Wuppertal is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia in the northwestern part of Germany. It was founded in 1929 out of the merger between the independent cities Barmen and Elberfeld. Despite of 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.
Wuppertal is only 30 minutes away from Cologne by regional train (RE/RB), with departures several times an hour.
The "ICE" (Inter City Express, the German 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.
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 kilometers across the city in about 30 minutes, mostly above the surface of the river Wupper, and features 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 few minutes and single trip tickets are €2.20, VRR tickets accepted.
The Schwebebahn, the world's oldest monorail system, and its Kaiserwagen (1900)
The bridges of the Wuppertaler Schwebebahn
The clock museum. Only open on weekends.
Die Hardt this is a nice wide park located on a Hill in the heart of Wuppertal. On the park area there is also the Botanischer Garten (botanical garden).
Historische Stadthalle Wuppertal (the historical city hall). Nowadays the Stadthalle is a concert hall, host to many cultural events.
Geburtshaus von Friedrich Engels(birthplace of Friedrich Engels). Nearby is the Museum für Frühindustrialisierung (Museum for Early Industrialisation). 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.
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.
Go to the Vohwinkeler Flohmarkt (fleamarket - end of every September) und Lange Tafel (the long table - every five years, next time in 2014). 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.
Wuppertaler Brauhaus, Kleine Flurstr. 5, . Daily 11 AM-11 PM 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 itself is the old 19th century swimming pool (hall). You'll need hollow legs to eat their mixed grill! A must visit venue. edit
Odysseus Grill, Gathe 67, 42107 W.Elberfeld (5 min.walk from the city center towards Morianstr.), ☎ 0202/442246, . 17:30-24:00 Daily. Monday closed. A nice cosy greek tavern with good food and friendly staff10-15pp. edit
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.
Il Principe, Waldeckstrasse 6, Oberbarmen, ☎ 0202 625153. This is a very nice italian restaurant, very friendly waiters, I've always been served free bruschetta, and the price is very low, you can have an excellent pizza and drink for less than 10 euros. Best thing is the very italian osteria atmosphere, if you happen to be in the OberBarmen (not very touristy, I was there for my internship) area this is an excellent stop.edit
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 center.
Wuppertal, like most German cities, has a Jugendherberge (youth hostel) - one of the cheapest places to stay. Most of the time a little breakfast is included in the price for staying overnight. Especially during the busy season, reservations should be made in advance.