Nestled in the western fringes of Germany is the beautiful city of Cologne, a bustling city that’s filled with an incredibly diverse mix of things to see, do and of course, eat!

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Cologne is one of Germany’s largest and most diverse cities to explore and with Cologne Cathedral, its many world-renowned museums and the vibrant Belgian Quarter, there’s something for every visitor to enjoy.

What to see in Cologne, Germany

How To Get To Cologne

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Cologne is a well-connected city and easily accessible by train, plane, car or horse and carriage (though, the latter will take you quite a while). 😉

By train: We decided to take the train from London  (via Brussels), which took around 6 hours of travel time with the most epic 2-hour transfer in Brussels where you can grab yourself a quick waffle and see the Grand Place before whizzing across on the ICE train to Cologne.

You can also travel from most cities via the train network across Europe.

By plane: Cologne has its own airport that’s a short train/taxi ride from the city centre and is one of Euro Wings hub airports (meaning lots of choice for flights).

River cruise/Boat: As Cologne hugs the shores of the River Rhine, there’s an opportunity to arrive at the city via river cruise or regional boats too.

Travelling Around Cologne

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Cologne is a really easy city to navigate, especially with its tram network and bus lines.  Trams operate every few minutes in the day , making it a breeze – we also had our Cologne Card that offers free public transport in the city (and discounts at many of the cities main sites).

Where to stay?

Cologne has a pretty epic list of fancy, quirky and downright amazing places to stay in the city. We decided to stay at the Ameron Hotel Regent, which was about 10 minutes (on the tram) from the really cool restaurants and bars of the Belgian Quarter.

Don’t forget to check out some of Cologne’s beautiful Airbnb options too. There are some really cool apartments where you can literally live like a local in the city.

What Should You See?

1.) Scale the heights of Cologne Cathedral

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With over 500 steps, this can be a pretty steep climb but well worth it to scale the heights of one of Cologne’s most iconic UNESCO World Heritage sights.

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Take a bottle of water, a good pair of shoes and enjoy the views across the city.

2.) Party and gorge in the Belgian District

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The Belgian District is one of Cologne’s most fun places. Filled with an array of cool bars and delicious restaurants, it’s the perfect district to spend your evening in the city.

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Read more on our visit to the Belgian Quarter in our post, here.

3.) Visit The Museums

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Cologne is well known for its world-class museums, make sure to explore the many places, including the incredible Ludwig Museum that hosts work from Picasso and other world-class artists.

Every year, Cologne also hosts one of the coolest festivals where you can explore, party and enjoy the museums in the middle of the night. Filled with DJ’s, plenty of bubbles and heaps of people – the Museums become the place to be, see and enjoy.  Museum Night happens once every year. Check in on the Tourism Cologne website to find next years dates.

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You can read more on visiting the museums of Cologne in our post, here.

4.) Gorge at the Chocolate Museum

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You can’t travel all the way to the Cologne without visiting the Chocolate Museum. Take a tour of the processing area, enjoy a little chocolate and learn more about the craft of chocolate making.

Oh, don’t forget – the Chocolate Museum usually has members of staff wandering around. They don’t advertise it, but they usually have a bag filled with chocolates with them. Ask a few questions, or just say hello and see if they offer you a bar or two!

5.) See the quaint churches of the city

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There’s a whole heap of beautiful churches to see in Cologne, make sure to take the time to visit St. Martin’s especially – its architecture is truly beautiful.

6). Walk across the Hohenzollern Bridge

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For a beautiful view of the city, walk across The Rhine River via Hohenzollern Bridge to the Rheinboulevard where you can sit back, relax and enjoy the glorious sunsets that Cologne has to offer.

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7.) Gorge on kölsche cuisine

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When in Cologne, make sure to stop for some traditional kölsche cuisine at Früh am Dom. The relaxed vibe of the place, delicious food and Kolsh beer is most definitely a reason to take a pit stop here.

8.) Explore the historic Old town

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Cologne dates all the way back to the Roman period, which can only mean there’s a whole array of different architectural styles and histories to explore. One place you should definitely see is the old town, here you’ll find colourful houses, quaint shops and cobbled streets that are reminiscent of life many centuries ago.

9.) Visit Cologne’s youngest districts, Rheinauhafen

Touchdown In Cologne, Germany... (9)One of the cities newest districts,  Rheinauhafen is the perfect place to discover the cities coolest new buildings, the Crane Houses. This once bustling port area has now been transformed into a creative hub and some pretty cool buildings that are well-worth seeing in both day and night.

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10.) Watch the sunset 103 metres above Cologne

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One of the best viewpoints in the city is from the brand new, Köln Triangle. For a few Euro, you can take the lift to the 103-metre pinnacle that overlooks the historic centre of Cologne. Head here around sunset and enjoy watching the city and the iconic Cologne Cathedral transform with sparkly orange hues. It’s gorgeous.

Read more on how to see the best views in Cologne in our post, here


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  • Maria Salomonsen

    I wanted to visit Cologne because of the cathedral, but I didn’t really think the rest of the city looked that exciting to be honest.. You’ve completely changed that, now I totally want to go and see the rest of the city as well..! Thanks for that 😛
    Cheers,
    Maria @ http://momentumtravels.com

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Ah, we’re so pleased! So happy you’re wanting to visit. We had a fantastic time in Cologne… honestly, you’ll love it!

      Let us know if you’ve arranged a trip, we’re always happy to help with tips.

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • You had me at chocolate museum…loving all the modern architecture too! Your photography is just stunning!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much, Leah. 🙂

      Yay… a fellow chocolate addict! It was so delicious.

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Just arrived in Cologne and can’t wait to get exploring. The chocolate museum was already top of my list (along with the Christmas markets) but think I’m going to be spoilt for choice with the other museums… The old town looks gorgeous too!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Ahhhh, have the most amazing time. You’re going to love the museums and the old town. Those Christmas markets are very special too. Love spending the evenings in them. Lots of glühwein and fun! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx