Welcome to Cologne, the colourful and historic metropolis in Germany’s Rhineland area! Cologne is likely one of the oldest cities in Germany, with a wealthy historical past that stretches again over two thousand years. From its beautiful Gothic structure, to its vibrant nightlife, and its lovely riverfront, Cologne is an unforgettable vacation spot.
On this information, you’ll discover all the knowledge you’ll want to profit from your time visiting Cologne. From high points of interest to scrumptious native delicacies, we’ll present you the most effective of what this metropolis has to supply.
So, let’s get began exploring the gorgeous metropolis of Cologne!
See additionally: Off The Beaten Track Tip: Belgian Quarter Cologne
Right here is an summary:
A snapshot of what to anticipate when visiting Cologne
The distinctive flavour to the town of Cologne is commonly put all the way down to the inhabitants, or Kölsche, who take an unlimited quantity of satisfaction of their metropolis. Cologne, like most areas of Germany, has its very personal native dialect of German, although that is unlikely to hinder the typical sight-seeing vacationer, as lots of the landmarks of the town have English-speaking guides and knowledge.
For these vacationers who converse German, and want to follow it, the residents have quite a lot of endurance with these attending to grips with the grammatically tough language.
Colognians are very pleasant individuals; welcoming vacationers of all sorts and with all pursuits. Away from the landmarks, many employees of the German rail system (Deutsche Bahn) converse English, in addition to ticket/timetable machines obtainable in English modes. Native transport methods, nevertheless, not often cater for the English speaker, with solely the naked necessities of data obtainable however this could solely concern these wishing to discover the town away from the extra centralised sights.
These wishing to discover away from the central metropolis ought to plan their journey earlier than leaving, to stop minor problems as there’s a lack of English away from the centre of Cologne. Older individuals in Cologne are inclined to have little or no data of English, while businessmen and ladies, in addition to the German youth, all are inclined to have a very good data of the language. Language isn’t a powerful barrier, so this shouldn’t be an excessive amount of of a fear for the typical vacationer, simply strategy a pleasant native and use a smile in your face, your legs and arms. Cologne’s robust facet is its cultural life.
If you happen to go to Cologne alone, you gained’t keep alone for lengthy (any time of the yr). You simply have to go to a pub and it gained’t be lengthy, somebody will invite you for a beer!
Get the KölnCard
Uncover Cologne comfortably and cost-effectively with the KölnCard. With free entry to public transport you possibly can journey for twenty-four or 48 hours and obtain reductions of as much as 50% from quite a few companions. The KölnCard is accessible for single individuals or teams.
– Free journey on buses and trains
– As much as 50% low cost at points of interest and museums
– As much as 50% low cost on guided excursions
– As much as 20% low cost at eating places
– As much as 15% low cost on buying
Get the cardboard here.
Cologne Carnival (Fastelovend)
Karneval, the most important festivity in Cologne is the Winter carnival (or Fastelovend) in February. Based on the official Cologne tourism web site: “Its spotlight is the road carnival happening from Weiberfastnacht (the Thursday earlier than Ash Wednesday, historically the day on which ladies take management of the town) to Karnevalsdienstag (Shrove Tuesday).
On Rosenmontag (Shrove Monday) multiple and a half million individuals line Cologne’s streets to observe the parade with the mad triad – the prince, farmer, and virgin – yearly.”
Dates for Cologne Carnival: It begins on the Thursday earlier than the start of Lent every year.
I’m at all times telling mates that the Cologne Carnival is perhaps the most effective carnival on this planet. Okay, I do know it’s fairly one thing to say that, as there are a lot of nice locations on the market with nice Carnival experiences. However Cologne Carnival is exclusive!
Everybody… actually…Everybody will get dressed up! Folks run round as clowns, cowboys, Indians, self-made costumes & no matter you wish to be! The songs you’ll hear are all in “Kölsch”, the dialect and most of them are about carnival and in regards to the metropolis and its individuals.
Cologne is known for its Kölsch (beer)
Cologne is thought for its love of beer, also known as Kölsch. This top-fermented beer is often gentle in coloration and has a distinctively dry and crisp style, because of its native components. It’s also served in a particular glass referred to as a Kölschstange, which is designed to maintain the beer chilly and carbonated.
Cologne has a wealthy brewing tradition, with dozens of native breweries producing Kölsch and different beers. A few of the hottest embody Reissdorf Kölsch, Gaffel Kölsch, and Sion Kölsch. Many of those conventional beers are served in pubs and eating places all through the town, usually accompanied by a plate of hearty native meals.
To style as many Kölsch as you possibly can, be a part of this brewery tour.
The town additionally performs host to quite a few beer festivals all year long, together with the well-known Cologne Carnival that we simply talked about. Throughout this time, 1000’s of individuals come to the town for its distinctive mixture of events and parades, in addition to its beer.
Along with conventional Kölsch, Cologne additionally produces quite a few craft beers. These embody IPAs, wheat beers, and even bitter beers, which have gotten more and more well-liked. There are additionally quite a few specialty bars and outlets all through.
See additionally: Traditional Beer and Food in Cologne
Conventional meals in Cologne
Cologne is an excellent metropolis filled with tradition and custom, and that is very true in terms of its meals. Conventional meals in Cologne is a mixture of influences from all around the world, giving it a novel and scrumptious taste.
Normally, it is very important observe a nutritious diet. Nevertheless, there are occasions once you simply need to indulge, like once you eat a cured and cooked pork knuckle. However if you wish to control your determine, you possibly can reduce off the seen bacon and eat solely half of the shank. To make the dish extra balanced, it’s additionally a good suggestion to give attention to the facet dishes like sauerkraut or mashed potatoes!
One other conventional dish is the Halver Hahn. If you happen to haven’t learn up on it, the title may mistakenly lead you to count on half a roast hen – however if you happen to’re then served solely a rye roll with medium-aged Gouda, onions, butter and mustard by the Köbes (the waiter on the brewery) you’ll be in for a shock! In Cologne, nevertheless, everybody is aware of that that is the legendary Halve Hahn.
This can be a highly regarded snack in Cologne and is commonly served in pubs or cafes.
Kölsche Kaviar (Cologne Caviar)
Just like “Halver Hahn”, the specialty “Kölsche Kaviar” might additionally result in confusion. However not like the extremely costly fish roe, this delicacy has completely nothing in widespread with it.
Kölsche caviar is a hearty portion of blood sausage, affectionately recognized in Cologne as “Flönz”. This delicacy is served with a crispy “Röggelchen,” onion rings, and a beneficiant sprint of mustard – generally accompanied by a crunchy pickled gherkin.
Rheinischer Sauerbraten (Soorbrode) – Rhenish Sauerbraten
German delicacies has many conventional dishes, together with Sauerbraten. If you happen to observe the Rhenish recipe (recognized in Cologne as “Soorbrode”), it’s refined with sweeteners resembling apple or turnip, and raisins are additionally added.
An vital truth: The meat for sauerbraten is often horse. Nevertheless, many Cologne breweries and eating places use beef as an alternative out of consideration for his or her visitors.
This hearty braised dish is classically served with potato dumplings and applesauce, however often boiled potatoes are additionally served.
Himmel un Äd
For these on the lookout for extra hearty conventional dishes, there may be the “Himmel und Erde” (Heaven and earth), which is a dish made with mashed potatoes. A scrumptious variation is served in Cologne: Crispy fried blood sausage and roasted onions add a hearty taste to the potato and apple mash. Have it with a glass of Kölsch beer.
The dish, which takes its title from the widespread time period “Erdapfel” for potatoes – apples from the bottom – and the fruit on the timber within the sky, is an actual deal with for the palate.
Miesmuscheln – Moschele
It’s best to know that mussels are often served solely from September to February. The background might be historic, at a time when there have been no fridges and it was too heat to retailer them.
The mussels are cooked in a broth of white wine and contemporary root greens with bay leaf and pimento, they’re merely scrumptious!
One other well-liked dishes in Cologne is the Bratwurst. This can be a sausage that’s served with both sauerkraut or mashed potatoes. It’s usually served with a facet of apple sauce and is a highly regarded dish for locals and guests alike.
Sausages, Pretzels and Sauerkraut
Cologne can also be recognized for its quite a few beers and ales, which are sometimes served with conventional German meals resembling sausages, pretzels, and sauerkraut.
Personal 3-Hour Südstadt Meals Tour
Start your three-hour walk within the coronary heart of Südstadt at Chlodwigplatz and immerse your self within the culinary secrets and techniques of the district earlier than having fun with your first tasting.
As you stroll, you’ll get a glimpse into the historical past of Südstadt. Cease for a world deal with and uncover cool thrift and curio outlets.
Then go to a standard Cologne brewery and calm down with a typical Cologne snack. Your information will share his insider data and inform you tales in regards to the Balchem Home, St. Severin’s and even the “mistaken” a part of the Rhine financial institution.
On the finish of this tour of Cologne’s culinary tradition, you’ll expertise much more unique delicacies from all around the world, together with a candy specialty!
Sophia is a improbable information with a heat character and a wealth of anecdotes. She has an intensive data of the Severinviertel and conveys it in a sympathetic means. The tour presents a profitable mixture of culinary delights and historic background data – additionally extraordinarily thrilling for younger individuals!
Good to know: Throughout this tour you can be accompanied by an skilled information and go to a complete of 5 worldwide eating places to take pleasure in a style of every. Please notice that drinks are usually not included and have to be bought individually.
Prime sights in Cologne
Cologne is an attractive metropolis in Germany, crammed with wonderful sights which are price seeing. Whether or not you’re exploring the town for the primary time or revisiting your favourite spots, listed below are the highest sights in Cologne that you simply gained’t need to miss.
The Cologne Cathedral, protected by the UNESCO
Protected by UNESCO, Cologne’s Dom is the primary sight you’ll discover when taking the principle exit from the central station. (If you happen to don’t see it, you’ve taken the again exit.)
In case you are in fine condition, take the 533 stairs to the highest of the south tower. It takes about 8-Quarter-hour to rise up and I’d suggest to spend 45 – 60 minutes in whole, so put on snug footwear, however it’s well worth the hike. A panoramic view of the town awaits you as you climb to the highest of Cologne Cathedral. After about 53 meters you’ll cross the Petersglocke – often known as the Cathedral Bell 1 and affectionately referred to as “Decker Pitter” by the locals. Since 1923, this bell has been the acoustic embodiment of the cathedral’s deep C-note.
Cologne Cathedral is a spot of superlatives. With a top of 157 meters and an space of 10,000 sq. meters, it’s the third largest Gothic cathedral on this planet.
Round 20,000 individuals go to it day by day and an unimaginable 300,000 tons of stone had been used!
Inside Cologne Cathedral there are a lot of highlights to find that may encourage you. An absolute spotlight is the Shrine of the Three Kings, which is claimed to comprise the “relics of the Magi” – at the very least if you wish to consider it. Additionally spectacular is the 4th-century St. Peter’s Rod, which you’ll be able to admire within the cathedral’s underground treasury, together with many different treasures resembling reliquaries, liturgical utensils, and manuscripts.
One other fascinating expertise are the stained glass home windows of the cathedral: they bring about an unimaginable energy of coloration to the inside of the constructing! With over 10,000 sq. meters of home windows, this sacred constructing truly has extra stained glass than another church on this planet – a really magical place!
The price of sustaining the cathedral is round 30,000 Euros per day – a big sum, however nicely justified for such a formidable sight.
The worth of the cathedral can hardly be expressed in financial phrases: it’s priceless and has due to this fact been valued in accounting phrases at a symbolic worth of simply 27 Euros!
To be able to keep this distinctive place, about 100 individuals work on the constructing day by day – they’re a part of the so-called “cathedral development crew”.
It’s not for nothing that the cathedral is also known as Germany’s UNESCO World Heritage Website; its significance extends far past its borders.
Touring the Cathedral is forbidden throughout Mass. Entry into the cathedral is free however you can be requested for a donation.
- Admission to the tower prices (common/lowered): €6/€3 (Household card: €12)
- Admission to the treasury prices (common/lowered): €6/€3,
- A mixed ticket granting you admission to the treasury and tower will be bought for (common/lowered): €9/€4.50. (Household combi card: €18)
- Entrance to climb the Cologne cathedral: Have a look at the majestic essential portal of the Cathedral and stroll in direction of Roncalliplatz, which is to the fitting of the Cathedral once you have a look at it from the entrance. After a number of meters you’ll uncover a staircase that goes down subsequent to the South Tower and is marked “Dom-Turm / Parkhaus / Toiletten”. There you will see as nicely the doorway to the tower on the foot of the steps.
Cologne Cathedral: VR-Strolling Tour
Expertise a breathtaking journey that takes you from the medieval planning of the development to the current day. Uncover the story behind the development of the cathedral and be taught thrilling details in regards to the constructing course of on this charming tour.
Because of a digital actuality headset, you’ll be immersed within the essential moments of development! Greater than only a historical past lesson, it’s an journey by centuries of awe-inspiring insights.
The tour will cowl a distance of 1.5 km, so put on snug footwear. Be aware, the tour doesn’t go contained in the cathedral, however solely across the outdoors.
Max group measurement: 15
Free cancelation till 24 hours earlier than your go to.
Skip the road.
The Römisch-Germanisches Museum is a museum devoted to archaeology and the historical past of Cologne. It’s one of many oldest museums in Germany and was based in 1912.
Inside, you possibly can discover collections of stone monuments, mosaics, and cash from the Roman interval. There are additionally sections devoted to medieval and trendy artwork, together with a sculpture park.
The museum presents the chance to marvel on the archaeological heritage from the Paleolithic Age to the early Center Ages. The gathering holdings are distinctive and embody wealthy finds from the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages, in addition to top-class goldsmith’s work from the Migration Interval.
As well as, the museum presents you insights into the artwork and tradition of Roman and early medieval cities and areas.
Notably spectacular is the world’s largest assortment of Roman glass vessels, which is taken into account probably the most treasured treasure of the museum.
Value: €6 (€3 lowered)
Within the fast neighborhood of Cologne Cathedral, and with that proper within the metropolis middle, you’ll discover the Live performance Corridor “Kölner Philharmonie“.
It’s one of the vital famend live performance halls in Germany and it presents a different program of the nice works of the symphonic and chamber music repertoire, in addition to jazz, people and pop occasions.
There’s a live performance day by day of the yr, and sometimes a number of on Sundays and holidays. The spectacular corridor is designed as an amphitheater, so that each seat has a superb view of the stage.
The corridor can also be dwelling to the Gürzenich Orchestra and the Kölner Philharmoniker and its world-class acoustics makes it a terrific place to expertise stay classical music.
It’s not allowed to stroll on the plaza above the roof of the Philharmonie throughout concert events, as this may disturb the nice acoustics. Skateboarding and bicycling are additionally prohibited to keep away from disturbing footsteps.
In case you are in Cologne on a Thursday and if you wish to escape the hustle and bustle of the town at 12 midday… Then it is best to undoubtedly verify the Philharmonic Corridor to see if the “Philharmonic Lunch” is happening there. Be aware: Lunch will not be a meal, it’s simply lunchtime. Throughout this time, you might have the chance to hearken to an orchestra rehearsal for half-hour freed from cost and get an genuine impression of how the members put together. An actual insider’s tip for anybody – particularly since admission is free! Right here
Outdated City Cologne
Cologne’s historic Outdated City is a well-liked vacationer vacation spot that tends to keep away from locals. Nonetheless, a go to to the town is price a detour into the cobblestone streets and previous the historic homes and quite a few breweries.
Nevertheless, it’s greatest to keep away from a weekend go to, because the previous city is then usually overrun by bachelor events.
To get a very good impression of Cologne’s previous city, we suggest a relaxed stroll by the alleys between Heumarkt and Alter Markt and alongside the Rhine promenade.
Particularly attention-grabbing: Virtually 90% of Cologne’s previous city was destroyed throughout World Conflict II after which principally rebuilt within the previous model – so many buildings are usually not as previous as they give the impression of being!
Within the previous city you’ll additionally discover the historic city corridor. You may be amazed by it, because it’s one of the vital magnificent Renaissance buildings in all of Germany. The city corridor tower is especially noteworthy: its loving particulars had been faithfully rebuilt after the Second World Conflict and provides it a novel magnificence.
The Cologne Zoo is likely one of the oldest zoos in Germany and is dwelling to over 8,000 animals. It’s a terrific place to spend a day with household and mates and is crammed with fascinating reveals and points of interest.
The elephant park is undoubtedly one of many essential points of interest at Cologne Zoo and can also be the biggest north of the Alps.
One other spotlight is the journey home Hippodom, which homes an intensive African river panorama – Nile crocodiles, Sitatunga antelopes and hippos, amongst others, stay right here in a formidable setting.
Additionally highly regarded with guests is the Rainforest Home, which options endangered animals and crops from a pure paradise in Southeast Asia.
The jungle home for the nice apes, alternatively, presents visitors the chance to look at primates up shut with out disturbing them – a showcase venture of the Cologne Zoo for the entire of Europe!
For youngsters, the Clemenshof is a lovingly designed reproduction of a typical small farm with a petting zoo for uncommon native species.
And if you happen to like fish or reptile exhibits, you possibly can see numerous species within the aquarium on three flooring!
You need to cross the river rhine to get right here. And it’s price taking this brief stroll, as you’ll get the most effective views of the previous city, the cathedral and the town from this facet of the river.
The KölnTriangle is a contemporary complicated situated near the Cologne Commerce Truthful. It homes museums, outlets, eating places, and workplaces, in addition to a big commentary deck with panoramic views of the town.
The KölnTriangle is a good spot to soak up the sights of the town and get a glimpse of the encircling space.
Chocolate Museum in Cologne
The chocolate museum in Cologne is an absolute spotlight that you shouldn’t miss – irrespective of if large or small!
Throughout the thrilling tour you’ll learn the way uncooked cocoa is was a scrumptious praline. The journey begins within the tropical home and takes you from the harvest to the transport to the manufacturing unit.
Scrumptious tastings allow you to dive even deeper into the world of chocolate. Absolutely the spotlight of the museum, nevertheless, is undoubtedly the three-meter-high fountain with 200 kilograms of flowing chocolate, which you’re after all additionally allowed to style. Within the museum’s café, you possibly can take pleasure in numerous chocolate specialties whereas having fun with a view of the Rhine.
Your newly acquired data in regards to the historical past and manufacturing of chocolate will make you respect the top product rather more – that is what makes enjoyment actually enjoyable!
The Chocolate Museum’s sweet store presents a wide range of treats to take dwelling. Contemporary chocolate in a wide range of flavors and home made goodies with a wide range of scrumptious fillings can be found. If you happen to’re a fan of hand-poured collectible figurines constructed from the best chocolate, you’ll discover all kinds of artfully designed creations.
When you’ve got time, create your individual chocolate variation and decide it up later. And if you happen to’re a fan of colourful cash, you’ll discover your favourite amongst these handmade delicacies!
Costs: Admission to the museum costs only €14.50 for adults and €7.5 for youngsters beneath the age of sixteen; in the meantime, little guests beneath the age of six may even take pleasure in themselves at no cost!
Skip the road with this ticket!
What awaits you within the museum is actually improbable. The data texts are written in each German and English and the workers welcomes you with nice courtesy and friendliness. It seems like a journey by time as you stroll among the many goodies. And if you happen to get hungry, the restaurant presents numerous scrumptious desserts to select from.
Simply subsequent to the Chocolate Museum you’ll have the Rheinauhafen.
Rheinauhafen, a former port facility in Cologne’s Südstadt district, has lengthy since develop into a serious city growth venture. The city quarter is trendy and but characterised by historic buildings, leading to an enchanting combine.
The previous port workplace and different remnants of the commercial previous have been transformed and now function workplace and repair buildings. Cafes, bars, and eating places additionally supply the chance for a calming stroll.
Along with the picturesque marina, the three placing crane homes are a particular spotlight of the Rheinauhafen. With a top of virtually 60 meters, they not solely home workplaces, but in addition luxurious condominiums – a really distinctive dwelling idea!
Streetart Bike Tour Cologne
Embark on a avenue artwork bike tour that offers you a brand new perspective on Cologne!
Off the overwhelmed monitor, you’ll discover the Belgian Quarter and Ehrenfeld with a most of 15 like-minded individuals and an area information. Dive into the world of avenue galleries and expertise the town’s vibrant artistic scene up shut!
Throughout your tour, your English-speaking information will inform you every part you’ll want to find out about this fascinating artwork kind, in addition to background info on the person artists. This offers you a helpful perception into how Cologne has advanced over time into a colourful city jungle.
Every of our excursions is individually designed – as a result of no different metropolis tradition can match the colourful aptitude of this place. So seize your bike and let’s dive into the city appeal of Cologne’s numerous avenue artwork scene!
Length: 3 hours
Free cancelation as much as 24 hours earlier than
The tour contains:
- Use of metropolis bikes on tour
- Helmets (obtainable on request)
- English talking information
- Disposable rain ponchos (in case of unhealthy climate)
These are just some of the highest sights in Cologne. From historic landmarks to trendy points of interest, there’s something for everybody to discover.
So make certain to take the time to discover the town and soak up all of its magnificence.