Our Hometowns: A Local's Guide to The Ruhr Valley, in Germany (our CEO’s Home!)

Discover the best spots in this industrial but charming German region with exclusive tips from Axel.

Here at trivago, we are a team of people from 90 nationalities. Even though we are always exploring new places all around the globe, we are proud of where we came from and are always super excited to tell each other about our hometowns as soon as we hear something like “I’m going to your city, do you have tips?”. That`s why we created our Hometowns series: to aggregate and share with you travel tips that a close friend would give – from Porto (Portugal) to Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).

This time, we’ll present to you the Ruhr Valley, a German area with a strong steel and coal industry heritage, composed by cities like Dortmund, Essen, Bochum and Hagen. The Valley is not only the largest urban area in the country, but also the hometown of trivago`s CEO, Axel Hefer. In this article, Axel will lead you through the best spots around the region, where you can visit old mines, try local beers and even sleep in a castle. Curious? Let`s go!

Axel Hefer

CEO at trivago, Axel comes from the Ruhr Valley in Germany, more specifically from a city called Hagen. The region has plenty of intriguing (and beautiful) old industrial complexes, but what makes him really proud of his hometown is the mentality of the people there - they are open and direct, and stand in for each other.

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Here are few more restaurants and dishes that I would recommend in the Ruhr valley.

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My tips about the Ruhr Valley don’t stop there.

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While in the Ruhr valley, don`t miss these great spots as well.

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There are many more hidden gems in the Ruhr that you need to discover.


If you want to feel like royalty while travelling to the Ruhr Valley, the hotel Hugenpoet may be the place for you. The five-star hotel is located in an impressive 370-yearold castle, surrounded by the Kettwig forest on the outskirts of Essen.
The rooms are elegant and spacious, with great views to the castle park – the kind of place that by itself is worth a trip. While there, don’t forget to try out the culinary of the restaurant HUGENpöttchen, a fine place to have lunch or to indulge yourself with homemade cakes.