Travel Dortmund from a Sports Traveler’s Eye

A love of arts and culture, a unique beer scene, and vibrant, colorful neighborhoods make Dortmund so special. While feeling classically German, Dortmund also feels unique in its own way – a youthful, vibrant city where it’s easy to have a lot of fun. Oh, and don’t forget about football giants BVB! Planning a trip to Dortmund? Here’s everything you need to know first. 

Dortmund’s 2024 sporting events and other highlights 

While there’s plenty to see and do in Dortmund at any time of the year, the city is also playing host to some incredible events and activities throughout 2024. Here’s Dortmund’s impressive calendar of highlights. What’s on your list? 

Euro 2024

Germany, Europe, and the rest of the world are eagerly awaiting the kick-off of Euro 2024 in June. Dortmund is set to host six matches throughout the tournament – four group-stage games, a round-of-16 clash, and a semi-final. Tickets are hard to come by, but there will be a UEFA Fan Zone at Friedensplatz where you can soak up all the excitement and catch the games on the big screen. It’s also very much recommended to book a tour in Borussia Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park – one of the Euro 2024 host venues, and an exciting visit for football fans even on days when games are not played.

Rock Hard Festival

Dortmund is hosting a huge number of rock and metal festivals throughout the year, as it always does. This year boasts some impressive options, but Rock Hard Festival from May 17th to May 19th is certainly one for the hardcore fans. 

The Eras Tour

If metal isn’t your thing, there’s a good chance Taylor Swift is. Like most parts of the world, Dortmund will be taken over by Swifties as TS brings her record-shattering tour to Germany. You can catch The Eras Tour in Gelsenkirchen (15 minutes west of Dortmund) on July 17th, 18th, and 19th. 

Borussia Dortmund Matches

If you miss out on Euro 2024 tickets, never fear! You can soak up Germany’s incredible football atmosphere almost any time of the year at a Borussia Dortmund match. The season wraps up in May, takes a break over the summer, then starts again later in July. The atmosphere is insane – these games are definitely worth checking out. 

All about Dortmund: 15 tips for traveling to Dortmund for Sports Events

Regardless of why you’re visiting Dortmund, it helps to have some travel-savvy tips under your belt so you spend less time looking like a foolish tourist. Here are some helpful wisdom nuggets to get you started. 

1. Bring cash

Most major stores accept credit cards, but there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself in a situation where cash is needed. Smaller stores, markets, and public transport sometimes necessitate cash, so bring some with you to avoid a stressful situation. 

2. Public transport rocks

Dortmund is a relatively small, mostly walkable city, but if you do find yourself needing to travel further afield, there’s a great public transit system. There are trams, buses, and an underground train, and the best part is that you only need one ticket for all of them! 

3. Don’t jaywalk

Sure, jaywalking is technically illegal in most parts of the world, but in Germany it’s genuinely frowned upon. If you cross the street before the little illuminated man tells you to, you can expect stern looks or even words from locals, especially if they’re trying to set a good example for their kids. 

4. The State Museums are free!

Dortmund is known for its world-class museums, and the city certainly boasts plenty of them. Museum for Art and Cultural History is a one that you will bound to love. The best part? State-run museums are free! Some have special exhibits that cost more, but you can enjoy the regular exhibits without paying a cent. 

5. Must – Visit German football museum

Dortmund as a city is home to the German Football Museum – described as a home to German football’s past, present, and future. Football fans, and especially German football fans, will find the museum breathtaking, as it not only presents football history and culture in Germany – it offers the visitor the chance to live through it in a vivid and interactive way. Personally, as a football fan, I strongly recommend this specific museum

6. Hit up alter markt on BVB match days

If you don’t have tickets to a Dortmund game (firstly, why not?) but still want to soak up the gameday atmosphere, there are a few options. A lot of bars and pubs in the city show games, and usually have a decent turnout. You can also visit Alter Markt (Old Market), where there’s almost always something happening on match days, and plenty of nearby bars and restaurants. 

7. The tap water is safe

Don’t worry about constantly buying bottled water in Dortmund – tap water is 100% safe. Bring a refillable water bottle with you as you’ll find plenty of places to fill up at museums and other spots around the city. 

8. Many stores are closed on Sundays

Germany has some pretty strict labor laws, so many stores are closed on Sundays. While museums, restaurants, and bars are almost always open, you might find yourself out of luck if you were hoping to do some shopping or visit the supermarket. If you do need some supplies on a Sunday, stores inside train stations are often exempt and may be open. 

9. Most people speak English

If German makes absolutely no sense to you, don’t fret! You’ll find that most people speak English. In fact, it’s actually the official business language in Germany, with around 56% of the population speaking English fluently. That said, don’t be afraid to try out a few German phrases, it’s always appreciated!

10. Don’t sleep on Dortmund’s food

Dortmund may not exactly be famous for its culinary scene, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find some great restaurants in the city. While a currywurst on the go never fails to satisfy, you can elevate your dining at some of the mind-blowing Michelin-recognized eateries around the city. 

11. It’s nice to tip

Tipping isn’t mandatory in Dortmund, but it’s a nice way to show your appreciation when you’ve received genuinely good service. You don’t need to go crazy and leave a 30% tip on a restaurant bill, but you can round up when paying at bars or restaurants. Don’t leave money on the table – give it to your waiter and let them know how much change you need. 

12. Check each venue’s smoking rules

Smoking isn’t as common in Germany as you may think. In Dortmund, smoking indoors is generally banned. Restaurants and bars may have designated smoking areas (separate from the main venue) or allow smoking outside on a terrace or beer garden. Make sure you understand the rules before lighting up, as each establishment may be different. 

13. Pack for any weather

Dortmund’s weather can be unpredictable, especially during spring and autumn. Layer up and pack for all weather, remembering that even in summer it can get quite cold in the evenings. Don’t forget to take an umbrella – rain can spring up out of nowhere. 

14. Public, free wifi is abundant

Many restaurants, bars, cafes, museums, and even some public spaces throughout the city offer free public WiFi. Speeds and quality can vary, but you can usually log on to load a map, access your event tickets, or fire off a few messages. As long as your phone plan is international, you shouldn’t need to buy a sim card. 

15. Follow the recycling rules

Germany prides itself on being green, and even has a zero-waste city. Dortmund is no exception, with most residents diligently separating their recycling, organic waste, and trash. Follow the signs and pictures on the different receptacles on the street to learn what goes where and help keep Dortmund pristine. 

Dortmund FAQ: More info for sports travelers

You’re almost ready to start packing your bags, but there are just a few more questions you need the answers to. Here you go! 

Is Dortmund Good for Tourists?

Dortmund is great for tourists, especially if you’re looking to soak up some culture at the many museums and galleries around the city. There are also lots of public parks and outdoor spaces for relaxing and a great pub culture. And, as we mentioned, public transport around the city is a breeze. 

What Is Special About Dortmund?

Dortmund’s love of football, the city’s free museums, its extensive beer culture, and its industrial history are some of the things that make Dortmund so special. Plus, the people are great! 

What Does Borussia Mean?

You might see the word “Borussia” across the city a lot, especially if you’re heading to a Dortmund game. Basically, Borussia is the Latin word for Prussia, the old version of (roughly) Germany, Poland, Lithuania, and Russia. 

Is Dortmund Safe at Night?

Dortmund is a safe city, and you can walk around after dark without too many concerns. Just follow all the usual rules like staying in busier, well-lit areas, keeping your personal belongings safe in crowds, and taking extra caution if you’re solo sports traveling

Is Dortmund a Cheap City?

Both for visiting and living in, Dortmund is one of the most affordable cities in Germany. Hotels, restaurants, and transport are all reasonably priced and certainly more affordable than most European cities. Just another reason to visit Dortmund! 

Find everything you need at TFS for the perfect Dortmund trip

Here at Traveling for Sports, we’re passionate about seeing the world and cheering on our teams. Browse through our articles to find everything you need to know for your upcoming trip to Dortmund, from where to stay, to the city’s best attractions, and what to do after the sun sets. We’ve got you covered – just pack your bags and get your camera ready! If you want to visit more cities of sports travelers like, have a look at our website.