From the bustling city streets of Cologne, to the tranquil settings of Eifel National Park and the excitement of the German Football Museum, the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany has something for every traveller. We discover the barrier-free destinations you should visit in the area.
Bursting with culture, the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany has something for everyone,
whether you want to relax in nature, explore the old town streets of a city, or dive into a passion like football or stargazing. During September 2023, the Enable team visited the region to experience what barrier-free travel and attractions are on offer.
Cologne, or Köln to German speakers, is the fourth-most populated city in Germany and the largest in the North Rhine-Westphalia area. Steeped in history, the city provides exciting opportunities to learn about the past while you see the sights.
Explore the colourful and level streets of the old town and discover how Cologne residents survived the
plague by using perfume at Farina 1709 Fragrance Museum, before making your way to visit Cologne
Cathedral. Opened in 1880, the cathedral is famous for holding the shrine of the Three Wise Men, and
features stunning gothic architecture which helps it to stand out on the city’s skyline. Open to tourists every day of the week, the interior is mostly accessible, but the South Tower can only be accessed by climbing 533 steps.
Public transport in Cologne is constantly improving, and many of the trams and trains already have
level access to platforms. The city provides the perfect base to explore the region, especially for visitors who want to experience a mix of bustling city life and relaxing countryside during their visit.
Food and drink
Cologne is packed with places to eat and drink, whether you want to try traditional food from the region
like rievkooche – a potato and onion pancake served with applesauce – and Kölsch Beer which comes from the city itself, or something different.
Go on a journey of oriental flavours at Neni Köln, a family business with 10 restaurants around Europe. Located within the 25Hours Hotel, you can access the top floor restaurant using a lift so anyone can enjoy what Neni has to offer, including a panoramic view of Cologne’s skyline.
Based in a former fire station, Wagenhalle is barrier-free and uses regional and seasonal produce to
produce dishes with an authentic taste, including a range of vegetarian and vegan dishes.
Ludwig im Museum
Located within the Museum Ludwig next to Cologne Cathedral, this restaurant is known for its wide-range
of dishes that cater for different dietary requirements. Inside you can enjoy a twist on traditional dishes and local wines.
German Football Museum
First opened in 2015, the German Football Museum wasn’t just designed with sport lovers in mind, but was created to cater for different access needs, both physical and sensory. Located in the city of Dortmund, the museum recounts more than 140 years of German football history with informative exhibits and interactive features that provide an exciting chance to experience the atmosphere
of famous games, like the country’s four World Cup wins. Presented over two fully accessible floors, highlights include the 3D cinema which has the option of audio description in different languages, and the chance to feel the materials famous pitches are made from in a tactile model.
LVR Open Air Museum
Travel back in time and experience how the people of the North Rhine-Westphalia lived throughout the years at the LVR Open Air Museum. Within the 110 hectare grounds, you can visit 79 historical buildings from a watermill, workshop and communal building, to a bakehouse, school, dance hall and chapel. The heritage buildings form small villages and date back to the end of the 15th century.
While the museum has wide paths which have been specially adapted to suit wheelchairs and multiple
accessible bathrooms, the grounds are also located on a hilly area, making it more suited to people with powered mobility aids.
Eifel National Park
From wildlife exhibitions to stargazing spots, the Eifel National Park is a eutopia for nature lovers. Spanning 110 square kilometres, the conservation area is allowing thousands of endangered animals and plant species to thrive with minimal human intervention. The new visitor centre features Dreams of Wilderness, an interactive exhibition that lets you see, hear, smell and feel as you learn about the wildlife in the park, providing a barrier-free and sensory experience.
Panarbora Tree Top Trail
Leave the floor of the forest behind and venture up to 40 metres high at the Panarbora Tree Top Trail: the
longest barrier-free treetop path in the region. Allowing you to explore nature from a different perspective, the trail takes you through the upper level of the forest with information points to learn about the native trees of the area. The adventure park also has a playground, hedge garden, small
animal enclosures, sensory trail and more to explore.
Nestled in a secluded valley, Altenberg Cathedral was originally built in 1255 as a monastery church for
Cistercian monks. Now a cathedral used by both catholic and protestant congregations, visitors can learn
about the site’s long history with free public tours available at different times of the year. The interior and
exterior of the cathedral have inclusive add-ons to make it fully accessible, and a tactile model of the
site is available for visitors who are blind or visually impaired.
Discover more about what the North Rhine-Westphalia region has to offer from the Germany National Tourist Board (germany.travel).