ruins and other beautiful sites along the way! You will pass by the boat information center on the right-hand side as you walk, just look for the sign labeled ”Bonner Personenschifffahrt.”
After about thirty minutes, you will pass the piers and see the Bonn opera house, Theater Bonn. You should then start heading up towards the city center. You will first pass the Hilton Bonn hotel and then you must take the next left and go down Bilderberg Strasse. Keep walking straight until you see the yellow gates of the old university building. You can’t miss it. It’s about a 10-minute walk.
Relax in the Hofgarten
Once you reach the University of Bonn, you will see the large Hofgarten—courtyard—which is perfect for relaxing. Many locals enjoy their Sundays either walking around the Hofgarten or sitting on the benches surrounding it. In the warmer months, the Hofgarten is filled with people picnicking, playing sports, or sunbathing—especially on Sundays. If you visit in the summer, you should definitely spend some time in the large grassy area of the Hofgarten before heading into the city center. You can even walk around inside of the university buildings in order to cool off a little bit. There’s a small little coffee stand selling some of the best coffee I’ve had in Bonn—it’s even fair trade.
Go for a meal in the city center
The perfect way to end your day is to enjoy dinner in the beautiful Bonn city center. The Hofgarten is located in the city center. So from here, you should walk through the university building towards Marktplatz and head into the city center.
From here, you can stroll around the city center seeing all the beautiful historic squares of Bonn. Although you can’t go shopping, you can definitely window shop at all the stores.
There are plenty of restaurants in the city center that are open on Sundays. If you are looking for traditional German cuisine, I would suggest “I’m Stiefel,” which is located on Bonngasse 30 (luckily right next to Beethoven’s place of birth!). I would recommend making a reservation there as it is quite busy on Sunday evenings with the locals.
When to visit Bonn
Bonn has a mild climate, but fall and winter tend to be the rainy months. December is a great month to visit because you can attend the spectacular Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas markets), and can still enjoy the above itinerary as long as you wear warmer clothes. The weather in summer is beautiful in Bonn with average temperatures ranging from 20 Celsius/68 Fahrenheit to 30 Celsius/86 Fahrenheit. Summers are also a great time to visit Bonn since the weather is usually nice during the day so you can enjoy the restaurants, cafes, and bars outside.