Duesseldorf, Nice, Seville, Zermatt and Perugia
This is a part of a series of ‘A guide for one day in (City)’. This post series includes an informative guide, shared by well-traveled and experienced travelers, about their favorite popular European cities and the ways to explore it in one day. If you are short on time or want to make use the quick city stop, this is the perfect place to know where to go and what to see. Keep reading to know how to spend one day in Duesseldorf, Nice, Seville, Zermatt and Perugia in this part.
Check out other of this series.
Shoppers should start their day at the Konigsallee, for some of the best shopping in the world. Art lovers can start at the Kunstammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, which is so extensive it is housed in two buildings, K20 and K21, or the Kunst-im-Tunnel, a modern art venue in an underground exhibition area.
For a different type of culture, head to the suburb of Kaiserswerth. There are several historic spots in this section of the city, but my favorite was the ruins of the Kaiserpfalz. Once belonging to the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, the ruins are now an intriguing location.
To feel the heartbeat of the city, start by checking out the street art on Kiefernstrasse. When created, this was the largest graffiti block in the world. In the afternoon, take advantage of the fabulous green spaces the city is known for, at the Hofgarten, the cities oldest park, or Ecko Haus, in the Japanese gardens. (Dusseldorf has the largest Japanese population in Europe.) Or try Burgerpark, where you can head to the top of the Rheinturm, for phenomenal views of the river, and the Mediahaven. From there, it is a short walk to the riverfront, where you can mingle with locals along the Rheinuferpromenade.
Any day in Dusseldorf is ended well by having dinner in the Altstadt.
Important things to know: Museums and government-owned historic sites in Germany are closed on Mondays.
Situated beside Dusseldorf is Cologne, which makes a perfect family weekend getaway.
Read this guide for how to visit Germany’s highest point- Zuspitze and surrounding area with kids.
If you are in Nice for one day, plan your morning time on meandering through the stalls of the Cours Saleya market. This is a foodie’s dream for French food specialties of all sorts…wines, amazing cheeses, beautiful flowers, pastries, fruits and vegetables. Pick up some wine, cheese and a baguette for lunch. Buy some Socca (a chickpea flatbread and local food specialty) from Chez Teresa (a fixture of the market). If you have kids and they are getting antsy at this point, there are lots of options for treats that will buy you a few more minutes of peace to enjoy the market.
Take your baguette and cheese to the nearby to the Promenade du Paillon (Coulee Verte). This is a large park and greenspace that runs through the center of Nice right next to the old town and the market. BONUS – If you are traveling with kids, they will love a break to play in the fountains or the super neato playground (plan on returning here a few more times…this was our son’s favorite part of the trip!)
After lunch, wander Nice’s Vieux Ville or Old Town. Soak in the atmosphere of the beautiful narrow streets and the colorful facades of the ancient buildings. Spoil your dinner and stop for gelato at one of the many gelato shops in Old Town. For dinner, make a stop at Pilli Pizza in Vieux Nice to pick up one of the best budget food finds in town!
Towards the end of the day, head from the Cours Saleya market up the lift to the top of Castle Hill to enjoy views of the sunset over Nice. There is room to run around at the top so the kids can let off some steam before heading back. If you are not ready to head back to your hotel, a stroll down the scenic Promenade des Anglais with an ice cream cone is a great way to wrap up the evening after the heat of the day has dissipated.
Regardless of your location in Seville, a good day always starts with a filling breakfast. And Seville has got the right option for you to kick-start the day: churros con chocolate, a fried dough pasty typical for Spain, dipped in liquid chocolate.
After breakfast, it is time for some culture. Time to visit the Real Alcázar. The palace was built over 1,000 years ago by the Moorish kings that ruled large parts of Spain at the time and later reused as a palace by the Christian Spanish rulers. You can easily spend two hours admiring the impressive Arabic ornaments on the wall of the building, the luxurious rooms of the Spanish rulers and the gardens of the palace.
After visiting the palace, go for a stroll through the narrow streets of the nearby Santa Cruz neighborhood. Now it is time for one of the best things about Seville: Tapas. Doesn’t really matter which restaurant you choose from, you can’t go wrong. The food is always good and so is the price.
In the afternoon, head to Plaza Espana. This beautiful square was constructed for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929 and you can visit the pavilions of the various European and Latin American country and feel like traveling the world in just one park.
After dinner, you should not miss out on another cultural heritage of Seville: the Flamenco. It doesn’t matter if you are a dancer yourself and want to join the locals or if you just want to experience an authentic Flamenco show. You will absolutely love it.
Malaga is situated only about 2 hours from Seville. You can include it as well in the itinerary.
Zermatt is known for its iconic mountain, the Matterhorn, and has more to offer than just skiing the rugged Swiss Alps. A short train ride from Geneva or Zurich with the convenience of checking both your ski’s and luggage straight through to Zermatt. You will land in a classic looking village with colorful flowers adorning every window, and in the old town, you will see houses still up on stilts from the old days.
To spend your 24 hours wisely here is what I recommend: Drop your luggage off at your hotel of choice, quickly go to Gornergrat Train Station and take the ride up to overlook the Glacier with 360 views of the Alps. Be sure to ask for a discount from the conductor, sometimes they give you vouchers. After coming back down, head to Gorner Gorge and take a hike through this stunning area where you will walk along a suspended bridge and view some of the unique rock formations carved out by the stream below. After your hike, take a leisurely ride up to Glacier paradise where you will be greeted with a unique view of the backside of the Matterhorn. Head back to the Glacier paradise where you will descend into the glacier itself and will be able to view some ice sculptures and slide down a short icy slide. The slide isn’t much to shout about, but if you do it, you could then say you went ‘sledding inside a glacier’ and that is something to shout about. 🙂 Head back down to Zermatt and wander around the old town, buy your Swiss army knife and eat fondue – just in time for bed and to take a train out the next morning. This is how I spent my 24 hours in Zermatt and is certainly a place I will never forget.
Do you know, Lucerne is the perfect base to explore central Switzerland? Read here.
Gothard panorama express is classic scenic train ride in Switzerland which can be easily combined with the visit to Zermatt.
Golden Panorama Express is my favourite scenic train journeys in Switzerland.
If ever you and your family are in or near the Region of Umbria in Italy, a day in Perugia is a must. Other than driving, one can arrive at the center of town via a really cool mini metro transportation system.
In direct contrast to the modernity of the train, the stop is stationed within the still existing body of an ancient Etruscan Town. Imagine a city encaved that time forgot.
Once you reach street level, one can feel an energy that is brought about by a bustling university scene. The University of Perugia is one of the oldest, established in 1308. The setting, medieval, is nothing short of romantic.
There’s much in the way of the spiritual and history, in the form of the Cathedral and the Galleria Nazionale (Italian site). However, it’s the gastronomy that needs to be explored here. For one, it’s the home of the famous chocolatiers, Perugina, makers of the ubiquitous “Baci”, which is a stop worth making. There’s also Caffe Sandri, a classic coffee shop that’s been open since 1860.
There’s plenty of wonderful local restaurants and cafes, but for a great experience, a short excursion from the center of town is the Goretti vineyards, where the family can spend a few hours visiting the beautiful property and where the adults can taste some of the best wines in the nation. There are also cooking classes held for the whole family to enjoy.
Are you thinking of renting a car in Italy? You must read this before that.