Top 15 places you should visit in Cologne, Germany

Top 15 places you should visit in Cologne, Germany

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With a population of over 1 Million inhabitants, Cologne (Köln in German) is the fourth largest city in Germany after Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich and is the largest city on the Rhine river.

Cologne has a rich history, stunning architecture, beautiful parks, delicious beer (Kölsch), riverfront dining… and many things to do. During World War II, 90% of the inner city was destroyed but as you walk through Cologne, it’s very clear that the city wanted to rebuild nicely and quickly.

Now I’m going to show you the top places you should visit considering a 2-day itinerary, their official websites, entrance costs (if existent), and will give you advice on transportation.

Day 1

  1. Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Döm)
  2. Schildergasse (Shopping streets)
  3. Fischmarkt (Colored houses)
  4. Great St.Martin Church (Groß Sankt-Martin)
  5. Rhine River (cruise)
  6. Hohenzollern Bridge (Hohenzollernbrücke bridge)
  7. Cologne Triangle (KölnTriangle)
  8. Cologne Chocolate Museum (Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum)
  9. Kranhaus (crane house)
  10. Belgian Quarter (Belgisches Viertel)

Day 2

11. Flora and Botanical Garden (Flora und Botanischer Garten)

12. Cologne Zoo (Kölner Zoo)

13. Cable car over the Rhine

14. Rheinpark

15. Bar (drink a Kölsch)

Cologne - Germany

Day 1

1. Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Döm)

This stunning gothic cathedral was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. It survived the World War II bombing of Cologne that destroyed much of the city. After you have seen the exterior, you can enter for free to see its marvelous interior.

Entrance fees:

  • Cathedral: Free
  • Tower climb: 5 EUR
  • Treasure chamber: 6 EUR

More information: koelner-dom.de

Cologne cathedral - Germany

2. Schildergasse (Shopping street)

With over 13,000 people passing through it every hour, Schildergasse was the busiest shopping street in Europe, according to a 2008 suey by GfK. You’ll find here major department stores such as H&M, Zara, and Galeria Kaufhof.

More information: Cologne Tourism Website 

3. Fischmarkt (Colored houses)

Although it’s not the fish market anymore, there are several attractions around the Fischmarkt such as colorful old townhouses that are dated back to the 14th and 17th Centuries, St. Martin church, a fountain, Rhine river cruises, and restaurants.

The colored houses are very Instagramable, you should definitely take some pictures there!

More information: Trip Advisor

Cologne Fischmarkt (Colored houses) - Germany

4. Great St. Martin Church (Groß Sankt-Martin)

The Great Saint Martin Church is a Romanesque Catholic church. It was damaged in World War II. The church was later transformed into a Benedictine monastery.

More information: Cologne Tourism

Great St.Martin Church Groß Sankt-Martin - Cologne - Germany

5. Rhine River (cruise)

Several companies offer Rhine River cruises. The one that is just in front of St. Martin Church is KD. 

  • Fees: Adult: 11 EUR, Children 6 EUR
  • More information: k-d.com 

6. Hohenzollern Bridge (Hohenzollernbrücke)

Paris isn’t the only city in Europe with a “love lock” bridge and these locks now amount to more than two tons! The 400 m Hohenzollern Bridge crosses the Rhine River and lets people get to their destinations.

More information: Wikipedia

Hohenzollern Bridge (Hohenzollernbrücke) - Cologne - Germany

7. Cologne Triangle (KölnTriangle)

The KölnTriangle (formerly also known as LVR-Turm) is a 103.2 meters tall building, headquarter of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The roof houses a publicly accessible observation deck with panorama views all over Cologne.

Entrance Fee: Adult 3 EUR

Official Website: koelntrianglepanorama.de

Cologne - Germany - Koln Triangle

8. Cologne Chocolate Museum (Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum)

The Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum was opened in 1993 by Hans Imhoff. The exhibits show the entire history of chocolate, from the Olmecs, Mayas, and Aztecs to present-day products and production methods.

Entrance fee: Adults 13 EUR, Children 8 EUR

9. Kranhaus (crane house)

Kranhaus (crane house) refers to each one of the three “L” shaped 17-story buildings. Their shape, an upside-down “L”, is symbolic of the harbor cranes that were used to load cargo from and onto ships. Two of them are used as offices and the northern one has luxury apartments.

More information: Wikipedia

10. Belgian Quarter (Belgisches Viertel)

Art, food, and fashion are the main attractions at the Belgian Quarter, one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Cologne. Its name is derived from street names referring to Belgian provinces and cities.

More information: Cologne Tourism

Cologne - Germany - Belgian quarter
Picture by Koeln Tourismus

Day 2

11. Flora and Botanical Garden (Flora und Botanischer Garten)

In the north of the city, next to the zoo is Cologne’s oldest and most traditional public park: the Botanical Garden. It covers an area of 11.5 hectares of lawns and it is home to more than 10,000 species of plants. There is also the “Flora” a gorgeous glass palace inspired by London’s Crystal Palace and built in the 1860s. Events staged in this elegant site range from conferences and concerts to social gatherings and weddings.

12. Cologne Zoo (Kölner Zoo)

The zoo has more than 10,000 animals, over 800 species, and specializes in primates like bonobos, gorillas, orangutans, and the endangered Golden-bellied capuchin. There are feeding sessions throughout the day for penguins, sea lions, baboons, meerkats, hippos and more.

Entrance Fees: Adults 19.5 EUR, Children 9 EUR

Cologne Zoo (Kölner Zoo) - Cologne - Germany

13. Cable car over the Rhine

Opened in 1057, the Cologne Cable Car crosses the river Rhine and links the Cologne Zoo with the Rheinpark. Most importantly, it offers awesome city views. It is only open during the summer months, April to October.

Entrance Fee: Adults 4.8 EUR, Children 2.7 EUR

Cable car over the Rhine - Cologne - Germany

14. Rheinpark

The Rheinpark is a 40-hectare urban park on the west side of the river that was nominated “The most beautiful German Park” in 2007. As well as many green areas and gardens, the park boasts a game of miniature golf, numerous playgrounds, a children’s train, and The Claudius Therme thermal spa between other attractions.

Entrance fee: Free

Official website: Rheinpark-köln.de

15. Bar (drink a Kölsch)

Kölsch is a style of beer originating in Cologne that characterizes by been served in highball-like glasses. Servers will use a coaster to mark down how many glasses you’ve had and will keep bringing you more beer until you put it on the top of your glass. Several Brauhauses are making their own version, so try a few in different bars and restaurants and see which is your favorite.

More information: Wikipedia

Transport

Cologne Germany Map

Train/tram/bus

You can find ticket machines in all the stations, a single adult ticket is not for a round trip, so make sure you buy a new one for your return trip. They’re only valid for 90-120 minutes, so don’t try to buy both tickets at the same time. You should definitely download the Deutsche Bahn DB Navigator app. It lets you plan journeys and buy tickets from your phone (convenient because some machines only accept coins or German bank cards). More information on the official website of Deutsche Bahn.

Bikes

Bikes are a cheap and efficient way of getting around. There are many protected bike paths, which makes biking stress-free in Cologne. Some companies offering bike rental are Mobike, FordPass Bike and the city also has bikes KVB-Rad. Download the Apps and use the bikes right away.

Cologne - Germany - ebike

Scooters

Scooters are now a trend to move around. Some companies that offer this service are TIER and LIME. Download the Apps and use the scooters right away.

More Information

More information in the official website of Cologne and Cologne Tourism Board.

Logo: koeln.de

The official website of Cologne

Cologne Tourism Board

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Cologne Germany

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