Euro 2024 in Germany logo

Gelsenkirchen - City

Mining heritage and football royalty

For a hundred years and more, Gelsenkirchen has been known for two things: mining and football. From no more than a small village in the 19th century, its population grew in the wake of the industrial revolution to over 130,000 in the early 20th century, becoming the most important coal mining town in Europe. As coal mining was phased out, however, the city hit hard times, with the last colliery closing in the year 2000, putting 3,000 miners out of work. Since then, the city has attempted to re-establish itself as a centre for solar energy.

Throughout the ups and down of the coal mining era in Gelsenkirchen, one thing remained ever-present: the local workers' love for their football club, Schalke 04 (Schalke being a district of Gelsenkirchen).  S04, nicknamed 'Die Knappen' (the miners) or 'Die Königsblauen' (The Royal Blues) are the second-largest football club in Germany (by membership numbers) and in their heyday of the 1930s and '40s were undoubtedly German football royalty, as they took the national championship title no less than six times in nine years.

As far as tourist attractions go, I think even the proudest Gelsenkirchen resident would struggle to offer you much of a list. I've put down one or two below and Tripadvisor here has a list of a few more. If you have any tips of your own (things to see or do, places to eat, drink or stay) and would like to share them, I'd be happy to add them here. Please just e-mail me at

To keep this page uncluttered, I've not included any photos. Instead, I've put together a selection in this Gelsenkirchen City and Stadium Gallery.

You'll also find plenty of photos and a few ideas for things to do over at GetYourGuide. To be honest, through, even the locals would concede that Gelsenkirchen isn't really a city for tourists!

For hard copy guide books, see my Books page.

Getting to Gelsenkirchen

If you're flying into the city from the UK, see my UK Airports page for departure airport information. As Gelsenkirchen has no airport of its own, you essentially have a choice of three. So, see my Düsseldorf Airport, Dortmund Airport and Cologne-Bonn Airport pages for details of your potential arrival airport. If you're travelling to the Euros by rail, an Interrail pass will cover all your train journeys, while for individual trips within Germany see this page for Deutsche Bahn times and fares. And if your'e coming by coach, then FlixBus have you covered.


Ristorante Trulli
Italian restaurant not far from the main station. Part of a 35-years plus family business in Gelsenkirchen. Pizza, pasta and all that you'd expect on offer at an Italian. As the website linked to above is in German only, here are some reviews in English on the Ristorante Trulli Tripadvisor page.

Greek restaurant, also not far from the station (a 10-minute walk). All dishes based on Greek classics, re-interpreted and refined. The website linked to above is in German only, so here's the Diosmos page on Tripadvisor, albeit that most reviews (nearly all excellent) are also in German - indicative of Gelsenkirchen not really being a magnet for foreign tourists.

If you prefer to get away from the city centre, then this pub/restaurant in the Buer district of Gelsenkirchen offers you various sorts of schnitzel and other standard German dishes. About 20 minutes by bus to the ground, or you could walk there in around 45 minutes - which might not be a bad idea after a heavy lunch! Reviews in English here on the Dorfkrug Tripadvisor page.


Vereinslokal Bosch
Schalke 04 pub right next to the old Glückauf-Kampfbahn ground (see below), where the club played until 1973. Went in here years ago as part of an organised Schalke tour. Lots of S04 stuff on the walls and even a plaque marking the seat of one-time club legend Ernst Kuzorra. Beer and simple food (on matchdays). 14 minutes by tram to the Arena auf Schalke, 40 minutes on foot. For reviews in English see the Vereinslokal Schalke 04 'Bosch' Google reviews here.

Heiner's Biergarten
In the Nordsternpark (see below). For reviews in English see the Heiner's Biergarten Google reviews here.


Glückauf Kampfbahn 
Schalke 04's ground from 1928 to 1973. Not a huge amount left to see today, but I just find it amazing to look at ground's like this and BVB's old Rote Erde Stadion and imagine the clubs playing in front of huge crowds there as relatively recently as the early '70s. This ground was designed for just over 35,000, but it's said that for big games as many as 70,000 fans would pack onto the banked terraces. After the club moved to the Parkstadion in 1973, the old terraces fell into disrepair. But if you peer through the old main gates, you can still get a feel of what it used to be like. You may even be able to go into the small main stand. In 2006, the ground was used for public viewing for the World Cup, so that may be the case again for the Euros. But if you can't get a beer there, just go next door to the old club pub (see above)!

Schalke Museum
If it's open during the Euros, the Schalke 04 museum at the arena is packed full of displays and interactive exhibits that take you back through the club's prestigious history (despite struggling today, they used to be one of the most successful clubs in the country). Free entry with the WelcomeCard Ruhr.

A huge park, the size of 130 football pitches, at the centre of which is the Nordsternturm (North Star Tower), an imposing legacy of the collieries that once defined this area (website, German only, here). Now, it houses a museum about the mining past and the changes through to the present day, as well as an obsevation platform, from which you can see right across Gelsenkirchen and large parts of the Ruhr. From a canalside jetty in the park boats of the 'White Fleet' travel during the summer months to Oberhausen and back (1 hour 15 minutes each way) along the Rhein-Herne Canal (details, in German only, here).

There are more ideas on things to do here and elsewhere in Germany on my '100 things to do' page.



Ibis Styles
Located directly opposite the main station. Soundproofed, no-frills rooms. Free Wi-Ffi. Breakfast buffet. Approx. 26 minutes to the ground by tram. 

Good morning Gelsenkirchen
Also right outside the main station. Free Wi-Fi. Bar and breakfast buffet. As for the Ibis Styles, c. 26 minutes by tram to the ground.

Hotel La Scala
Away from the city centre, in the district of Buer, this hotel is a 10-minute walk from the Dorfkrug pub/restaurant mentioned above. It has its own restaurant and bar, and, if you're driving, free parking.

For other hotels on and around the respective matchdays, plus out of town alternatives, see the Dates page.


Campingplatz Tögemannsfeld
750m walk to OER-E. Jugendherberge bus stop, then bus and regional train via OER-E. Mitte and Recklinghausen Hbf to Gelsenkirchen Hbf. Total journey time: 55 minutes.

Knaus Campingpark Essen-Werden
700m walk to Essen Werden bus stop, a 5-minute bus ride to Essen Bredeney, then 12 minutes on a tram to Essen Hauptbahnhof, followed by 8 minutes on a regional train to Gelsenkirchen Hbf. Total journey time: 46 minutes.

For campsites for other venues, see my Camping page. 

©Copyright. All rights reserved.

We need your consent to load the translations

We use a third-party service to translate the website content that may collect data about your activity. Please review the details in the privacy policy and accept the service to view the translations.