Spread across the banks of the River Rhine in western Germany, Bonn is a green city with a vibrant past. It's known as the birthplace of the composer Ludwig van Beethoven and was the capital of West Germany for 41 years after the Second World War. Now travellers can visit Bonn's many art galleries and museums, and taste the region's famous wines in a cobbled square right next to the city's Minster (one of the oldest churches in Germany), surrounded by traditional pastel-coloured buildings.
It is easy to find a Bonn hostel close to the city centre, where you can walk to the Minster and town hall in minutes. Choose from mixed dorms and cosy private rooms with large windows that look out over the tree-lined streets. All Bonn hostels have free Wi-Fi and some also have garden patios with barbecues and table tennis. Start each morning with a free breakfast in your hostel's communal eating area, and then hire a bike from the front desk ready for a day of exploring.
Bonn's old town (or Altstadt) is still the bustling heart of the city. Here you'll find the 11th-century Minster and the large Münsterplatz square, with its pink and gold town hall. To the south there's Museumsmeile (museum mile): a whole street of museums and art galleries. Heading north is the Nordstadt quarter, a busy hub of cafés, shops and restaurants, which is also home to the famous Heerstrasse, a road lined with pretty cherry blossom trees.
Art-lovers have plenty of galleries to choose from in Bonn, from the Kunstmuseum's 20th-century collection to the popular Bundeskunsthalle, with exhibitions on world art and cultural history. The city is also dotted with parks like the Rheinaue, where you can paddle around a boating lake, wander over ornate bridges or cook up lunch on a barbecue. To explore the surrounding area, book a river cruise. Up-river services will take you to historic Cologne, while southbound boats go past the 19th-century Drachenburg Castle, built on a cliffside in Königswinter.
Cologne Bonn Airport is a 30-minute drive from the centre. Jump on an Express shuttle bus outside of arrivals: these depart every 20 minutes. Once in Bonn, you can then walk to your hostel or take the bus, tram or underground. As Bonn's centre has been made into an environmental zone, there are fewer cars around and many visitors hire bikes from the stations dotted around the city.