Hey fellow travelers, anyone planning to visit Germany? Cologne is one of the best cities to visit to explore. It has a good mix of cultural, historical, and fun things to experience.
Cologne or Köln is the 4th biggest city in Germany and one of the most populous city or tourists. Cologne has one of Europe’s oldest and largest universities and the only sports university in Germany. Germany was founded in Ubii territory in 38 BC as the Roman Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium. “Cologne” is the French version of the city’s name and used in English. So, Cologne has an old cathedral, modern city streets filled with cool arts, cultural museums, the origin for the “Eau de Cologne” and they have their own famous beer called ‘Kölsch’.
How many days do you need to explore Cologne : a stay of 3 days, 2 nights is recommended.
Language spoken in Cologne : Deutsch (German).
Do locals speak English: Yes, Quite a lot of locals are fluent in English and even Bilingual.
Currency used : Euros ( € )
So let’s jump in and explore the things to do in Cologne,
1. Cologne Cathedral
Cologne Cathedral (German: Kölner Dom) is the most visited landmark in Germany. At 157 m ( 515 ft) the cathedral is the third tallest church in the world. This gothic style church has two spires which makes the largest facade of any church in the world. I was awestruck by the detailed artwork on the facade and the interior.
This Cologne cathedral is a World Heritage site and houses the Shrine of the Three Kings. This is a major pilgrimage site in Northern Europe. The cathedral holds the Gero Cross, a 10th-century crucifix (6ft 2in), and is the oldest large sculpture. Entry to the cathedral is free, but if you want to visit the top of the cathedral to have a wonderful view, the cost to reach up top is 6€. We climbed 553 steps of the spiral staircase to have one of the best views of the city and the Rhine river.
2. Imhoff-Schokoladen Museum
The Imhoff chocolate museum (German: Imhoff-Schokoladen Museum) was started by Hans Imhoff in 1993. The museum has exhibitions of 5000 years of the history of chocolate, the production methods, models of the cocoa trees, and set-ups of shops from ancient times. This museum is a dream location for a chocolate lover like me and hopefully yours. Since 2006, Lindt and Sprüngli have a partnership to run the show and a lot of the chocolate manufacturing machines are showcased. You can see how the chocolates are made from the initial stage to the final packaging phase. Everyone can enjoy fresh and tasty Lindt chocolates from the production line. In addition to this, the museum has a live fountain of chocolate, where you can taste the hot molten chocolate with a wafer. It tasted great !!!
The museum has wonderful workshops for kids to learn how chocolates are made and hands-on experience. The top floor of the museum has artists who create handcrafted chocolates using molds, a delight to watch. Schokolanden museum also gives everyone to make their own personalized white and milk chocolates with toppings of their choice. The chocolates are made in front of your eyes by the workers and given to you after 45 mins.
The museum houses a wonderful chocolate paradise/heaven pastry cum Café. The menu is exhausting and I highly recommend you try the various chocolates, cakes, and pastries. The taste is beyond words to describe !! The entrance ticket for the Schokolanden museum costs 12.50€ and other details can be accessed here. The city pass can valid here and you can gain reductions.
3. Roman-Germanic Museum
Roman-Germanic Museum (German: Römish-Germanisches Museum) is an archaeological museum and has a large collection of Roman artifacts from ancient times. The collection includes architectural elements, stone inscriptions, portraits, mosaics collected from Roman Cologne. The museum also holds the biggest collection of Roman glass vessels and one of the finest works by the goldsmiths especially jewelry. The entrance fee costs 6€ for adults.
4. Museum Ludwig
Museum Ludwig is famous for the modern art collection. This museum started in 1976. The collection includes art by Picasso, Russian avant-garde, and Pop-artists. The museum has the third largest collection of works (900) by Picasso. Peter Ludwig and his wife Irene later put up other major artist’s work such as Kasimir Malevich, Natalia Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov’s done from 1905 to 1935.
5. Fragrance Museum
Fragrance Museum (German: Duftmuseum) was founded in 1709 and is the oldest fragrance factory still open to the public. Italian-born perfumer Johann Maria Farina opened the perfumery. The museum is of 45 minutes guided tour and it is required to make a reservation. The museum is the perfect place to explore the origin of Eau de Cologne. The entrance fee is 5€ however further details and reservations are done on the website.
6. Panoramic view at Köln Triangle
Köln Triangle is a popular landmark to capture one of the best views of the city during the day and night. Köln Triangle is the headquarters of the European Aviation Safety Agency, but the top floor is accessible by the public through an elevator. You can get a breathtaking view of the Cologne Cathedral and Hohenzollern bridge.
7. Boat rides on the Rhine river
Visiting Cologne and not riding on a boat, come on!! A wholesome trip in Cologne should definitely have a boat ride on the Rhine river. The general route is to cross the Cologne’s old town and travel south to Rodenkirchen or north to Mülheim.
You can purchase the ticket at the Cologne Tourist board and choose from one of the three operators and routes. You can board the boats along the Rhine river near the Hohenzollern bridge. The boat rides vary from 1 hour to 1 day. You can choose according to your preference. The details of the cost and timings are on the website.
8. Visit Old town of Cologne
The old town is Cologne is near the cathedral and along the Rhine river. More than 75% of Cologne got destroyed in the war. Today we can have a wonderful experience by walking along the alleys of the old town and see the beautiful old colorful buildings. There is also a 12th-century church Groß St. Martin. The old neighborhood now leads to the Alter Markt and Heumarkt.
9. Stroll along the Hohenzollern Bridge
All you guys would have definitely heard or visited the love lock bridge in Paris (Pont des Arts), well there is one in Germany too. The Hohenzollern bridge is a major railway bridge in Cologne. Destroyed in 1945, but reconstructed in 1959. Today people stroll along the bridge and hang love locks.
10. Relax at Biergarten Rathenauplatz
After visiting quite a lot of places and sightseeing in Cologne, you need to relax and recuperate under the shade of the trees and a gentle breeze of fresh air. A pint of beer or/and some snacks would be heavenly after a tiring day. This place swarms with locals and visitors and is open from April to September.
11. Try Kölsch beer at Brauhaus Sion
If you are a beer lover, Brauhaus Sion in Cologne is the perfect spot for you. Sion is the oldest brewery in Cologne. Kölsch is the type of beer brewed in this region. The atmosphere is great and you can try the food here. A typical Kölsch from the tap (200 ml) costs 1.90€ served fresh and chill.
12. Eat Currywurst at Curry B
I am a big fan of sausages and Currywurst is German fast food. The sausage toppings are seasoned sauce, ketchup, and curry powder. If you are in Cologne, one of the most famous spots to try currywurst is at Curry B. The place is packed with locals and tourists with a long queue, but fast-moving. One of the best currywurst I have had. The shop people are friendly and it costs 2.90€, max. Currywurst is usually accompanied by fries which costs 4.30€.
13. Köln Seilbahn
Cologne cable car (German: Köln Seilbahn) runs across the Rhine river and connects Rhinepark with the Cologne Zoo. The cable car functions from April through October. The length is just short of 1km (935 m). You can get a different view of the city from the cable car and even sunset. The cable car ticket for a one-way ride is 4.50€ and the return ride costs 7.00€.
Do you guys know about ‘Banana Sprayer’?. Thomas Baumgaertel started evaluating art museums in his own way and would leave his mark of a banana as a sign that the museum was good. Eventually, some museums started drawing banana on their own, and Thomas contested in court and got his trademark.
So guys, be sure to include all these in your wishlist or maybe a few. Also, do not forget to check out our other blog about ‘Best Things to do in Berlin‘ Let me know how you spent your time in Germany?