The Complete Guide to Visiting Cologne Germany

Cologne is the fourth largest metropolitan city in Germany after Berlin, Hamburg and Munich and was founded in 1AD. The city is famous for the incredible Cathedral, locally is called Koln Dom. Cologne is located on both sides of the Rhine River and snuggled in the western peripheries of Germany.

In this article, we aim to share a complete guide to visiting Cologne Germany. We hope to share tips on where to stay, how to navigate the city and things to do. The article aims to guide first timer visitors to the city of Cologne.

Travelling to and around Cologne Germany

When I was planning my trip to Cologne Germany, I knew I had many options available to me from the UK. I could go by plane, train, bus and boat but since it was a short getaway I chose to fly.

Plane – from around the UK there are several flights heading to Cologne. From London Stansted, the flight is an hour and a half and you can find affordable flights with Ryanair.

Train – using Eurostar you can travel from London to Brussels then travel to Cologne. I love the Eurostar but so far only used it to venture to Brussels and France. This is a great alternative if you do not like flying but bare in mind it can take up to 6 hours.

Cruise – because of the Rhine river it is possible to travel to Cologne via boat or cruise ship. I was able to board the local boats for a mini-tour of the city edges along the Rhine.

When it comes to travelling within the city, trams and trains run every minute. From the airport, you can grab various trains which reach the city within 30 minutes and cost €2.90 per 90-minute journey. As for taxis whilst available they can cost a pretty penny too, best to use public transport.

Whereto Stay in Cologne Germany

Like many large cities, there is a multitude of places where one can stay. Initially, I had chosen the Hilton Hotel as I love staying in their hotels. But because I wanted to make friends I decided to stay in a hostel. Pathpoint is a backpackers hostel in Cologne, very affordable and minutes away from the train station.

The pathpoint hostel offers the backpacker a very comfortable bed and breakfast for an extra fee. The breakfast is simple but definitely cost effective compared to buying from local bakeries. The hostel offers private homes with ensuite bathrooms and comfortable single beds. I highly recommend the hostel, I paid €49 for 2 nights in a 4-bed dorm room.

Top Things To Do in Cologne Germany

Cologne is a major cultural hub in the Rhineland with the trade fair being one of the most popular in Europe. It has over 30 museums and even more galleries across the city. In this city guide, we aim to share with you some of the places you should visit. I don’t believe you need to visit all the places especially if it’s your first time. Here are the top things to do in Cologne.

Köln Dom – Cologne Cathedral

Köln Dom or Cologne Cathedral is right in the middle of the city, it took over 600 years to build. Almost all visitors to the city come to see this incredible gothic style cathedral. It was built in 1528 and it the fourth largest Kolner dom in the world standing at a highest of 157 metres high.

Ludwig Museum

Museum Ludwig is a museum of modern art and holds the largest collection of Picasso paintings. The museum is located just behind the Cathedral and not too far from the River Rhine. It is also home to the Cologne Philharmonic but it has a flaw in its design. If people are walking above the building near the cathedral it disturbs sound distribution in the hall. 

Fischmarkt – Cologne’s Old Town

Cologne’s old town was one of my favourite places, I was able to wander the narrow cobbled streets of the old town. There is so much to do in the old town, the Rhine river is close by offering an incredible view. The beautiful coloured fischmarkt houses definitely add to the charm of the old town.

Hohenzollern Bridge – The Love Lock Bridge

I first fell in love with love lock bridges when I was in Lithuania. There is just something about them that gives me so much hope and love. The Hohenzollern bridge is right next to the Cathedral offering such an incredible view.

Schokoladenmuseum – Chocolate Museum

Who loves chocolate? I know I do, I couldn’t wait to visit the museum and try the chocolate. Everyone loves Lindt and it doesn’t disappoint, I bought quite a lot. The museum has 15 stations and 15 exhibitions which highlight the history of chocolate. I loved nibbling at the chocolates offered around the chocolate fountain.

St. Martin’s Church

One of the most beautiful sites in the old town is the Great Saint Martin’s Church. Located near the banks of river Rhine in the old the church is open to the public. Most of Cologne was destroyed during the fire in 1150 so the church was rebuilt.

The Belgian Quarter

One of the most popular and hip places in Cologne where one can indulge in some shopping. I absolutely loved walking around this area, did some people watch and eat some food. 

Take a Cruise on the Rhine River

One of this more impressive and relaxing thing to do in Cologne is taking a boat cruise. For the last few months, I have made it a point to take a boat cruise in all the places I visit. 

I managed to book a lovely boat tour cruise for €8 and it took an hour. The weather was perfect so I sat on the top deck and enjoyed the view. If you’re ever looking for an incredible city break in Europe, consider Cologne.

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44 Comments

  1. andrea
    August 27, 2018 / 3:10 pm

    this is such a fun guide. i like how you really gave us a glimpse into your travels and how much you enjoyed it. traveling is so much fun!

    • Miranda
      Author
      August 27, 2018 / 4:45 pm

      Traveling is so much fun and glad you liked the guide to Cologne.

  2. Olga Zak
    August 27, 2018 / 10:15 am

    Germany is a beautiful country. This place looks amazing and lovely. Thanks for your amazing informative blog post.

  3. August 26, 2018 / 6:21 pm

    Wow looks like a lovely place to visit with my family 😊👍🏼… hopefully we could visit in couple of years 😊👍🏼

  4. August 25, 2018 / 5:50 pm

    What a gorgeous location! There’s just so much to see and do! My niece was an exchange student in Germany, and last year she invited her parents to explore the country with her. I’d love to do the same someday!

  5. August 25, 2018 / 3:03 pm

    Cologne looks beautiful and I’d love to visit the museum and then to walk around the old town! Yet another place to add to my bucket list!

  6. August 25, 2018 / 9:06 am

    This looks incredible! And a very comprehensive post. Sounds amazing.

  7. August 25, 2018 / 5:15 am

    I’d love to visit cologne. I have friends who live there! On my bucket list to visit it one day! Loved your pictures!

  8. August 25, 2018 / 12:56 am

    Sure would be nice to go there and explore! I love that you shared everything in this guide, from the transportation to the accommodations. It’s good to know what your options are when traveling to a place!

  9. Tim B
    August 24, 2018 / 11:00 pm

    Always have wanted to explore Europe but missed by chance to go before having kids. Now will probably be 10 years before can even think of visiting. So I enjoy reading posts like this so I can experience the adventure through other people’s experiences. Nice post!

  10. August 24, 2018 / 10:47 pm

    Cologne sounds amazing. The cathedral and St Martins Church look stunning. We’ve yet to visit Germany but we hope to soon. And Cologne might have to be top of the list for cities to visit in Germany.

  11. August 24, 2018 / 8:01 pm

    Wow st Martin’s church really looks stunning. What a lovely city to visit. It is amazing that I have never heard of Cologne before

  12. Jeanine
    August 24, 2018 / 7:17 pm

    Wow I’d love to visit cologne. I have a few friends who have been and loved it, raving about it quite well. Love your guide! Hopefully I can visit one day.

  13. August 24, 2018 / 2:54 pm

    The design of the church looks completely wonderful! Germany has a lot of amazing places to visit indeed.

  14. August 24, 2018 / 11:19 am

    There are so many beautiful things one can visit in Germany. You did pick some amazing places~!

  15. Princess Quinn
    August 24, 2018 / 11:11 am

    The structures looked like those from the Medieval ages. They are stunning. I have never been to Germany. Thanks for sharing its beauty.

  16. August 24, 2018 / 10:57 am

    Aww… I missed the opportunity to visit this place. I was in Germany two years ago but I only got to explore Berlin. I’ll visit this place next.

  17. August 24, 2018 / 3:35 am

    I have never been to Europe, and it would be cool to be able to explore. I’ve never heard of Cologne, but it is a very interesting city. What a neat experience to be able to check it out.

  18. August 24, 2018 / 2:24 am

    I have always wanted to visit Germany, I do know that the Chocolate Museum is going on my list.

  19. August 24, 2018 / 1:01 am

    It’s amazing how the church established in 1150 looks still so beautiful to date. How many times has it been reconstructed or redesigned? That I’m interested to know!

    • Miranda
      Author
      August 24, 2018 / 7:25 am

      Not sure about how many times but it wasn’t destroyed during the war like other places where.

  20. August 23, 2018 / 11:28 pm

    I would love to see Europe by plane. My mother is British but she hasn’t been “home” in almost 50 years. She talks about how plush the trains were even back then.

    • Miranda
      Author
      August 24, 2018 / 7:24 am

      Aww bless, it would be wonderful for you both to visit one day

  21. August 23, 2018 / 10:08 pm

    I love how clean that hostle looks. I would love to meet others when traveling.

  22. August 23, 2018 / 9:11 pm

    Wow this looks stunning. I’ve actually always wanted to go to Germany. I love the scenery and buildings too.

  23. Ally
    August 23, 2018 / 8:58 pm

    I would love to visit Germany! I would especially love to go on that river cruise! I’ll keep these in mind if I ever travel over there.

    • Miranda
      Author
      August 24, 2018 / 7:24 am

      I do love river cruises, definitely a fun and relaxing part of my trips.

  24. August 23, 2018 / 7:42 pm

    I hope to go there some day in my life. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous photos. I love how beautiful it is.

  25. August 23, 2018 / 7:18 pm

    I would love to visit Germany. I have been to Germany once but only for a few hours. I would love to explore that entire country. It looks gorgeous in Cologne.

    • Miranda
      Author
      August 24, 2018 / 7:23 am

      You should definitely visit if you ever get a chance, it’s a lovely city different to other German towns.

  26. August 23, 2018 / 6:59 pm

    Looks like a beautiful place to visit. I think I might want a more private room though.

  27. August 23, 2018 / 5:36 pm

    Germany is on top of my “places to visit” list. Thanks for your amazing informative blog post. Would keep in mind while planning my trip

  28. August 23, 2018 / 5:00 pm

    Never been to germany, but planning to. Thanks to your guide, will be easier to plan now.

  29. August 23, 2018 / 4:17 pm

    What a stunning place Cologne seems to, it seems like it has such a lot of history take in and so many different areas to visit and explore!

  30. August 23, 2018 / 3:59 pm

    What a gorgeous town. I’ve never been to this area before, but I like the buildings. I’ve always liked love lock bridges too, but a part of me is always like, “I wonder who broke up here?”

  31. August 23, 2018 / 3:39 pm

    The Mister has family in Germany and I’ve always wanted to visit. I have to make sure to save this post for when I do visit. It looks like such a wonderful place to explore.

  32. August 23, 2018 / 3:38 pm

    I would love to get to Germany some day. Your pics really make me want to make this happen. Love the buildings and scenery there!

  33. August 23, 2018 / 3:37 pm

    I have only visited Berlin in Germany, which didn’t really impress me. Cologne sounds like a much better alternative. I like staying in hostels as well, to make new friends.

    • Miranda
      Author
      August 24, 2018 / 7:22 am

      I actually loved Berlin when I visited last year but cologne is far more amazing in my opinion

  34. candy
    August 23, 2018 / 1:42 pm

    We have been to Cologne Germany and enjoyed our time there. The boat cruise is a must. So much to see and enjoy. We love all the history and old buildings.

    • Miranda
      Author
      August 24, 2018 / 7:21 am

      I am glad you agree, I enjoyed the boat cruise too. Gives the tourist a new perspective on the city

  35. August 23, 2018 / 11:06 am

    A great guide and I’d definitely love to visit Cologne at some point in the future. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  36. August 23, 2018 / 10:39 am

    Wow such a beautiful place! Would love to go there some day thanks to your post!

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