On the banks of the river Rhine lies Cologne, the fourth largest city and the cultural hub of Germany. The city with a history of more than 2000 years has grown into a major tourist destination.
Bustling with tourists every year, Cologne or German Köln, is famous for inspiring medieval Gothic architecture, ethereal cathedrals, and Romanesque Museums.
Take a tour to the historic old town of Cologne and visit one of the oldest Cathedrals of the city namely the Cologne Dome Cathedral.
Taste some authentic German food in the street carnivals or take a night tour along the streets of Cologne and get to know about some spooky stories, urban legends, and myths of the old city of Germany.
If you are traveling alone and simply want to avoid the crowded travel destinations, Cologne will surprise you with its architectural brilliance and historical significance.
1. Visit Cologne Dome (Kölner Dom)
Kölner Dom or Cologne Cathedral situated in Westphalia is one of the finest architectures in Germany and has a history of over 500 years.
The huge tower is the second largest building in Germany and has been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Enjoy the spectacular rooftop view of the city as the sun goes down. The cathedral is open during summer months (May to October) from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.
2. Visit Schokoladenmuseum Koln (Cologne Chocolate Museum)
Near the Cologne Cathedral in Rheinau harbor is the Chocolate Museum.
Founded by Hans Imhoff, who had this unique idea of having a museum showcasing the cultural history of chocolate right from its production to the various historical machines involved in the process.
The museum conducts group classes on chocolate making that lasts for about 3 hours and at the end of the day you take home some delicious handmade goodies.
Regular tours are also organized where you can walk through the glass-walled chocolate factory and the tropical cocoa trees and get a feel of the early Columbian culture of Central America.
There are beautiful porcelain collection and silverware of the Baroque period and ancient industrial equipment.
Don’t miss the chocolate fountain! Right at the middle of the museum is the chocolate fountain of about 3 meters high running with rich Lindt chocolate.
3. Go to Aachener Weiher Beer Garden
This summer plan a visit to Cologne’s most favorite hangout place, the Beer garden at Aachener Weiher pond.
The place is flocked by locals and tourists who want to relax and unwind over some hot barbeque and cool beers.
Soak up the sun on the Aachener Kulturdeck over some live music on hot sultry days or dance and rejoice with the tune of electronic music played in the beer bars.
4. Attraction for all ages – Cologne Zoo
The Cologne Zoo founded in 1860 is a major tourist attraction. It is one of the oldest zoos, yet it is the most well-maintained and has the most modern setups compared to others.
The zoo spreads around 49 acres of land along the river Rhine.
Cologne zoo exhibits about 700 different species of animals from all over the world. The animals are kept with the utmost care in glass-fronted cages without any iron bars.
Children will find it fascinating to visit the Moorish-style elephant house or the ape house with natural rain forest, which is really interesting. The elephant park is, in fact, the largest in northern Europe.
The zoo is open round the year. The summer timings are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
5. Cologne Street Food Festival
Venture into a culinary journey in Cologne’s street food festival that occurs usually in the month of May.
Stalls line up and stretch along 3 km from the central station along with the neighborhood of Ehrenfeld.
Diverse food accompanied by good music brighten up the streets of Cologne.
From April 2019, organizers have come up with the unique idea of “zero waste” where food wastes are composted instead of producing piles of garbage.
Get a feel of Cornish pastries, Italian pizzas to South American delicacies and have a taste of some authentic German food.
6. Cologne Sculpture Park
The Cologne Sculpture Park, locally known as Skulpturen Park is a must-see if you are visiting Cologne.
The park opened for public view in 1997 and stretches around an area of 25,000 square feet. It showcases the works of some of the most well-renowned German artists.
The interesting thing about this park is that the art pieces are replaced every two years so you will never see the same thing twice if you are visiting Cologne for the second time.
Visitors are guaranteed satisfaction with the unique contemporary and state-of-the-art collections.
7. Cologne Love Lock Bridge
The Hohenzollernbrücke bridge or the “Love Lock Bridge” in Cologne, Germany is one of the most enchanting and romantic places to visit.
The custom began in 2008 when couples and friends in order to publicly honor their loyalty and eternal love started hanging padlocks on the railings of the bridge. Couples then throw the keys deep into the waters of the River Rhine.
Since then, there have been 40,000 padlocks hanging on the bridge with different colors engraved with personal messages, stickers, and paintings.
Though there has been a substantial amount of weight that has been added to the bridge, the visual site is entrancing and mystical.
The Love Lock Bridge symbolizes the everlasting love that thousands of people have shared for each other and the custom is gradually growing.
8. Cologne Nightlife
If you like to venture out at night and explore the nightlife, Cologne will bewitch you with some of the best night clubs, freshly brewed beer, and old Irish pubs.
Seiberts is one of the most visited cocktail bars in Cologne. With its traditional drinks and chic setting, Seiberts is located at the North of river Rhine and is open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the morning.
Want to rock-n-roll with some funky rock music? Visit Sonic Ballroom, this restaurant cum bar with graffiti walls serves good food and beer along with some live music to soothe your senses.
Sick Pack Bar is ideal for beer lovers who want to hang out, gulp some beer, and groove with the locals. Located at Achener street, this bar is open from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. in the morning.
Fall in love with some local German beer and traditional German cuisine in this 150 years old local Bar cum casual dining called Brauerei Zur Malzmuehle.
9. Ludwig Museum in Cologne
The Ludwig Museum named after its founders Peter and Irene Ludwig was founded on a donation contract in the year 1976.
The couple gifted about 350 pieces of art to the museum and was among the first to ever exhibit modern art in those days.
Cologne Lawyer Josef Haubrich donated a massive portion of the artifacts which became the foundation of the art collection.
Later on, there were numerous collections of modern art and paintings that adorned the walls of the museum.
Some noteworthy artifacts included Will Strecker’s collection of major works by Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, and Oskar Kokoschka.
Contemporary American Pop art including Roy Lichtenstein’s ‘Maybe’ and Andy Warhol’s “Brillo Boxes” are quite famous.
10. Rhine River Cruise
What’s better way to experience the scenic beauty and history of the old city of Cologne than a Rhine river cruise?
Avail a KD Rhine Pass and hop on to any of the river cruises and explore the sights and sounds of the lovely river-side towns of the city of Cologne.
Evenings in Christmas times are beautiful in Cologne. Why not take an evening river cruise and watch the castles, churches, and the city lit up in the festive glory?
Sightseeing cruises can take you to the castles, churches, vineyards, and neighboring towns of the city. You can also opt for dining cruises and enjoy and relax your time on board over some sumptuous German delicacies.