According to Clothingexpress, Cologne is a major city in Germany. In German the name Köln is used. The city, located in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, has no fewer than 2.5 million inhabitants, including suburbs. Cologne suffered many devastations during the Second World War. Soon after the war, the inner city of Cologne was partly rebuilt. This has created a mix of post-war architecture with sometimes some historic buildings in between. Fortunately, Cologne has enough heritage left to maintain its charm. Cologne has a cozy city center where there is plenty to see and do. Those who book a city trip to Cologne will easily be able to enjoy themselves here for a few days.
Cologne is the city of the Christmas markets. Several winter Christmas markets take place in Cologne every year, of which the Christmas market ‘Am Dom’ is the most famous and most visited. Busloads full of compatriots head to Cologne every year to visit this Christmas market on the south side of Cologne Cathedral. Cologne ‘s Christmas markets start in the third week of November and last until just before Christmas.
Cologne ‘s Top 10 Things to Do
#1. Cologne Cathedral
The neo-Gothic Cologne Cathedral has been the heart of the city for centuries. This magnificent cathedral stands head and shoulders above the city of Cologne. From the approximately 157 meter high towers you can enjoy a beautiful view over the city. The beautiful stained glass windows date from the 14th and 16th centuries. Inside, the Dom exudes a special class. Anyone who sees the beauty of this largest cathedral in Germany will immediately understand why it has been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is to be hoped that many generations after us will be able to enjoy the impressive facade and beautiful interior.
You can visit the centrally located Cologne Cathedral for free. You do have to buy an entrance ticket for the treasure room. The same applies to those who want to climb the more than five hundred steps of the south tower. After the climb you will be rewarded with a fantastic view over Cologne and the surrounding area. That happens from a height of 97 meters, because you can’t get any higher. Take it from us that almost a hundred meters above sea level is high enough..
#2. old town
The nicest and most historic part of Cologne is also the oldest district of the city. This area is known as the Altstadt or Old Town. Here, for example, you will find a lovely piece of pedestrian area around the Dom. Many shops, terraces and restaurants bring a lot of fun. The narrow streets, some of which are cobbled, give the city a historic feel. There are several museums to discover, such as the Roman-Germanic Museum or the Ludwig Museum. In this part of Cologne are the Alter Markt and Heumarkt. The Alter Markt hosts the very well-known and acclaimed Christmas market of Cologne every year.
The town hall is one of the buildings worth seeing in the Altstadt. The beautiful Rathaus of Cologne can rightly be called a historic town hall. The towers were already built between 1407-1414 and before that time real skyscrapers. The beautiful town hall consists of three parts. The town hall, the Spanish building and the Praetorium. The Praetorium contains ruins with remains of Roman buildings. You will find it under the Rathaus.
#3. View over the city
For us, a beautiful view often belongs in the top 10 of the most important sights. From a higher altitude you see a city like Cologne with a completely different perspective. There are several places in Cologne where you can enjoy a panoramic view. We have already mentioned the popular ascent of the south tower of the Cologne Cathedral on this page. The city’s highest viewing platform was found in the 266-meter high Colonius communications tower. There you could visit the observation platform located at 166 meters altitude. However, it has been closed permanently since 1999. Fortunately, there are a few other good view options.
Since 1957 you can cross the Rhine with a cable car. Since then, this has been a popular way to enjoy views over the Rhine and part of Cologne. This Kölner Seilbahn has a length of 935 meters and has 50 cabins. To the left of the Rhine you will find the Zoo Station on Riehler Str. 180. To the right of the Rhine there is the Rhein Park Station at the corner of Sachsenbergstrasse and Auenweg. The cable car is closed in the winter months.
For the best view of Cologne you have to be on the roof of the KölnTriangle. This office building has a height of 103.2 meters. Thanks to its location on the eastern bank of the Rhine, you have an unobstructed view from here over the inner city of Cologne, the Rhine, the Hohenzollernbrücke and the Cologne Cathedral. The observation deck on the top floor of the KölnTriangle is actually the best place to get a good view of the Kölner Dom.
#4. Hohenzollern Bridge
The Hohenzollernbrücke is one of Cologne’s most recognizable objects. This important railway bridge in Cologne has spanned the Rhine since the beginning of the 20th century. The Hohenzollern Bridgeis very recognizable by its three arches. The bridge offers space for trains, trams, cars, cyclists and pedestrians. During a walk across the bridge, you will not fail to notice how many locks of different sizes are attached to the walls. Often these are left behind by tourists. This phenomenon is often encountered in tourist cities. The arches are beautifully illuminated at night and thus claim a prominent place in the city of Cologne. Photographers therefore often choose the Hohenzollern Bridge as part of their evening photos of Cologne.
#5. Museum Ludwig
Cologne has several fascinating museums where you can enjoy art, learn about the history of the city or dive into specific topics. Museum Ludwig is Cologne’s museum of modern and contemporary art. The great thing about this much-loved museum is that it appeals to a wide audience thanks to its accessibility and the diversity within the collection. One of our editors, for example, visited Museum Ludwig during his day in Cologne and calls it highly recommended after his visit. It is especially the Russian Avant-garde and Pop Art that appeals to him in this museum. Are you a fan of Pabo Picasso? Then it might be nice to know that Museum Ludwig has the largest collection in Germany of Picasso paintings.
Urban renewal projects sometimes result in very cool parts of the city. Cologne also has such an area that has been transformed and given a new purpose. Rheinauhafen is a hip place that is partly based on old traditions. Originally the port area of Cologne was located here. You can still clearly see this in the old harbor cranes that are now in the decor as museum pieces. Old elements that have been preserved are the old Sibengebirge warehouses. The three Kranhaus buildings built in modern architecture are partly built over this. The name says it all: Kranhaus means crane house. These three structures have the shape of a crane.
Rheinauhafen is a popular place to stroll around, especially since a new marina has been built here. There are also two museums: the Deutsches Sport & Olympia Museum and the Imhoff-Shokoladenmuseum. This chocolate museum is one of the most visited museums in Cologne and even in all of Germany. On an annual basis, approximately seven hundred thousand people come to see how chocolate is made. You will also learn everything about the history, marketing and processing of chocolate in this 4,000 square meter museum. Naturally, as a visitor you also get the chance to taste Lindt’s delicious chocolate.
The number of medieval buildings in Cologne is limited. Most of the buildings have not survived time and the two world wars. An exception to this is the Hahnentorburg. This medieval city gate seems to have been put away with a time machine in contemporary Cologne. The Hahnentorburg is an impressive sight thanks to its two huge round towers. This gateway was once part of an eight-kilometer-long wall of Cologne. The city walls have disappeared from the streets for years. However, three other city gates remain: the Severinstorburg, the Eigelsteintorburg and the considerably smaller Ulrepforte. The Hahnentorburg was the westernmost city gate of Cologne. He was standing on the road leading to Aachen. You can only admire the Hahnentorburg from the outside. From the end of November until just before Christmas, a Christmas market is held on the Rudolfplatz, in front of the city gate.
#8. Belgian Viertel
The Belgian district of Cologne is located around Brüsseler Platz. In German we are talking about the Belgian Viertel. This area is often described as the nicest district in Cologne. The street names here sound like Antwerp Strae, Flandrische Straße and Brüsseler Straße. The fact that the south of the Netherlands used to belong to Flanders is also visible here. Because in addition to the Belgian names, there are also names such as Neue Maastricht Strae, Brabanter Strae and Limburger Strae in this district. The district of the Belgian Viertel is an excellent place to shop for trendy fashion, art and visit other small boutiques. This is the place where the big chains don’t dominate the streets, but where you can really explore the local shops. Walking through the streets you can enjoy various beautiful expressions of street art.
#9. Farina Haus Duft Museum
The oldest operational perfume factory in the world is located in Cologne. Since 1708, the perfume created by the Italian perfumer Johann Maria Farina has been produced here, which has become famous worldwide under the name ‘Eau de Cologne’. Thanks to this product, Cologne acquired the nickname ‘city of fragrances’. You will encounter the numbers 4711, which is a brand name of Eau de Cologne, in various places in Cologne. The place to get Eau de Cologne is at Parfumhuis 4711, which is located in the heart of the city.
The Farina Haus Duftmuseum can be found on the higher floors. So this is literally a fragrance museum, and not a perfume museum as some describe it. In the Duftmuseum you will learn all about the history of Eau de Cologne, the perfume bottles and the story of Johann Maria Farina. Of course you can discover the unique scent of the Cologne water here. What you will not find out, however, is the recipe behind this more than three centuries old perfume.
#10. Gross St. Martin
The city of Cologne has many churches, some of which are definitely worth a visit. This applies, for example, to the Groß St. Martin. This Romanesque church is of a decent size and is particularly notable for its four corner towers. Like most churches in Cologne, the Groß St. Martin has largely survived quite a bit of violence. Think of the air raids of the Second World War. As a result, some parts have been restored, including the towers. The interior of the church is characterized by the typical Romanesque style with sober walls and few decorations. In the crypt you can see the Roman foundations on which the first version of the church was built.