Get away to Essen! Enjoy the theatre, art and live music.

The city of Essen was founded in the 9th century and grew into an industrial town predominantly due to the Krupp Family Steelworks. Until the second half of the 20th century, Essen was one of the most important centres for coal production and steelwork in Germany.

The Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex, one of the shining monuments to Essen's industrial history, is considered the most beautiful coalmine in the world and is now recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The pit, constructed according to the principles of the Bauhaus School, is used today by various cultural and artistic institutions. For example, the Design-Zentrum Nordrhein-Westfalen and the Ruhr Museum are both found here. In addition, you can visit the 269 rooms of the Villa Hügel, which once served as home to the Krupp family, and has now been transformed into a museum of art history and concert venue.

On your city trip to Essen you should also not miss out on the Folkwang Museum which covers the long history of photography and houses a collection of pictures from many different eras. The Aalto Theatre is the city's opera house and worthy of a visit not just for its performances, but also because of its impressive architecture.

Take a trip to the Essener Münster, a Gothic cathedral built from lime sandstone. Here you will find magnificent exhibits such as the Golden Madonna of Essen which is over a thousand years old and the oldest free-standing Madonna figure north of the Alps.

A more modern religious building is the New Synagogue (known today as the Old Synagogue), constructed in 1913 and used as a place of prayer by the Jewish community in Essen before the war. Today it still counts as one of the most impressive examples of Jewish culture and architecture from pre-war Germany.

If you have planned a full week trip, you should also take a detour to the Kettwig and Werden districts found to the south of the city. Here the traditional and iconic local character survives to the present day. Here you will find buildings like the Werden Abbey, already over a thousand years old, and the Kirche St. Ludgerus, a church raised to the rank of papal basilica two decades ago.

Even though Essen is without a doubt an old industrial city, in the past few years it has been notably rejuvenated thanks to its blooming modern culture.

Known for

Shopping, Skyscrapers and Theatres

Explore map

Where to stay in Essen

Innenstadt
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Innenstadt

Cathedrals, Churches, Historical Buildings

Get to know Innenstadt and its many features like its museums and churches. You might want to explore sights like Zeiss Planetarium Bochum and German Mining Museum, and you can jump on the metro at Bochum Rathaus U-Bahn or Deutsches Bergbau-Museum U-Bahn to get around the city.

Düsseldorf Government Region
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Düsseldorf Government Region

While you're in Düsseldorf Government Region, take in top sights like CentrO or Museum Kunstpalast, and hop on the metro to see more of the city at Rheinstrasse U-Bahn or Platanenhof U-Bahn.

Ruettenscheid
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Ruettenscheid

Theatres, Natural Parks, Budget

The bars and museums are just a few things visitors like about Ruettenscheid. Grugahalle and Grugapark Botanical Garden are worthwhile spots to check out, and you can hop on the metro at Martinstrasse U-Bahn or Messe Ost-Gruga-Halle U-Bahn to get around the larger area.

Werden
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Werden

Monuments

Check out the monuments during your time in Werden. Hop around the Stadtbezirke IX area on the metro at Essen-Werden S-Bahn to see top sights like Essen Luciuskirche and Basilica St. Ludgerus.

Gelsenkirchen-Mitte
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Gelsenkirchen-Mitte

Though Gelsenkirchen-Mitte may not have many top sights, you can venture to the surrounding area to see attractions like ZOOM Erlebniswelt and Veltins-Arena.

Top hotels in Essen

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Image for Holiday Inn Express Essen - City Centre
Holiday Inn Express Essen - City Centre
3 out of 5
Thea-Leymann-Str. 11, Essen, NW
£54/night
22 Aug-23 Aug
4.1/5Very Good! (1,143 reviews)

"All ok. Very friendly staff with a smile on their face. The room was clean"…"

Reviewed on 8 Aug 2019

Holiday Inn Express Essen - City Centre
Image for Select Hotel Handelshof Essen
Select Hotel Handelshof Essen
4 out of 5
Am Hauptbahnhof 2, Essen, NW
£57/night
1 Sep-2 Sep
4.1/5Very Good! (677 reviews)

"Staff were very friendly and helpful. Happy to speak in English to accommodate my terrible German. It was a shame that the WiFi was not easily accessible."…"

Reviewed on 15 Jul 2019

Select Hotel Handelshof Essen
Image for Acora Hotel und Wohnen Bochum
Acora Hotel und Wohnen Bochum
3.5 out of 5
Nordring 44, Bochum, NW
£52/night
1 Sep-2 Sep
4.1/5Very Good! (271 reviews)
Good base for local restaurants and business in He

"I stayed on the top floor, this is a little quirky but pleasant enough. The window blinds were a little awkward and it was strange that I couldn't seem to turn off the light near the door without walking down the little staircase to do so. The hotel is in a good location whereby you can walk to the ..."…"

Reviewed on 13 May 2019

Acora Hotel und Wohnen Bochum

Popular things to do in Essen

Zollverein Coal Mine World Heritage Site
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Zollverein Coal Mine World Heritage Site

Explore a complex described as the most beautiful coal mine in the world to find captivating museums and learn about Essen’s fascinating industrial heritage.

German Mining Museum
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Photo provided by German National Tourist Board

German Mining Museum

You can study the exhibits at German Mining Museum, a museum with a story of its own, during your holiday in Bochum. Experience the area's theatre scene and museums.

Top activities in Essen

Düsseldorf : Your Private Sightseeing Flight
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Düsseldorf : Your Private Sightseeing Flight

£133

UP, UP and AWAY! This is your chance to experience the fun of flying PRIVATELY. Yes, that's right. No shuffling from queue to queue, no delays, no screaming of children, or huge airports.This is the real deal. Your very own private pilot, who just wants to share the magic of flight.

DüsseldorfCard
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DüsseldorfCard

£9

Enjoy unbeatable value, and explore this elegant city with ease using the DüsseldorfCard. Benefit from complimentary entry to attractions and unlimited public transportation in the city for 24, 48, 72 or 96 hours. The card offers discounts for restaurants, tours, and shops too.

Altstadt Old Town Tour
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Altstadt Old Town Tour

£11

Discover the “longest bar in the world” - and much more. Düsseldorf's Altstadt (Old Town) is packed with more than 260 bars, restaurants, cafés, and breweries, along with everything else that adds to the flair of a historically grown city.

Dusseldorf Panoramic Sightseeing Cruise
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Dusseldorf Panoramic Sightseeing Cruise

£10

One of Germany’s most appealing skylines appears on the horizon as you cruise the Rhine River in Düsseldorf, aboard a spacious vessel. Admire sights such as the charming riverbanks of the picturesque Old Town, and listen to engaging and informative stories about the city on your headset.

Düsseldorf Hop-on Hop-off City Tour
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Düsseldorf Hop-on Hop-off City Tour

£17

Our open-top double-decker bus will make exploring the city a true experience. The tour lasts approx. 90 minutes and will take you right around and through the city center of the vibrant metropolis on the Rhine.

Düsseldorf's Culinary Soul
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Düsseldorf's Culinary Soul

£36

The Düsseldorf Altstadt (Old Town) is actually one of the world’s biggest food markets. On our 3-hour guided tour we will be exploring the culinary diversity on offer in the romantic narrow streets in an area of just a few square meters.

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