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Essen Spiel Fair

With more than 148.000 visitors this is easily the biggest gaming event in the world.

Organized by the Merz Verlag the Spiel fair attracts exhibitors and gamers from all over the world - a fact that is reflected in its subtitle Internationale Spieltage: International Gamedays.Mik

Essential info for Essen travellers
The event is held once a year, in the last weekend of October.
Spiel 03 takes place from
Thursday 23. Oct. - Sunday 26. Oct. 2003

The doors are open for the public:Thursday-Saturday 10:00-19:00
Sunday 10:00-18:00

Adults     Reduced*   Children < 13
Single day ticket:   10    7 5   Click for automatic Currency Convertion
Four day pass: 22 14.50 10.50
**Group day ticket:   8.50    5.5 4
**Group 4 day pass: 19.50 11.50 8.50

Family card:    23.
Special offer only valid Thursday or Friday.
Max 2 adults and 2 children per card.

*) Reduced prices are available for Students, Unemployed, Senior Citizens and Disabled people. Foreign ID's have been successfully accepted.
**) 10 or more people.
NOTE 1: All prices are in Euro (in case your computer cannot display symbol)
NOTE 2: The pass allow you to leave and re-enter the fair at will.
The exhibition center Messe Essen at the Gruga Park in Essen (Ruhr district) Germany.
The City Essen has a very informative website in English.
Within the City
The fair has two underground-stations on the U11 - 5 minutes from the Central Station (Essen HBF).   Map  -  Timeplan

»Messe Ost/Gruga«  is the stop at the main entrance

The city has a bewildering 8 different types of mass transportation systems, but luckily do they all use the same standard ticket system. The area is divided into 4 zones: K: is for a short trip (max. 3 stops). A: is between stations within the city of Essen, B: is used if you live in the suburbs, and C: for trips within the Ruhr region.
Note: All tickets must be time stamped to be valid.
EinzelTicket, Erwachsene: A single adult ticket cost 1 for a K short trip, but you can get a reduction by buying 4 tickets at a time: 4er Ticket = 3.30.
For city trips (A) is the price 1.75 or 5.60 for four. Each ticket can only be used for a a single ride.
But if several people are travelling together is a Day Ticket (TagesTicket) the best option. It allows 5 persons to travel on the same ticket as often as they like during the same day. The price for zone A is just 6.35. (all prices valid Summer 2002)
TAXIessen: See taxi fares under "Preise/Tarife".
Arrival by Air
Nearest international airport is Rhein-Ruhr-Airport Düsseldorf (20 minutes drive by train, express bus or taxi). Take Regional train RE1 or RE11 or the commuter train S1 to Essen HBF, or the Airport Express bus from Terminal C directly to Messe Essen.
I have been told that most Americans arrive in Frankfurt. The train ride is best made during the day, where you can enjoy a splendid scenery along the Rhine valley with the many Medieval castles.
Arrival by Train
Die Bahn. The Central Station (Essen Hbf) is situated near the old part of the city, which has a nice pedestrian area for shopping and dining, but is far away from the Messe area.
Arrival by Car
Map 1 show the major routes into the city.
Map 2 show a close-up of the exits near the Messe area.
Parking isn't a problem - if you are willing to pay for it. We simply leave our car at the Messe area and walk to the hotel.
Hotel or Guesthouse?
Obviously the chance of finding a good hotel close to the exhibition area diminishes the closer you get to October, but finding a hotel within a travel distance of about 30 minutes isn't difficult. Of course all the regular visitors will book the best, closest and/or least expensive rooms months in advance.
The Essen City site has a Hotel Guide in English with online-booking. The hotels in the Messe area are all within 5-10 minutes walking distance from the fair.
Here is a list of the Guest houses, youth hostels and camps in Essen.
There are many restaurants in Essen, and some are among the best I've ever frequented. The city guide used to have a good list, which unfortunately have been abandoned. Luckily I have kept a print of some of the most interesting (seen from my personal perspective, and I am a dedicated meat-eater!) Restaurants
Deutschmarks are no longer in use, the new currency is Euro & Cents. Most hotels, restaurants and larger shops accepts all major credit cards, and there are plenty of cash automats (ATM's) in the city.
But you will need a lot of cash for the fair! Apart from the expensive messe restaurant and a few select stands will most exhibitors accept nothing but cash - and there is only a tiny bank inside, and a single ATM outside the main entrance. So drawing cash when leaving the hotel in the morning is recommended.


© Mik Svellov 1997-2003editor@brettboard.dk19. jul 2003