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Not to be confused with Wupperthal in South Africa.

Wuppertal is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia in the northwestern part of Germany. It is famous for having the world's oldest monorail system, and as the birthplace of Friedrich Engels, co-author of the Communist Manifesto.



It is a result of a 1929 merger of the erstwhile independent cities Barmen and Elberfeld. Despite the young age of the city, the history of the settlement along the river "Wupper" goes back to 1161. "Elberfeld" was first mentioned in official documents as an estate of the archbishop of Cologne and received its town charter in 1610. "Barmen" was charted in 1808. Barmen is also notable as the birthplace of Friedrich Engels, best friend, financier and confidante of Karl Marx (who was born in Trier). While some other city mergers in Germany haven't gone over well with the locals, the parts of Wuppertal feel much like a coherent whole these days, in part aided by the suspension railway ("Schwebebahn") that serves both parts and predates the merger.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

The closest airports to Wuppertal are either Düsseldorf airport or Cologne/Bonn airport. Lufthansa's (and by extension Germany's) main hub airport Frankfurt FRA IATA is worth considering when arriving from across an ocean as it is not that far away and well connected through the Frankfurt-Cologne high speed mainline.

By train[edit]

Typical street scene: Narrow steep street and old residential buildings
  • 1 Wuppertal Hauptbahnhof. Wuppertal Central Station (Q541041) on Wikidata Wuppertal Hauptbahnhof on Wikipedia

Wuppertal is 30 minutes away from Cologne by regional train (RE/RB), with departures several times an hour.

The ICE (Inter City Express, the high-speed train) stops only at the Wuppertal Hauptbahnhof (HBF), the main station in Wuppertal. S-Bahn (Schnell-Bahn) and RE (Regional Express) trains stop at several train stations in Wuppertal, although the main station is probably the most convenient for most tourists.

By car[edit]

Wuppertal lies near and is crossed by several Autobahn routes. In the north-east of the city, highways A1, a major North-South Autobahn, A43 and A46 meet at an interchange.
A46 transverses the city along the northern slope of the Wupper Valley and ends near Düsseldorf. In the West, near Vohwinkel district, A535 is a short 13 km (8.1 mi) branch highway that connects to A44 and can be used to reach Essen easily. The entire Ruhr area and Rhineland and their surroundings are criss-crossed by a dense web of highways and major roads, so Wuppertal is easy to reach from any direction.

On foot[edit]

Walking down the L357 will take approx 6 hours. This is not advisable but if time is your friend then this might be an alternate option.

Get around[edit]

By public transport[edit]

Map of Wuppertal

Wuppertal has a well-developed public transport network. The most important line is the world-famous

  • Wuppertaler Schwebebahn (Wuppertal Suspension Railway), +49 180 6 504030. Daily 05:00-23:00. An attraction in itself, the Wuppertaler Schwebebahn is the world's oldest monorail system, dating back to 1901. The suspended trains run for 13.3 km (8.3 mi) across the city in about 30 minutes, mostly above the surface of the river Wupper, and feature in the movie Der Krieger und die Kaiserin (The Princess and the Warrior), which is set in and around Wuppertal. On special occasions, the original Kaiserwagen, used by Emperor Wilhelm II at the inauguration in 1900, is still used. Trains run every 4 minutes on Monday-Friday, 6 minutes on Saturday, 8 minutes on Sunday. €2.90, children €1.70; 24-hour ticket €7.20, each additional person €3.50; 48-hour ticket €13.70, each additional person €6.60. Wuppertal cable car line (Q256964) on Wikidata Wuppertal Schwebebahn on Wikipedia

Besides the Schwebebahn, which runs in the long-stretched valley, the city uses buses on regular city bus routes, express routes and night bus services on friday and saturday nights, as well as S-Bahn and Regional train services. Buses and the Schwebebahn are operated by local WSW (german website), mainline rail is run by various operators.

All of them can be used with VRR tickets. Tickets are set in different levels (Preisstufe): Within Wuppertal A, for trips to neighbouring cities except the very edges B, for further trips C or D.
Tickets are available to be bought from bus drivers and from ticket machines at all Schwebebahn stops, important interchange stops and train stations. Machines take coins, bills and cards; bus drivers take small cash amounts. If you're unsure you can tell the bus driver where you need to go and they will sell you the correct ticket. Tickets can also be bought via apps like WSW, VRR or DB.

There are no barriers at Schwebebahn stops, but undercover officers will demand a €60.00 fine if you're caught without valid ticket during a ticket check, so make sure you have a valid ticket before boarding.

By car[edit]

As its name implies, Wuppertal is within the Wupper valley, and surrounding hillsides. That means you're dealing with a densely built-up valley, steep narrow streets and winding steep main roads creeping up out of the valley, lots of traffic and a severe lack of parking. Unless you like burning through your clutch, trying to parallel park into a tiny spot on a 20 percent gradient (yes, really) street, you're better off parking in a garage in the valley and getting around on public transport.

On foot[edit]

As already mentioned, the city consists mostly of a narrow dense valley and neighbourhoods on the surrounding hills. This makes Wuppertal the german city with the most stairs. Walking here requires some seriosu cardio, as you'll be dealing with some interesting and old, but equally steep stairs in addition to the inclined streets. Once you've climbed your way up, you'll be rewarded by pretty neat views.


Wuppertal as a whole - as opposed to its constituent parts Barmen and Elberfeld - is probably best known for its pioneering urban transit system, the Schwebebahn which its designer Eugene Langen tried to sell around the world but had few takers outside Wuppertal. A much shorter route exists in Dresden and was also built during Langen's lifetime.

The Schwebebahn, the world's oldest monorail system, and its Kaiserwagen (1900)
  • 1 Die Hardt. A nice wide park on a hill in the heart of Wuppertal. On the park area there is also the Botanischer Garten (botanical garden). Botanischer Garten Wuppertal (Q318081) on Wikidata Botanischer Garten Wuppertal on Wikipedia
  • 2 Wuppertaler Zoo, Hubertusallee 30 (S-Bahn "W-Zoologischer Garten" Schwebebahn stop "Zoo/Stadion"), +49 202 5633600. Daily 09:00-18:00. Opened in 1880 and now hosts 470 species in a 24-hectare park-like environment. Adults €19.00, under 15: free. Wuppertal Zoo (Q220103) on Wikidata Wuppertal Zoo on Wikipedia
  • 3 Historische Stadthalle Wuppertal (the historical city hall). Nowadays the Stadthalle is a concert hall, host to many cultural events. Historische Stadthalle am Johannisberg (Q2327262) on Wikidata
  • 4 Engels Haus (Schwebebahn stop "Adlerbrücke"). Tu-F 09:00-17:00; weekend and holidays 10:00-18:00. Friedrich Engels is perhaps one of Barmen's most famous sons. He was not born in this house (the actual birth house some 100 metres away did not survive the war) but he did grow up here and his father was born here. While Trier has learned to make their native son Karl Marx into a tourism attraction, the co-founder of Marxism and Marx's long-time financier and best friend does not have the name recognition (it's not "Engelsism", after all) and Wuppertal has thus far failed to really market its connection to the son of a cotton manufacturer born in 1820. Friedrich Engels House (Q1110485) on Wikidata de:Engels-Haus on Wikipedia
  • 5 Museum für Frühindustrialisierung (Museum for Early Industrialisation), Engelsstr. 10-18 1. Even though it costs money to get in (€4 for adults), it's worth a visit because they let one help operate one of the antique machines. The signs are only in German, so if you don't speak it, you might want to bring a native speaker or see ahead of time whether they have audio tours, or English speakers working at the museum. Museum für Frühindustrialisierung (Q1954616) on Wikidata
  • 6 . A performance by the Pina Bausch dance company. Since the late choreographer Pina Bausch (1940-2009) came from Wuppertal, her troupe often stops by in the city to show her work. Performances are held most of the time in he Wuppertaler Theater. Wuppertaler Bühnen (Q2595154) on Wikidata Wuppertaler Bühnen on Wikipedia
  • 7 Ronsdorfer Talsperre. Take a walk around the historical dam.


  • 1 Bergische Museumbahnen, Kohlfurth district of Wuppertal (from Wuppertal take Bus CE64 to stop "Kohlfurther Brücke"), . No rides open; museum open Sa 11:00-17:00. The museum provides rides on old tram over its 2.8 km (1.7 mi), metre—gauge line that runs through a wooded area, and was originally abandoned in 1969. The only active remains of the once vast urban and rural tramway network that covered this region. Was hit by the severe floods of 2021, and still not running again as of Spring 2024. Bergische Museumsbahnen (Q819860) on Wikidata Bergische Museumsbahnen on Wikipedia
  • Lange Tafel (the long table). The Lange Tafel is an outdoor event where several Wuppertal cafes and bars offer their beverages and food lined up in a long row under the Schwebebahn. Langer Tisch 2009 (Q1805175) on Wikidata


If you want to go shopping, then the Old Town or now center of Elberfeld will probably be the best place to go, since it offers the widest range of different stores in Wuppertal.

  • Vohwinkeler Flohmarkt (fleamarket).

Friedrich-Ebert-Straße in the Luisenviertel neighbourhood is a popular street for shopping and dining.


If you want to go out, then the Luisenviertel is probably a nice place to go. The Luisenviertel is part of the Old Town of Elberfeld and hosts a wide range of nice cafes and some restaurants. The most famous one is Katzengold.

  • 1 Katzengold, Untergrünewalder Straße 3.
  • 2 Wuppertaler Brauhaus, Kleine Flurstr. 5. Daily 11:00-23:00 or later. Try the Wuppertaler Brauhaus-Fritten and the spare ribs. Also the Pork Knuckle is superb if you like dark pork meat. Look in the "from the oven" section of the menu. Wash down with the in-house 'Dunkel' or Brauhaus Weisen. The atmosphere here is superb, there's live music most nights. The building is the old 19th-century swimming pool (hall). You'll need hollow legs to eat their mixed grill!
  • 3 Hayat-Jiyan Restaurant, Schreinerstr. 28 (Bus 643 Stop Schreinerstraße), +49 202 308329. Tu-Sa 17:00-00:00. Oriental food, nice old cosy atmosphere. Not wheelchair-accessible.


Like most German cities, Wuppertal brews a local beer exclusive to the city. The Wupper Hell and the Wupper Dunkel can only be enjoyed in the Wuppertaler Brauhaus, a former swimming pool converted into a modern brewery in Barmen, close to the city centre.


Most hotel accommodation is found in the main district of Elberfeld, even though smaller non-chain accommodation can be found in the other districts as well. A bunch of hotels have opened up in the 2020s due to increasing demand during trade fairs in close by Düsseldorf, so rates should have gotten more competitive.

Go next[edit]

This city travel guide to Wuppertal is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.