Written by Kieran Proctor

Living Like A Local In Bonn Germany

I spent the summer of 2021 living in Bonn Germany. I made it my home base from whence I could ...

I spent the summer of 2021 living in Bonn Germany. I made it my home base from whence I could explore the rest of Germany and travel to nearby parts of Europe. Because I prefer to go to a place and spend time living like a local. As opposed to seeing a place as part of an organised tour or rushing through on a tight schedule.

After three months traveling between Bonn and other parts of Germany and neighboring countries while also trying every bar, restaurant, cafe and tourist site I could find in Bonn I’d say I can’t fault Bonn. Here’s why I’d recommend Bonn to long term travelers and those looking for a home base in Europe. Whether for the short term or for longer stays.

Bonn Germany

I spent summer 2021 living in Bonn Germany and using it as my ‘home base’ for visiting other parts of Germany. And other nearby countries in Europe. I have South American friends who now live in Bonn and other friends across in Geneva Switzerland.

Bonn seemed to me to have a strange appeal for latinos. On visiting Bonn it seemed that half of Cusco Peru was now resident in Bonn. And yet I still couldn’t order a decent ‘lomo saltado’ in Bonn and had to travel to Köln for that dish. Spanish is also becoming an unofficial second or third language in Bonn.

As a ‘home base’ from which to tour other parts of Germany and nearby parts of Europe, Bonn was perfect. Bonn itself is not a large city. And it’s not an overly busy city. It may have a large UN presence and the cruise ships do dock in Bonn to see a few historical sights; but Bonn is not ‘busy’. It’s a rather slow and relaxed modern German city.

2021 was a disappointing year for the Rhine cruises that ordinarily run through Bonn. Early in the season the cruise ship crowd were docking to explore Bonn each and every morning before leaving in the evening. Somedays early in summer even saw two shifts of cruise ships. One arriving in the morning and leaving in the afternoon before the next cruise ship arrived in the afternoon.

Yet Germany had one of its wettest summers in 2021 and flash flooding lead to most Rhine cruises abandoning the river in favor of busses. So I got to see the Alter Zoll and Beethoven-Haus almost bereft of tourists. The only two things tourists really come to see in Bonn.

Rhine Bonn Germany
In this picture, the Rhine is about 2 meters above it’s normal level!

Why Visit Bonn Germany?

Bonn doesn’t have a lot of touristy attractions. Rather its a small functional German city. And it has some older buildings. But most of Bonn is newer. It’s not like Berlin where there’s historical sites and museums everywhere.

But that’s exactly why I chose Bonn as my European base for Summer. Although having friends in the area did influence my decision. Bonn was a place from which I could go and do touristy things like have a long weekend in Mainz, Frankfurt or even Zurich, but then go back to Bonn and have a few days to recover. And yes, Bonn was also a place I could have a beer and catch up with some friends.

There’s only so many art galleries, museums, castles and palaces a person can see in a week before they all start to blur together. With a hectic touring schedule all the sites start to look the same. And you can only check in and out of hotels daily before traveling just starts to suck.

Basing myself in Bonn I was able to do the touristy things when I wanted and relax in Bonn at a local cafe or with a beer on the riverfront when I needed a couple of days off to recharge. Bonn is great like that.

It’s a green riverfront garden city with a relaxed atmosphere. Everything just moves slower in Bonn when compared to larger cities like Berlin, Frankfurt or Hamburg. And its residents seem on the whole happier and more relaxed.

In a lot of ways, Bonn reminded me of Canberra in Australia. But everyone’s much happier and living in Bonn is much cheaper than Canberra.

Cost of Living in Bonn Germany?

Bonn is cheap compared to Canberra or most Australian cities. It’s also cheap compared to Berlin or even New York. I could have lived in Bonn on €1000 to €1500 euro excluding hotel rooms or rent.

I don’t often cook and I ate out for almost every meal. Plus I’d have a beer or three most days because Kölsch is one of the worlds best beers. So my costs are higher than they would be for a vegan who cooks at home and doesn’t drink.

If you really wanted to pull your costs down low, you could probably get away with a budget of €500 to €750 euro for a single person. Minus hotel costs or rent. Or a total of €900 to €1250 including rent. But at that level you certainly wouldn’t be going out, eating meat, drinking or really doing much of anything.

Getting tattooed in Bonn Germany

As I mentioned I have friends in Bonn. And one of them is my tattooist whom I met in Cusco Peru back in 2008. He’s been the only tattooist I’ve used since 2008 and I always travel to him to get work done. I’m an OG ‘tattoo tourist‘.

Jimmy is now a German citizen living in Bonn. So while I was in Bonn I had him finish my coloured sleeve and do a new black sleeve on my other arm. Jimmy is one of the best out there for black work and full sleeves. He’s fantastic at colour too in my opinion but he says he prefers working in black.

You can find him on Instagram at jdavila_artblack. And he works out of SkinFactory in Bonn Beuel. I’ve seen online that SkinFactory is one of the oldest tattoo shops in Germany.

SkinFactory Chandelier
Funky decor in SkinFactory

Getting to Bonn Germany

You can either take a train to Bonn and arrive at the Bonn Hauptbahnhof. Or you can fly to Frankfurt or Köln and then catch a train the rest of the way to Bonn.

Getting to Germany from Australia I flew to Frankfurt and then took a train from Frankfurt to Bonn. Flights arriving into Frankfurt are generally cheaper than those flights arriving in Köln. And Frankfurt receives flights from a greater array of countries. It’s a much bigger airport.

Do I Need Transport? Getting Around Bonn Germany

You can get to most areas of the city and nearby towns by tram or train. And no matter which stop you pick the price always seems to be €2. Yet the trams don’t go to the more residential neighborhoods in Bonn.

The trams will take you nearby to your location and you’ll need to then walk, bike or scooter. You really don’t need your own motorised transport in Bonn. Getting around Bonn is easy.

Electric scooters are an option if you don’t feel like walking. And they’re plentiful. You’ll never have trouble finding one. But they are expensive to operate and the older locals will hate you if they see you riding one of the electric scooters.

Is Bonn Walkable?

Bonn is a walkable city. It’s relatively flat and has abundant pedestrian infrastructure. There are dedicated pedestrian zones and wide pedestrian footpaths all over Bonn.

Depending on the time of year and the weather, walking can be your best transport option in Bonn. Unless it was raining I walked everywhere. Only when it did rain would I pay the €2 for the tram.

You do need to watch out for the electric scooters that seem to have taken over Europe. In Bonn these scooters are in plague proportions.

These scooters are just everywhere. So much so that they seem to utterly infuriate older locals. I once saw a sweet little old lady walk up to a row of scooters and kick them all over!

You need to be careful of people whizzing past on scooters. And scooters laying on the ground everywhere present a tripping hazard. There also seems to be no regulation of drunk people scootering all over the place. So beware of the scooters!

Scooter in Bonn Germany
Scooter parking. He nailed it.

Is Bonn Safe?

Bonn is for the most part safe. I never felt uncomfortable walking around Bonn in the day or night. However there are a couple of small spots in Bonn to avoid and a few things every visitor should watch out for.

First, as with any foreign city you visit you shouldn’t walk through dark rail underpasses at night. That’s just common sense. And Bonn does have a couple of dimly lit underpasses that go under the train line. They’re sketchy and they are high crime areas in the city. Avoid them.

Second, Bonn has a lot of drunks and drug addicts. They are prone to violent outburst and can do you harm. They’re unpredictable and can be smiling one minute and trying to stab somebody the next.

Don’t believe me or think I’m over selling the danger here? One of them recently cut somebody’s head off and carried it through town to the courthouse. I’ve seen these hobos sitting in the Hofgarten smoking heroin from tinfoil wraps. And attacking people in parking garages and you guessed it, train under passes. Best avoid anyone who looks homeless.

The third point to make about Bonn is that there are a lot of groups with different subcultures. Around Bonn you’ll see different sectors of the city with different subcultural groupings. Punks have their area, little rap music blasting wannabe gangsters have an area and so on and so forth. And you shouldn’t judge an area by how the people in a given park are dressed.

Looks can be deceiving in Bonn

A park full of people dressed like they’re homeless and sporting big mohawks is safe. A park full of relatively well dressed people staggering about and talking to themselves is unsafe. This is because the punks dress like hobos and the knife happy homeless get free clothing from donations.

You’ll also see many ‘poor’ immigrants. They will constantly hustle you for money. But once you’ve spent some time in Bonn and have watched them operate, you’ll notice that these ‘poor’ immigrants have actual days off each week and go shopping at expensive stores.

I once watched one of these beggars go around a Starbucks with a cup in central Bonn. He would put whatever donation he got from each table in his pocket before moving to the next. So each subsequent table wouldn’t see that the cup was getting full of euros.

After racking in donations from everyone in the place and the restaurant next door he trotted off down the street. He walked into a department store and bought himself a video game. His mother then picked him up wearing Gucci.

If you want to see just how far this hustling scam can go, watch the people in prime position outside one of the supermarkets in peak hour. The ones with the best positioning will collect a couple of hundred euros an hour.

My advice would be that if you want to contribute to the poor in Bonn, donate to one of the churches or charity organizations. Not random beggars. If you give it to a beggar you might not be giving it to someone in need; but instead to someone who desires a new set of sneakers, stereo, video game or a Mercedes.

Weather in Bonn

As with most parts of Germany the weather can be wildly variable in Bonn. The weather can be warm and sunny one minute and cold and rainy the next. Yet summer (June to August) is generally warm and sunny. With winter (November to March) cold, dark and dreary.

I found that when it did rain in Bonn during summer the storms were more often short lived. We’d get a burst of rain and then the sun would come out. And at times it’d even get a little muggy and humid. I never found it to be uncomfortably cold in Bonn during the summer. Even in the late evening and early hours of the morning.

Summer is supposed to have the highest rainfall in Bonn. It did rain considerably and the Rhine even flooded in summer 2021. But the rain would come in a torrential downpour that would last a few hours at most. And then it would be sunny and warm again.

Even as their wettest summer on record for a while with flash flooding recorded, 2021 still wasn’t what I’d call a lot of rain. Quantity wise it was a lot. But the rain would come and go in such short periods. And then you’d get warm sunny days.

Accommodation Options – Where to Stay in Bonn Germany?

I’ve stayed close to the Rhine in Bonn Beuel, Bonn-Zentrum and by the Hauptbahnhof. All areas were lovely. But if I was to choose again I’d go for accommodation near the Hauptbahnhof. All of the trams run through the Hauptbahnhof area and transport is easier. It also seemed to be a cheaper area.

It’s only a short 10 minute stroll through the pedestrian shopping district to the river. And there are many old-ish squares between the Hauptbahnhof and the Rhine that are filled with coffee shops and restaurants. From my accommodation in Motel One I could walk anywhere in town or across the river to Beuel in less than 30 minutes.

Motel One Bonn-Hauptbahnhof
Motel One Bonn-Hauptbahnhof

Short Stay in Bonn – Airbnb or Hotel?

Bonn is bereft of good Airbnb accommodations. Hotels will be your best option. The Motel One chain that operates across Europe has the best accommodations in town. With the newest buildings and creature comforts.

Motel One have a newer location close to the Rhine and another by the Hauptbahnhoff. I chose to stay in the Motel One Bonn-Hauptbahnhof for a few months and I loved it. It had all the amenities and was in the perfect location.

For the solo travelers, there’s no extra fees for bringing a friend home. So if you get lucky on a night out in Bonn, you can bring your new friend home if you’re staying in the Motel One Bonn-Hauptbahnhof.

Don’t fall into the trap of over paying to stay at places like the Hilton. And don’t book one of the older more generic hotels as their rooms are often the size of an average Australian or American broom closet.

I made the mistake of staying for a while in one of these cheap generic hotels. And I couldn’t lift my arms in the bathroom. Because my elbows would hit the walls on either side. The whole room was like a mid sized walk in closet.

If you’re staying in Bonn during the summer months make sure the room has air-conditioning. It doesn’t seem like you’ll need it. But trust me when I say you’ll want air-conditioning in summer.

Coming back to Bonn from Hungary I found a ‘new’ hotel on one of the apps. Being that the Rhine was still flooded and COVID was slowing travel it was empty like all the other hotels. The lobby looked nice in the pictures and it had a bar. So I thought I’d give it a go.

But on check in I realized it looked like every European horror movie I’d ever seen. It looked like some sort of psycho was going to pop out at any moment. And all the surfaces were painted black and the furnishings were all on their last legs.

So I moved back to the Motel One. And I was lucky to get a room because they book out fast. So do book ahead if you want to stay in the Motel One Bonn-Hauptbahnhof.

Nightlife in Bonn Germany – Is there any nightlife in Bonn?

There are pubs and nightclubs in Bonn but there really isn’t anything resembling a party district like you find in other cities. Most people in Bonn looking for a big night out in bars and nightclubs go to Köln (Cologne) which is a short car or train ride. Köln is the party town.

Drinking alcohol in public is legal in Germany. And as such most people will get a beer in summer and sit in one of the many parks or along the waterfront in the late afternoon. From about 5pm to sunset a beer on the rivers edge is a great way to spend time. And I’d always choose it over a loud nightclub.

The Hofgarten has a picnic like atmosphere. There will be salsa and tango dance classes, team sports and people just sitting around listening to music. All while enjoying a beer in the afternoon. It’s a great place to grab a few beers, a soccer ball and meet up with friends.

Bonn does have some nice riverfront bars. Like the Rheinlust next to the bridge. Other than that Bonn’s nightlife is a sea of rather terrible ‘shisha bars’. Personally, I’d avoid these ‘shisha bars’ and head to Köln and visit one of the Kölsch Brauhaus (brewpub) if I wanted a night out.

An option that is normally available but stopped operating in 2021 due to the dangerous conditions that were present on the Rhine that summer are the river cruises. Bonn has everything from winery cruises through to proper ‘booze cruises’.

You could go on a cruise hopping from winery to winery, or party on a boat with loud music and a dance floor. If the Rhine isn’t flooded and the cruises are operating, definitely try one of these. They dock in front of Alter Zoll.

Schofferhofer passionfruit beer in Bonn Germany
Try pronouncing this when you’ve had a few.

Bonn Tourist Attractions

Like I’ve said, Bonn doesn’t have a lot of ‘tourist attractions’. If tourist attractions are your main reason for visiting Germany, Bonn’s the sort of place you’d hop off a cruise ship for half a day and walk around. Or hop off a train if you were passing by. But it’s not the type of place you’d take a long bus, train or flight to specifically visit.

For tourists Bonn is a stop along the way to other destinations. As opposed to a destination in its own right.

Now, I’m sure all the local tour guides or tourist related businesses are going to hate me for saying that Bonn’s not a tourist destination. But hey, if you can see most of the things worth seeing in half a day or less it’s not the type of place you’d specifically travel to visit.

If you spend an hour at Beethoven-Haus and up to an hour at Alter Zoll you’ve hit the big ticket items inside of 2.5 hours. And even then that’s stretching things.

I spent less than an hour in Beethoven-Haus. I probably spent longer at the Chinese restaurant next door to Beethoven-Haus. And unless you count sitting on Alter Zoll drinking beer as visiting a tourist attraction in Bonn, then it took me 15 minutes to visit.

The most impressive and time consuming attraction covered in the list below that I visited from Bonn was the Drachenfels. And it’s out of town in Königswinter. You could take a 40 minute train ride and visit it from Cologne (Köln) as opposed to Bonn. Because even if you visit it from Bonn it’s still a 25 to 30 minute train ride.

The ‘Tourist Attractions’ I’ve left out and why!

Readers familiar with Bonn will also note that I’ve left out some buildings and statues often covered by other writers. Such at the Beethoven Monument in front of the Postamt building. Well, its just a small statue of Beethoven erected in 1845 and the Postamt building is a functional post office next to a Starbucks. Hardly a ‘tourist attraction’.

I’ve also left out the House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany, Museum Koenig, The Rhineland Museum (LVR), The Arithmeum and the Academic Museum of Antiquities.

First, anything to do with Germany’s ‘divided history’ can be better understood through a trip to museums in Berlin. So that rules out the House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Second, natural history as shown in Museum Koenig is better done by Naturmuseum Senckenberg in Frankfurt or by The Museum of Natural History in Berlin.

Third, the Rhineland Museum (LVR) competes with the Roman-Germanic Museum in Cologne. And Cologne wins hands down in my opinion.

Finally, who travels somewhere to see old calculators like those in The Arithmeum? Or to see (mostly) plaster copies of busts from elsewhere as held in the Academic Museum of Antiquities. Though the Academic Museum of Antiquities has some pretty cool salsa classes out front on the Hofgarten side in the afternoon, after the museum is closed.

Now, I did visit all of the ‘attractions’ in Bonn that I’ve purposely left off the list below. But only because it was my home base for summer and I was ‘living like a local’ in Bonn. So I had a lot of free time and I did visit the places I’ve left out. But if I had less time or was looking for ‘tourist attractions’ I wouldn’t even bother with them for the reasons laid out above.

List of Tourist Attractions in Bonn

Alter Zoll

The first place most tourists arriving in Bonn visit is the Alter Zoll. Because it’s right in front of the pontoons on which the cruise ships dock. And most ‘tourists’ arrive by cruise ship. Alter Zoll is a defensive Bastian dating from 1644. It’s the big brick looking wall you will see from the river.

Approaching from the water, walk up the staircase you see to the left of the big wall. To your left as you walk up these stairs are a great bar with a view of the Rhine and the Stadtgarten.

On your right, you’ll notice a plaque honoring the Wilhelm I Horse Regiment.

Plaque at Alter Zoll in Bonn Germany honouring Hausen Regiment König Wilhelm I

Once you get to the top of the stairs you’ve got a view out over the Rhine. It’s a commanding view in both directions. And the twin cannons on top of Alter Zoll date from the Napoleonic Wars. Neither cannon ever fired a shot in anger.

But Alter Zoll was meant as a defensive structure and had the addition of the cannons to deal with any French invaders during the napoleonic wars. Yet Napoleon never got a crack at Bonn.

Today, visitors can see the cannons and more importantly, take in the amazing view of the Rhine. I’d highly recommend taking a beverage and just sitting at the top of the Alter Zoll on sunset. The view is spectacular.

Alter Zoll Bonn Germany
View of Rhine from Alter Zoll

Beethoven-Haus | Beethoven’s House

The people of Bonn seem to be absolutely crazy for all things Beethoven. It’s hard not to respect Beethoven as he was a consummate anti-aristocrat. He had no love for the aristocracy but at heart was a true romantic. He consistently referred to the love of his life only as his Immortal Beloved.

Beethoven’s House in Bonn has been renovated so many times it’s hard to truly believe what is original and what is somebody’s best guess of what it would have looked like. But the house is the place where Ludwig van Beethoven was born.

And it is the house where at age 5 his father began his musical training. Beethoven lived, learned and honed his musical craft in this house for the first 21 years of his life.

While the house is one of the oldest in Bonn, having survived the Second World War relatively unscathed, It wasn’t all that interesting for me. Beethoven is interesting. His house or what it’s currently set out to be, isn’t that interesting.

Goethe’s house in Frankfurt is interesting because most of Goethe’s house is original but in comparison, Beethoven’s house is less ‘original’. Or it feels less authentic at least.

Beethoven House Bonn Germany
Beethoven’s House in Bonn Germany.

Town Hall and Market Square

The Town Hall and Market Square in BonnZentrum is a good stop for a coffee. Most days the market square is filled with stalls selling food and random items. And around its edges are conventional modern stores selling everything sold in regular shopping malls.

It’s the kind of place tourists walk through only to stop in front of the town Hall and take a photo. Like the girls in the image.

Be sure to be super touristy and stick your booty out for the photo. Just like the girl getting her photo taken in the image below.

Just behind where I’m standing to take the image is a bookshop. It’s the Thalia Bookshop and it occupies the premises of the former Metropol movie theatre. Think of it like Bonn’s take on Argentina’s El Ateneo Grand Splendid. It’s worth a look.

Bonn-Zentrum Bonn Germany
Bonn’s main plaza in Zentrum

Bonn Minster

The Bon Minster is the large cathedral in the centre of the city. It’s a roman catholic church and is considered one of Germany’s oldest. During 2021 it seemed to open and close a lot for repairs. But I was able to visit it and would suggest its worth seeing. Just be sure it’s open when you intend to visit.

I’d also add that I found it more impressive from the outside. It just looks bigger and older on the outside.

Kunstmuseum Bonn

The Kunstmuseum Bonn can be excellent to visit. Or it can be a bust. It depends on what artworks the Kunstmuseum has on exhibit when you intend to visit.

The ‘Sound and Silence’ exhibit was fantastic. But as with any art gallery it depends on your taste in art. I found some of the paintings laughable. Like the ‘how to paint a horse’ or ‘ghost’ pictured below.

Kunstmuseum Bonn is worth visiting if you have time. But not as a priority ‘must see’ attraction. For those living or long staying in Bonn I’d definitely recommend it and add that it has a great coffee shop. Yet I likely wouldn’t recommend it to those passing through Bonn as part of tour group.


The Drachenfels and Drachenburg Castle were by far my favourite attractions in the area. It’s not in Bonn but is relatively close in Königswinter.

Königswinter is a 40 minute train ride from Cologne (Köln). Or a 25 minute train ride from Bonn. Of course it helps if you’ve got a friend with a car who can just drive you there. We drove.

After parking it’s a nice walk up the mountain to the castle. You follow the road through lush green fields and thick German forests past running streams to the top of the mountain. About halfway up the mountain you’ll get to Drachenburg Castle.

For the oldies and others less inclined to walk up the mountain there is a train station right outside Drachenburg Castle. You can catch the train from the Königswinter station and it only has three stops. Königswinter, Drachenburg Castle and the top of the mountain. It’s an antique cog style train (think of it like an old tram).

Drachenburg Castle

Drachenburg Castle has a couple of really nice bars (and a restaurant) and the Castle itself is quite interesting. It doesn’t have a lot of history being built in 1882–84 but what history it does have is intriguing.

Drachenburg Castle was originally built for a self made banker (Stephan von Sarter) who never lived in it. He acquired a patent of nobility once he became successful (filthy rich) and became a baron. He then commissioned the construction of Drachenburg Castle. Because every baron needs a castle!

Sarter died without ever living in his castle. After his death and in the years since, Drachenburg Castle has changed hands a lot. It has served as everything from a convalescent home through to an orphanage, arms dealers hideout and even a hitler school.

View from Drachenburg Castle

The top of the Drachenfels has the best view of the region. But the castle itself which is a little over halfway up the Drachenfels also has a pretty darn commanding view.

A couple of the photos I’ve included below are from the restaurant on the balcony. The castle has a view out over the Rhine and back to Bonn. I’d recommend stopping and having a beer on the balcony to take in the view.

And for those who’ve walked up the mountain instead of taking the train, you’ll certainly need a beer after your walk. And before going higher up the mountain.

View from the top of the Drachenfels

At the top of the Drachenfels you’ll find a large paved viewing area and couple of older defensive structures. And a pub. Because it’s Germany.

After walking from the castle you’ll likely need a beer. It’s a steep climb. Dreaming of a beer at the top was what got me up the hill.

For those who’ve taken the train up the mountain and particularly the section from the castle to the top, you’ll probably be more interested in the views first and thinking about a beverage second. But for those who’ve walked up from the castle it’ll be beer first and views second.

As I was spending summer living in Bonn the Drachenfels became a go to spot for exercise. There’s nothing like climbing a mountain to whip you in to shape. Well, beer drinking shape anyway. And the view made it a worthy spot to get some exercise in the great outdoors.

From the top of the Drachenfels you can watch ships traverse the Rhine. Or the clouds throw shadows across the countryside as they float on through.

On a clear day like that pictured you can literally see for miles around. The views from the top of the Drachenfels are near endless.


The Hofgarten is the former garden of the Electoral Palace (big yellow building in the photos below). It was built in the 18th century as a garden for the Elector Clemens August.

Today the Electoral Palace and the Hofgarten belong to the University of Bonn. The Electoral Palace is the main campus building and the Hofgarten is a popular park for students to hang out.

In the late afternoon during summer the Hofgarten comes alive with locals and students stopping by to play sport, chat, hangout or just have a beer and relax before the sun goes down.

At the far end of the Hofgarten opposite the Electoral Place there is the building housing the Academic Museum of Antiquities. In front of the Academic Museum of Antiquities in the Hofgarten there will be anything from yoga to salsa lessons happening, each afternoon in summer.


The Stadtgarten is across the road from the Hofgarten. And it’s right next to Alter Zoll on the Rhine. Also built around the 18th century the Stadtgarten is filled each afternoon with students and locals just hanging out with a beverage socialising.

On weekends its a great spot to grab a few friends, a picnic blanket and portable barbecue and just hangout. The Stadtgarten also has a handy outdoor bar along the waterside edge.

Botanical Garden and Poppelsdorf Palace

During 2021 the Botanical Gardens were excellent but the Poppelsdorf Palace was covered in scaffolding and inaccessible. If you want to see the Poppelsdorf Palace I would suggest checking if it’s finished renovations and if it has reopened before visiting.

The Bonn Botanical Gardens on the other hand are open and during summer are a wonderful place for a walk. You can visit on foot from central Bonn (BonnZentrum). It looks like it’s a long way from central Bonn on maps. But it’s about 15 minutes on foot through a lovely old neighborhood and I enjoyed the walk.

At the Botanical Garden they have a huge variety of plants. Both domestic and imported. But the ponds stocked with native fish and turtles were of most interest to me.

If you’re staying in Bonn for a while and aren’t a tourist on a tight schedule, take a book and just sit by one of ponds to enjoy the summer sunshine. It’s what the locals do.

Rhine Waterfront

The waterfront promenade along the Rhine was for me a favourite spot to grab a coffee and just sit and relax. I spent most of my mornings in Bonn walking along the Rhine with a coffee in hand listening to music.

Facing the Rhine in front of Alter Zoll and turning right I could walk for about 15 minutes down to the United Nations complex or just past the UN to the Kuntsmuseum. If instead I turned left, I could walk for 25 minutes past a concert ground and down to a public swimming pool near the next bridge.

There are also pedestrian thoroughfares along the Beuel side. But I found the path from central Bonn up towards the UN complex to be my favourite section. And it’s along this section I would encounter the greatest number of locals also out for a morning walk.

Living in Bonn Germany | Conclusions

As a summer base Bonn was fantastic. I don’t know whether I’d say the same about Bonn in winter as I’m an Australian and we’re not made for cold climates. But in summer Bonn certainly turned on the sunshine and the climate was perfect for just walking everywhere and enjoying the outdoors.

I also like that Bonn’s a midsized city with a small town charm. And with the university and UN in town it has a good mix of foreigners and people from other parts of Germany.

I’ve been wracking my brain trying to think of a slew of negatives to add to this article to bring a balance to it. So it isn’t just me saying Bonn’s fabulous and everyone should go there. But I truly can’t think of any.

I though that maybe listing the lack of decent Airbnb accommodations might be a negative. But then I remembered that the hotels are very affordable in Bonn.

I also thought I might mention all the scooters as a negative since everyone hates them. But then I remembered how much fun it is to sit back and watch the scooter people crash everywhere when they drink and scooter. For every negative I can think of to list for Bonn, there’s a stronger positive.

The positives of using Bonn as a home base or as place to ‘live’ while exploring the rest of Germany or Europe are clear. And they dwarf any potential negatives. So much so I’ll likely be back in Bonn in the summer of 2023.

I thought of going back up to Bonn from South America at the end of 2022 but then I remembered that would be winter. And as an Australian I will always take a hard pass on European winters. Even if Bonn is beautiful in winter too.

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