Planning a trip to Cologne, Germany? This blog post gives you the top tips on what to do in Cologne. Spend your day walking around the beautiful city and learning how chocolate is made. Click here to to find out what to do in Cologne.
Psst before we get started, this post contains affiliate links. This means that if you decide to purchase a product or service from the links in this blog post, I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
You’re walking down narrow, bustling roads. You make a turn and all of a sudden, you see an enormous Cathedral. You stand there in awe admiring it.
Walking a bit further behind the Cathedral you stumble upon a bridge. You walk towards it and you see locks all over it. You look to your right and you see a river with boats carrying passengers laughing and having a jolly good time with a glass of wine in their hands
Welcome to Cologne, my friend.
Cologne is one of those cities that you have to visit at least once in your life. Me & Luis took a day trip there and had an amazing time. Naturally, I decided to write all about it and share it with you all.
Fun facts about Cologne:
♡ Cologne is one of Germany’s oldest cities. If you’re wondering what is the oldest city, that is Trier.
♡ Cologne is Germany’s fourth-largest city!
♡ The Cathedral (more on that below) took over 600 years to build.
♡ Did you know that the airport in Cologne has the only runway in Germany that also serves as an emergency landing site for NASA shuttles?! How cool is that!
♡ The city has it’s own kind of beer called Kölsch. It is brewed only in Germany and according to the Kölsch Convention of 1985, cannot be brewed outside of Cologne! It’s no surprise that Germans are serious about their beer but Cologne takes it to the next level.
♡ Lastly, Cologne is the only city in Germany where house numbers are four digits.
PRO TIP: To make the most out of your trip to Cologne, and save some money at the same time, I recommend investing in the Koln Card. You’ll save a ton of $$$ on the best attractions, skip the line and so much more!
HOW TO GET TO COLOGNE:
Cologne is a major city so therefore it is very well connected via the highways and rails. We drove to Cologne and it took us about three hours to get there. There is no shortage of parking garages in Cologne.
I recommend downloading the app ‘Parkopedia’ to find a parking garage anywhere in Germany.
If you’re planning on visiting using the trains, check out Deutsche Bahn’s official website for tickets. I recommend downloading the official app.
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BEST TIME TO VISIT COLOGNE:
There are events happening all year round in Cologne.
In February, there is the Carnival. Festivals are organized during the Summer. Furthermore, if you love Christmas as much as I do, I highly recommend visiting the Christmas market! It is one of the biggest and one of the most magical Christmas markets in Europe. Christmas markets start in November and usually stop a couple of days after Christmas.
For more information about events happening in Cologne, consult with the city’s official website.
PRO TIP: Don’t forget to buy a glass of Gluhwein to keep warm!
WHERE TO STAY IN COLOGNE:
Since we took a day trip to Cologne, booking hotels wasn’t necessary for us. However, if you’re planning on staying for more than one day, you can find plenty of hotels in Cologne.
Take a look for yourself below!
THINGS TO DO IN COLOGNE:
This should be the first stop on your trip to Cologne. You can’t go to Cologne and not stop by the Cathedral. It’s like you go to Rome and not go to see the Colosseum.
Cologne’s Cathedral is massive (as you can clearly see from the pictures). It is a Roman Catholic Cathedral and it’s the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne.
Entry to the Cathedral is free. However, you are encouraged to leave a small donation, which we did.
The Cathedral offers tours too. Click here for more information!
Inside the castle is absolutely stunning. The interior looks like your quintessential European cathedral which I absolutely love. What caught my attention was the stained glass on the huge windows. Each one tells a different story from the Bible, which is typical for Cathedrals in Europe.
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FUN FACTS: The official name of the Cathedral is Hohe Domkirche Sankt Petrus and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
⇢ Hohenzollern Bridge:
The Hohenzollern Bridge is another tourist hot spot in Cologne. It crosses the Rhine River which is one of the most beautiful valleys in Germany.
Prior to the construction of the Hohenzollern bridge, another bridge was built. Just like the Hohenzollern bridge, the previous bridge was also a railway track. However, the bridge could not handle the increasing traffic in Cologne and thus it was demolished.
As a result, the Hohenzollern Bridge was built!
FUN FACT: The bridge was named after the house of the rulers of Prussia and the German Emperors: The Hohenzollerns.
Perhaps what makes this bridge so popular amongst tourists is the thousands of locks fixed on the railing of this bridge. For years, as proof of their love, couples lock a padlock on the railing and throw the key in the river symbolising eternal love.
I added the Rhine Valley in my 15 EPIC BUCKET LIST DESTINATIONS IN GERMANY POST. Click here for more info!
Locals and tourists take part in this tradition and experts believe that all together, the padlocks weigh two tonnes.
These padlocks come in all shapes and sizes. This particular one caught my eye.
Pro tip: If you keep walking down the bridge, you will see a flight of stairs. Walk down those stairs and from there, you can get an amazing view of the Cathedral. We found a beer stand not too far from there and had a refreshing drink with this stunning view.
⇢ Take a River Cruise down the Rhine:
As mentioned above, Cologne is located on the Rhine Valley. If you’re wanting to sit back, relax and take in the stunning views, then I highly recommend taking a river cruise! The Rhine Valley is well known with these tours and rightfully so.
Go ahead, give it a whirl (like when you whirl wine in a wine glass while sitting on a boat cruising down a beautiful German river 😏)
⇢ Cologne Schokolade Museum/Chocolate Museum in Cologne:
This museum piqued my interest because I am a huge chocolate lover. I can eat chocolate for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack and I’m not kidding here!
Naturally, I had to include this museum in my blog post.
This museum gives you a history of chocolate and also show you how chocolate is made. The exhibit shows the entire history of chocolate from its beginnings dating from the Aztecs to how chocolate is made today.
Furthermore, there is a cafeteria inside filled with all the chocolate delights you can imagine.
[bctt tweet=”Chocolate comes from cocoa, which is a tree. That makes it a plant. Chocolate is a salad.” username=”reebeccaam”]
⇢ Get a full view of Cologne from the Koln Triangle Views:
For €6, we got to go to the very top (with a lift) and get a 360-degree view of Cologne. You could also see the Cathedral!
As per the official website: “As far as the eye can see… the unique view from the KölnTriangle Cologne View promises not just a special visual feast, but a treat for all the senses: feel the wind high above the rooftops, hear the muted sounds of the pulsating metropolis on the Rhine and let the vast expanse make an impression on you!”
PRO TIP: If you’re going to take a picture like the one I did above, don’t wear white shorts. The back of them will turn black from sitting down on the floor 🙃
OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS ON WHAT TO DO IN COLOGNE:
☆ Museum Ludwig
☆ Great St.Martin Church, Cologne
☆ Take a Rhine River Cruise
☆ Cologne Zoological Garden
☆ Bruhl Castle
☆ Dom Treasury
☆ Alter Markt Square
☆ House of Fragrances
☆ Cologne City Hall
☆ Visit a Beer Garden
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Do you have any more questions about Cologne?
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I went to Cologne on a school trip and I definitely remember the chocolate museum! I mean who wouldn’t remember a chocolate fountain haha! You’ve got some really beautiful pictures there and there are so many things to do! I’d love to go back and take a cruise on the river.
Love how you decided to explore the country where you live – I’m so guilty of not exploring my own country so this has really reminded me that I don’t actually have to get on a plane in order to travel!
Cologne looks so nice, that cathedral is AMAZING and you’ve sold me on the chocolate museum!