Photo by industryandtravel
Photo by industryandtravel

Germany day trips: Öcher Bend Festival

by Shereece Spain
Stripes Europe

Welcome, spring! Oh, how I’ve missed you and the radiant sunshine you bring. I’m officially in the mood to start the 2019 festival season. The options are overwhelming. Let’s use this opportunity to discover a festival in the city of Aachen. 

A fest-tastic day 

It’s time to break out of that winter funk and head to Bendplatz in Aachen for the Öcher Bend Festival. This spectacular spring festival runs April 20 - May 6, so you may find yourself planning more than one visit. You can enjoy a family outing or make it a girl’s or guy’s trip. Regardless, everyone will find something — festival food, carnival rides for kids and adults, desserts, games and more! 

As with many festivals, there are special days scheduled – Family Day, Ladies Night, and Student Day to name a few. Be sure to check out the official website for the exclusive discounts and specials offered on these days. It could be a money saver! 

Beyond the festival 

If you’ve never been to Aachen, you may want to arrive early to explore other parts of the city. After all, it was the chosen residence of the first Holy Roman Emperor, Charlemagne. Every European city offers its own unique history. Its one-of-a-kind buildings are just one way a city will tell you that tale. Spend the day not only enjoying the festival but also absorbing local experiences. 

Aachen Cathedral and Cathedral Treasury - Charlemagne was originally buried in this magnificent monument. His exhumed remains are now contained at the Karlschrein close by. Step inside the cathedral to admire the simplicity of his throne. Art enthusiasts will enjoy the extremely valuable collection of Medieval liturgical art at the treasury. 

Center Charlemagne - To learn more about the city’s history and Charlemagne’s historic significance, take a tour of this amazing museum. Marktplatz am Rathaus - The Rathaus (city hall) is a sight to behold. The Marktplatz area plays host to a market on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Don’t forget to bring an empty market bag to take home some local purchases! 

Marschiertor and Ponttor - These are the last two remaining parts of Aachen’s former protective city wall. The amazing Medieval architecture is simply spectacular. 

Three-country point - Lying just outside is the city to the South point where Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium meet. There aren’t many places where you can technically be in more than one place at the same time. 

Aquis Plaza Aachen mall - I love to check out the local shopping whenever I visit a new city (when my husband and children allow). It’s the perfect thing to do if you happen to get caught in the rain. This mall offers many of my favorite stores - Deichmann, Depot and more! Caution parents … there’s a Build-a-Bear Workshop. That could go either way with the kiddos, but thought I’d warn you just in case! 

Getting there 

The drive to Aachen is approximately three hours from the Kaiserslautern area and about two and a half hours from Wiesbaden. This is a little farther than I usually go with day trip recommendations, but it is well worth the extra travel time! Parking is convenient at the Parkhaus am Dom (near the cathedral) or Parkhaus Galera Kaufhof (near the mall). From there, you’re within a kilometer walk to many attractions. Taking Deutche Bahn is also an excellent choice. If you go early to check out the city first, take the train into Aachen Hauptbahnhof. You’re still within one and a half kilometers from most of sights. Take the train to Aachen Ost for the festival. In less than 10 minutes, you’ll be in fest heaven.  

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