Leverkusen is more or less a suburb of Cologne. The place has built up around the Bayer pharmaceuticals factory there. Think of Stevenage and you'll have a pretty good idea. So obviously not somewhere you really want to spend a couple of nights. The good news is that Cologne and Düsseldorf are both less than 20 minutes away by train, and either makes a good base. Cologne's a nice place, despite being virtually flattened in the war. Just about the only thing left standing was the cathedral - it's absolutely enormous and is next door to the station so it's worth a look. Anyone feeling energetic can climb the 510 steps to the viewing platform. Düsseldorf (where the original Auf Wiedersehen Pet series was based) is also a canny town. The Altdtadt ('old town') is supposed to be their equivalent of the Bigg Market, but you'll probably find it's nothing like as lively. Düsseldorf is where most of the Yorkshire Mags stayed last time we played there. As it happens, Alan and Tom both used to live there at one time (not together!), as did my elder brother - small world.
Germanwings - Stansted, Gatwick and Edinburgh to Cologne
easyJet - Gatwick and Liverpool to Cologne
Hapag-Lloyd Express - Manchester to Cologne
Air Berlin - Stansted to Düsseldorf
Ryanair - Stansted to Niederrhein (about an hour and a half from Düsseldorf)
V Bird - Manchester to Niederrhein
Lufthansa - fly Manchester to Düsseldorf
KLM - Leeds-Bradford to Amsterdam, plus Cologne and Düsseldorf via Amsterdam
Jet2 - Leeds-Bradford to Amsterdam
It's roughly 2-3 hours from Schiphol to Düsseldorf by train. The fare from depends on:
- which route you take (via Venlo or Emmerich)
- what type of train you get (Inter City cost more than regional ones)
- how many people are travelling (there's a significant discount for more than one person on the Emmerich route)
Where to stay in Düsseldorf
Last time we played there we stayed in the Luxor which is quite close to the station (map - misleading though, the hotel's actually at the top of the map just above Kolnerstrasse). It was €60 for a double, €55 for a single, including really good buffet breakfast. Another decent hotel near the station is the Domo Mondial. As far as I can work out it's right at the top of Scheurenstrasse (map). The price is €50 for a single, €70 for a double and €80 for a triple, including breakfast. To book either of these hotels, or any others in Düsseldorf, click here. If you want to book triples in the Domo use www.venere.com instead - put "Düsseldorf" in the "Other Destinations" box. Another option is the Ibis, which is virtually in the station!
bug (with info on transport systems - select Cologne or Düsseldorf)
Octopus (select Cologne or Düsseldorf)
Lets Go (select Cologne or Düsseldorf)
Cologne (excellent amateur site with loads of links)
State of the art (including heaters hanging from the stand roof!), but a capacity of only 22,500. To get there from the station you follow the path north along the east side of the tracks (the side you get off if arriving from Düsseldorf) for about 500 yards. Turn right, and this path takes you right to the away end of the ground. Click here for a map, which unfortunately doesn't have the paths marked. Possession of a match ticket apparently entitles you to free use of all public transport run by the Rhein-Sieg local authority for the purpose of getting to/from the ground. As far as I can work out the area covered by this extends to Cologne, but not to Düsseldorf.
There are, apparently, a couple of bars at the ground. Alternatively you could try the town centre. Last time we played there some of us ended up in a called Monkeys - hardly a traditional German place, but it sold beer. However it's since shut down!