Kiev Street Art

Kiev, an amazing hub for street art

Kyiv, Ukraine‚Äės capital city is getting in the spotlight as the Eastern European cultural hotspot since 2014. Kiev today has a vibrant art scene, it‚Äôs home not only to numerous exhibitions, performances and premieres but also to street art.

And you ask what as happened in 2014? Well, since then a number of large murals began appearing on the facades of old Soviet buildings.

Nowadays, the city hosts over 160 pieces of public art produced by talented painters or graffiti artists from Ukraine and other countries such as Spain, Portugal, Argentina and Australia. Not many places can compare to Kiev in terms of the scale and volume of huge murals.

What is really cool about exploring the city through its murals, is that you will go to places that otherwise you wouldn’t since the murals are often hidden in lesser-known parts of the city.

The street art scene in Kiev is creative, big, bold, unexpected, and colourful ‘decorating’ the urban landscape perfectly.

A Self-Guided Walking Tour

The Ukrainian capital aims to position itself on the world’s street-art scene, with monumental murals cover the walls of Kyiv.

The Street Art can be found all over the city, so time is definitely required. To help you with your treasure hunting expedition there are some great resources.

Kyiv Street Art Resources

Kyiv Murals is a great up-to-date App which pinpoints murals near you. The app it’s free and includes a map of all the street art in Kyiv, with information on the artists and the meaning.

Kyiv Murals is a website with the GPS locations of almost all of Kyiv’s street art.

Kiev Off the Beaten Track!

Making your own Street Art tour is a great way to go off the beaten tourist path and discover a lesser-known side of Kiev.

You will find a bit of everything from portraits, landscapes to abstract art ‚Äď hidden on the walls of the city.

Kiev’s murals are, indeed, breathtaking and well worth of exploring while visiting the¬†capital city of Ukraine. Expect Kiev to be like a big open-air Art Gallery.

So don’t miss out and explore and discover the colourful¬†Kiev Murals.

Location Map

Which city is your favourite for street art? Let me know so I can make sure to check it out! 

photography ‚Ästall rights reserved ‚Äď Ana Rocha

Cambridge, where to go?

You have many reasons to visit this extraordinary university town. Cambridge has a unique vibe and will amaze you with its history, architecture, and natural beauty.

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When visiting Cambridge you can’t miss the¬†colleges and it’s gardens, the riverside,¬†all the green¬†meadows surrounding the city and the Backs (gardens and parks line up beside the river¬†behind the colleges).

Walking and cycling are the best ways to visit the city.

The town is full of cyclists, students and tourists, but still has a nice vibe and it’s far from being a big chaotic city.

The Colleges are truly amazing even if you only contemplate them from the outside.

Before your arrival, you should check on the internet if the King’s College Chapel or the¬†Trinity College are hosting a concert during your visit. This is excellent way to visit both of this emblematic places (sometimes for free).

Most of the museums are free in Cambridge, if you have time you should visit them all, if not I recommend the fabulous¬†Fitzwilliam Museum, the¬†Kettle’s Yard and the¬†Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

If you are a fan of Sir Isaac Newton, stop at Trinity College to see the famed apple tree where it was said to be the inspiration for his theory of gravity after being bopped on the head by one of the fallen fruits. 2015-01-09 23.58.30.jpg

If the weather invites for a picnic the Botanic Gardens are a must or a punting session through the river Cam.

It¬†is always something happening in Cambridge, so make sure you do your research and don’t miss what this city has to offer.

If you visit cambridge be prepared to fall in love with this town.

Cambridge is very accessible by bus or train from London.

photography ‚Ästall rights reserved ‚Äď Ana Rocha¬†

ūüćú¬†More about¬†vegan food¬†in Cambridge¬†ūüćú

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Street art in Marseille

Street art in Marseille

In the quartier of Cour Julien and the in the quartier of Le Panier walls are extravagantly painted for everyone to decipher and enjoy.

Both are wonderful areas with loads of quirky stores, cafes, restaurants, bars, and colourful street art and graffiti covering most of the facades.

Make sure you have the time to explore it!

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Marseille is a real treat for street art lovers, hope you have enjoyed this small gallery.

photography ‚Ästall rights reserved ‚Äď Ana Rocha

 

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Marseille, the French Port

Marseille is the second largest French city on the Mediterranean and capital of Provence-Alpes-C√īte d‚ÄôAzur¬†region. Unfortunately doesn’t have the best reputation, due to high crime rates and immigration.

From my travels around France, ALL the people I meet said to be very careful in Marseille or even not to go there.

I can’t say that Marseille is very safe, I could have been lucky¬†because¬†fortunately, I didn’t have any problems at all as a solo female traveller.

Its great to explore the city on foot, but I also recommend you to buy a bus card because the city is quite big.

 

Vieux-Port (Old Port)

The Old Port is located in the heart of the city and is a very popular place. The bay is packed with boats and yacht surrounded by cafes, restaurants, bars and hotels.

It is quite busy but still picturesque, with a mish-mash of styles and influences.

 

Notre-Dame de La Garde¬†‚ÄúLa Bonne M√®re‚ÄĚ

The Notre-Dame de La Garde sits on the highest point in the city. The best part is to walk up the hill and the 360 panoramic views.

The basilica is ornamented with coloured marble, byzantine-style mosaics, and murals.

 

Chateau D’If Frioul

Is an incredible landmark because of The Count of Monte Cristo from Alexander Dumas. If the weather is good, you can go by boat to the island, from the Vieux Port (old port).

The fort is nice but to be honest not much to see, although the views are great.

La Major, Marseille Cathedral

It is a beautiful and at the same time  unusual roman catholic cathedral built in the nineteenth century in Romano-Byzantine style.

The Cathedral of Marseille stands on the western edge of the old town above the Quai de la Joliette.

 

MUCEM Museum (Museum of Civilization in Europe and the Mediterranean)

The MUCEM, is an iconic museum mostly because of the structure of the building. It’s really a magnificent place and a fantastic playground if you like photography! I strongly recommend a visit even if is just to contemplate the remarkable building.

You can access, to both the courtyard of J4 and the ramparts of the fort, for free. To visit the¬†permanent and temporary exhibitions is 9,50‚ā¨.

 

Vieille Charité

The Virile¬†Charit√©, located in the¬†heart of Marseille’s Le Panier quarter¬†was built as an almshouse, although the beauty of the building doesn’t really give that¬†impression with its¬†neoclassical central chapel and elegant arcaded courtyard.

Today is home to a number of cultural institutions and museums.

 

Fort Saint-Jean

The Fort Saint-Jean, is for me one of the best places in Marseille. The fort lies at the northern mouth of Vieux Port and was recently restored.

Its perfect for scenic strolls through its gardens, and to enjoy the views of the Mediterranean coastline.

If you go to the top of the gardens near the footbridge to MuCEM, you can see Marseille’s Cathedral, and¬†admired the amazing views of Marseille and of the Mediterranean.

 

Natural History Museum of Marseille

The museum is inside the astonishing Palais Longchamp, which is worth a visit just to contemplate the architecture and the gardens. Not really worth to visit inside.

 

 Les Docks Village

If you are into shopping Les Docks are a mid-19th century complex of shipping warehouses, that has been redeveloped and now includes shops, boutiques, galleries, cafes and restaurants.

The buildings are connected by creative courtyards. This alone can be good a reason to visit.

 

Street Art

The quartier of Cour Julien walls are extravagantly painted for everyone to decipher and enjoy. A wonderful area with loads of quirky stores, cafes, restaurants nice bars, and colourful street art and graffiti covering most of the facades. Make sure you have the time to explore it!

 

Farmers’ Market

A great place to buy fresh fruit and vegetables.IMG_7699

David’s Statue

For some reason, Marseille also has a copy of the famous David from Michelangelo, placed in the middle of a roundabout near the Prado beaches.

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photography ‚Ästall rights reserved ‚Äď Ana Rocha

Have you ever been to Marseille? What other places would you include here?

 

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Carcassonne, medieval France

Carcassonne is located in the southwest of France. Is a well known fortified Medieval town part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The walled city is very old, founded by the Romans, and is the largest citadel in Europe. The walls of the city are 1.9 miles (3 km) long and have 52 massive towers.

This medieval town is a picturesque place, that attracts plenty of tourists, unfortunately, too many in my opinion.

Carcassonne was fortified by the Romans and strategically located between Toulouse and the Mediterranean sea.

I’ve visited Carcassonne¬†12 years ago and really loved it, this time I felt a bit disappointed. The walled city felt more like a theme¬†park than a real town where normal life takes place.

I arrived early in the morning, and the entrance was already packed with buses and excursions.

Within the walled city all the buildings, squares, and alleyways have retained their medieval character.

La Ville Base

This time I have enjoyed more to walk around Carcassonne Town (La Ville Base) than the citadel. I found it quite charming and I really had a great time strolling through its streets.

From Toulouse, Carcassonne is an easy day trip and Bla Bla car works really well.

photography ‚Ästall rights reserved ‚Äď Ana Rocha

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Albi a beautiful town in southern France

Albi is small and relatively off-the-touristy radar town on the Tarn River in southern France, conveniently located about an hour northeast from Toulouse.

Despite its size, Albi is incredibly rich in history and charm. For me is without a doubt one of my favorite small town in France.

Albi is covered in red bricks, what gives this town a charming and distinctive aspect. The best way to visit Albi is by wandering around the historic center. Through the small cobblestone streets and alleyways near the river.

Albi Cathedral

The Cathedral is an¬†UNESCO World Heritage Site. This place¬†will take your breath-way, it’s imposingly tall and has a distinctive look for the use of brick to construct its exterior. I personally, never came across a construction of this size made of¬†bricks.

This incredibly beautiful Gothic Cathedral is located in the middle of the lovely charming plaza filled with cafes, boulangeries, and other stores.

I found the interior as impressive as the exterior.

Maison du Vieil Alby

The Maison du Vieil Alby is a brick-half-timbered house covered in red-bricks. This house is one of the oldest-surviving buildings in Albi.

 Collégiale Saint-Salvi

A Catholic church with a small cozy cloister, perfect stop, to have a snack or to relax.

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Palais de la Berbie

The Palais de la Berbie was a former Bishop’s Palace that serves today as an art museum dedicated to the artwork of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

The gardens behind it, are truly fantastic and the view of the Tarn River spectacular.

Old medieval bridge.

The special thing about the Albi bridge is that it’s also constructed with the same red brick from which all the buildings in the old town were made.

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From the bridge, you get a great view over the rest of Albi and the city of Madeleine which is located on the other side of the bridge. The river itself is also quite pretty.

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From the other side of town, you have excellent views of the cathedral and the the Pont Vieux along the Tarn River

Marché Couvert

It’s a small indoor marketplace, unfortunately with no vegan options.

where to stay and how to get there

Albi is a great place to visit¬†but is really small. So its better¬†to base yourself in the nearby big city of Toulouse and do Albi as a¬†day trip. Toulouse as plenty of accommodation choices and Albi doesn’t.

Toulouse has plenty of hostels, hotels as well as a range of AirB&Bs to choose from.

Blabla car works really well in France and is a great way to meet local people.

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photography ‚Ästall rights reserved ‚Äď Ana Rocha

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Toulouse, La Ville Rose

Toulouse¬†is a charming French town that surprises with its enchanting atmosphere, and location between¬†the Garonne River and the mighty Canal du Midi, plus it’s still a bit off the radar to most people.

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The¬†ochre rooftops and coral-pink brick facades gave this sunny town the¬†nickname ‚ÄėLa Ville Rose‚Äô (the pink city).¬†I found Toulouse quite romantic, perfect for a couple.

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Toulouse is an easy stop-off in the heart of the south west of France. Has plenty to do and see from ancient palaces to great food markets. Toulouse has two Unesco heritage sites, the Canal du Midi and the Basilica of St. Sernin, the biggest Romanesque building in Europe.

Toulouse is a “big small city“, where everything you may want to visit is quite close, plus the public transports are amazing, making it really¬†easy to get around.

Basilique Saint-Sernin

As I mention before this Basilique is a Unesco heritage site, and it’s considered one of the largest remaining Romanesque buildings in Europe.  I found the bell-tower especially impressive, standing 64 meters above the ground.

The city is quite clean and many streets in the center are limited to pedestrians. Bikes are also everywhere. The Old Town not only is a concentration of monuments and old buildings but is also the place where the normal everyday life takes place.

The Capitole

It’s the majestic square in the¬†heart of Toulouse,¬†bordered by grand buildings made from Toulouse‚Äôs hallmark rose-red bricks.

The building itself is accessible to the public, and the entry is free.. Going inside is definitely worth it.

Musée des Augustins

Used to be a convent, nowadays is a fine art museum which houses some of the works from the French school between the 15th and 18th centuries. The medieval cloister and garden are especially magical, surrounded by salons filled with evocative statues and sculptures.

Cathédrale saint-étienne

Also know as Toulouse Cathedral, it’s a Roman Catholic church built between the 13th and 17th centuries. The cathedral is a combination of northern and southern Gothic styles.

Canal du Midi

A picturesque canal whose waters flow throughout the southwest of France until exiting into the Mediterranean Sea, perfect for a stroll along the River Garonne during a sunny day.

Pont Neuf

The Pont-Neuf is the oldest and also the main bridge in town, a great place to walk along the Garonne river. The bridge was constructed in the 1500s.

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Jardin Japonais

Located in the north of the city near the¬†Compans Caffarelli. On the day I visited the¬†garden, there was virtually no one there, it’s a gorgeous place, that definitely deserves a visit.

Chapelle des Carmélites

It’s a¬†stunning¬†chapel that will absolutely take your breath away. Inside this¬†chapel¬†is covered in fresco painting, from the wall to the ceiling. The chapel is¬†covered with religious depiction of the Heavens, definitely worth a peak.

Market of Saint Aubin

The Market happens every Sunday morning¬†and is run by local farmers. It’s a great place to buy organics products, vegan street food, find local artists and books.¬†Although Toulouse has¬†several markets this one was my favorite

The Marché Victor Hugo, is quite big and well known for its gourmet stalls and restaurants but more is more suitable to non-vegans.

How to get there

Toulouse has its own airport, 20 minutes away from the city center. It also has great connections from the airport to the city.

photography ‚Ästall rights reserved ‚Äď Ana Rocha

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Cologne travel

Cologne is mostly known for its beautiful Gothic cathedral and crazy carnival, and I was lucky enough to experience both. Cologne is also a major cultural center.

After D√ľsseldorf¬†I took the train down to Cologne,¬†the largest city of the German Bundesland of North Rhine-Westphalia, during¬†carnival time (Karneval).

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Carnival is a big deal in Germany, and the city of Cologne was¬†unrecognizable when I arrived. There was a festive spirit in the air, lots of alcohol, music,¬†fun, noise, crowds and thousands of people dressed up.¬†Cologne’s Carnival is the biggest in Germany and¬†has a long and rich history which I did not know much about, until then.

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The City of Cologne 

Cologne is a fairly walkable city, but if you are more of a bus person, a¬†single ticket costs ‚ā¨2.80 a day pass is ‚ā¨8.60. Cologne also has a dense network of bike routes along the Rhine.

The river runs through the heart of old town so you can also take a cruise along the river.

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Altstadt (The Old Town)

Cologne doesn’t really impress with its old town¬†since¬†only a tiny area of historic streets survived the¬†World War II. The reman streets are¬†colorful and great for a wander around.

 

The K√∂ln’s Dom

The world-famous Gothic cathedral, is located right next to the train station, in the center of Köln, is the fourth-tallest in the world, and luckily survived the war. The construction and details are quite impressive, and I do recommend going in the morning before everyone else arrives. Visiting the cathedral is free.

 

The¬†South Tower, is 157 meters high, with 533 steps, (4‚ā¨) if the weather is good you have a great panoramic view all the way over and around Cologne and the Rhine river.

The Belgian Quarter

Located outside old town, is kind of a pot mixing bits and pieces of France, Belgium and Germany. Here all the street are named after cities in Belgium, like ¬†Br√ľsseler Platz, a beautiful scare surrounding a church.

There is a huge variety of local and international boutique shops, ethnic markets, restaurants, and local cafes to discover.

Ehrenfeld

It’s another area outside old town that deserves to be explored. A few years ago some well-renowned covered Ehrenfeld with¬†stunning murals.

Art Museums & Street Art

Cologne has a number of excellent museums, like The Ludwig Museum with an impressive Pop Art collection with work from the well known Warhol and Lichtenstein, and great street art to be found around the city.  For instance, in Ehrenfeld, or Eigelstein, the key is to leave old town and walk around back streets, side streets and all the roads in between the main ones.

 

Some other museums are quite unusual, such as the German Olympic Museum the Chocolate Museum or the perfume museum.

If you do like museums, its best to buy the MuseumsCard¬†(‚ā¨18)

Hahnen Gate

This is one of twelve gates of the medieval city wall located in Rudolfplatz.

Skulpturen Park Köln (sculpture park) 

It is a relaxing and interesting place that combines art and nature. Artists have been commissioned, to create work that interacts creatively with the surrounded nature. The entry is free, and the park combines permanent and temporary exhibition.

Botanical Garden

Located in the north of the city, next to the zoo. It’s a great place to visit during summer and spring. The park is very well maintained, and the entrance is free.

Flea Markets

Cologne’s streets are home to an exceptionally large number of flea markets,¬†¬†there you may find amazing and affordable vintage items. Even if you don’t want to buy something, it still is a¬†nice place with a special atmosphere, to walk through looking at the antiques. If you are there to buy¬†bargaining is a must, most of the markets also have¬†food and beverage stalls.

The panorama tower, Köln Triangle

this impressive high-rise K√∂lnTriangle offers a good 360-degree panorama view of Cologne, to go up they charge a ‚ā¨3 fee.

Love Lock Bridge

The Hohenzollern Bridge or Love Lock Bridge is completely covered with tens of thousands of padlocks, each one engraved with names, dates or something romantic.
From Old Town, you can cross one of the numerous bridges that separate the two parts of the city. From this side, there’s a great view of old town and the Cathedral.

 

If you have time:

Take a train and pop into some of the many picturesque towns outside of Cologne along the Rhine.

  • ¬†Drachenfels¬†has a spectacular¬†castle, called the Dranchenburg Castle. 1 1/2 hours by train.
  • ¬†Aachen¬†is a university-town great for history-lovers, and it is close to¬†Belgium.¬†1 hour by train.
  • Koblenz, is a town full of ancient history, 1.5 hour by train.
  • Mainz, its a nice little university town with a medieval center and an impressive cathedral.¬†1.5 hours by train.
  • Marburg¬†is picturesque medieval hill town with narrow cobbled streets and half-timbered houses.¬†2.5 hours by train.

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Mainz the colourful city at the Rhine River

Mainz stretches along the Rhine at its confluence with the River Main.¬†It’s a small university city that is more charming, beautiful and vibrant¬†that the famous neighbors of Cologne and Frankfurt.¬†

Mainz¬†is part of one of the most scenic train rides in all of Germany, to say the least. So travel by train is mandatory. You really can’t miss it, I assure that the ride will be one of the highlights of your trip to Germany.

The train journey is along the banks of the river, its a relaxing journey that dazzles with its ruins of old fortresses, beautiful castles, small medieval towns, and countless vines. Most of the towns in this line are worth a visit if you have the time.

A good way to visit them is to stay in Mainz and do a return day journey to visit some of the most historic towns along the river.

Mainz

Mainz has a¬†charming and inviting¬†Old Town, easily explored by foot.¬†The historic streets¬†impress mostly with it’s¬†fantastic architecture, cobbled streets, beautiful half-timbered houses, small boutiques, appealing open squares,¬†restaurants, wine bars, rustic taverns and interesting museums and churches.

The atmospheric square, where the weekly farmers market takes place is the place where the impressive Roman Catholic church from the 10th century is located. The beautiful Mainz Cathedral РDom is perfectly situated in the heart of the city, facing the Gutenberg Museum.

This museum is one of the oldest printing museums in the world and was founded over 500 years ago. The exhibition is a journey through the writing and printing history.

Unlike the Dom, the Gutenberg museum is not free. The ticket is 5‚ā¨ for adults.

From the museum when walking through¬†the pedestrian street ¬†‚ÄúAugustinerstra√üe‚ÄĚ (Augustinerstrasse), you can still see some details of the magnificent cathedral. This street leads to a Roman theatre.

The St. Stephen‚Äôs Church¬†It’s another church that deserves a visit, for its¬†world-famous Chagall windows. They have that name because¬†of the¬†ethereal¬†stained-glass created by the Russian-Jewish artist Marc Chagall,¬†as a symbol of the Jewish‚ÄďChristian reconciliation.

A walk on the promenade along the Rhine River banks is also great.

Useful tips

  • Mainz old town is¬†a bit more than one kilometer from¬†the train station.
  • Cycling is also an option in Mainz, you just need the install an app to use one of the many public bicycles around town.
  • Ryanair links several European airports with Frankfurt-Hahn airport, which is closer to Mainz than Frankfurt.
  • To reach the airport from the city or the city from the airport buy online a ticket from one of the low-cost bus companies. The bus is direct and takes 1.30h.
  • If you’re a fan of Carnaval you should go in February to take¬†part in the traditional¬†carnival¬†festivities.

photography ‚Ästall rights reserved ‚Äď Ana Rocha

D√ľsseldorf a surprising city along the River Rhine

D√ľsseldorf is one of the economic centers in Germany and is located along the River Rhine. Dusseldorf is known mostly for its nightlife, ¬†and prominence in the fashion industry.

Because I’m not really into nightlife neither fashion this city would not be my first choice of a German town to visit.

But destiny (and cheap flights) made me end up there, and I didn’t miss the opportunity to visit ūüôā¬†I had no expectation about D√ľsseldorf. It had never really crossed my mind going there, so I was kind of surprised how pretty it was, and how¬†D√ľsseldorf’s¬†art scene was so amazing.

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Dusseldorf is very close to the famous city of Cologne and is the capital of the German state North Rhine-Westphalia.

>> D√ľsseldorf old city center

Dusseldorf has a small charming area that is intact in the old city center (Altstadt), the rest of the city was mostly rebuilt after the war.

 

Passing over the Stadtgarden you can make your way into the old city and the boardwalk that runs along the Rhine River. 

To explore the area is better by foot. Just walk¬†randomly through the web of lanes. This district is known as ‚Äúthe longest bar in the world‚ÄĚ, because the small Old Town has more than 300 pubs.

In the Old City Center, you will not miss the Marktplatz square with the Town Hall and the equestrian statue of Elector John William II. During the Carnaval and Christmas, this place is full flow.

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The Castle Tower right on the banks of the Rhine is another important stop, as it’s the only remaining piece of the old castle that used to dominate the area.

D√ľsseldorf’s biggest church is called St. Lambertuskirsch.¬†It’s not the Cologne cathedral but still beautiful and quite impressive, you will recognize it for its twisted tower.

>> The Japanese quarter

Dusseldorf has the third largest Japanese community in Europe, and the Japanese culture is very present around the Japanese quarter, centered around Immermannstr.

As a tourist destination, this area lacks in charm or atmosphere but you can find here Japanese shops, restaurants, tea shops, travel agencies, appliance stores, grocery stores, etc.. its kind of a little Tokyo or Japantown.

 

>> The Königsallee (King’s Alley)

This famous shopping street has beautiful stone walkways and a picturesque canal in the backdrop. It is literally a shoppers’ paradise, and for people like me, a place for a nice, long walk.

It’s called K√∂ by the locals, and it’s a great staring point to discover the city. Where the¬†K√∂nigsallee Boulevard converges with the¬†Hofgarten promenade, you have the sinuous¬†K√∂-Bogen;¬†a large-scale office and retail complex. The Hofgarten promenade¬†it‚Äôs a relaxing place to read a book, drink a coffee or do a picnic near the lake.

 

>>Rheinuferpromenade (promenade)

No matter which side of the Rhine you choose to walk through; the views are amazing.¬†The Burgplaz marks the beginning of the promenade, wandering along the Rhine River from the Altstadt towards the¬†Rhineturm,¬†is a fantastic walkway¬†,watching¬†the ship’s and tourists boats up and down the river and the surrounding architecture.

 

Rhine Tower (Rheinturm)

The Rheinturm is a 240.5-meter high concrete telecommunications tower,  in the head of a modern district on the river. From the top, you have an overall look of Dusseldorf.

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The Japanese Garden is a wonderful place for meditation, despite the distance from the city center, you can easily cycle there. The Volksgarten is another great park perfect for a summer picnic. It has a small beer garden open during summer months.

Have you ever been to D√ľsseldorf?

What did you like the most? Do you have any recommendations?

 

photography ‚Ästall rights reserved ‚Äď Ana Rocha

More about :

ūüéČ D√ľsseldorf‚Äôs Karneval

ūüŹô¬†D√ľsseldorf Art Scene & Architecture

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