The northernmost stretch of the Rhine in Germany takes the river through the largest of Germany's federal states: North Rhine-Westphalia. Our trip on the Lower Rhine begins in the state capital, Dusseldorf.
The 180-kilometer (112-mile) stretch of the Rhine between Bonn and Emmerich is called the Lower Rhine. The Rhine is one of Europe's most important waterways. Many of the ports on its banks were created as early as the Middle Ages. Dusseldorf didn't get its river port until the 19th century.
Since the 1990s, the city has used parts of the port very differently. Modern and historical architecture lie cheek by jowl. Offices, hotels and restaurants moved in; it's a concept that's caught on. One of Europe's largest inland ports, Dusseldorf has also created a promenade for strolling through its harbor area.
Near Emmerich, the river bed is nearly 400 meters (1,300 feet) wide. The countryside around the Lower Rhine is flat, which makes it a bicyclists' paradise. With 2,000 kilometers of paths, the Lower Rhine route provides an ideal way to explore the region.