Plan a city break to Germany and you’ll likely choose Berlin, Munich or perhaps Hamburg. Pretty little Cologne, situated in Western Germany, is the fourth largest city and is well worth a visit.
With cheap flights from the UK, reasonable accomodation prices and plenty to do, Cologne is one of the best city breaks I’ve been on. Here’s my guide on what to do whilst you’re there:
Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom)
The most famous attraction in Cologne, the beautiful gothic cathedral is a must-see, both during the day and at night. The cathedral took 632 years to build and as you would expect, it’s pretty impressive. So much so that’s it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts 20,000 visitors per day.
Spend some time exploring inside, the stained glass windows and architecture are breathtaking. Make sure to climb to the top- the views are fantastic and well worth the 533 steps.
Entering the main part of the cathedral is free, the fee for climbing to the top is €3.
Chocolate museum (Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum)
If you like chocolate (who doesn’t?!), you must head to the Lindt Chocolate Museum. The exhibits include the history of chocolate processing, cultivation and consumption from early civilisations to present. There is also a real life production line, demonstrating how the chocolate is manfactured, as well as small hothouse that recreates a rainforest environment, showcasing cocoa plants.
It’s really interesting and it doesn’t take too long to walk around- leaving plenty of time to head to their cafe to enjoy a delicious (and I mean, DELICIOUS) hot chocolate and slice of cake. If you’re not that interested in visiting the museum, it’s still worth a visit to the cafe just for the delectable hot chocolate.
Entrance to the museum costs €9.
Visit Lovelock Bridge (Hohenzollern Bridge)
Similar to Paris, Cologne has a bridge that couples visit to add padlocks with their names on as a symbol of their love. Even if you don’t wish to add a lock, the bridge is a sight to behold and well worth a walk past on your way to visiting the Old Town.
Relax in the Old Town (Altstadt)
The most charming part of the city has to be the Old Town, situated by the lovelock bridge on the river Rhein, closeby the Cathedral. Walk around the pretty cobbled streets or relax in one of the many bars and restaurants in the area.
It’s always great when bustling cities have some nice green space to explore and Cologne is no exception- the Rhinepark covers 40 hectacres, stretching along the river on the opposite side to the Cathedral.
If the weather permits- make the most of the ice cream vendors and wander along the river taking in the beautiful scenery and fresh air.
For the best views over Cologne, there is a cable car that runs across the river from the Rhinepark to Reihl (Cologne Zoo). The 10 minute journey offers views over the city, cathedral and the hills in the distance.
Open April- October, an adult’s return journey costs €6.50.
Another place offering amazing views over the city is Koln Triangle, situated near Rhinepark. Up on the 29th floor, the viewpoint offers panaromic views of the city, 103.2m up. There’s handy stickers on the glass highlighting the main landmarks in Cologne.
At €3 per ticket, this is a great value way to see the city from a unique viewpoint.
Enjoy a German beer (or some Prosecco)
Germany is famed for its beer and it’d be rude not to enjoy some during your visit. I’m personally not a huge beer fan, so I drank a few, until I realised that for some random reason, Prosecco is super cheap. Grab a beer (or prosecco) and sit in one of the beautiful squares just watching the world go by.
Have I missed any must-dos whilst in Cologne? What’s your favourite thing to do in the city?