Essen Travel Guide

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Essen-Südviertel, Blick von Osten

Essen-Südviertel, Blick von Osten


Essen is a city in western Germany, close to the Dutch border. Essen's population is around 579,000 (2008), but the area is only 81 square miles, making it a relatively small city in size. Essen is known for it's large contributions to industry with The Zollverein Industrial Complex which is a major tourist site in Essen, highlighting the ambitious industry of coal mining. This has, in turn, affected much of the city as now it is a large industrial destination in Germany. This also means that Essen is an exciting city in which there is always something to do.

What to Do

Art is important in Essen, so it is no surprise that the Museum Folkwang has renowned artists such as Van Gogh, Manet and Renoir. The museum re-opens in January of 2010 with much more added space, meaning more exhibits! If you want a unique Essen experience, go to one of their theaters. The Aalto Theater is relatively new (1988) but is a masterpiece who's plans date to 1959. The Colosseum Theater, built by the same family that built Villa Hugel, still hosts musical productions to date.

What to See

Sight seeing is definitely a popular activity in Essen. The recorded history of Essen is older than both Berlin and Munich. As aforementioned, the Zollverein Industrial Complex is a popular site for tourists. It is actually called the most beautiful coal mine in the world. The Essen Abby was founded in about 845 and now houses one of the most important treasuries in Germany with numerous works of art including the oldest dated sculpture of Madonna (not the pop singer). Villa Hugel is a 269-room manor that was built in 1873. The house was occupied by the Krupp family, a prominent name in Germany for 400 years.

Where to Stay

Since Essen is a popular tourist destination, it is not difficult to find accommodation for all budget types. If you are trying to spend as little money as possible, the Goalfever Guesthouse is worth consideration. A bed is around $34 per person per night in a room that is shared with 3 others. Many attractions are within walking distance. For a moderate price, you can get a room in the City Hotel Essen starting at around $97 per night. You will get more from this hotel than most for the price, like a large breakfast in the morning and one mini-bar item each day. You will also have free wireless internet, parking and access to the sauna.

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