The Schalke Arena will be used four times during the European Championships in Germany. Among other things, the teams from Serbia, Italy and Portugal will be pleased that the roof of the arena can simply be closed in bad weather. In this case, it will be a little louder than it already is in the arena, which is usually used by Schalke 04. What does Gelsenkirchen have to offer traveling fans?

Day 1

10 am. Gelsenkirchen is regarded as an honest working-class town with a heart, in the middle of the German Ruhr region. Architectural beauty and romantic charm are usually sought in vain here. However, this does not mean that Gelsenkirchen does not have any appealing districts. Gelsenkirchen-Buer, for example, is unique in the region. Restaurants, cafés and individual stores create a charming atmosphere, especially in the Hochstraße. The perfect place for European guests from Italy, Spain or Serbia to get in the mood for Gelsenkirchen. A visit to the Beer 1a breakfast restaurant of a more sophisticated kind: "We want to show you that the most important meal of the day is more than just muesli and toast," claim the owners of this smart establishment. That has to be tested! 

12 o'clock. One of the dreams of a soccer fan is always to get to know a stadium without the anxiety of attending a match. A great opportunity for all European fans would therefore be to visit the Arena at Schalke as part of a guided tour and visit the Schalke Football Museum. It is part of the arena and covers 600 square meters, proving that Schalke 04 was one of Europe's top teams not so long ago. The club currently plays in the second division, but anyone who sees the stadium and the soccer museum with all its trophies will immediately understand that the club belongs in the top division. 

The Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen © - Marcel Paschertz

3 p.m. For many years, Gelsenkirchen was known as the city of many fires - everywhere in the Ruhr metropolis, the excess coke oven gas was flared off by the numerous coking plants. Structural change also put an end to coal mining and the heyday of heavy industry in Gelsenkirchen. However, there are still many places where you can see why Gelsenkirchen was once one of the powerhouses of the Ruhr region. An excursion to the Rheinelbe slag heap would definitely be a good idea for guests who want to get to grips with Gelsenkirchen's past. An exemplary forest landscape has developed here on the old Rheinelbe colliery site with a literal highlight: the spiral mountain of the slag heap is 85 meters high. From here you have the best view of the whole city.

6 pm. But now soccer again! In the Gelsenkirchen Fan Zone All matches of the European Football Championship will be shown in Nordsternpark. There is space for almost 6000 visitors on the site of the former colliery. The highlight: in addition to the footballing delicacies, Nordsternpark will also offer over 200 hours of cultural events. It is already certain that Alle Farben, KAMRAD and ESC starter Isaak will perform in Nordsternpark, and further surprise gigs are planned. A little tip: When the English fans are in town, who are known to arrive in large numbers, the Gelsenkirchen trotting track will also be converted into a special fan zone. 

8 pm. If there is such a thing as an up-and-coming excursion destination in Gelsenkirchen, then this is probably the Stölting harbor be in Gelsenkirchen-Bismarck. From there, you could take a boat trip on the picturesque Rhine-Herne Canal during the day and stop off at one of the many restaurants that have set up near the harbor in the evening. There is also a beach club with a sandy beach called ONE with an idyllic view of the Rhine-Herne Canal - Gelsenkirchen has rarely been more beautiful. In addition to ONE, the restaurants PuriNo with its wonderful outdoor terrace by the water and the meat factory Das Ruhrkind are particularly popular. 

Day 2

10 am. Close to the city center, spacious enough to accommodate large groups and with a solid gastronomic setup? Anyone looking for a starting point for the day in the center of Gelsenkirchen, where they can have a great breakfast and get ready for their team's match, will inevitably end up at the Café Extrablatt. (Bonus: the menu is also available in English.) The café in the city center extends over two floors, plus a beer garden with 160 seats, which opens when the temperatures are pleasant and the sun is shining. But good weather is a given during the European Football Championships anyway, keyword summer fairytale ...

1 p.m. Fancy a little excursion into the Gelsenkirchen countryside without being left high and dry? In this case, a tour to the beer garden Steinhausen Estate not wrong. This was originally an equestrian estate in Wanne-Eickel, which still focuses on equestrian sports today. But the idyllic beer garden with its 200 seats is not reserved exclusively for riders. The beer garden advertises its rustic style with "neck steaks, bratwurst and beer", which clearly defines its target group. Soccer fans from all over Europe are definitely among them. If you're feeling fit, the Resser Wäldchen, a popular area for hikers and cyclists, starts right next to the farm.

3 p.m. The Rhine-Herne Canal is an attractive attraction in the Ruhr area between Duisburg and Dortmund. Cyclists and walkers keep fit on its banks, while sun worshippers and barbecuers peacefully enjoy each other's company. Although swimming in the canal is officially prohibited, it is very popular and is actually tolerated in some places. So if you want to get a breath of fresh air after a hectic day in the city of Gelsenkirchen, the banks of the Rhine-Herne Canal are the place to be. Bonus: A great photo motif is the so-called Grimberg sickle on the Rhine-Herne Canal. The bridge for pedestrians and cyclists connects the recreational areas to the north and south of the KulturKanal directly and without long detours. It forms the end of the Erzbahntrasse adventure cycle path.

6 pm. Back in the humming top of the European Championship the first route leads back to the exemplarily restored Nordstern Landscape Park, once one of the many coal mines in the city. All 51 games of the European Championship will be shown in the Nordstern, see above, but for the big events, Gelsenkirchen goes one better. All games taking place in Gelsenkirchen and all games of the German national team are also shown in the amphitheater of the Nordsternpark. In addition, a varied cultural program is planned throughout the city for the European Championships: Renowned authors such as Ronald Reng and Christoph Biermann will read from their soccer books, soccer films will be screened and in May there will be a staged reading of "Night of Seville" with Peter Lohmeyer in the Grosses Haus of the Musiktheater.

8 pm. In the south of the city, a real party mile has established itself around Bochumer Straße in Gelsenkirchen-Ückendorf. Many bars and restaurants ring in the evening, and stable clubs keep the party going until the early hours. Another important venue for the cabaret scene is the Church of the Holy Cross has become. Mass has no longer been said there for several years, as the church has been "decommissioned", as the official phrase goes. Instead, a variety of cultural events take place there. From the Tattoo Convention to the Ruhr Piano Festival, everything is possible in the nave. Especially popular is the Rudelsingen, which is entering its 21st round this year. A good keyword for the many European fan groups that will be visiting Gelsenkirchen during the European Championships: when it comes to pack singing, no one can usually beat them ...

Copyright cover picture: Consol Colliery in Consol Park in Gelsenkirchen © - luna1904

Geschrieben von Harald Brown

Travel and culture journalist Harald Braun, a native of the Rhineland, lives in the countryside of Schleswig-Holstein, regularly escapes to Australia in winter, likes FC St. Pauli, South Tyrol and, increasingly, selected corners of Germany that he has recently discovered - such as the "Greif" harbor crane in front of the Elbphilharmonie concert hall, where you can spend an excellent night.

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