Sunday, 9 December 2018

A Weekend In Dusseldorf || Travel on a Budget

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It’s always hard to know when you’re planning a trip where to go, what to see, best areas to stay. So I wanted to put a little travel guide together of my first weekend in Düsseldorf (and actually first time ever in Germany). 

Flights + Hotels 
I booked everything online after a couple of weeks searching flights and hotels on and off. I decided to use Expedia to book the hotel as I had £40 worth of points to use to save some money. It’s hard to know where you should stay when going in blind. I did a bit of research just via google and worked out the best place in terms of bars and restaurants is the old town, Altstadt. However that meant prices were a lot of higher so I ended up going about a 10-min drive out at the NH City Nord. Not to be confused with the NH City as that’s where we accidentally showed up to check in! But that’s in a very good central location to get the tube a couple of stops to the old town FYI. So yes I booked a two-night stay for around £70 (once discount has be taken off). The hotel did its job, it was fairly modern, had a big bed and there were always taxis outside waiting. Top tip: bring or buy a bottle of water with you as they charge you for the bottle that’s left out (3,50 too!!) which I think is crazy! There’s not even a kettle in the room for tea and coffee - so it’s not well equipped in that sense.
For the flights I went through Kayak and used e-dreams, which are both new websites for me. I had spent a few weeks signed up to price alerts on the flights and they hadn’t really seemed to move so I decided to buy the bullet. Now this was actually the most expensive area of the trip - I’m not sure if they are always around the £120 mark or it’s just because of the Christmas period that makes Germany flights rise (Christmas market hype). So I think in the end they worked out to be around £122 return each, plus that was a early morning flight on the Friday and mid morning on Sunday. So I would imagine the earlier you booked these tickets the better! 

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Getting around - public transport and taxis 

This was a bit of a trial and error process which I think is normal when you're visiting new places and not down on their local transport links. It was fairly easy to get from the train from the station - we took the S11 (or you can take S1) to get to the tube (I'm calling it a tube as I'm not sure of the actual term) to get to the main area in Alstaad. We did get a bit confused with buying tickets however all the machines can be chosen in english and other languages to help you! For the times we just couldn't be bothered with tubes e.g. when we were drunk we used the MyTaxi app to book all our taxis. As I found Uber was a bit/more expensive. However if you are trying to stick to a budget the tubes were only about €3 as opposed to the €13 taxi. 

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dusseldorf, visit germany, travel budget  tips, dusseldorf christmas market review, dortmund football tickets uk


F O O T B A L L 
So a lot of our activities revolved around football as it was my boyfriend's birthday weekend. To cut a long story short I thought he wanted to go and watch the Dusseldorf football team play but turned out he actually said Dortmund (very different teams in very different leagues - my bad). So we went to both grounds to watch them play - german football is something else! It was an amazing atmosphere and the stadiums are MASSIVE. Even if you're not really that into football it's still a great day out (plus I got major girlfriend points). Even though Dusseldorf are a smaller team I actually enjoyed it more than seeing Dortmund. I managed to get tickets off Viagogo for this and they got sent to me before I went. For the Dortmund match we also got them on Viagogo but had to go and pick it up near the ground beforehand. Which made the day a lot longer (and a bit stressful). It was a hour train from Dusseldorf and I think the train ended up costing around €60 for the both of us. However the good thing is with German football is if you actually have the football ticket when your travelling it's free as they include it in your ticket. 

C H R I S T M A S   M A R K E T S 
This was the main thing I was excited to see! A real life German market and it did not fail to impress. There was pretty much festive stalls up every road in the main area from cute stocking fillers to waffles to mulled one. This was the real deal. There are also so many shops around the area too, so you could basically just go and do all you christmas shopping there. 

C L U B B I N G 
The only other activity we got up to was clubbing, we ended up going to a couple of places in the Old Town (in Dussledorf).We were pretty drunk so it was all a bit of a weird experience, I found that you don't really need to get that dressed up. I mean I came from football so I was wearing a parka and trainers and went out in that.  

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Eat + Drink

When we weren't watching football we could be found eating or drinking! We did a lot of day drinking on the Saturday so tried out a lot of bars. I think it was safe to say our favourite was an Irish pub called Fattys. The barman was really nice and helpful giving us tips where to go and actually told us that the travel cost is in the price of the football ticket. We spent pretty much the afternoon in here, playing darts and drinking. I ended up losing to my boyfriend at darts so I had to do a shot - it was called flowjob which my boyfriend and I couldn't stop laughing at (grown up I know). We also went to another irish pub a couple of doors down, doing more shots this time it was a 73% rum. I did find that because I don't drink beer and basically only drink spirits, it was expensive for me to drink. It was around €6 for the spirit (granted it wasn't measured so tasted like a triple shot) and then €2-3 for the mixer as opposed to my bf's beer of €3. Also just a heads up if you’re not an alcohol lover expect to be paying the price! Buying water seemed to be so expensive especially at football grounds. I actually paid more for a Fanta then a beer! 

In terms of food we went to two main restaurants, one in the Old Town called Fischhaus and oh my hands down the best fish restaurant we've been to! We shared a squid starter for around €16 and then had main courses (I had octopus and the boyf had a fish mixer) and it was all spectacular. The bill was around €60 which we thought was such good value. We also went to ASH a american steakhouse place which I had found when I was looking before we went, it was a really cool vibe. I wouldn't say my food was particularly great, I got ribs and the sheer size of it just really put me off. My boyfriend got surf and turf and he loved it so it was mixed reviews from us. It's a bit far out, more in a business area of Dusseldorf. This was more expensive and actually cost around €120.

I had such a wonderful time overall in Germany - it's been a place that has never really appealed to me. However I now really want to go back to Dusseldorf every December to do some shopping and get drunk with my boyfriend. 

Extra Tips:

+ Go into places and try them out! Best place to work out what the vibe is. 
+ Careful on using your debit card I got charged so for example on the €120 meal, I was charged £3 by my bank

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