The Best Things To Do In Cologne

Cologne is a city of culture and with over 2,000 years of history, there is a lot to see and do. Whether you appreciate great architecture, a museum or even a stroll along a river, you will find it all in Cologne.

Cologne Cathedral

Cologne Cathedral is an international pilgrimage site and it has held the reliquary of the Three Kings since 1164. These important remains were given a new home with new works taking place in 1248, with inspiration being taken from the cathedrals found in Northern France. This now a UNESCO site and is the most visited landmark in the whole of Germany. It contains plenty of art inside and stained glass windows that date back to the 1500s and there is the 10th-century Gero-Kreuz crucifix as well as the black marble high altar which dates back to the 1300s. This is every bit impressive with the shrine of the Three Kings being the pinnacle of this amazing site.

Cologne’s Old Town

Take a walk the Old Town and browse around the squares of this historic centre bearing in mind that a huge part of this city was destroyed during the war. Take a walk through the cobbled alleyways and explore the amazing atmosphere that this Old Town has to offer. The streets and Plaza such as Heumarkt and Altermarkt still stand out, even though they are dominated by more modern buildings. Take in the impressive Heinzelmannchenbrunnen fountain which dates back to 1899 and meet the gnomes who did all of the work in the city at night so the residents could relax. This is a great place to visit with a stunning vibe.

Botanical Garden

If you want to make a break away from the city, then head north and take in one of the most beautiful parks in the city. There are gorgeous, expansive lawns, greenhouses and a glass palace that took inspiration from London’s Crystal Palace. This is known as the Flora and was supposed to be used as an orangery but now it is home to concerts and events. Dotted around the park are a number of glass structures such as the Main Greenhouse where you can find the tropical rainforest and the Small Tropical House where you can find crops such as sugar cane, vanilla and cinnamon. There are also Mediterranean and Italian gardens available for you to take a look at.

NS Documentation Center

Cologne has a dark past that is linked to WWII as it was the former HQ of the Gestapo Secret Police. The EL-DE Haus avoided damage during the war and that has turned it into a great but poignant reminder of what happened during this period in the 20th century. There are 30 multimedia stations on offer that explain all there is to know about Cologne under national socialism. If that is not enough, then the cellar is the place where torture and murder took place and here you can find over 1,800 inscriptions on the walls to testify to what happened here.

Cologne Zoo

Cologne Zoo, which dates back to 1860, is one of the oldest in the world and there is plenty to see here. There are original halls that can be explored and new facilities added regularly including the vast Asian Elephant Park. There are over 700 species while the zoo has more than 700 species with it specialising in primates such as bonobos, gorillas and orangutans. Throughout the day, you can view the feeding sessions for penguins, sea lions and the piranhas.

Boat Trip on the Rhine

Like many cities in Europe, Cologne has a river that runs through the heart of it and that means that you can explore the river and the city from a different angle by taking a boat trip on the Rhine. Situated on the left bank of the Rhine is the Hohenzollern Bridge and this is where you can find the boat trips with panoramic tours taking place that give you a tour of the river and the many sights along the way. Most tours will take you south down the river to the old fishing community in Rodenkirchen and this hour-long tour will take you past the amazing cathedral and the spires of the old town while you will pass under four bridges, all of which have their own history. The river tour will not disappoint, while it gives you the chance to sit back, relax and explore the city in a unique way.

Other things to do in Cologne

You will find multiple museums and art galleries, catering to a variety of tastes. These include the Roman Germanic Museum displaying art and architecture from the city’s Roman past, and the Museum Ludwig of Modern Art. The Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum offers something for the chocolate lovers where you can find the full history of probably the world’s favourite luxury. Thrill seekers should head to the Phantasialand theme park.

Cologne Tours & Attractions

Map of Cologne

Events In Cologne

There are many events throughout the year, including the Cologne Carnival. The Christmas Markets are magical, as they are in most German cities. Be sure to catch the beer tasting and brewery tours available.

Pictures of Cologne

Hotels In Cologne

Choose your ideal hotel or apartment in Cologne. Select based upon your location, exclusivity or budget and start planning your perfect city break now.