Just a few miles south from the border with the Netherlands, Bocholt is a beautiful medieval town surrounded by its own defensive wall (remaining in several places). Planted in the lowlands, it has views for miles and the Aa Strang river quietly running through the town center with promenades to stroll along while contemplating lunch!
The town itself is very simple, and seems more modern than others in the North Rhine-Westphalia region, but still retains it’s smaller pedestrianized streets and one-way roads withing the town walls.
Outside of here you will find some of the more consumer-driven additions including the Arkaden and Neutorplatz shopping centers with indoor shopping and restaurants — both lit up in the winter evenings alongside the river.
During celebrations the Rathaus Lichterglanz (Light Gloss) is adorned with bright lights in the most amazing patterns.
Also, being quite close to the big city Essen in the south, the town has taken on the culture edge with its theater and other performances and shows throughout the year.
For a glimpse of the culture from past centuries take a short trip to the Lembeck Castle in the local Naturpark Hohe Mark to the southeast of town — it is a very French-looking fairy-tale chateau. Or try the Reasfeld Castle, a more compact looking building surrounded by water — just like a moat around an English castle.
If you fancy something totally different, head across to Wunderland Kalkar (about 30km/19mi west of Bocholt) to find a theme-park that defies any rules. Originally built as a nuclear powerplant (it was never commissioned due to various regulations) so step in a crazy Dutchman.
He brought the site and created a Las Vegas themed “Wonderland” where you can climb up into the cooling tower for great views, spend time in the ferris wheel overlooking the endless concrete structures, and then have drinks in the Wild West bar! You can even stay the night in the hotel as part of a package and have a luxury dinner to boot.