The Roman Colonia Ulpia Traiana has been reborn as an archaeological park, an open-air museum that features faithfully reconstructed buildings to help visitors visualise what the Roman town looked like. The self-guided tour takes you past such sites as the Amphitheatre, which seats 12,000 people during Xanten’s summer music festival; the Spielehaus, where you can play early versions of backgammon and Nine Men’s Morris; a Roman hostel complete with hot baths and a restaurant; and the majestic Hafentempel (Harbour Temple).
Also scattered around the grounds are pavilions that zero in on such themes as the life of gladiators, Roman building techniques and the power structure between emperors, citizens and slaves. Kids will enjoy the two imaginative playgrounds, one a Roman fort, the other water-themed (bring a towel).
To make better sense of the park, it's well worth taking a spin around the adjoining RömerMuseum before your visit.