Zeche Zollverein

Top choice in The Ruhrgebiet

A key site along the Ruhr area's Industrial Heritage Trail, the former Zollverein coal mine was a marvel of efficiency while in operation from 1932 until 1986. In 2001, Unesco declared the Bauhaus-style complex a World Heritage Site. Since closing, the sprawling site has since been rebooted as a cultural centre with museums, performance spaces, artists' studios, cafes and some unusual playgrounds. A major focus is the excellent Ruhr Museum in the old coal-wash plant.

Be sure to explore the rambling grounds which encompass dozens of industrial buildings spread out over a wooded expanse with some park-like areas. Attractions include sculptures and installations, workshops and galleries, a seasonal swimming pool and ice-skating rink (€7), and a solar-powered Ferris wheel. Cafes and restaurants are scattered about. If you don't want to walk, rent a bicycle near the visitors centre.