The time has come for me to say goodbye to Dortmund and, thus far, I’ve highlighted the main attractions. I’d be remiss, however, if I didn’t shed a little light on the more unassuming bits of my time in Dortmund that any BVB fan will appreciate.
It goes without saying that one must observe the Westfalenstadion up close and personal. But don’t discount the impact a longshot can have as skyline/aerial views are equally spectacular and impressive.
- Dortmunder U - It’s totally free to take the elevator up to the outdoor observation deck of the iconic Dortmunder U and once you get there, it boasts dazzling views of City Center. You can also catch a sneak peak of the Stadion from here. It’s not the most breathtaking view, but if you want to see it from every angle possible, add this to your list.
- Bolmke Park - This lovely park is south of the stadium and offers a great escape into nature. I took the U-Bahn to the Theodor-Fliedner-Heim station and took a fantastic walk right up to the stadium before deviating south to enter the park. While I’m sure it’s gorgeous during the Spring/Summer/Fall, I was afforded views of the stadium through the bare branches. I described this hike as walking in the shadow of the stadium.
- Florianturm - Another iconic part of the Dortmund skyline and situated within the Westfalenpark, this is a must for anyone coming to the city. I went to the Florianturm on one of my first days, riding the elevator up 465+ feet to the the observation deck. I exited the lift lobby, stepped out onto the deck and turned to my right. “Holy shit!” I was laying my eyes on the Westfalenstadion for the very first time. It was, stunning. It really was such an excellent way to see the stadium for the very first time as well as the whole of Dortmund.
- Phoenix-See - Outside the city, Phoenix-See is an impressive man-made lake which is a runner’s dream. Equal parts scenic and urban, get a taste of nature and then follow it up with a pint or a coffee (I recommend Espresso Perfetto). While you’re strolling around the lake, you can expect some distant views of the stadium and be sure to climb to the top of the observation area for the best view Phoenix-See has to offer.
- Emscher Trail - Following along the river, this trail is located on the west side of town closer to the university. It’s quiet and well maintained, but the main attraction for the BVB fan here is the climb to the Küpperich. This ascent provides some of the best panoramic views of the city including one very famous football stadium.
Kevin Großkreutz is a beloved part of the BVB family as well as a Dortmunder through and and through. Several years ago, he opened Mit Schmackes with a buddy to create a “home-style pub restaurant in the heart of the city,” where they offer Westphalian home cooking. It’s also a super popular spot to chill and watch football matches. Reservations are highly recommended and even required for big matches. I had a chance to watch the Germany/Belgium friendly at the pub and I enjoyed the friendly people, good beer and a taste of traditional Westphalian food. Whether you go for game day viewing or not, it’s still a fun thing to do and you never know when you might run into Kevin himself.
BVB Walk of Fame
In 2009, the Walk of Fame was installed throughout Dortmund to commemorate 100 years of BVB. Drawing inspiration from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, there are 108 stars on the sidewalk on a path pretty much originating in the Borsigplatz and culminating at the Stadion*. I decided it would be the perfect way to spend my last day in Dortmund, making Westfalenstadion one of the last things I would see before I left. If you choose to undertake this trek, be prepared to spend the better part of a day on this excursion. There’s really no published map of the route so getting started took me a bit of time. It also turns out I’d already seen many of the stars and just hadn’t realized it! It really was a fun thing to do that is also right up the alley for any BVB fan who is into the history and highlights of BVB.
*Sebastian Kehl’s star (#106) is randomly in the center of Dortmund, off the main path of the Walk.
While out on a walk one day, I happened upon a very inviting green space. Lo and behold, it was Südwestfriedhof - a fairly large cemetery just north of the stadium. At first, I was quick to dismiss it. “Pssh. A cemetery? Please.” I’ve never been happier to eat my words because the time I spent here is near the top on my list of favorite things to do in Dortmund. The cemetery offers unique views of the stadium (if I were to be buried somewhere...it would so totally be here) and the legendary Franz Jacobi claims this as his final resting place too.
Dortmund and Dortmunders
It’s not very often that I encounter a fellow BVB fan back home in Orlando. When I do spot another fan, I turn into paparazzi. I had to suppress that urge upon arrival because BVB fans were everywhere. Not only that, but signs of club supporters were abundant. No surface was safe from BVB related graffiti. BVB merch was readily available at grocery stores and apothecaries alike. I was filled with a sense of being amongst “my people” while in Dortmund. It probably is comparable to a place like Gainesville (or other university towns), but it just hits different when you share the same passion as the residents.
And just like that, my series comes to an end...
Readers, I hope you’ve enjoyed following along with my experiences and perspectives as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing them with you. Many of us dream of taking this journey and if there’s anything I can really offer if you travel here, it’s to get yourself a Dortmunder Salzkuchen and Durstlöscher then get out and explore the city and BVB culture for yourself.